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EDLTCC - Croquet Etiquette and Playing Procedures

Preparing to play

  • Casual comfortable clothes are worn for most occasions but ‘whites’ are conventionally worn for league matches, tournaments and club competitions.

  • Flat-soled shoes must be worn on the courts - that is, with no heel and relatively flat soles.  Avoid smooth soles, which can slip on wet grass.

  • Always carry your pitch repairer even when practising and know how to use it (see ‘Looking after the courts..’ below).

  • When you know that you are going to be double-banking, avoid delays by always carrying plastic ball markers; never use coins or similar items - they cause expensive damage to lawnmowers

  • It is courteous to turn up early for a scheduled game so that it may begin at the arranged time.


Looking after the courts and preventing damage

  • The condition of the courts is extremely important and has a major influence on our enjoyment of the game.  Please make every effort to look after the courts and avoid damaging the surface in any way, either with your feet or your mallet.

  • Do not play on a court that is waterlogged or frosted. If any water rises around your shoe when you tread on the court, it is too wet to play. 

  • Use the dew switch to disperse worm casts as necessary. The grass beneath a flattened worm cast can take weeks to recover. Use the large broom (at Hut 2) to disperse the dew.

  • From time to time, we all cause damage to a court, usually from taking a divot with the leading edge of our mallet.  It’s important to repair any damage immediately.   The divot needs to be replaced, but not before the soil has been gently teased and loosened with your pitch repairer.  Once the soil has been loosened, put the divot back in its place and tread it down gradually with the sole of your flat shoe or mallet.  If you are not sure what to do – ask!

  • Avoid running hoop 1 when practising/warming up, unless before a club competition, tournament game or league/inter-club match.

  • In GC games, try to avoid gathering around the hoop area in order to minimise wear, unless you are taking the shot.

  • When walking between the courts, please walk outside the boundaries (in winter, outside the old summer boundaries to limit fungal disease transfer between courts) and not across the court.



  • When playing:

    • Refrain from chatting to your opponent(s) unless you are clear that it is welcome.

    • Do not distract your opponent by talking loudly, walking about or catching their eye.

    • Avoid standing directly behind them watching them shoot, in front of them close to the line of aim, or where you may cast an unwelcome shadow.

  • When spectating or close to the courts:

    • Do not distract on-court players by comments and chat, whether or not these are related to the game.

    • When parking or walking past a court, pause and stand still while in the eyeline of a player preparing to take a shot.

    • Beware of distracting players; keep your voice down, including while using a mobile phone

    • Get out of the way of a player who might need to stalk from where you are, or who is shooting towards you.


When double-banking

  • Always keep an eye out to ensure that you do not impede the other game.

  • Do not walk across the line of aim of the other game.

  • Always be aware of the other game before you strike your ball; nothing is more annoying than having to guess the position of a ball that has been moved by the other game.

  • Ask the other game if you can mark and lift any of their balls that may be at risk from your play.

  • If you do mark and lift a ball, make certain that the player in play in the other game realises that you have done so, particularly (in AC) if their out-player has started a new turn. Make sure you replace the ball as soon as you have played your shot and let them know you have done so.

  • In AC, always let the other game through if a break is being played.

  • If, despite all the above, one of your balls does collide with a ball from the other game: apologise; then either call a referee or rectify the situation with the other players in line with the AC Laws (30-36 Interferences) or GC Rules (9. Interferences).


On the court and referees

  • Do not practise immediately before a competition match, other than for a maximum of ten minutes with your opponent present.

  • Play with the set of colours booked.

  • The person with the lowest handicap tosses a coin and in AC is responsible for setting up any bisques. In GC the arrangements for extra strokes are shared between the players.

    • In AC, the winner of the toss may choose either who has first innings or which colours to play with.

    • In GC, the winner of the toss may choose to play first (with blue) or second (with red).

  • Play briskly (the official phrase is 'with due dispatch') and avoid spending an excessive amount of time thinking about your next shot or discussing it with your partner.

  • Fundamental to croquet is the principle that players are jointly responsible for the conduct of the game in the absence of a referee.  In effect, each player is the referee of their own play. This duty remains even in games when an external referee is available. So, know the GC Rules (especially Rules 15 Refereeing and 16 Behaviour) and/or the AC Laws (especially Part 4 Conduct of the Game).

  • Be scrupulously honest about your strokes.

  • If you are about to make a stroke where there is a possibility that a fault may be committed, call a referee by raising your mallet.  If no independent referee is available, ask your opponent to watch. 

  • Do not accept advice (or offer it), but you may ask your opponent about the state of the game or about the rules or laws.  The only person allowed to give you advice during a game is your partner in a doubles match. 

  • Always note exactly where your ball leaves the court and replace it accurately.

  • In AC:

    • Keep your back to the court when placing a ball squarely on the yard-line.

    • If you are aiming to hit a ball in the jaws of a hoop, have someone watch it to ensure contact is made.  Hold up your mallet horizontally to call for an umpire.  If no one is available, ask your opponent to watch.  

    • Observe the croqueted ball in a take-off so that you can certify it moved - or confess the fault if it didn’t.

  • Using bisques / extra strokes. You should be familiar with the conditions under which you may take these:

    • In AC, you must indicate clearly to your opponent you wish to take a bisque before taking the stroke - it is their responsibility to remove the bisque and lay it down by those still standing. 

    • In GC, you must clearly indicate your intention and hand over a token before the stroke is played. When considering whether to play an extra stroke, you must warn your opponent either before or immediately after playing the stroke that will precede the extra stroke.  If your opponent has taken their stance to play, it is too late to decide to take an extra stroke.

    • If you indicate that a bisque/extra turn will not be taken, you cannot change your mind.


At the end of the game (and before you depart)

  • It is the winner's responsibility to clear the court of balls, clips, bisques and other paraphernalia, although this is usually shared by both players in GC.

  • When double-banking, or players are waiting to come on to the court, please clear the court promptly, without disturbing the other game. 

  • Unless someone is waiting to play immediately after you or you are involved in a tournament, please return the balls, clips etc to the mallet cupboard.

  • After a competition, tournament or inter-club game, it is the winner’s responsibility to report the result to the manager or to record the result on the competition results sheet.

  • Please ensure you complete your handicap card after every ‘official’ game (club competitions, tournament games, inter-club matches etc) - accuracy is essential. 

  • If your handicap changes, please inform the Club Handicapper and update your details on the ED Court Booking Site (in the ‘Users’ tab), on any relevant competition notices in the clubhouse and (if you are a CA Member) on the CA Website.

  • In winter particularly, please brush mud and clippings from your shoes.  Do not walk into the clubhouse with dirty shoes.

  • It is customary for the winner to offer their opponent a cup of tea or similar refreshment after the game.

  • If you are the last player on Court 1, or on Courts 2-5, please ensure the hut (1 or 2 respectively) is closed and locked before you depart, and the hut key is placed in the mallet cupboard.  

  • If you are the last croquet member on the courts at the end of the day, please ensure the mallet cupboard and the cabinet are properly locked. Before doing so, please check that the outside huts are locked, all the balls etc have been returned and the hut keys are in the mallet cupboard.

Updated January 2022

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