Kaye Martin, our Happy Hooper keeps you on your toes:

RULE SCHOOL – After the Doubles Tournament.

Congratulations to Julie and Mary, the worthy winners.  Well done.  

During this tournament I saw more interesting incidents in two days than I have for the 
entire year.  You will read elsewhere the Newsletter that there are plans for a “Faults Workshop” so I will touch only lightly on some of these skirmishes. 

Those who knew about it seemed to forget on the day, the rule about when the ball is in contact with the hoop – it must be played away from the hoop. Sometimes there were two faults in the one stroke in this situation.

One smart player remembered the 5 second rule.  His ball was about 2 cm from the leg of the hoop when for some obscure reason it rolled up against the hoop after it had been stopped in its position for more than 5 seconds. He was able to replace it on the much more favourable original position.

There was more than one eager beaver who struck their ball before the previous player’s ball had stopped. This is overlapping play with a penalty.

Also noticed, some incidents of pressing down with the foot the turf lifted after a stroke was played, without the referee or other players checking it first. That is not acceptable either and could earn a penalty.

There were a couple of ‘I will deem, no I won’t, Yes I will’.  Once you have decided not to deem, that is final.  The same happened with Extra Strokes, once you decide not to use one, that’s it.

Of course, some competitors didn’t know all this in the first place, so the plan is to change that at the Faults Workshop.

One thing probably never fully explained is that Referees are instructed to ‘Never give tactical advice to a player during a game’. If you ask which hoop is next, the referee can only tell you which one was last run.  If you ask if a ball is offside a referee would check and tell you.  If it is Yes offside, you can ask what you should do but I can’t tell you. If your ball is close to or touching a hoop and you ask, ‘If I play it this way will it be OK?’ I can’t tell you, that would be advice. After the stroke I could point out how the stroke should have been played, but by then it would be obvious. They are just some examples.  So, if a referee seems mute and/or deaf when you ask a question, now you know why.

Just for fun, from Peter Hall

Croquet in the 1900 Paris Olympics

Nevertheless, croquet managed to make Olympic history. Two French croquet players, Madame Brohy and Mademoiselle Ohnier, were the first female competitors in the modern Olympic Games. In addition, croquet was one of the few sports in which women competed with/against men. (The others were equestrian and sailing.)

From The Official Report of the 2nd Olympic Games, discussing croquet:

This game, French in name and origin (sic) …has hardly any pretensions to athleticism …
One would be wrong, however, to disdain croquet. It develops a combinative mind - one has only to see it transform young girls into reasoners, and from reasoners into reasonable people. (Sic, again)


The Paris Games themselves were rather a shambles. Because the Games were linked in with the 5th Universal Exposition, they actually ran from 20th May until 28th October 1900, an absurd length of time. Amid the general confusion, many competitors, even medal winners, were not aware until much later that the competition in which they had been competing was, indeed, the Olympics.

Many had thought the games were part of the Paris Exposition. The winner of the marathon was not officially declared until 1912, 12 years later!

This was also the only Olympic Games in history to use live animals (pigeons) as targets during the shooting event.

In one of the coxed eights rowing events, the team found itself without a cox, so co-opted a young lad from the spectators. His name was not recorded but he is probably the youngest Olympic competitor ever.

Margaret Ives Abbott, a student of art from Chicago, played in and won a nine-hole golf tournament on an October Tuesday in Paris. She died in 1955 without being aware that the tournament was part of the Olympic Games and she had become America's first ever female Olympic champion.

Pierre de Coubertin, then President of the International Olympic Committee, commented later to friends: ‘It's a miracle that the Olympic Movement survived that celebration’.

Croquet made its first and final appearance as an Olympic sport at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games. It was not a spectacular success. Quite the opposite; there was only one spectator ticket sold.

Further, there were only French competitors. At the time, croquet was thought to have been an ‘international’ event, with one competitor, Marcel Haëntjens, claiming to have been Belgian. More recently, however, he has been shown to have been from France.