Quantcast

Search Croquet Network
Follow Croquet Network

Croquet News Feed
Get Email Updates (It's Free)
* indicates required
Croquet Network Store
Additional
Croquet Twitter Feed

Entries in Nine-Wicket Croquet (13)

Thursday
Jan102013

Morning Coffee: Croquet or Roque?

At the top of this week's news is the Norwegian Nine-Wicket Croquet video (see link below). There is so much that the video touches on, but the main discussion was centered toward the concept that it is really roque that is being played. It is of course interesting to see how the game has evolved in different parts of the world. No matter what the Norwegians think they are playing, I would agree with the assertion that it is pretty much roque. Fundamentally though, it hardly matters. Take away the short mallet restriction and one-hand rule (seemingly unique for Norway) and it's pretty much nine-wicket croquet.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan052013

Norwegian Nine-Wicket Croquet Video

Tuesday
Aug232011

Announcement: Woodranch Croquet Invitational

WoodRanch Croquet is pleased to announce their second tournament of the year, a 9 Wicket Singles scheduled for Sunday, October 9, Simi Valley, California. The event will

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May242011

WoodRanch Croquet Holds Last Man Standing Tournament

After a rained out February date, the new WoodRanch Croquet Club held its first 9 wicket croquet tournament on Sunday, May 22 at the Rancho Simi Community Park in Simi Valley, California.  The WoodRanch Croquet Club is a group of people of all ages that enjoy the Simi Valley Parks and love to play croquet. Two players competing for the Rose Cup were Eric and Caren Sawyer.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb212011

Mallethead: Questions for Croquet

1. Where Is Our Golf Croquet World Team Championship?
Start with four regions -- North America, British Isles, Africa and Oceania. Four tests -- Canada vs U.S., U.K. vs Ireland, Egypt vs South Africa, Australia vs New Zealand. The following year winners advance to final four hosted by a predetermined region winner.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb022011

Croquet Poll: What Kind Of Croquet Do You Play?

Monday
Jan312011

Morning Coffee: USCA Student Discount, WCF Webmaster and Arkansas Nine-Wicket

News, news and more news. Most U.S. players are chomping at the bit, hoping for some warm weather to get out there and hit the courts. In the meantime, the world of croquet on the internet is generating all kinds of info ...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan212010

Nine to Six: Part 4 - Wiring

A Clear-Cut Difference

Wiring is pretty simple -- six-wicket has it and nine-wicket does not. Of course, if you haven't played six-wicket, you likely have no familiarity with the wiring rule. For the full details, you can check out this page on the USCA website, but the essence is that when utilizing the opponent's balls, you must leave your opponent a shot when your turn ends.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec292009

Nine to Six: Part 3 - Boundary Play

USCA stock photo shows the string line boundaries utilized for six-wicket croquet

A Subtle Difference

After a month off due to a very busy website schedule in November, it was time to get the Nine to Six series back on track. This month, we are looking at the boundary rules for nine-wicket and the U.S. six-wicket games. At the USCA nine-wicket national championship, option two and three of the advanced rules are utilized which effectively means that boundary rules mimic the U.S. six-wicket rules with just one subtle exception. In the nine-wicket game, a ball is considered out of bounds once it touches the line as opposed to six wicket where a ball would not be ruled out of bounds until half of the ball crosses the line.

My personal opinion is that ther are two reasons for this minor difference. First, the slower speed of the nine-wicket long grass fields means it's a little easier to roquet a boundary ball as it is less likely to roll out. Creating a smaller margin balances the lawn speed difference to a degree.

Secondly, you are more likely to see painted lines in nine-wicket as opposed to the thin string lines used in six-wicket play. From a practical standpoint, it is just much easier to judge out of bounds on a thick painted line at the moment the ball touches the line.

Again, I want to emphasize the above paragraphs are based on the rules used for advanced nine-wicket play. The base nine-wicket rules regarding boundaries are much more like Association Croquet played internationally. That means there is virtually no penalty for out of bounds and out of bounds balls are set in at 36 inches instead of the nine inches used in American rules for six-wicket and advance nine-wicket.

The Nine to Six Series (Highlighting Differences Between Nine-wicket and Six-wicket Croquet)

The Nine to Six Series (Highlighting Differences Between Nine-wicket and Six-wicket Croquet)

Part One -- Clearing Deadness
Part Two -- Post Roquet Options
Part Three -- Boundaries
Part Four -- Wiring
Part Five -- Rover Balls

More on this series: The series endeavors to describe changes that nine wicket players will encounter when they try out the U.S. rules six wicket game. There's a lot of quality information on six-wicket on the internet, but some of it seems pretty complex and is presented all at once. The aim here is to slice this into smaller concepts to allow players to absorb as needed. Also, I need to clarify that I have been playing the six-wicket game for just one-year and have not attended tournaments. So, more experienced players should feel welcome to chime in using the comments and clarify if I am leading people astray. I do think my inexperience is useful in that the concepts are fresh in my mind. Also, for players making the jump to six-wicket, I assume the basics of the game are understood.

Wednesday
Nov252009

Billy Bob Breeden Interview Excerpts

Breeden during the 9W doubles championshipThis is a follow up to yesterday's post on George Cochran. During interviews for the November issue of the magazine, I had interesting conversations (via e-mail) with both Billy Bob Breeden and George Cochran on nine-wicket that I wasn't able to fit into the magazine story. Today I'm posting the discussion I had with Billy Bob. Here's a link to the conversation with George.

Dylan: Let's start with your general impression of nine-wicket play compared to six-wicket croquet, now that you have two of these national nine-wicket tourneys under your belt.

Billy Bob: One of the things that I find harder about 9W versus 6W is the long grass. It is hard to control your breaks, but it can be done. Now on the flip side, sometimes it is hard to control your balls around the wickets on short grass whether it is 9W or 6W. Just a little hit and it may give you a tough shot on a tight wicket. I know from playing at the 9W nationals two years in a row that both years the field conditions were great for the tournament. We had a lot of break play and some of them were long breaks.

Dylan: Do you see nine-wicket as maybe being able to provide organized croquet in areas where courts are not available? In other words, is a nine-wicket club possible?

Billy Bob: Yes I do, right now there are several organized croquet club in Missouri. Just in my area, I can think of a few -- the Stanberry, Mo croquet club, they have a sand court, in the middle of their town that was built in 1973, and it is in the local park. The Chillicothe Croquet Club just plays in the local Chillicothe Park every third Sunday during the summer, I think they told me two years ago, they had been playing for 43 years, so they have had organized croquet for 45 years. The Trenton college also has a local tournament held on their campus every year. In Albany, Missouri, the local community club is trying to organize and build a court in their park. Years ago almost every little town in American had some kind of croquet being played in their local parks. Our biggest challenge is how to get our young people out of the house and onto the croquet course. I think that we all should contact organizations like local Boy Scout, Church groups, athletic directors and 4H groups and start organizing youths at an early age. Maybe even offer class in the local parks free to teach croquet.

Dylan: Wow, I had no idea there was that much croquet activity anywhere close by. Are any of those players in that region participating in the national tournament?

Billy Bob: I have tried for at least four years to get them to my tournaments. The only success was an older man from Chillicothe after I had played with them a couple of times on their sand court. He showed up for two years, but I think his age (88) was making it hard for him to hit the balls in long grass. He likes to play roquet -- an American variant of croquet played on a hard, smooth surface. There are about twelve players in Stanberry, Missouri I’ve been working on for two years, but I think the name “Nationals” scare them off. They already play both two-ball singles and doubles.

Tuesday
Nov242009

George Cochran Interview Excerpts

Cochran at 9W NationalsDuring interviews for the November issue, I had interesting conversations (via e-mail) with both Billy Bob Breeden and George Cochran on nine-wicket that I wasn't able to fit into the magazine story. Today I'm posting the discussion I had with George and I'll follow up later with Billy Bob's comments.

Dylan: Now that you have two years in for this event, how about we start with your impressions of the nine-wicket game and playing on the long-grass? Obviously, it would never compare to six-wicket, but does it offer appeal as a change-up type event or maybe on some other levels?

George: Your phrase "Obviously it would never compare to the 6-wicket game" would indicate that you believe the 9-wicket game to be an inferior version of croquet.  I disagree.  I love playing both American rules and International rules 6-wicket croquet, and I equally love playing 9-wicket croquet.  The backyard game is neither better nor worse than croquet on groomed courts, but it is very different, and a person that ignores those differences is probably playing the game badly.
 
The first difference is in availability.  Flat courts with golf-green grass are very expensive to both build and maintain, and so there are vast regions of the U.S. with very few such courts available.  For example, there is not a single groomed croquet court in the entire state in which I live.  But a backyard game can be set up anywhere, anytime, with relatively cheap equipment, and provide hours of fun.   When I visit friends or family, we could set out some wickets and play, talk and drink beer in the back yard.  I went to my high school class reunion a few years ago, which was held at a picnic pavillion next to a lake in a state park.  There was a 9-wicket croquet court set up in the grass next to the pavillion and everyone had a blast knocking balls around.

The second difference is that the 9-wicket game is generally an aggressive and wide-open game, even more so than the Association game.  Aunt Emma is a losing strategy in a 9-wicket tournament, as long as your mallet is weighted appropriately for the balls and grass on which you're playing.  This is because the wickets are wider, making it easier to get through them from a distance and from an angle, and also easier to peel a dead ball through.  Because there's no relief from wiring and the vagaries of the ground make long roquets uncertain, a player who has control of the balls can literally leave the opponent with no shot at the end of each and every turn.  A well-played 9-wicket game will have a very aggressive early attack or rout, even if it results in a lot a deadness, because you can leave the opponent with no shot, it is easy to get clean, and gaining contol of the balls is paramount.
 
For players who are at the stage of learning various croquet shots (roll and split shots), the 9-wicket game offers a much more rewarding game in which to try those shots out.  The distance between consecutive wickets is shorter and the angles on split shots are not as severe.  And if the shot is off slightly, you generally still have a makeable wicket shot because of the generous hoops.  The result is that an improving player can often run an all-around break and set a leave in a 9-wicket game, while the same player in a 6-wicket game would make a couple of hoops and then break down dead and be forced to sit for a long time.  My club runs a "Leisure Class" on croquet, and we use the 9-wicket game for all but the last class-day for this reason...the 9-wicket game can be less frustrating.
 
Of course, there are more randomizers in the backyard game.  The ground can be bumpy or slope off, the grass is not uniform, sometime balls can be defective.  A type-A personality can find these random variations aggravating.  I just accept them as being a part of the game that makes it interesting, and try to play the lie as best I can.  I often misjudge slopes with soft shots.  When I have these misses, I just try to make a mental note of the location, the shot and the curve and try to get better at it.  At least everyone is playing on the same ground and trying to get through the same wickets.
 
Very slow or very long grass can be frustrating, but that's not the fault of the grass but more the fault of not having the right mallet at the game for the conditions, and for failing to adjust your game strategy to fit the speed of the lawn.  If you are flexible enough to adjust your game for the types of shots that you can actually do with the grass, balls and mallet that you are using, then the "slow" game can be a lot of fun too.  Not better or worse, just different.
 
This whole discussion reminds me of the unrelated issue of the relative merits of golf croquet.  There are some in the croquet world who dismiss golf croquet because it has no croquet shots.  Someone who gets all of their enjoyment from croquet shots would probably not get much pleasure shooting golf croquet.  But I find the game fascinating, frustrating, and a hell of a lot of fun.  Strategy in golf croquet is deep and nuanced.  I just wish I could shoot better.  The game really emphasizes the kinds of shots at which I'm weak.  Compared to "regular" croquet, it is not better or worse, but it is definitely different.
 
Dylan: Do you see nine-wicket as a way to build organized croquet play in areas where six-wicket courts are not available? Do you think it is the kind of game that you could build a club around? You mention that your club uses nine-wicket for teaching, what kind of field do you use?

George: Absolutely! The club in Baton Rouge played only 9-wicket croquet for two years before we even knew that the USCA existed.  We all knew the 9-wicket game and had never heard of any other variations.  We played (and still do) in a public park on long grass that's mowed fairly short, on a 2/3 size court.  There are no golf-green grass courts in Louisiana.  Just recently a couple of guys coming off the nearby golf course stopped and watched us, and then got in a game.  It turns our that they have been hosting a regular Thursday night cutthroat 6-ball 9-wicket game in their backyard for several years, as kind of a neighborhood party.  After playing with us a few times they just recently joined the USCA and are turning into croquet fanatics.  Would they have been as interested in joining us if they hadn't already been playing 9-wicket croquet regularly?  Probably not.
 
The 9-wicket game has three things going for it:

1)  Everyone knows some variation of it

2)  You can set it up anywhere, and

3)  For a serious improving player, roll and split shots are more rewarding with less downside when they go bad, and it's relatively easy to score multiple hoops in a turn.

For these reasons I believe it makes a great game for teaching skills with croquet shots and for recruiting people into the serious side of the game.

Monday
Oct122009

Nine to Six: Part 2 - Post Roquet Options

USCA Stock Photo

Probably the biggest adjustment when transitioning from nine-wicket croquet to the six-wicket game is the reduction of options after roqueting a live ball. The nine wicket game offers a range of choices for your first bonus shot:

  1. You can play your shot from a distance of one mallet head (9") or less from the roqueted ball.
  2. You can use the most famous shot in croquet. Place your ball in contact with the roqueted ball and use your foot or hand to secure your ball. It's the ultimate stop shot.
  3. A simple croquet shot where your ball is placed in contact with the roqueted ball. You can perform a split roll here, a stop shot or a simple takeoff.
  4. And the final option (unique to nine-wicket) is playing your ball where it lays.

For the six-wicket game, it is simple. Once you roquet a live ball, go ahead and pick it up because you'll be playing a shot in contact with the roqueted ball. There is no option for placing your foot or hand on your ball on your bonus stroke so forget all about that one. You can play a split roll, stop shot or simple takeoff. The key for the takeoff is that you have to hit into the roqueted ball enough so that it visibly moves. If the ball does not move, it is a fault. The balls are reset and the turn is over.

The Nine to Six Series (Highlighting Differences Between Nine-wicket and Six-wicket Croquet)

Part One -- Clearing Deadness
Part Two -- Post Roquet Options
Part Three -- Boundaries
Part Four -- Wiring
Part Five -- Rover Balls

More on this series: The series endeavors to describe changes that nine wicket players will encounter when they try out the U.S. rules six wicket game. There's a lot of quality information on six-wicket on the internet, but some of it seems pretty complex and is presented all at once. The aim here is to slice this into smaller concepts to allow players to absorb as needed. Also, I need to clarify that I have been playing the six-wicket game for just one-year and have not attended tournaments. So, more experienced players should feel welcome to chime in using the comments and clarify if I am leading people astray. I do think my inexperience is useful in that the concepts are fresh in my mind. Also, for players making the jump to six-wicket, I assume the basics of the game are understood.

Saturday
Sep122009

Nine to Six: Part 1 - Clearing Deadness

USCA Stock Photo

This month kicks off a new series that I'll call "Nine to Six" that endeavors to describe changes that nine wicket players will encounter when they try out the U.S. rules six wicket game. There's a lot of quality information on six-wicket on the internet, but some of it seems pretty complex and is presented all at once. The aim here is to slice this into smaller concepts to allow players to absorb as needed. Also, I need to clarify that I have been playing the six-wicket game for just one-year and have not attended tournaments. So, more experienced players should feel welcome to chime in using the comments and clarify if I am leading people astray. I do think my inexperience is useful in that the concepts are fresh in my mind.

Also, for players making the jump to six-wicket, I assume the basics of the game are understood -- partner balls and the six wicket pattern.*

Clearing Deadness

I'm starting with the rule that to this day, I have a hard time enacting. The rule is simply that when your opponent runs the one back wicket (see pattern here), you are allowed to clear deadness on one of your balls. You must declare clearing prior to starting your next turn. For clarification, you make think of one-back as the seventh wicket a ball scores or the first wicket as a ball starts the second half of the six-wicket configuration.

It's a challenging rule to remember and quite often beginners just miss it. I am sure there are a number of tricks players use as reminders. I know one player that takes off his hat when his opponent clears one-back. I now try to start every turn by asking a simple question in my mind:

"Do I have deadness on either ball and do I have an immediate option to clear?"

Compared to Nine-Wicket

Variations of the nine-wicket game are diverse, but in a lot of cases, nine-wicket players have no clearing rule, so the concept is totally new. However, it is listed in the official USCA options (option 1a) for the backyard game and is utilized at the USCA Nine-Wicket Nationals. When it is used for nine-wicket, it is occurs at the wicket after the turning stake (commonly referred to as the eighth wicket) There is a unique factor that complicates things a bit -- you must be behind in points to enact clearing. And further, it is the score at the end your opponent's turn that must be accounted for. Your opponent may be behind when he runs the eighth wicket, but ahead by the end of his turn. In such case, you could enact deadness clearing for one of your balls. In six wicket play, clearing can occur no matter what the score is.

*In my opinion, cutthroat or nine-wicket players that can execute split rolls and run a three- or four-ball break are ready to try six-wicket. If you are in this class, I'd find a nearby field or club and get started.

The Nine to Six Series (Highlighting Differences Between Nine-wicket and Six-wicket Croquet)

Part One -- Clearing Deadness
Part Two -- Post Roquet Options
Part Three -- Boundaries
Part Four -- Wiring
Part Five -- Rover Balls