We took the challenge.

Our group of players here in Pomfret CT took on the proposed New Nine Game. We wanted to move the traditional nine wicket game to a new level. We added some new twists to make this a truly challenging game at the 6-wicket level. This is an aggressive game and finesse plays an important part.

Judge not until you have played this game at least five times. As always comments welcomed

These are the standard official rules for the Pomfret New Nine Game.The rules are unique, simple to learn and played with no other options for tournaments.

This is a quick overview of our new nine game. After the opening turn, you are alive on all balls and a player may choose to play either ball. When any ball goes out of bounds, turn over and the ball(s) come in the diameter of the ball from the boundary line. There is a special relief rule, a wired ball rule, and when time expires, the game is over no extra turns.

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 gapped 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 5/8 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. Start of Game. 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 on the opening turn is blue, red, black and yellow. On sequence turns, you are alive on all balls and a player may play either ball. The game can be played with either two players or two teams. The sides are blue/black and red/yellow.

Rule 5. The opening turn; a ball is placed, on the ground, halfway between the starting stake and the first wicket. A ball is not in the game until it clears the first wicket. It cannot hit another ball or be hit by another ball. If a ball becomes wired in the first wicket or obstructs the path of other players to enter the game, the ball is marked and lifted at the request of the next player(s).

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.

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:

1. From a mallet-head distance or less away from the ball that was hit ("taking a mallet-head").

2. 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").

3. From a position in contact with the ball that was hit, with the striker ball not held by foot or hand (a "croquet shot").

4. 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. If you hit a ball you are dead on, there is no penalty and all balls remain where they come to rest. The turn is over. 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 a ball touches a boundary line. The turn is over and the ball(s) is/are brought in-bounds and placed the diameter of the ball in from the boundary line. No ball can be played in bounds less than the diameter of the ball unless it came to rest in bounds from being hit. 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 9. Wired ball when a ball become wired (stuck in the wickets jaws), in the order of play, it is safe and may not be hit for two turns by an opponent’s ball. After the second turn, it becomes a live ball and can be hit by any ball. If a wired ball is hit by an opponent’s ball the balls are return to their original positions and turn over. The partners’ ball can hit the wired ball anytime.

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 a ball hits the turning stake, the opponent(s), if behind, on their next turn may pick up one of their balls (ball in hand) and place it a mallet head (9 inches) in any direction from the ball that hit the turning stake and take their turn.

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. Once the rover ball has been staked out, the rover ball is removed from the game and the partners play the remaining ball in rotation.

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.

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