TOEQUET is a new game now being played by many youth groups at the 10-acre National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, the world’s newest and largest croquet facility. The equipment is manufactured and packaged by The Toequet Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, and sold at Toequet.com. Toequet equipment can be used for any version of croquet. The rules recommended here, based on the standard rules of Golf Croquet – are suitable for most individual and groups. Instead of croquet balls, the balls are soccer balls, with oversized wickets to match, made of breakaway PVC piping for safety. Instead of being struck with a mallet, the balls are propelled by being kicked. (Exception: see “Malletball” below.)
THE COURSE: The wickets are scored in the order and direction chosen by the players, beginning from a Starting Tee that should be situated at some distance from the first wicket. Four points wins a seven-point game comprising a maximum of the first six wickets and the center stake. Seven points makes a win in the 13-point game, in which each wicket is scored twice as shown on the illustration. An ideal course in the standard proportions of a regulation croquet court would be 150 feet wide by 180 feet long approximately, but any configuration may be used to fit the available space. Boundaries may be set according to “house rules.” If boundary lines are used, play must stop until out-of-bounds balls are replaced.
THE SIDES: Blue/Green play against Red/Yellow in a two-sided game, with one or two Players on each side. Each player may kick only his or her own ball in the order of play, but the player’s ball may impact other balls.
THE TURNS: Play is always in the sequence Blue/Red/Green/Yellow (the order of the colors on the stake). There is only one kick per turn. There are no bonus kicks for scoring a wicket or sriking another player’s ball with your own ball.
STARTING THE GAME: The starting side is determined by a coin toss. The balls are kicked in proper sequence from the Starting Tee.
SCORING: Each wicket is scored by only one ball, which wins the point for its side. Wickets must be scored in the order of the course. A ball must make a complete pass through the proper wicket in order to score a point. A ball that has entered the wicket from either the playing side or the non-playing side and comes to rest in a position that does not break the plane of the non-playing side has not begun to run the wicket and in the subsequent turn may score the point. Any number of turns may be taken to complete the pass through the proper wicket in the order of the course and thus score the point. After any ball scores a wicket, play continues in sequence from where the balls lie to contest the next wicket in the order of the course.
PARTNERSHIP COMMUNICATION AND EXPEDITIOUS PLAY: Partners are allowed and encouraged to deliberate about tactics and strategy, but no turn should exceed 30 seconds.
TWO WAYS TO PLAY THE GAME: In the Basic Version, each ball must completely stop before the next ball can be played. In the Advanced or Aerobic Version, the balls must be played in the proper sequence, but the next player can kick before the previous ball has stopped moving.
FAULTS, PENALTIES, AND TOURNAMENT REFEREEING: The on-court referee regulates play of the game, and all play must stop when the referee’s whistle blows. A player may call the referee by raising both arms above the head. Kicking out of turn, interference, “push kicking” and all other fouls are penalized by replacing the balls to their positions before the foul occurred, with the fouling player losing his or her turn. Play can resume only with the double-tap whistle signal of the official referee. In the absence of a designated referee, the players referee themselves.
Playing the identical rules, strike the Toequet balls with regulation mallets, and you have “Malletball” - an entertaining novelty game well suited to large-scale exhibitions. The three-pound mallets typically used in the organized sport of croquet are correctly weighted to interact effectively with the soccer balls used in Toequet, and fairly accurate shots can be made by a good player. Malletball can be played satisfactorily and with enjoyment on long grass surfaces where other forms of croquet would not work very well. By using these magnified elements of the game, it’s easy to demonstrate and teach the game to novices – even gatherings of several hundred people.
[Written by Bob Alman, National Croquet Center, West Palm Beach, Florida, 561-478-2300 CroquetNational.com, BobAlman@AOL.com. Buy Toequet and Malletball equipment at The Pro Shop at the National Croquet Center, or online from The Toequet Company.]
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