|COACH'S CORNER - Rules, Bits and Pieces - by Ross Robinson
The purpose of posing questions in The Mallet regarding the rules of croquet is to encourage thought and conversation. To this end, we have been successful with Rules, Bits and Pieces". Margaret Branscombe, Andrew Hughes, Gord Lunn, Louis Nel and several others each had their own logical thoughts leading to good conclusions.
At this point in the development of croquet, we have very articulate Rules and Laws for the U.S.C.A. game and the International game respectively. However, if a ball was to shatter during a stroke, as a result of contact with a mallet, a wicket, or another ball, the Tournament Director would have to make an ad hoc decision. Thus there is no right or wrong answer to my query posed a few months ago.
In my many writings on various subjects, I have always been a real believer in doing research to come up with conclusions (especially when no material can be plagiarized). Original thought has never been my forte. Let us look to other sports for my answer to the shattered ball quandary.
The international governing body for lawn bowling is the World Bowls Board. "The Laws of the Game" govern play. Law 44 addresses the situation where a jack is damaged. (The jack is round, and white or yellow in colour, with a diameter not less than 63 mm or more than 64 mm, between 8 oz. and 10 oz. in weight. Law 44 reads, "In the event of a Jack being damaged, the Umpire shall decide if another Jack is necessary and, if so, the end shall be substituted and the end shall be replayed anew".
For several reasons, this solution is impractical for croquet. So let us move on to a winter sport for a look at a very similar eventuality. Curling enjoys a very large following in several countries and is played according to The Rules of Curling. Players deliver granite stones quarried in Scotland, weighing approximately 42 lbs. and occasionally two stones collide violently. In very rare cases, a rock shatters. Rule 4 Subsection (5) reads, If a stone is broken in play, a replacement stone shall be placed by the official where the largest fragment comes to rest. The inside edge of the replacement stone shall be placed in the same position as the inside edge of the largest fragment".
Voila! In my opinion, we have the best possible answer to a situation that may soon happen on a lawn near you.
- Ross Robinson