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You be the Referee

Question 21
Blue and Black balls are in close proximity to the hoop. The owner of Blue strikes Blue through the hoop but also touches the Black ball with the side of the mallet. Is this OK?

Answer  21
No. This is a fault. The hoop is not counted. The opponents i.e., the owners of Red and Yellow choose whether to leave the balls where they came to rest or to replace them in the positions they occupied before the stroke was taken.  It is Red to play.

Question 20
The Black was in the jaws of hoop 1. Yellow played her stroke, missed the target and went towards hoop 2 past the centre line and off the court.  The player said " Oh I’ll be off side (when you run hoop 1)” and picked up the ball. Blue and Red played without affecting the other balls. The owner of Black struck the ball firmly, running hoop 1 and then straight through hoop 2 as well. The owner of Yellow with ball in hand started walking to the penalty area. Was this the correct action?

Answer 20
No, it was not necessary to pick the ball up in the first place.  The striker ran 2 hoops in one stroke with the Black ball, making hoop 3 the next one to be contested.  The Yellow ball where is stopped off the court on the western side boundary, was not offside to that hoop.

Question 19
Red hits Black quite forcefully causing Black to move rapidly toward the Northern boundary of the court.  The owner of Black anticipated the trajectory of the ball and stopped it with her foot just before it left the court. Uh, oh!
The owner of Red and Yellow promptly objected saying it was a fault to stop a ball before it let the court. The owner of Black said "No way".
What do you say?

Answer 19

In the old rules is was a fault, but not since 1 January 2019 when the new rules were implemented. A player may stop a ball before it leaves the court without penalty, provided the trajectory of the ball is not altered, nor other are balls affected.

Question 18
In a handicap game a player took an extra turn and attempted to put his ball into the jaws of the hoop.  He went too far and actually went through the hoop.  His opponent claimed that was a striking fault.  Was it?

Answer 18
No.  The rules simply say that a player may not score a point for their side as a result of an extra stroke but may score a point for the opposing side.  It does not mention, nor disallow hitting your ball through the hoop to the wrong side.

Question 17
My ball is just through the hoop.  On my next turn I played at my ball but missed it and hit the hoop instead – an airshot. What happens now? 

Answer 17
Airshots are not strokes. The stroke can be attempted again unless a non-striking fault has occurred.  

Question 16
A single game is started with the Blue or Green ball. If playing a multi-game match, who starts the second or subsequent games?

Answer 16
The loser of the previous game. They may start with either ball of the side. 

Question 15
Yellow runs hoop 1 and comes to rest nicely in front of hoop 2. Black is adjacent to hoop 1. Blue correctly directs the offside Red to the penalty area on the far side, East boundary, and then plays towards hoop 2.
The owner of Red marches across to the penalty area, places the ball, looks up and sees Black on a great trajectory heading towards hoop 2. She yells “Hey, I haven’t played yet”. Others realise what has happened and say: “Well just play across now”. Owner of Red is not sure about that suggestion.  What would you do?

a)    Play across with Red as suggested
b)    Send Black back beside hoop 1, then Red play
c)    Send Black to a penalty area, Red to play
d)    Send Black back and opponents choose which ball to play with next.

Answer 15
d) is the correct action.  
If the same side played the last two or more strokes, then a wrong ball has been played.
The non-offending side chooses whether the balls are left where they stopped or are all replaced in the positions they occupied before the invalid stroke played by the offending side.  No points are scored for any ball as a result of the invalid stroke. The non-offending side then plays either ball of their side. Rule 10.
In this case the opponents of Black/Blue would certainly direct Black to be replaced back adjacent to Hoop 1.  They would also choose to play their nicely placed Yellow ball next, and hopefully claim the hoop.

Question 14
Yellow and Black came to rest close to hoop 1, not in a running position but to the side.  The owner of Yellow played to stun Black but raised a chunk of the soft, moist lawn and didn’t connect with Black. The opponent called the referee to inspect the divot, but Yellow owner had put it back in place and pressed it down before the referee arrived. Now what?

Answer 14
A fault is committed by a player who causes damage to the court surface with the mallet that, before the court surface is repaired, is capable of significantly affecting a subsequent stroke played over the damaged area. Rule 11.2.10   This appeared to be significant. It is unacceptable behaviour if a player attempts to repair damage to the court surface that may indicate a fault before it is ruled on by the opposing side (or a referee, if present). Rule 16.2.12
This behaviour incurred a warning.  A second incident under Rule 16 Behaviour, would incur losing the next turn, and with a third incident the match would be awarded to the opposition.

Question 13
Blue is in the jaws of hoop 3.   Red is in close proximity to Yellow and both those balls reasonably close to the hoop. Red plays and while moving out of her stance, accidentally bumps the Blue ball with her foot causing it to run the hoop. Bumping a stationary ball with the foot just means the ball is to be replaced doesn’t it?

Answer 13
No.  Faults occur during the striking period, which starts when a player takes a stance with apparent intent to play a stroke and ends when they quit their stance under control.  Rule 6.2.1.
A player accidentally moving a ball with the foot is not leaving the stance under control. The opponent chooses whether the balls are left where they stopped or are replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played. The non-offending side is to announce the decision promptly and may not then change that decision. Rule 11.4.2 If the balls are left where they stopped, only a point scored for the non-offending side (Blue) is counted. If the balls are replaced, no point is scored for any ball.

Question 12
he owner of Blue was about to play a wrong ball and the referee forestalled him.  The opponent said, ‘Oh. (Looking a bit unhappy) I wasn’t going to tell him so that I could have applied the Ball Swap rule.’  Should the referee have spoken when the opponent to Blue had a strategy in mind which was thwarted by the referee?

Answer 12

If any player (or referee, if present) believes that a wrong ball is about to be played, they must forestall play and require that the correct ball is played. Rule 10.1.2

Question 11
Brown was nicely in the jaws of hoop 7 and couldn’t be removed.  White played towards hoop 8 but went too far and would be offside after the hoop was run. Green and Pink played without affecting play.


The owner of Brown called ‘Your white ball is offside and I will direct it to the far penalty location over there.’ Brown completed the running of the hoop 7 and in that stroke went on to hit White further towards hoop 8.


Hmmm….what now?

Answer 11
A ball cannot be directed to a penalty area prior to the hoop being run, even if the running of the hoop is guaranteed.  So, the White ball was legitimate in its location at that moment. Since the Brown hit it further towards hoop 8 it was still on side.  A ball beyond the halfway line is not an offside ball if it reached its final position as a result of a stroke played or interference committed by the opposing side. Rule 8.3.2

Question 10.
Yellow ran hoop 9 and then directed the owner of Black, which was offside, to a penalty location. It was well past the halfway towards hoop 10.   Before the Black ball was moved, the owner of Blue played and hit the offside Black ball, stopping the progress of the Blue ball.  Is this OK? 

Answer 10
Because the Black ball had been directed to the penalty area it is now an outside agency.  The Blue's opponent(s)  could have directed the Blue ball to where she or the referee judged it would have stopped. The Blue ball probably would have travelled beyond hoop 10, therefore is not in a hoop running position.
A ball becomes an outside agency when it is directed to be played from a penalty area. 6.5.1(b) If a moving ball hits an outside agency, the stroke is not replayed. The opposing side chooses whether to leave the ball where it stopped or to place it where they (or a referee, if present) judge that it would have stopped if there had been no interference. 9.2.3

Question 9.
My opponent’s ball had run the hoop but only just through. On her next turn with that ball she wanted to whack it as far as possible towards the next hoop but hit the hoop with her mallet, not making contact with the ball. The ball moved slightly.  I told her as her mallet had not contacted the ball, she could take her stroke again. Was that correct?

Answer 9.

No, not correct.  It is a fault to move a ball by hitting the hoop or peg with the mallet without contacting the ball. Rule 11.2.9.


The penalty is under Rule 11.4:

11.4.2 …, the non-offending side chooses whether the balls are left where they stopped or are replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played. The non-offending side is to announce its decision promptly (see Rule 16.2.8) and may not then change that decision.

11.4.3 If the balls are left where they stopped, only a point scored for the non-offending side is counted. If the balls are replaced, no point is scored for any ball.

11.4.4 Play then continues by the non-offending side playing the next ball in sequence.

Question 8

Three balls were lined up in front of the hoop, one behind the other - straight line.  Closest to the hoop was my Yellow, behind it Blue, then Red. With Blue to play next, my opponent tried to clear Yellow but instead put it nicely through the hoop.  I said the hoop did not count for me, as Red was the one I was to play next.  I’m right aren’t I?

Answer 8
No, not correct. The hoop does count for Yellow and play continues with the Red ball. The hoops must be run in order, but not the balls. Rule 7.1.2

Question 7

I stopped a ball just before it crossed over the boundary line.  I was told I should not have done this. I don't want to do the wrong thing. What is the rule?

Answer 7

This is something which changed in the new 2018 rules. If a ball is going to cross a boundary it may be stopped close to the boundary, by a player, and without penalty.

Deliberate interference with a ball by a player at any time is a contravention of Rules unless, if a ball is clearly about to leave the court, they stop the ball shortly before is does so in order to save time provided that the position of the ball, when replaced touching the boundary where it would have left the court, will have no tactical significance”. Rule 9.1.2(d).

Question 6

(a)    One ball was struck quite strongly from an angled position, close to the hoop. This resulted in the ball touching the hoop while still in contact with the mallet; therefore a crush with the ball between the mallet and the hoop. 
(b)    Two balls were in close proximity, the striker played her ball away but accidentally touched the other ball with the side of the mallet. 
In each case what options are available to the opponents?

Answer 6

In both cases opponents have the option of leaving all balls moved where they came to rest or replacing them where they were before the stroke was played. Rules 11.2.6 and 11.2.8  
The stroke is not replayed.

Question 5

Interference. This has happened more than once recently. A struck ball hit another player’s foot.

Is this a fault against the person attached to the tingling foot?

Answer 5

No, it is not a fault but is referred to as interference. It doesn’t matter if it was the opponent’s or partner’s foot or the referee’s.  The stroke is not replayed. The ball is placed where the sides judge that it would have stopped had there been no interference. Rule 9.2.4

Question 4 

Wrong Ball.  The owner of the Blue ball, whose turn it was to play, played Black.  The opponents realised a partner ball had been played but didn’t know what action to take. What action if any, should be taken?

Answer 4

A wrong ball has been played. The opponents, i.e., the non-offending side, have the choice to apply Replace and Replay or Ball Swap

If Replace and Replay is chosen no point is scored, all balls moved as a result of the stroke are replaced in the positions they occupied before the last stroke. The striker then replays the stroke with the correct ball.

If Ball Swap is chosen

  1. The last stroke is treated as valid and any points scored in the last stroke are counted for the owners of the balls that scored the points. (Yes, any owner!)

  2. All balls moved as a result of the last stroke are left where they stopped, except that the positions of  the ball played in the last stroke and its partner ball are swapped.  A swapped ball takes the offside status of the ball with which it is swapped.

  3. The non-offending  side then plays the ball next in sequence after the partner ball of the ball played in the last stroke.  Rules 10.3 and 10.4.

Question 3

Overlapping play. The owner of Green plays from beside Hoop 1 towards Hoop 2. The owner of Pink which had run Hoop 1 plays before the Green ball has come to rest. What action if any, should be taken?

Answer 3

If two or more balls are caused to be in motion at the same time as the result of strokes played by both sides, the stroke played by the strikers side is valid, and the Pink ball in this case, played by the non-striking side is invalid. The Pink and all balls moved as a result of that stroke are to be replaced in the position they occupied before the stroke was played; and the next stroke of that Pink ball will be treated as having been declared to have been played, ie. Pink doesn’t get to play again after the Green ball stopped. Rule 12.

Question 2

Competing for the Golden Hoop, Red is well placed in the jaws but not quite through.   Blue and Black are both back close to the boundary line and at an angle to hoop 13.  The position of Yellow is irrelevant, the owner of Black picks up the ball and walks off the court saying "We can't do anything". All players pick up their balls and leave the court. What is the score?

Answer 2

Kaye writes: This is based on a real game I was playing.
What actually happened that day was that after the Black ball's removal,  my partner tapped Yellow, Blue picked up her ball and I tapped Red through and claimed the win. I modified that scene to the one above for the question.
In the question as posed: The score is….6-6.
If the player, on picking up the Black ball, had said as well "You have won this" and all players agreed, the score would be 6-7. Rule 1.4.1    If the players leave the court or start another game, having agreed which side has won, then the game has ended with the agreed result.
If Red/Yellow are still standing there, mouths agape, but have not picked up their balls then, under Rule 16.4.4, I would award the game to Red/Yellow, but I must say that as either a participating player or as a referee, I would like to see the Red ball played completely through the hoop anyway.
But, if Red/Yellow have also picked up their balls?  If I were refereeing I would declare Red/Yellow the winners, but there would be a quiet word with them about picking up the balls,  and a quiet but very firm word or two with the players of Blue/Black next time they turned up!

Question 1

Hoop 1 has been run and my opponent is offside.  She is telling me I must send her ball to one of the penalty areas, but I think her ball is in a dreadful position for hoop 2 and want to leave it there.  Must I direct her to play from a penalty area?

Answer 1

No.  You may choose to leave the ball where it is and should state your choice clearly.  Once you have made the decision it may not be changed. Rule 8.4

Sample Question:

Black is in the jaws of the hoop 7 but not completely through.
Yellow is very close to Black on the playing side of the hoop. So close both players deem their turns.
"We have both deemed our turn when those balls are to be played, now we are have been here for ages, deeming and going nowhere.
Can we declare the hoop invalid, go back to where we were at hoop 6, and hit off towards hoop 7 again?"

Answer . NO.  Players should persevere with their other ball until they are able for example, to hit through or hit back moving both balls, jump both or clear Yellow. 
Incidentally, once you deem your turn you cannot change your mind.  You need to be clear about deeming and not circle the balls mumbling that you might deem.
Decide your course of action and announce it clearly mentioning the colour of the relevant ball being deemed.

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