Today we are going to Muse about the World Croquet Championships. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
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World Croquet Championships
This week the World Croquet Championships are being played at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach and at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The games continue through April 24, 2016. They have not been held here since 2008 if I am not mistaken.
If you are part of the Croquet world this is quite an event. A total of 22 croquet courts will be utilized to accommodate the tournament (17 courts at the National Croquet Center and 5 courts at PGA National Resort & Spa).
According to palmbeachsports.com, playing are 80 of the best croquet players in the world. They represent over 20 nations including the United States, US Virgin Islands, England, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, China, Ireland, Switzerland, Whales, Germany, Sweden, Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Scotland, Egypt, and Bermuda.
In the background you can see the flags of some of the nations represented.
You are welcome to attend and watch the play. The National Croquet Center is located in West Palm Beach Florida at the intersection of Summit Boulevard and Florida Mango Road.
The game being played is called Association Rules or International Rules Croquet. That is similar but much different than American Rules Six Wicket Croquet, the game normally played here. The United States is the only place where American Rules Six Wicket is common.
You will notice the black berm around the court. That is used to keep the ball from careening away from the court. In the International rules game it is common to send a ball across the court and out-of-bounds, using long fast shots. That is not common with American Rules, where normally your turn ends if you go out-of-bounds. So, for these matches the berm is installed because the balls are often sent off court with great force.
There are several significant differences in the American game and the International game.
One difference involves “Deadness”. In the American game, when a player’s ball strikes another ball, the player earns additional shots, but, if by the end of his turn, the player has not scored his next wicket he is considered “dead” on the ball he struck. He cannot strike the ball again until he has made the wicket. So in later turns he is handicapped and cannot use the ball he earlier struck until he scores the next wicket. An opponent ball on which he is “dead” can set up before its wicket or next to his ball without concern.
If a player strikes additional balls without scoring the wicket he becomes “dead” on all the balls struck. It is possible to be “dead” on all the other balls, which is a severe handicap.
As a result, in the American game, the player is often cautious. He may avoid a risky shot so that he will not pick up “deadness”.
In the International game also, the player may not strike another ball more than once during his turn before scoring the wicket. However, at the end of his turn there is no carryover “deadness”. He can strike that ball on his next turn. As a result the players may take more aggressive shots because they do not need to worry about being “dead” on balls.
the sequence of play
A second difference involves the sequence of play. There are four balls played in a game. They are aligned as “teams”. In the American Rules game Blue and Black play against Red and Yellow. If there are only two players, each plays the two balls in a team. If there are four players each plays a specific color. In the International game it is the same, though different color balls may be used.
The difference is in the sequence of play or “rotation”. In the American game, Blue always plays before Red; Red plays before Black; Black plays before Yellow; Yellow plays before Blue, and on and on. This creates strategic opportunities. For example, it would be unwise to leave your Blue ball near your opponent’s Red ball (unless the Red Ball was “dead” on the Blue ball) because Red plays next and can strike the Blue ball earning additional shots. Red is considered the “danger ball” to Blue. On the other hand, it would be great for your Yellow ball to send your opponent’s Red Ball over to your Blue ball because the Blue ball plays before the Red ball and can strike it earning additional shots. The sequence of play creates strategic considerations.
In the International game there is no sequence. When it is your turn you may play either of your balls. You may play the same ball turn after turn. This creates different strategic considerations.
There are a number of other differences between Association Rules and American Six-Wicket Rules. It is interesting to watch the play. If you can get away, go on over and watch some of the play. (They even serve lunch.) These are the best players in the sport. It is not backyard croquet.
more to come
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Books by Thomas L. Tribby Available Click on title below to preview
- The Watched Shot