Belsay Hall Croquet Club


Whenever you play a singles match that is not a friendly within the club you should record the result on your handicap card.  In our club that means matches in the Singles Knockout, the League, the Ladder and any external competitions such as the Croquet North  league or singles championship, the Murphy Shield or the English Heritage Cup.  Any inter-club matches, even if they are friendlies, also count.  The Automatic Scoring System explained below will reflect the changes in your playing ability over a period of time, but requires you to play regular competitive matches in order to take effect.  Do consider entering club competitions.  The adjective "competitive" does not mean they are cut-throat affairs!  The ladder, especially, provides lots of opportunities for games that are only a small step up from friendlies.  

However, the Automatic Scoring System does not provide for rapid improvers.  Sometimes the club handicapper may decide that your current handicap does not reflect your current ability and will amend your handicap accordingly based on his knowledge and experience of other players' abilities to provide a fairer reflection of your current form.  The handicapper's aim is to give a handicap that will enable you to win half of your matches.

Below is a representation of a GC handicap card which is coloured green (AC cards are white).  The owner of the card (Timothy White) is new to the game of croquet and has been given a handicap of 12.  This means that he starts with an index of zero.   He will remain a 12 handicapper until he gets his index up to 50 points.  50 points roughly represents winning 5 games more than you lose.

Donning his brand new trainers, his first three games are against Freeman, Hardy and Willis.  Against Freeman, he plays a handicap game.  Because our hero is a 12 handicap and David Freeman is a 9 handicap, Timothy receives 3 extra turns (or bisques) from David.  Astute use of these extra turns gives him a 7-4 victory.  Because it was a handicap game, each player is theoretically equal so the winner receives 10 points and the loser loses 10 points. HANDICAP GAMES ARE ALWAYS WORTH 10 POINTS ON YOUR INDEX.  +10  ON YOUR INDEX IF YOU WIN, -10 IF YOU LOSE.  As you will see later if Timothy had won this game on level play, i.e. without receiving extra turns he would have scored more than 10 points.

Timothy records the result of his first match.  It is a good idea to show the date as well although there is no explicit provision for this.  In the first column he shows his opponent and the date.  In col. 2 he shows David's handicap, in col. 3 he shows whether it was played on handicaps or level play, in col.4 he shows the result (this could be "Won" or "Lost", but Timothy shows his score first, indicating a Win).  In col.5 he shows how many points his index is to change by (10 because it was a handicap game) and in the last column he shows his new index (0+10).

Michael Hardy is his next opponent in a level play game where he triumphs 7-6.  Cols 1-4 are completed accordingly but because it was a level play game and Michael is a 10 handicapper, Timothy receives an extra reward in excess of 10 points.  Consulting the chart at the top of the second page of his card he reads down the first column (Winner's handicap) and finds 12 then reads across the top row (Loser's handicap) and finds 10.  Where the row and column intersect the cell says "12".  Timothy therefore receives 12 points for his victory taking his index up to 22.

Timothy then beats Susan Willis in a handicap game so gains another 10, making his index 32.

He then plays Fred Marks, whose handicap is 4, in a best of 3 match on level play in the Club Champioship.  Each game in the match counts separately for their respective handicaps.  In the first game Fred overpowers Timothy 7-2.  Because of the great disparity in their handicaps Fred was expected to win comfortably so consulting the chart on the second page again in the same manner we discover that Fred's win was worth only 3 points to him, and more importantly Timothy only loses 3 points from his index taking him down to 29.

Timothy plays out of his skin in the next game and sneaks home on the 13th hoop.  Timothy is duly rewarded for his surprise win over a 4 handicapper on level play by receiving 17 points to make his index 46.  Order is restored in game 3 as Fred wins 7-4.  Again though, he only receives 3 points and Timothy only loses 3 points.  So despite losing the match, Timothy actually gained 11 points from the encounter (and Fred of course lost 11).

A couple of days later Timothy plays Mr. Marks'close friend Jean Spencer.  (They are the talk of the croquet club.  A liaison that started in Leeds some time ago, the gossip will not end until they get married in St. Michael's later in the year).  Timothy's win in this handicap match is worth the usual 10 points which takes his index up to 53.  At this point he consults the club handicapper and presents his card.  The handicapper amends the table on the front page of Timothy's card and records his handicap as 11 and his index as 53.

Two days later Timothy plays four games on the same day against Russell and Bromley (another relationship that has had tongues wagging).  Timothy beats fellow 11 handicapper George Russell and gains 10 points from his index (all games against opponents with the same handicap are worth 10 points, even in a level play game).  He then triumphs by two games to one in the club handicap competition match with Mary Bromley gaining 10 points overall.

There then follow games against Holland and Barratt played in a healthily competitive atmosphere.  Timothy wins a handicap game against 9 handicapper Stephen Holland worth 10 points to him but then loses a level play game against Michael Barratt who is also a 9 handicapper.  The difference of 2 between their handicaps results in Timothy only losing 8 points.  Timothy follows this with two games against yet another 9 handicap player in John Lewis who is rather conceited and had never knowingly undersold his supposed prowess at croquet.  The difference of 2 in their handicaps gives Timothy two lots of 12 points to add to his index leaving him tantalisingly just one point short of the next trigger point.

A win three days later against 10 handicapper Peter Jones, part of John Lewis's group in the club, in level play harvests 11 points for Timothy and he reaches his next trigger point.  Once again he seeks out the club handicapper and his handicap is reduced to 10.

His next game against Harvey Nichols, a 12 handicap and a Londoner who has just bought a second home in the North, is a surprise defeat on level play.  This time it is Timothy who suffers from the two point difference in their handicaps and he loses 12 points from his index to fall back to 98.

It is important to stress that just because Timothy's index has dropped below 100 does not mean that his handicap immediately goes back up to 11.  When your index worsens and goes back past a trigger point, your handicap does not change until you reach the next trigger point, i.e. the trigger point for that handicap.  So Timothy continues as a 10 handicap until his index hits 50 or less, when he becomes an 11 (or 150 or more of course when he becomes a 9).

Handicap changes do not take effect until the end of the day, so if Timothy had reached the trigger point of 100 and then lost his match to Harvey on the same day to end at 98 he would have remained as an 11 handicapper throughout.

Example GC Handicap card




Name Hcp h/l Res +/- New
David Freeman                                             5th May 9 H 7-4 +10 10
Michael Hardy                                            5th May 10 L 7-6 +12 22
Susan Willis                                                8th May 6 H 7-5 +10 32
Fred Marks                                                 10th May 4 L 2-7 -3 29
Fred Marks                                                10th  May  4 L 7-6 +17 46
Fred Marks                                                  10th May 4 L 4-7 -3 43
Jean Spencer                                               12th May 7 H 7-5 +10 53
George Russell                                             14th May 11 L 7-6 +10 63
Mary Bromley                                              14th May 12 H 7-4 +10 73
Mary Bromley                                               14th May 12 H 6-7 -10 63
Mary Bromley                                               14th May 12 H 7-5 +10 73
Stephen Holland                                            18th May 9 H 7-5 +10 83
Michael Barratt                                            20th May 9 L 4-7 -8 75
John Lewis                                                    22nd May  9 L 7-5 +12 87
John Lewis                                                   22nd May 9 L 7-6 +12 99
Peter Jones                                                   25th May 10 L 7-4 +11 110
Harvey Nichols                                              27th May 12 L 6-7 -12 98