Fishbourne Game

Back in 2010, our former chairman Brian Shipman, together with Jane, Betty, Colin and Linda decided to investigate a new version of croquet.  At the end of a very enjoyable afternoon during which several elements were varied it was agreed that the game was of some merit and would benefit from further investigation.

Yes that was 2010. Since then there has been an End of Season Fun Tournament playing this particularly sociable form of Croquet. These are the rules as published in 2010. The Rules of engagement for the Tournament may be adapted from year to year (Peter Raper)

Rules for the Game of Fishbourne Croquet

The lawn is set up in the normal manner. The rules of Golf croquet apply so far as penalties for going beyond halfway to the next hoop without contacting an opponent’s ball. Also once a hoop is achieved by a player then play is forwarded to the next hoop in the normal order. 

The game may be played with any number of individual players up to 8. The first player to achieve *four hoops is the winner. 

*This number of hoops may be varied by mutual consent AND Any player considered to be of a higher or lower handicap may be required to win more or less hoops to be held to be the winner.   

Each player shall draw for a ball and the order of play is as normal. The initial shot is played from the Golf croquet position towards hoop one as in Golf croquet.    

After each player has made their first shot a new rule is introduced which is the element of Fishbourne Croquet. This rule states that any player striking an opponent’s ball with his own ball may have ONE extra shot. An extra shot may also be taken by any player who strikes the centre post with his ball. (Note: In the event of a strike then the halfway rule would be waived. In the event of a miss the half way rule may be invoked by the next player. This also applies in the case of a player playing out of turn when the next player may choose to let the ball remain or to send the ball to a point midway along the side lines) A player who having struck an opponents ball, then goes off court shall replace his ball on the boundary line but is NOT entitled to the second stroke.

In the case of a player’s ball and another ball touching at the commencement of a player’s turn then that player shall not be allowed to count the touching ball to gain an extra shot.  

A player who strikes an opponents ball and then goes on through the correct hoop shall be allowed credit for the hoop AND be given  one further shot. OR  who takes the hoop and then hits the opponents ball in the same stroke.

Jump shots are allowed though a penalty may be invoked if the surface of the lawn is damaged. A  missed attempt to hit the ball is dealt with as in Golf Croquet rules.

The game continues in the usual rotation until one player has achieved 4* hoops.   In the event that a complete rotation of the hoops being  achieved before any player has achieved the number required to win, then the sequence is recommenced. It may be decided before the start of a game that a fixed time limit may apply or the winner at the time of the completion of the round shall have won the game.

A player is honour bound to declare how many hoops that player has gained if asked.  OR A player may place pegs on the hoops they have scored in which case the opponent should be informed of this fact.


The tactics of the game are now a lot more complex than normal Golf Croquet and go some way towards the subtlety of the Association game.  It seems as though a game takes about half an hour.

For example:

To be too close to a hoop will enable an opponent to strike your ball and with the extra shot go through the hoop or ricochet through the hoop. (Thus the element of striking a ball at an oblique angle becomes an element of the tactics of the game) 

A stop shot may send an opponents ball into the wilderness while the player has gained a good position to make the hoop.

A missed attempt at a contact shot at another ball may result in a visit to the wilderness by the aggressive player.

A player may consider that it is to advantage to assist a player who is trailing, especially if to do so would hamper a leading player.

After a hoop has been won, a player who sees a ball on the further side of a hoop may use that ball to gain advantage and at the same time place the player of that ball at a disadvantage.  A skilled ricochet shot would place a player nearer to the next hoop while placing the opponent further from the hoop or at a disadvantage.   Then the hoop might be gained in the grace shot or the next shot in turn.

It may pay to keep in the vicinity of other player’s balls but at the same time to bear in mind that the other players may use your ball to advantage – or even assist you if for the time being it is in that player’s interest to do so.

A player may find it to advantage to form a liaison with one or more other player to disadvantage a leading player.  This need not be declared.

A player at a distance from the hoop in play while the other players are much nearer will be in the position of having a relatively large target  (all the other player’s balls AS WELL AS the hoop to aim for) The Target ball does not have to be nominated.