Quoits Played In Britain
a traditional pub game without any international governing body,
variations for the rules of Quoits abound. The following
rules are merely this author's interpretation of the most
popular and traditional games being played today. There are
three traditional games - the venerable Long Game as played in
Scotland and Wales, the East Anglian game now confined to tiny
pockets around North Suffolk, and the traditional Northern game
played in the North of England. None of the rules
are intended to be a complete set of league standard regulations
encompassing all situations that might be encountered in
play. Instead, they are a full set of instructions
for friendly play and include additional comments designed to
assist with the understanding of the game. Please note
that 1 yard = 3 feet = 36 inches = 0.9144 metres.
The Long Game
Long Game or The Old Game can still be found in Wales and
Scotland. It seems to be most venerable of the Quoits
games and the heaviness of the quoits, sheer distance and
difficulty in seeing the pin make it both challenging to play
and dramatic to watch. The Welsh version is given
here. The Scottish game used to be played at a range
of 21 yards but these days is identical to the 18 yard Welsh
version bar a few minor differences - for instance the Welsh
measure the distance to a quoit from the centre of the pin
whereas the Scottish measure from the edge of the pin
pitch is 18 yards long with 3 feet square clay quoiting beds
enclosed in a wooden frame. The clay descends 8" but
the wooden frame is 2 inches wide and its depth is only 3
inches. The consistency of the clay is very important
because a well thrown quoit should embed itself in the clay at
an angle - the precise angle and orientation is often tactically
crucial. Either side of the beds are "running
boards" from which the players throw the quoits.
These days they are often made from concrete. A player
must throw from behind a line level with the pin marked on the
centrally placed pin is 1 inch in diameter and 18 inches long
but the top is flush with the clay. So the objective is
not to try to ring the pin so much as to get as near to it as
possible - it acts simply as a target more akin to bowls.
The result of this is that the ideal shot is generally taken to
be one that ends with the underside of the quoit touching the
top of the pin. Such a quoit makes it very difficult for
the opponent to land near to the target whereas a genuine ringer
that circles the pin is beatable.
quoits are normally made of steel and should be no bigger than
8.63 inches and with a hole no less than 3.4" with no limit
on the height or weight. A typical quoit will be 7 -
8" in diameter, have a hole diameter of 4.5 inches and
weigh anything between 6 and 11 pounds.
assist the players, two helpers can be allocated to them.
Firstly a "cleaner" can be tasked with cleaning the
clay from quoits after each end. Cleaners are rarely
employed these days - players tend to clean their own quoits.
More vitally, each player has a helper called a
"lighter". The lighter places a small
piece of white paper within the bed before each throw for the
player to aim at. Often this is on the pin itself, it
being almost invisible in the clay at 18 yards but sometimes,
the lighter will place the paper elsewhere within the bed
according to the tactics of the throw. For instance,
sometimes the objective might be to flip an opponent's quoit out
of play. The lighter also provides the player with
measurements, a description of the current state of play and
rules of play are very simple. A single game is played by
two people and each person throws two quoits alternately each
turn. The players then walk to the other hob and standing
alongside it throw the quoits at the opposite hob. The
player with the quoit nearest to the pin wins the end and scores
two points if both quoits from that player are nearest to the
pin or otherwise just one point. The game is won by the
first player to reach 21 points.
the annual international match played between Scotland and
Wales, two teams of 12 players compete in seeded order. So
each player plays once against the person ranked the same in the
opposing team. The final result is made up of the
aggregate scores of the teams.
The East Anglian Game
England the Long Game does still exist but in a modified form as
played mainly in North Suffolk.
The game is played at the same distance but has a few
differences as outlined below:
clay beds are circular and slope slightly towards the thrower
with a 5/8 inches diameter hob (pin) flush with the clay.
The quoits should be no greater than 7 1/4" in diameter and
no heavier than 7 1/4 lb. in weight.
concept of a "ringer" is given more credence in this
version - any ringer scores 2 points and is removed from the bed
prior to the next throw. So the maximum points that can be
scored at one end is 4. Any quoit that lands on its back
(a "woman"), or which lands inclining backwards does
not count and is immediately removed. Any quoit outside or
touching the 18" ring is also removed immediately.
all four quoits have been thrown, if no ringers have been
scored, the player with the closest quoit scores one point or,
where both quoits from the same player lie closest, scores two
points. A "cover" (quoit that covers the pin)
counts before a "side-toucher" and any quoit on top of
a cover cannot count as a ringer. A league game is up to