Notes for Managers


These notes are intended to help managers of tournaments organised by the Scottish Croquet Association (SCA) and its member clubs in carrying out their duties. They should be read in conjunction with the Regulations for SCA Tournaments.

The nature of tournaments

In these notes the term “tournament” refers to a competitive croquet event held at a designated time and place. The allocated time may be within a single day or may extend over two or more days.

In some cases two or more events (e.g. singles and doubles, or events for different handicap ranges) may be combined within a single tournament. These notes are not primarily addressed to such multi-event tournaments, but many of the points will be applicable to these or to individual events within them.

The SCA and member clubs may also hold competitions which extend throughout a season and in which competitors are left to arrange the times and places of their games amongst themselves. To avoid ambiguity, such events are referred to here as “competitions” rather than “tournaments”.

Tournament Manager and other officials

For SCA events the Match Secretary, and for club events the club committee, must appoint for each event a manager who is solely responsible for the conduct of that event in accordance with the SCA tournament regulations and the conditions published for that event. The manager has the power to vary the tournament regulations or conditions if required by force of circumstance. The manager must appoint the Referee of the Tournament (RoT), who may be himself or herself, and any other officials he or she thinks fit.

The manager shall make available on request by any player the following:

  • the names of the RoT and any other officials appointed,
  • a list of players and their handicaps,
  • a list of qualified referees and assistant referees present at the event,
  • the latest editions of Laws of Association Croquet, Official Rulings on Laws of Croquet, or the WCF Rules of Golf Croquet, Official Rulings on Golf Croquet as appropriate for the event,
  • the current SCA Yearbook,
  • the results of matches played so far, and
  • any reasons for departing from these regulations or tournament conditions.

The Manager’s role

The overriding aim of management is to ensure that the tournament produces a winner, and that every entrant has a fair chance of being the winner. The tournament should be planned to ensure that a result is achieved within the time available.

Subject to this constraint, the manager should try to make the tournament enjoyable for the players by ensuring they are given an opportunity to play reasonable number of games, suitably scheduled. Generally this means maximising the amount of play, but in some cases players may prefer to play fewer games, and the manager should try to take any such preferences into account.

Duties and powers of the Manager

The duties and powers of the manager of a tournament are as follows.

  1. To decide the format for the tournament, so far as this has not already been defined in the advertised conditions. The choice of format should take account of the number of entrants: for instance if the entry is low it may be appropriate to have all play each other twice instead of only once. For further details of possible formats, see the section “Some Designs for Tournaments”. If the format is such that a tie for first place (or for second place if it is deemed important to determine a runner-up) can occur, the manager should specify the tie-breaking procedure to be used. The format, including the tie-breaking procedure if applicable, should be advertised in advance or announced to the entrants before the start of play.
  2. To appoint the Referee of the Tournament and any other officials the manager may think fit.
  3. To determine the hours of play on each day. Normally play will begin at 9.30am and players should be prepared to continue until dusk, but the manager may adjust these limits where appropriate.
  4. To grant or refuse leave of absence if requested by players. Ordinarily leave should be granted only if it does not jeopardise the completion of the tournament within the designated time.
  5. To schedule games in accordance with the designated format. This includes specifying – directly or with reference to preceding games – who should play whom and when each game should begin. It can also include allocating particular courts and sets of balls to games and imposing time limits.
  6. To record the results of all games in the tournament.
  7. To take appropriate action if circumstances interfere with the planned running of the tournament. This may include
    • declaring a court unfit for play
    • moving a game to a different court
    • adjourning a game (in which case the manager should note all required information about the state of the game or appoint someone to do so: a form for this purpose is available from the Match Secretary)
    • imposing a time limit on a particular game or on all remaining games in the tournament
    • shortening remaining games (e.g. from 26 to 18 points)
    • adjusting the format to ensure a result, and
    • as a last resort when completion within the scheduled time is impossible, directing that the remaining games be played on a later date or declaring the tournament unfinished.
  8. To make available to any player on request the results of the games played so far, and any other information specified in the Regulations for SCA Tournaments.
  9. To report the results to the SCA Match Secretary in the case of an SCA tournament, or to the designated club official in the case of a club event. The results of all games should be reported as well as the winner and runner-up.
  10. In the case of an advanced level Association croquet singles event or a level Golf croquet singles event, to report the results of all games to the compiler of world ranking statistics. For this purpose, the games should be listed in chronological order so far as possible.
  11. To provide, or appoint someone to provide, a narrative report on the tournament for publication on the SCA website and in any other appropriate medium.

Competitions throughout the season

The management requirements of a competition running throughout the season are in some ways different from those of a tournament, although the overall aims are the same. Players are responsible for scheduling their own games, but the manager should set a deadline for completing each round of the competition. The manager should also define the procedure for reporting results; in a knockout competition this needs to be done promptly so that players know who their next opponents are and can arrange to play them.

The main cause of problems is when players fail to play a game by the appointed date. The manager should try to prevent this by strongly encouraging all participants to arrange and play their games as early as possible rather than wait till near the deadline. If difficulties arise despite this, it is helpful to have procedures defined and publicised in advance to resolve them. In particular, there should be a well-defined policy on how much (if any) flexibility is allowed in meeting the deadlines, and a procedure for arbitrating between opponents who cannot agree on a mutually convenient time within the prescribed period.

If a game cannot be played without unacceptable delay (where the definition of “unacceptable” depends on how strict the policy on deadlines is), the manager has three options:

  1. Treat both players as having lost the game. In a knockout, this means that both players are eliminated; in a block, they are not necessarily eliminated, but neither gets a point for that game.
  2. Decide the result at random, for instance by tossing a coin.
  3. Decide in favour of the player who appears to be less to blame for the delay.

None of these options is perfect, but each may be appropriate in some circumstances. If option (c) is chosen, the criteria for blame must be clearly defined, and the manager must endeavour to get all the relevant facts from both sides before making the decision.

It may be appropriate to allow more extra time in a case where neither player is to blame for the delay – for instance where the game has been arranged but had to be postponed through circumstances outside both players’ control – than where at least one of them is to blame.

Time limits

If games are to have time limits, they should be as follows:

Association croquet Normally 3 hours, or 3¼ hours if double banked. A time limit shall not be less than 2½ hours. For best-of-three match play, there should be a progressive time limit of not less than 2½, 5 and 7 hours for the first, second and third games respectively.

Short croquet, 14-point croquet Not less than 1 hour.

Golf croquet Minimum time for a 13pt game shall be 45 minutes, or 50 minutes if double banked. For best-of-three match play there is to be a progressive time limit of not less than 45, 90, 120 minutes.

Retrospective time limit Should the Manager, by force of circumstance, wish to impose a time limit on an unlimited game then not less than one hour may be imposed, provided that the game is then limited to not less than 2½ hours. For Golf croquet a limit of not less than 30 minutes may be imposed on a game after 30 minutes play.

When a time limit has been imposed on a game, the players should arrange for an independent person or, failing that, one of themselves to be responsible for announcing audibly that the time limit has been reached.

In Golf croquet, if time limits are being used, play may stop on the call of time, or after one more turn for each ball, or after the next hoop is scored, or some other variation, but which method is to be used is to be clearly stated before play commences. The outcome of a stroke played before time is called is valid play. Whichever method of stopping play is used, the management may allow play to continue for one hoop if the scores are tied when play is stopped.

Lawn mowing and hoop setting

Where feasible, the grass should be cut immediately before the start of a tournament (that is, on the first morning of the tournament or the previous evening), and thereafter at intervals of not more than two days where an event lasts for three days or more.

For tournaments played under advanced rules, the hoops on each court should be set to a clearance of 1/16 inch, with an upward tolerance of 1/32 inch, relative to the balls in use on that court — or relative to the largest diameter of any of those balls if their diameters vary. That is, the distance between the inner surfaces of the uprights, at a height from the ground equal to a ball’s radius, should exceed the diameter of the ball by at least 1/16 inch, and by no more than 3/32 inch.

For handicap tournaments, and for events in which both advanced and handicap play occur on the same court on the same day, the hoops should be set to a clearance of 1/8 inch, with an upward tolerance of 1/32 inch. (If gauges are not available, the thickness of a £1 coin can be used as the measure of 1/8 inch, and the thickness of a 20p coin as the measure of 1/16 inch.)

Hoops should be firmly set in the ground, so that they do not move perceptibly when pushed or pulled. To achieve this throughout a tournament lasting several days, it may be advisable to set the hoops initially so that the carrots project slightly from the ground, so that hoops can be set further into the ground on subsequent days to keep them tight without reducing their height beyond the tolerance specified in the Laws.

The occurrence of “rabbit runs” in hoops should be avoided as far as is feasible — if necessary by setting the hoops in new holes at the beginning of a tournament.

Unfinished games

If a game is begun but is not completed because one player withdraws, the opponent is deemed to have won the game by scoring the points he or she had yet to make, and the result should be counted on this basis for handicap index and ranking purposes. The manager may refer such cases to the SCA Executive, which may impose such penalty as it considers appropriate on any player who has withdrawn from a game without good reason. Games otherwise left unfinished (for example because the court becomes unplayable or by agreement between the players) do not count for handicap or ranking purposes.