String vs Paint

Croquet World has a an article on painting boundary lines in North America. Frankly, I didn't even know this was a debate. The answer for the USCA Rules is simple .... the ball should be out of bounds when it touches the boundary. I know, that makes it hard to get behind a ball for a rush. However, I've been told that the USCA games was intended to be hard. Or just move the margin to 10 inches. I doubt the nine inch boundary was determined by how it affected the game ... it was likely just the average length of a mallet head.

So, I would frame this as paint is strongly preferred and string lines are acceptable at shared facilities.

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  • I think you have hit the nail on the head, “I knew it would never go over with the regulars..” This is the real problem. People don’t like change. If those regulars had started out playing AC rules, the controversy would not exist. We all would be playing International rules. I, respectfully, close my case.

  • Actually, the USCA rules calls a ball "in bounds" when at least half of the ball is in bounds, which makes the ACTUAL boundary something  close to 10 1/2 inches, and because so many courts slope on the edges, the string can and does frequently make the ball stay in when it would have easily crossed over a painted boundary line.  As the article points out, the main reason the NCC switched to paint was because of the risk of injury to players.  It happens rarely, but it does happen, and for a multiply incorporated facility like the NCC, liability is a serious issue.  Admittedly, it's less an issue at most clubs which don't have the same corporate configuration.   But MANY clubs are now switching to paint, mostly because of the national headquarters facility has shown that it is easily doable--so why take the risk if not of legal liability, then of just having a player or guest injure themselves by tripping on a taut line?   To give due credit, it was then Assistant General Manager Victoria Albrecht who started the ball rolling in that direction on the BACK NINE when it began to be used for nine-wicket croquet; the surface was so bumpy that string would have been TRULY dangerous, after which David McCoy and Bill Mead started considering ways to paint all the courts there.  

    - Bob A.

    Coming Soon!
    • Half a ball creates challenging judgment calls. But yeah, 10, 10.5, 11 whatever it takes... and yeah, I've ridden the line more than a few times. For a precise sport, it's an odd contradiction. On the safety side, I've only had to deal with string for six or seven years, but I've had a few dandy trips and I've watched a really bad fall happen once.

      I would still bet that the nine inch gap was set from a perspective of utility rather than impact on the sport. If we all had 10 inch heads and touching the line was out (like AC) from the birth of the American version, I doubt that there would have been much difference. And I still maintain that it should be hard to get a rush off of a sideline ball.

    • Absolutely, it should be challenging to get a rush!  Boundary play is the GLORY of the American game (as opposed to AC).  

      There are many aspects of the American game that probably should be changed, for practical reasons.   One BIG issue for me is that direction for running Rover.  I've seen SO MANY mistakes made by AC players from other countries playing American rules who lost their tournament game because they ran rover towards the south boundary instead of towards the peg; but even worse is the accidental peg-out.  I once watched Robert Fulford lose the San Francisco Open after running a superb side-angled rover and then peg himself out in the same stroke.  An excellent shot should NOT be penalized like this!

      Many USCA members flinch from making any changes that make USCA rules closer to AC, and I agree with them for the most part.   But on the issue of painted lines and accidental peg-outs, I have to vote for common sense and "international" standards.

    • Kudos to Bob's last sentence. Common sense would dictate that we finally join all "international" rules. We are long over due

    • Yes, someday we will come up with the "Croquet Players Bill of Rights" and apply it to all four codes. First things that come to mind:

      1) Define out of bounds (AC rule makes sense)

      2) Post wicket roquet (US makes more sense, but the AC rule is more challenging)

      3) The six wicket pattern (consistent rover wicket direction ... this one is pretty obvious)

      4) What happens when you score a hoop and the ball goes out of bounds (US rules makes more sense)

    • I don’t think we necessarily need a “Croquet Players Bill of Rights” but we need some changes. The Rules Committee seriously needs to take a fresh look at how we play the game and realistically consider joining the rest of the croquet world in the following areas:

      1. The Start of the game and Scoring a wicket (hoop)
      2. Hitting Other Balls. Say Good-bye to the deadness board.
      3. Boundaries. Join the world. Ball placed one yard in from where it       crossed the boundary.

      4. Rover Balls and Scoring the Stake (Peg)

    • PS
      If Jack Osborn’s facts are correct, his book, Croquet The Sport, page 252, the Brits over a hundred years age, changed the (1) deadness, (2) non-sequential order of play and (3) balls out of bounds rules. So, why are we dragggging our feet and not joining the International Rules? I’m baffled!

    • I may be remembering the Drazin article wrong, but I was thinking that it implied the most likely scenario was that carry-over deadness happened here in the U.S. by either mis-understanding the rules or a key omission occurring as the rules were passed around. So, I don't believe the English ever had carry-over deadness. They did drop strict rotation though long ago ... and no matter what, your point is valid, all of this has been vetted and the result is the current form of AC.

      I will comment further on the American game below.

    • They are both right ... I mentioned the "Croquet Bill of Rights" earlier. That was meant a bit tongue in cheek. What I really see is a set of "Croquet Principles" that should apply to all four codes. I play all four and I get frustrated with the switch ups. And as a tournament manager, I have answered this question before each event, "If I roquet the ball on the other side after scoring a wicket, does the roquet count?"

      And that always comes from non-AC players.

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