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Rulings for the 6th Edition Laws


Official Rulings

The following rulings have been formally adopted:

  1 4e Start and end of a game and turn - handicap play
  2 5e A stroke and the striking period - interrupting the swing
  3 6c4 States of a ball - misplaced balls not outside agencies
  4 13b1A Wiring lift - instances where the striker is responsible for ball position through 'deemed to have played'
  5 16c1 Roquet - balls in contact at start of turn
  6 22e Errors, General principles - limit of claims in handicap games
  7 28d Faults, exemptions - definition of 'is caused by'
  8 34c Interference with the playing of a stroke - special damage; interpretation of 'divot'
  9 6f States of a ball - ball placed on baulk is a yard-line ball

Reported Interpretations

Faults in Bisque Play Laws 28, 37 and 50

Official Rulings

4(e) For handicap play, reference is made to Law 37, but this does not explicitly state how Law 4(e) should be modified for handicap play, when the following turn is a bisque or half-bisque turn. It should be interpreted by modifying it as follows when applied to this case:

(a) delete "with the adversary as striker"
(b) delete "and clips"
(c) replace (2) by "(2) the striker, having indicated his intention to take a half-bisque or bisque (see Law 37(d)), plays a stroke."

5(e) "Interrupts the swing" should be interpreted to include "deviates the mallet from its intended path so that it passes over or to the side of the striker's ball"; it is not necessary to bring the mallet to rest before it reaches the striker's ball to abort a stroke.

6(c)(4) "Replaced on the court" should be interpreted to include "left in a misplaced position on the court at the start of the next stroke" to avoid such misplaced balls being treated as outside agencies.

13(b)(1)(A) "that he is deemed to have played" should be interpreted as though it read "that he played or is deemed to have played", so as to include cases where strokes are played under Law 5(d) but in which the striker's ball is not moved or shaken.

16(c)(1) "If the striker plays the first stroke of his turn by taking croquet" should be interpreted as giving the striker choice as to which ball he elects as the striker's ball, and its position if he is entitled to a lift, until he plays a stroke (see Laws 9(b) and 19(c)), not a choice as to whether or not that stroke should be a croquet stroke, if it is played with the ball he finally elects as the striker's ball in contact with another ball.

22(e) For handicap play, this law should be interpreted as though "adversary's" was omitted if the next turn is a half-bisque or bisque turn.

28(d) "Is caused by" should be interpreted so as to exclude cases where the striker's ball has made contact with a hoop, another ball, or (except in (2)), the peg, since one of the events specified. Thus a stroke in which the striker's ball makes a roquet, bounces off a hoop, and back onto the mallet, is a fault, but one in which it bounces off a hoop then makes a roquet before the mallet hits it is not. "Law 16(b)" should be interpreted as including "Law 17"; the distinction is between balls actually roqueted and those deemed to have been roqueted under Law 16(c).

34(c) "Divot" should be interpreted to include isolated damage to the surface of the court by animals, birds, machinery, installation of sprinkler systems, vandals and other discrete, rather than gradually operating, causes.

6(f)  The definition of a yard-line ball should be extended to include a ball placed on a baulk-line at the start of the game or after being lifted.

Reported Interpretations

Not sanctioned

Faults in Bisque Play

Laws 28, 37 and 50

A player, having bisques, commits a fault. The referee then needs to know

a) Whether the player wishes to take a bisque, in which case the balls must be replaced.
b) If no bisque is taken, whether the opponent wishes the balls to be replaced or not.

It seems logical to question the player and the opponent (if necessary) in that order to establish these facts, but in doing so, the referee might be reminding players of options they had forgotten and thus (perhaps) giving advice.

Could asking these questions count as advice, and if so, how can the problem be avoided?

1. Marking procedure. In such a situation the referee should mark the ball(s) affected by the fault stroke in the post-fault stroke ball position(s) as a matter of course. The pre-fault stroke ball positions will have been marked before the stroke was played by the referee if he was called to watch the stroke in the usual manner. In cases where no referee was called or the rare case where the fault is discovered or admitted after one further stroke, the pre-fault and/or post-fault stroke ball position(s) must be reconstructed and marked before the following procedure is carried out.

2. Questioning of striker by the referee. If the striker has not made it clear what he intends to do or is dithering, the referee should remind him of his duty to ask the adversary where the ball(s) should be placed under Law 28(b)(2). If the striker has no bisques (i.e. a level game or striker is the bisque-giver or striker has run out of bisques), there is no question of giving any advice. If the striker has a bisque (not a half-bisque, by the way) and is dithering, it will only be because he is uncertain whether to use it. Again the referee will not be giving advice.

3. Questioning of adversary by the referee. This is not an issue because the Laws give the adversary the right to be consulted by the striker anyway. The referee is merely ensuring that the striker discharges his duty.

4. Practicalities. The ball(s) will usually simply be left in the post-fault stroke position(s) and the adversary will normally be able to decide from inspecting the balls and looking at the pre-fault markers. If the adversary cannot make up his mind from the pre-fault stroke markers alone, the ball(s) should be placed in the pre-fault stroke position(s) to help him decide. This will not offend Law 50(d). The referee and not either player should be responsible for replacing the balls in the pre-fault position(s) and, if necessary, replacing them in the post-fault stroke position(s).

Author: Stephen Mulliner
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Updated 9.i.11
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