I've spent a lot of time trying to read the consultation draft for the GC Rules 5th Edition. Without the explanations provided on Notts list, I wouldn't really understand the application or intent of the proposed solution (see below).

Discussion on that list noted a "The Patsy Fitzgerald Proposal" for wrong ball issues, which to seems fair, efficient and easily understood to me. Here is that proposal copied from the list:

When a ball or balls are played in the wrong sequential order.

A Player, Referee or Spectator may at any time inform players of out of sequence play. Play must stop immediately and the correct sequential order restored.


To achieve fairness, two distinct game scenario have been identified, each of these scenarios has a different ruling, which will enable players restore the correct order.

Two distinct game scenarios.
(A) Out of sequence play of 1st. 2nd. or 3rd. ball.
(B) Out of sequence play of the 4th. ball and all continuing shots played
out of sequence.

Ruling (A)
When out of sequence play order is notified after the playing of the 1st.
2nd. or 3rd. ball.

  • The position must be restored to the last correct sequential position.
  • Play reverts to this point and continues in the correct order, all scores made
    during this out of sequence play is cancelled.
  • Advise on ball location can be taken from spectators, referees and players.
  • Play resumes when players agree on ball positions.

Ruling (B)
When players agreed that out of sequence play has continued to the point where the 4th ball was played and for any number of shots after than point. Any hoop scored during this period of play is counted.


How to reorganise balls and restore correct sequence!

The final ball played and partner ball stay in position, opposing colours are marked when necessary and ball position are swapped over. The next ball to play is the colour following the last shot played.

All pending offside penalties are fixed to the location of balls.


Notes for players,
Through discussion players will establish the duration of out of sequence play, then apply the appropriate rule. Advise may be taken from spectators or a match referee. Play resumes when players are in agreement. In the case of a dispute, the match Referee will makes the final decision. Where there is no match referee and players are unable to agree or decipher a workable position, play will resumes from a penalty point. The loser of the previous hoop selects a penalty point and plays the first ball. (with play before hoop one, the game is replayed from the starting position)

Here is an excerpt on the WCF Draft for comparison ...

10. PLAYING A WRONG BALL

10.1 GENERAL

10.1.1 Subject as set out below, a wrong ball is played when the striker plays a ball other
than the striker’s ball or a player other than the striker plays any ball.

10.1.2 If any player (or a referee, if present) believes that a wrong ball may have been
played in the last stroke, they are to forestall play until it is established how play
should continue in accordance with this rule.

10.1.3 Rule 10 may not apply when there is accidental contact with a ball (see Rule 6.2.2).

10.1.4 Subject to Rule 10.1.5, Rules 10.2 to 10.6 are applied in that order.

10.1.5 Rules 10.2 to 10.6 do not apply when the colours are reversed (see Rule 10.7) or
when a wrong ball is played in the first four turns of a game (see Rule 10.8).

10.2 MULTIPLE WRONG BALLS

10.2.1 If, when play is stopped, it is discovered that one or more wrong balls have been
played in strokes earlier than the last stroke, irrespective of whether the last stroke
was valid or invalid, then, subject to Rule 10.3, all points scored in the earlier strokes
are valid for the owners of the relevant balls.

10.2.2 If the last player played a ball which belongs to that player and that ball was in
sequence with the ball played by the opposing side in the previous stroke, then the
last player was the striker and a wrong ball was not played in the last stroke.

10.2.3 If the last player played a ball which belongs to that player, but the previous stroke
was played by the opposing side with a ball that did not belong to that side, then the
last player is deemed to have been the striker and a wrong ball was not played in the
last stroke.

10.2.4 Otherwise, a wrong ball was played in the last stroke and is dealt with by applying
Rules 10.3 to 10.6 as appropriate.

10.3 SAME SIDE PLAYS CONSECUTIVE STROKES

10.3.1 If, when play is stopped, it is discovered that the same side has played the last two or
more strokes, then a wrong ball has been played unless the last stroke they played:
(a) was the first stoke of a penalty spot restart; or
(b) was a stroke replayed under Rules 8 to 14; or
(c) was immediately preceded by a stroke declared to have been played by the
opposing side; or
(d) was an extra stroke in handicap play (see Rule 18).

10.3.2 No points are scored for any ball as a result of any stroke played after the last stroke
played correctly by the offending side or, if later, after the last stroke played by the
non-offending side.

10.3.3 The non-offending side chooses whether the balls are left where they stopped or are
replaced in the positions they occupied before any stroke played incorrectly by the
offending side. Play then continues by the non-offending side playing either ball of
their side.
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10.4 WRONG BALL PLAYED BY STRIKER
If the last stroke was played by the striker, as defined by Rule 1.2, with any ball other than
the striker's ball, then a wrong ball has been played. No points are scored for any ball and:

10.4.1 if the ball belongs to the striker, the non-offending side chooses whether:

(a) all balls moved are replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke
was played and the striker replays the stroke with the striker’s ball; or
(b) play continues with a penalty spot restart.

10.4.2 if the ball does not belong to the striker, 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. Play then continues by the non-offending side playing
either ball of their side.

10.5 WRONG BALL PLAYED BY STRIKER’S PARTNER
If the last stroke was played by the striker's partner, then a wrong ball has been played. No
points are scored for any ball and:

10.5.1 if the ball belongs to the striker's partner, the non-offending side chooses whether:
(a) all balls moved are replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke
was played and the striker replays the stroke with the striker’s ball; or
(b) play continues with a penalty spot restart.

10.5.2 if the ball does not belong to the striker's partner, 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. Play then continues by the non-offending
side playing either ball of their side.

10.6 WRONG BALL PLAYED BY ANOTHER PLAYER
If the last stroke was played by another player, then a wrong ball has been played. No
points are scored for any ball and 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. Play then continues by the non-offending side playing either ball of their side.

10.7 EXCHANGE OF COLOURS
If, in all the first four strokes of a game, the balls are played in the sequence stated in Rule
1.2 but by the opponent(s) of the balls’ owner(s), Rules 10.2 to 10.6 do not apply, the first
four strokes are deemed to be valid and, for the remainder of the match, the ownership of
the balls is as played in those first four strokes.

10.8 WRONG BALL IN FIRST FOUR STROKES OF A GAME
Subject to Rule 10.7, if it is discovered before a stroke is played in the fifth turn of the game
that a wrong ball has been played in any of the first four strokes, Rules 10.2 to 10.6 do not
apply, the balls are replaced in the positions they occupied after the last stroke played
correctly and the score at that stage is re-instated. Play then continues by the striker
playing the ball that follows in sequence from the ball last played correctly.

10.9 FORESTALLING PLAY
A player may forestall play if the opposing side is about to play a wrong ball under Rules
10.4.1, 10.5.1 or 10.8 but must not do so if they are about to play any other wrong ball. If it
is then discovered that a wrong ball was played in the last stroke, Rule 10.1.2 applies.
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10.10 CHANGE OF DECISION
In Rules 10.3.3, 10.4.2, 10.5.2 and 10.6, if the balls are replaced, the non-offending side may
not then change their decision. If the balls are left where they stopped, the non-offending
side may change their decision until they play a stroke.

10.11 FAULT AND WRONG BALL IN THE SAME STROKE
If, in the last stroke, a fault is committed and a wrong ball is played, then

10.11.1 if Rule 10.3, 10.4.2, 10.5.2, 10.6 or 10.8 applies, the fault is ignored and the
appropriate provision of Rule 10 applies; or

10.11.2 if Rule 10.4.1 or 10.5.1 applies, the wrong ball is ignored and Rule 11 applies. Play
continues by the non-offending side playing the ball next in sequence after the ball
that should have been played in the last stroke.

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