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A Brief Guide

to AC Laws

for Players New to AC

and GC Players

Playing Short Croquet




AC Laws

A synopsis of AC laws follows which covers most of ‘everyday’ situations. They are applicable to Short Croquet with one major difference on wiring, see the final part.

Critical Position Critical Stroke

Critical position - A position in which a ball is at rest where a minor change in the position could materially affect future play. Examples include positions in or near hoops, wired positions, and positions on or near the yard-line or boundary.

Critical stroke - Any stroke for which the striker's ball [i.e. the ball you are playing] is in a critical position as far as the intended outcome of the stroke is concerned.

In AC / SC touching striker’s ball inadvertently e.g. when casting, does not count as your shot. The ball is replaced and you play on. EXCEPT where the Critical position / stroke law is applicable. This is because accurate ball replacement cannot be guaranteed and an advantage could be gained, however, unintended. The solution is to mark striker’s ball, preferably with 2 markers. Then if an inadvertent strike is made the ball can be replaced accurately and the intended, correct shot taken.

If in doubt Mark!

There is now, from the 2021 Laws rewrite, a ruling on ‘close’ positions:


The following table summarises the rulings to be given in different situations when an adjudication by a referee or the players jointly concludes that, within the limits of uncertainty inherent in the measurement, the situation is on the borderline between two options.

























Keep these rulings in mind when reading through the laws below

Format is question and answer.

Can my opponent object if I follow him around the court while he plays a break? Yes. Keep off the court during his turn and do nothing to cause a distraction like making a mobile call in the opponent’s hearing.

May I run hoops & make roquets before all 4 balls are in play? Yes

Is there a sequence rule? No

What happens if a ball moves between strokes or is accidentally moved between strokes? It is replaced.

What happens if I hit a ball of the double-banked [Db] game? If you inadvertently aimed at and hit a ball of the Db game [it happens] their ball is replaced - your ball is placed where it would have ended-up had it not made the hit – end of turn. If there is a chance you could hit a stationery Db ball - mark it. If you hit their ball as they play at the same time then you both need to estimate where your balls would have ended-up and place them accordingly.

When is a ball considered off court? A ball leaves the court when any part of it would touch an imaginary wall raised from the inner edge of the boundary. The AC Law changed wef Feb 2021 and no longer permits a ball in a ‘kink’ of the boundary line to be ruled ‘On’. The law now says:

If the boundary marking is not straight, the actual boundary at any point is the straight line which best fits the inner edge of the boundary marking in the vicinity of that point.

What happens if I hit two balls, which I am entitled to roquet, at once? Roquet is made on the first ball to be hit.  If both were hit simultaneously you may choose which to play.

What happens if my ball goes off court and then rolls back on again? It’s off and it is replaced at the point is went off.

What happens if I run a hoop and make a roquet in the same stroke? This is ‘Hoop & Roquet’ - take croquet immediately.

What happens if I run two hoops in one stroke? You score both hoops but only get one continuation stroke.

When does a ball complete the running of a hoop? Same as GC

The ball

a. Has not started to run the hoop

b. Has started to run the hoop

c. Has not completed running the hoop

d. Has completed running the hoop

I’m to take croquet and the ball to be croqueted is ‘in the hoop’ may I place my ball in contact to run the hoop? Yes, against e.g. RED from the playing side in any of the situations shown above. But not if your ball would protrude beyond the hoop’s non-playing side.

If I take croquet and the object ball doesn’t move, is it OK to play on? No. The ball must move even if it only rocks and resettles on the spot it started from. It is a fault and often the most contentious. If you are looking at the balls when striking you should see whether it moves or not – if it doesn’t you should admit the fault.

What happens if my ball runs a hoop but, before completing the running, hits a ball that was clear of the hoop before the stroke? The hoop is deemed scored before the roquet was made. When your ball comes to rest it must have completed the hoop run. If not, the hoop is not scored and turn ends unless you were entitled to roquet the ball in question without needing to run the hoop.

What happens if my rover ball hits the peg and a ball that I am entitled to roquet simultaneously? You may choose whether the roquet is made or the peg point is scored.

What happens if I take croquet and both balls run the hoop but striker’s ball hits the object ball again? [The Irish Peel] Balls end-up not touching – a roquet is deemed not to have been made - you now play a continuation shot. Balls end up in contact - a roquet is deemed to have been made - you play a croquet shot.

What happens if the balls do end up in contact after a croquet stroke but the striker's ball did not run a hoop in that stroke? A continuation stroke is played as usual. However, the stroke is a two-ball stroke so it may be difficult to make a roquet or run a hoop.

What happens if one of my balls is in contact with another at the start of a turn? If you choose to play it you must start with a croquet stroke. The same applies if you run a hoop to the boundary and you have to replace your ball on the yard line in contact with another ball - you must play a croquet stroke immediately.

What is the penalty for playing a wrong ball? Striker's turn ends. All play after the wrong ball is struck is cancelled and the balls are replaced in the positions they occupied before the wrong ball was struck.

What happens if I take croquet from the wrong ball? If ball was dead – end of turn. If ball was live – replace and then take croquet from correct ball assuming no other turn ending fault committed e.g. croqueted ball sent off the court. If realised after two strokes have been taken (limit of claims) the game just continues.

What happens if I fail to take croquet when I should or take croquet before making a roquet? In either case the balls are replaced and you continue your turn correctly.

Is there any penalty if I send a ball over the boundary in a single ball stroke? No. In a hoop shot your ball is replaced on the yard-line and the turn continues; if you make a roquet and the roqueted ball goes off it is replaced on the yard-line and the croquet shot is played from there; if your ball goes off, it becomes a ball in hand and is placed for the croquet stroke in the usual way.

Is there a penalty if I send a ball off the court in a croquet stroke? Yes. If the croqueted ball is sent off the turn ends immediately. If your ball is sent off the same applies unless it either ran a hoop in order or made a roquet in the course of the stroke before going off. Note that there are no exceptions for the croqueted ball, not even if it is peeled through its next hoop before going off.

What happens if I play when not entitled to do so? This usually happens when the striker carries on playing after running a wrong hoop. All play from when the striker ceased to be entitled is cancelled and the balls are replaced in the positions at which play should have stopped. Any bisques used are re-instated. [SC – Beware on the ‘Hoop 3’ start - replacement can be very challenging – be alert.

What happens if a ball is wrongly pegged out and is removed from the court? The balls are replaced as they were before the error was committed and the player then in play continues without penalty.

How do I peg-out? You may not peg out your ball in a stroke unless, either before or during that stroke, the partner ball becomes a rover ball or an opponent’s ball is pegged out.

What happens to the score when balls have to be replaced because an error is discovered? The general rule is that any hoops scored after an error do not count if the balls have to be replaced. There are some exceptions to this if the error is discovered at a later stage but, in practice, errors are usually discovered at once or not at all.

What is a fault and what happens if I commit a fault? A fault is an error of execution in playing a stroke. The penalty is the immediate end to the turn and the cancellation of any hoops scored in the stroke. You must then ask your opponent if the balls should be left where they are or replaced as they were when the fault was committed. When opponent has advised which, you may then take a bisque [if you have any left].

A FAULT only happens during a stroke which is from the beginning of the backswing to when you quit your stance under control. If you jump up in the air to avoid the striker's ball hitting your foot and land on another ball, bad luck, it is still a fault because you were not 'under control’. The Laws list 16 faults but the most important ones are:

1.   Touching the head of the mallet with your hand.

2.   Failing to hit the striker's ball cleanly i.e. pushing, double-tapping and hitting the ball with the edge of the face in a hampered stroke.

3.   Crushing or squeezing the striker's ball against a hoop or the peg.

4.   Touching any ball with your clothes or any ball other than the striker's ball with the mallet.

5.   Failing to move or shake the croqueted ball in a croquet stroke.

Is there any redress if my opponent misplaces a clip and, as a result, I take a shot under a misapprehension about the state of the game? You are entitled to a replay if you realize what has happened before the second stroke of your opponent's next turn.

May I use a marker to help me play a ball to a particular spot? No. The only ‘marker’ you may use is your mallet. A doubles partner may indicate a spot while you take aim but must move away before you strike.

May I play a Bisque / Half Bisque if I am in play and ‘time’ is called? No. If you call for a bisque and then time is called before you take the shot you may not use the bisque i.e. your turn ends. If a ‘Golden Hoop’ situation occurs i.e. into Extra Time you may play an unused bisque.

How is a ball wired? A ball is said to be wired from another ball if;

the path of any part of the first ball to any part of the target ball is impeded by a hoop or the peg, or

if a hoop or the peg prevents a free swing of the mallet.

If a ball is wired from the other 3 then a lift is conceded. If you and your opponent agree it’s a lift fine – if you disagree, call a referee. See ‘Adjudicating Close Positions’ above.

NB: In Short Croquet, at turn end having played both or one of opponent’s balls and left them such that they are wired and do not have a clear shot, one to the other, you concede a lift – even if your balls are ‘open’ to the opponent’s balls. If you only played one of opponent’s balls leaving it wired your opponent may only lift the ball you played. [If opponent left a ball in a hoop i.e. wired, and you played the ‘open’ ball then your opponent may only lift the ball you played]. But note the requirement is not that the opponent has a clear shot one ball to the other but that the opponent’s balls are not wired one from the other. If one of your balls is on the line between opponent's ball a lift is NOT conceded.






















1. Black is not wired from Blue because it’s left edge can hit the blue ball’s left edge.

2. Black is clearly wired from its partner ball and vice versa.

3. Black is wired from Blue because Black’s left edge cannot hit Blue’s left edge. It is only marginally wired but, it is wired. It may be unrealistic over any distance to want to cut Blue’s left edge with Black’s left edge but that is not relevant. It’s wired. It is ‘tight’ and the benefit of doubt is given to it being a wiring if necessary.

4. However close - Blue is in the hoop therefore, regardless, both are wired.

Are these all the laws? No. They are the basics and you should be familiar with them. If in doubt about any shot, check with your opponent and ensure you are both content with the intended course of action. If not – call a referee.

Table 1.jpg

Download and print: double sided, landscape, flip on short edge - to get A5 booklet of 8 pages

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