Association Croquet Laws

The new laws of Association Croquet came into force on 1 July 2021, so all games you are playing
since then are subject to the new laws. As seems the norm when laws are tidied up, the law book is
longer than ever. However there are definite readability improvements, a glossary of terms, better
cross-referencing and a useful table of the limit of claims.

A copy of the 7th edition of the AC Laws is available at

https://worldcroquet.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Laws-7th-Edition-master-new.pdf

The following is taken from CROQUET NSW NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2021

ASSOCIATION CROQUET LAW CHANGES IN A NUTSHELL

                                                                           
As seems the norm when laws are tidied up, the law book is longer than ever. However there are definite readability improvements, a glossary of terms, better cross-referencing and a useful table of the limit of claims.
While there are several (very) minor changes along the lines of determining who to favour in circumstances where a position is too close to call (is a ball in or out, is a ball wired for example), there is one substantial change.
The striking period is now when the striker takes his stance to play a shot (previously, the downswing of the mallet in playing a ball). And most importantly if the strikers ball is in a critical position, then if the striker’s mallet touches the ball, that is the stroke. So for example if casting you touch the ball, that is your stroke. Or if placing your mallet behind the ball you touch it, that is your stroke. This is the same law as in Golf Croquet.
It is important to note that this only applies if the ball is in a critical position. If not the old rule applies : if you touch a ball it can be replaced without penalty. And a new rule has been introduced so it you touch the ball and continue with the swing and complete the shot, that is Ok, not a double tap (as it would be in GC). It never was under the old rules as the striking period did not start until the downswing.
So it becomes important : is the ball in a critical position. The new laws define a critical position is where “a minor change in the position could materially affect future play”. If a ball is in a critical position it can be marked, and then becomes not critical. Examples of a critical position are any hampered position, or where a player is attempting to hit a very small sliver of a ball, or is nearly wired, or (perhaps) attempting a hoop run. Unfortunately there is no attempt to define “materially affect”. Hampered positions, thin targets, wired positions are likely to b clear-cut, but hoop running positions may become contentious.
Probably an attempt at a hoop run from a long way out, or a hoop run from very close but straight in front is not critical. But as soon as there is any angle involved a small movement can make it easier to run the hoop. I expect umpires and players will have their own idea as to what is critical. In a match it is probably best to ask your opponent or an umpire when attempting a hoop run “is this critical” and if either of you think it is, then mark it before playing a shot.
This will mostly affect players like me who cast, but even if you don’t, take care not to touch the ball having taken your stance.