A courageous effort was put forth by a few members of the 9WC but the effort did not come to fruition for reasons which I will not go into here. The basic premise was to establish one set of standard rules which would be taught and played at the local clubs and those same rules played in sanctioned 9 wicket tournaments.
The NEW NINE rules are different, fun, and challenging for any level of 9 wicket player. In the process, the New Nine rules included at the start of the game, (1) a player’s ball was not in the game until it cleared the first wicket; (2) when all balls cleared the first two wicket, a player could choose to play either ball on a turn; (3) when a striker’s ball became stuck in the jaws of a wicket, it could not be hit by an opponent’s ball for two turns. These three rules were unique to this game but did not make the cut and games were timed for 45 minutes.
The final draft was just another game and not the approval for ONE SET OF RULES TAUGHT AND PLAYED AT THE LOCAL CLUBS AND PLAYED IN SANCTIONED TOURNAMENTS.
The New Nine Croquet
Object of the Game
The object of the game is to advance your ball through the course scoring points for each wicket and stake in the correct order and direction. The winner is the first side to score 14 wicket points and 2 stake points for each of its balls, 32 points. When the time expires, the team with the most points at the end of the time period wins.
The Rules of the Game
Rule 1. The court is a rectangle and may be adjusted to fit the size and shape of the space available. The standard court size is a 50' x 100' with marked string or chalk boundaries. Side wickets come in from the boundary lines six feet. The court is played on long grass about 2 inches or less is best.
Rule 2. 9 Wickets are gaped to between 4 and 4 1/2 inches wide and 12 inches high. 2 stakes carry the color order of play: blue, red, black, yellow. The balls are 3 ½ to 3 ⅝ inches diameter and weigh 10 ounces or more. Ball matching color wicket clips are used to mark a balls next scoring wicket or stake. The clip is picked up when a wicket is scored, then placed on the ball's next wicket at the end of the turn.
Rule 3. The mallet used is a symmetric mallet. Only the striking face may be used to strike a ball. A strike is a mallet in motion hitting a ball at rest.
Rule 4. The order of play uses four balls, blue, red, black and yellow. The sides should toss a coin to determine the order of play. The side winning the coin toss has the choice of playing first blue/black or second with red/yellow. The order of play throughout the game is blue, red, black, yellow.
The game can be played with either two players or two teams. The sides are blue/black and red/yellow. Skipping players is not allowed.
If someone is skipped, the balls are replaced back to where they were, no points are counted, and play resumes in the correct order.
If the order of play gets mixed up, the intent of the rule is to get the order of play back to where it should be. If both players agree as to when the error occurred, the play goes back to that point and play starts again from there, but if it can't be figured out, then play will go back to the point where the players agree an error occurred. However, if the rotation was played correctly and then an error was discovered later on in the game, then play should continue on without penalty.
Rule 5. At the start balls are played into the game from a spot halfway between the finishing stake and wicket #1. A ball is “live” when placed on the court.
Rule 6. Each wicket scored in the proper order counts as one point. Each ball in a game can score 16 points for its side; 14 wicket points and 2 stake points. There are 32 points that can be scored by each side.
Each ball can score wicket and stake points for its side only by going through a wicket or hitting a stake in the proper order and direction. Going through a wicket out of order or in the wrong direction is not counted as a point gained or lost. A ball caused to score its wicket or stake during another ball’s turn earns the point for its side, but no bonus shot is earned as a result.
A ball scores a wicket point only if it comes to rest clear of the playing side of the wicket. If a ball passes through a wicket but rolls back, it has not scored the wicket. If a ball travels backwards through its wicket to get position, it must be clear of the non-playing side to then score the wicket in the correct direction. Use your judgment sighting by eye.
Rule 7. The striker earns one bonus shot if the striker ball scores a wicket or hits the turning stake. The striker earns two bonus shots if the striker ball hits another ball (a "roquet"). You are “dead” on a ball for extra shots until you clear your next wicket or on the start of your next turn whichever comes first. However, the maximum number of bonus shots earned by a striker is two; there is never a time when a striker is allowed three shots. (See the "Exceptions" section below for examples.)
If two bonus shots are scored by striking another ball, the first of these two shots may be taken in any of four ways:
- From a mallet-head distance or less away from the ball that was hit ("taking a mallet-head").
- From a position in contact with the ball that was hit, with the striker ball held steady by the striker's foot or hand (a "foot shot" or "hand shot").
- From a position in contact with the ball that was hit, with the striker ball not held by foot or hand (a "croquet shot").
- From where the striker ball stopped after the roquet.
The second bonus shot after a roquet is an ordinary shot played from where the striker ball came to rest, called a "continuation shot".
Bonus shots may not be accumulated. Upon earning a bonus shot by scoring a wicket, hitting the turning stake, or roqueting another ball, any bonus shot previously earned is forfeited. For example, if a ball roquets a ball and in that same stroke the striker ball hits another ball, the second ball hit is not a roquet and remains where it comes to rest (with no deadness incurred on that ball).
If the striker takes a swing at his/her ball and misses entirely, the miss counts as a shot and the turn ends, unless the striker had a second "bonus" shot.
If the striker's mallet accidentally hits another ball other than the striker ball, the shot must be replayed, but with no loss of turn.
Exceptions: Two extra shots are earned when the striker ball scores two wickets in one shot. If the ball also hits the turning stake after scoring two wickets, two strokes are earned, not three. Conversely, if the striker ball scores the seventh wicket and hits the turning stake in the same shot, it earns two shots.
Rule 8. Out of Bounds occurs whenever more than half of a ball (50%+) crosses the inside edge of a boundary line. It should be brought in-bounds and placed the diameter of the ball in from the boundary line and the striker’s turn is over.
Rule 9. The striker’s turn ends whenever more than half of any ball (50 %+) crosses the inside edge of a boundary line.
When two or more balls need to be marked in, they should be marked in as closely as possible to where they went out but if two balls would occupy the same spot, then the striker may place them in at his option as to which ball to mark in first, then mark the 2nd ball in up to 9” away from the 1st ball, and then the 3rd ball in up to 9” away from either of these two balls as long as no balls are touching each other.
Rule 10. The first “event” takes precedence. Occasionally more than one thing happens in the same stroke:
When the striker makes a wicket and in the same turn goes out of bounds, the wicket is scored but the turn ends and the ball is marked in bounds.
When the striker hits two or more balls on which it is “alive”, then the striker should take croquet from the first ball it hit.
When the striker hits a ball it is “dead on”, there is no penalty, but a croquet stroke may not be played from that ball.
When the striker hits a ball it is “dead” on and in the same shot hits a ball it is “alive on”, the striker may take croquet from the ball it is “alive on”.
The striker may hit a ball it is “dead on” and in the same stroke score a point by either going through its next scoring wicket or stake.
If the player peels the croquet ball and in the same shot the striker's ball goes through a wicket, then the striker earns only one continuation stroke (the continuation stroke from the roquet is forfeited); however, if the striker's ball does not clear the wicket, then the striker still has one continuation stroke after the croquet stroke to attempt the wicket.
If the player hits another ball it is alive on during the croquet stroke with the striker's ball, then the striker earns two continuation strokes (the continuation stroke from the first roquet is forfeited).
When the player makes a wicket and in the same stroke hits a ball lying beyond the wicket, then the player has scored the wicket but may not take croquet from the ball. The player must hit the ball again using the continuation stroke earned by going through the wicket to take croquet from that ball.
When the player makes a wicket and in the same stroke hits a ball it is “alive on” that is lying “in the jaws” or in front of the wicket, the striker must first take croquet from the ball. A ball is considered “in the jaws” when any part of the ball intrudes underneath the wire of the wicket.
Rule 11. Special Relief—When the striker clears wicket 8 at the end of his/her turn, the opposing team earns “special relief” if behind in points. The behind team may “lift” either one of their balls up to 9” from either wicket 3, 5, 10 or 12. This next player must declare “special relief” prior to moving their ball. Play resumes in the same sequence of order.
When the striker clears wicket 13 at the end of his/her turn, the opposing team earns “special relief” if behind in points. The behind team may “lift” either one of their balls up to 9” from any ball on the court. This next player must declare “special relief” prior to moving their ball. Play resumes in the same sequence of order.
If the striker has cleared both wickets 8 and 13 in the same turn, the opposing team earns “special relief” if behind in points and may lift one ball to wickets 3, 5, 10 or 12 and may lift the other ball within 9” of any ball on the court. Play resumes in the same sequence of order.
Rule 12. Rovers are balls which have completed the entire course except for striking the finishing stake. Rovers may be staked out, that is, driven into the finishing stake with any legal stroke by any player at any time in the game. Rovers can roquet other balls once in a turn and receive two continuation strokes. Rovers can peel balls through wickets and rovers are “alive on all balls” at the beginning of their turn.
Once the rover ball has been staked out, the rover ball is removed from the game and his/her turn is skipped. This means that the opposing side will get two turns in a row until one of their balls is “staked out”. Only rover balls may be “staked out”, but any ball can “stake out” a rover ball.
Rule 13. The game time is for one hour, 60 minutes, or the game is over if one side has "staked out" by striking the "finishing stake" with both balls before time expires. The winner is determined by counting points to see which side has progressed the farthest around the court at the moment time has expired. When time expires the game stops. If the score is tied, the ball closest to its next wicket, going in the correct order of play, is the winner.