Dealing with a forgotten boule

What do you do when one team forgets that it has an unplayed boule?

There are a lot of boules on the ground. Your team (team A) has the point and unplayed boules. You ask the opponents (Team B) if they have any more boules to play. They look around, don’t see any, and say “No, we’re out.” So your team plays a boule. Then one of the opponents says “Ooops! I made a mistake. Bob still has one boule left!”

What should you do?

The FIPJP rules say that a team should play the next boule when the opposing team has the point or is out of boules. Regardless of why Team B refused to play its last unplayed boule, it broke this rule. Allowing Team B to throw its forgotten boule would actually reward Team B for breaking the rules— it would take the boule advantage away from Team A and give it to Team B. Team B therefore may NOT play their forgotten boule. In short, the fogotten boule is dead.

Note that the situation would be different if Team A hadn’t asked if Team B had any unplayed boules. In such a situation, it is the responsibility of the team about to throw to perform due diligence to verify that they have the point or that the opposing team is out of boules. If Team A hadn’t done its due diligence, then Team A’s boule truly would have been thrown out of turn.

Players who have a different opinion about how to handle “forgotten boules” often fail to distinguish between cases in which Team A has and has not done its due diligence. If they were careful to do that, we believe that they would agree that Team B is at fault and the forgotten boule should be declared dead.

1 thought on “Dealing with a forgotten boule

  1. One alternative suggestion: In this case both teams made the mistake of not knowing who should throw next and therefore neither team should benefit (or be penalized). The thrown ball should not be dead, the remaining unthrown opponent boules should likewise not be dead.

    It’s difficult to codify in terms of a rule though. The standing rule brings up an unlikely possibility that if a team throws and does not realize that they have the point and throws again the opponents could call the second ball out of play and dead. Most likely all of these situations indicate it is a recreational game and both teams should laugh it off, have another glass of wine.

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