Quoits in Great Britain:
The Scottish Long Game
& The East Anglian Game
The Scottish Long Game of Quoits is also called "The Old Game" and is Quoiting's ultimate test of strength and skill. This is the He-Man version of the sport, with players pitching up to 11 pound Quoits and accurately throwing them 18 yards (54 feet) hob to hob! In some locales, the distance is even greater, at 21 yards (63 feet)! In this version of quoits, the top of the pin is level with the surface of the clay, and the pitchers use a second person called a "lighter" who helps direct where his player should pitch the quoit by placing a small piece of paper on the clay. Further information on versions of Quoits played in Great Britain can be found at the following website:
Page: Outdoor Quoits:
Page: Indoor Quoits
The Masters Games website at www.mastersgames.com publishes the following information about different versions of Quoits which are still played today in England, Scotland, and Wales. James Masters has provided the information below to The Quoit Pits website so it may be used to compare British versions of Quoits to those versions played here in the US. The Long Game described below is an especially impressive game to read about. This partial reprint features a section on the East Anglian Game, which basically is the Long Game with just a few differences in quoit size and rules.
Outdoor Quoits Played In Britain
Being 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
The 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
The 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 boards.
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.
The 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.
To 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 tactical advice.
The 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.
In 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
Within 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:
The 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.
The 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.
Once 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 33 points.
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