Benicia Bocce League Rules and Regulations

The Benicia Bocce League (BBL) play is intended for the leisure and enjoyment of both players and spectators. The following rules are intended to enhance the game of bocce to further that enjoyment. The game of “Open Bocce” is played with the following rules.

Revision #5 (11/18/2019)

  1. Introduction

  1. The game is played with eight large bocce balls of contrasting colors and one small target ball called the palino (white)
  2. The object of the game is to roll the ball closest to the palino.
  3. A playing team consists of four players, with two balls per person.
  4. Opposing teams have up to two players on each end of the bocce court, and are permanently stationed at their designated side for each game.
  5. Games are played to twelve points and must be won by two points.
  6. Only composition balls accepted by the BBL are permitted for league play.
  1. Match Play

  1. Matches consist of three games
  2. All 3 Games will be played to a minimum of 12 points.
  3. To start early, both capos must agree.
  4. The match shall begin with the flip of a coin between the capos from each team.
  5. The winner may either have the first toss of the palino or choose the color of balls.
  6. Teams must play on the assigned courts.
  1. Playing the Game

  1. A player may toss the palino any distance so long as the palino passes the center line of the court and does not hit the back wall.
  2. If a player fails to validly toss the palino after one attempt, the opposing team will have one chance to toss the palino and put it in play.
  3. If the opposing team fails to properly toss the palino, the throw reverts to the original team.
  4. The teams take turns tossing the palino until it has been successfully put in play.
  5. The team member who originally tossed the palino, whether successfully or not, throws the first bocce ball.
  6. If the bocce ball hits the backboard, the ball is removed (and that team must roll again).
  7. If the ball is thrown successfully, the player steps aside and their team will not roll again until the opposing team has either:
  1. rolled a ball closer to the palino,
  2. or has thrown all of their balls.
  1. The team whose ball is closest to the palino is called “inside” and the opposing team “outside”.
  2. This continues until both teams have used all of their balls.
  3. The team that scores throws the palino to begin the next frame.
  4. If a player rolls the wrong colored ball, replace that ball with the correct color when the ball comes to rest.
  5. If a player rolls out of turn, the opposing team may:
  1. leave everything, including the thrown ball exactly where it is, or
  2. may return any moved balls to their approximate original positions and remove the thrown ball from play.
  1. If a ball is moved before all eight balls are played, the opposing team replaces the ball to the approximate original position. This is to be done in the spirit of good sportsmanship.
  2. Players should never touch or move any ball or the palino until the frame has ended. If a player moves a ball prior to the end of a frame (thinking play is over) and the balls cannot be accurately relocated to their positions, all remaining non-thrown balls of the non-offending team are counted as points. If the offense is committed by the playing team, all non-thrown balls of that team are voided and the frame is over.
  3. The team winning the previous game will toss the palino to start the next game.
  4. No practice between games.
  5. During game play, a player cannot carry their bocce balls beyond the foul line.
  6. Bocce balls may not be removed from the court, except to be set aside when the ball hits the backboard.
  7. A burned ball is a ball removed from the round that would have been otherwise thrown.
  8. Pace of play rule. Limit 1 minute per shot. After two warnings, every infraction shall result in a burned ball. The purpose of this rule is to promote good sportsmanship.
  1. Palino

  1. Once the palino has been validly put into play, it remains in play even if it hits the backboard.
  2. If the palino is knocked out of the court or knocked in front of the center line, the frame will end and NO points are awarded. The game will resume from the opposite end of the court with the same team tossing the palino.
  1. No volo throwing

  1. Volo” throwing is lofting the ball in the air beyond the center of the court.
  2. If the ball does not hit the ground before the centerline:
  1. everything goes back to its approximate original position,
  2. the thrown ball is out of play.
  1. In all shots, the played ball must hit the ground before striking any other ball.
  1. Dead Ball

  1. Should the bocce ball (other than the palino) make contact with the backboard, the bocce ball is considered a dead ball on impact and is removed from play until the end of the frame.
  2. If after a valid play, only the palino remains on the court, the team that last rolled must roll again until a ball remains in play or that team is out of balls.
  3. If the thrown ball comes to rest on the palino or another ball that is touching the back wall:
  1. the thrown ball remains in play,
  2. the ball touching the back wall is removed from play.
  1. If the palino is touching the back wall, it remains in play.
  2. If a bocce ball hits the backboard and then strikes a stationary bocce ball:
  1. that stationary bocce ball shall be replaced in its approximate original position,
  2. the thrown ball is removed from play.
  1. If a bocce ball hits the backboard and is not removed quickly enough, and, as a result, strikes a moving ball that likely would have hit the backboard, allowing the moving ball to remain in play, that moving ball remains in play where it comes to rest.
  2. Balls that exit the court following a regular play and hit an outside obstacle are considered dead ball even if they return onto the court.
  1. Foul Line

  1. Player’s movements are limited to the foul line.
  2. The player may step on but not step over the foul line when releasing the palino or bocce balls.
  3. Any part of the foot touching the throw line is considered a legal roll.
  4. If a player commits a foot foul, a warning is issued for the first offense during a game. Should the same player foul again, the thrown ball is removed from play and all struck balls returned to their approximate original positions. If the intent of the foot foul rule is abused, the offending player may be removed from the game by a Board Member of the Benicia Bocce League.
  5. When a player releases the palino or bocce, both feet must be in the court unless that player has significant physical impairment.
  1. Disputes

  1. The teams playing will referee their own game.
  2. Any dispute (measurement, rule clarification, etc.) which cannot be resolved by the team capos shall be decided by a neutral third party, agreed to by both capos.
  3. Upon his/her decision, the game shall continue.
  4. If a resolution still cannot be agreed upon by both capos, then the game can be played under protest. See section 11.
  1. Scoring

  1. Only the “inside” team scores.
  2. One point is given for each ball of the inside team that is closer to the palino than any ball of the opposing team.
  3. If at the end of any frame the closest ball of each team is equidistant from the palino:
  1. the frame ends in a tie,
  2. no points are awarded to either team,
  3. the game will resume from the opposite end of the court with the same team tossing the palino.
  1. Capos of each team are responsible for:
  1. keeping the score sheet,
  2. and for reporting the results of the match by inserting the “Official Score Sheet” in the “Scoresheet Dropbox” inside of the shed.
  1. Measurements

  1. All measurements will be made from the inside dimension of the bocce ball to the inside dimension of the palino, rather than the middle of the palino.
  2. Do not move the balls.
  3. Only the capo and one representative from each of the opposing teams may be present during measurements.
  4. If both team capos agree on which team has the point(s) and it is later determined that a mistake has been made, all balls played are valid.
  5. If both teams have balls remaining, the team that does not have the closest ball to the palino rolls again.
  6. Once all balls have been played, points are awarded.
  7. Use of League provided Bocce Antennas will be allowed as long as both Capos approve. If both Capos do not approve the use of the Bocce Antennas, then the game will use the standard measuring tapes.
  1. Protest

  1. A protest will be considered valid only if:
  1. the opposing capo is notified at the time of the dispute (before the next frame begins) and,
  2. Both teams must complete the remaining games.
  1. All protests must be submitted in writing to the Benicia Bocce League within 72 hours of the disputed game.
  2. Decisions from the board will be final.
  1. Forfeits

  1. A team (minimum of two players) not present within certain amounts of time after the scheduled match start will forfeit games:
  1. 15 min. - Game 1
  2. 30 min. - Game 2
  3. 45 min. - Game 3
  1. If a team forfeits 20% of their games:
  1. they will be dropped from league play,
  2. the team capo will be notified by mail,
  3. and all games previously played will be removed from division scoring.
  4. there will be no refunds for teams removed due to excessive forfeits.
  1. Rescheduling Games

  1. Games may not be rescheduled unless both capos agree.
  2. If a team would like to reschedule a match, they must contact their opponent at least 72 hours before the start of their match. Any attempt to reschedule that is under the 72-hour mark, will not be allowed.
  3. All rescheduled games must be prearranged with the league’s scheduling coordinator no later than one week after the originally scheduled date. Rescheduled games must be arranged with the scheduling coordinator within one week of the game that was rescheduled.
  4. If the City of Benicia determines that games must be canceled due to rain or other circumstances, those games will be rescheduled at the convenience of the teams, and as directed by the scheduling coordinator.
  1. Players

  1. Players must act with an utmost sense of sportsmanship and fair play before, during, and after the game.
  2. Additions to team rosters may be made until the designated deadline.
  3. Completed rosters must contain names, addresses and phone numbers of all players.
  4. Official team rosters become final on the third week of play.
  5. You can replace player vacancies.
  6. Any changes must be submitted by the team capo in writing to the Benicia Bocce League to be valid.
  7. No more than twelve (12) people may be on a roster and no less than six (6).
  8. A person can only play on one team in the open league.
  9. A team forfeits any game in which they play a non-roster player.
  10. The opposing team may not waive non-roster player forfeits.
  11. If a team fields less than two players, the game is considered a forfeit.
  12. A two or three-member team may play throwing only two balls per player.
  13. A 3rd or 4th player arriving late may enter the game after the completion of the frame.
  14. There is no minimum age requirement, however:
  1. no more than half of the team may be under the age of 18,
  2. and at least one person in every game must be 18 years or older.
  1. Any number of substitutions may be made between games.
  2. A team may make up to two substitutions per game mid-game.
  3. A substitution may only be made between frames.
  4. No player may play two consecutive games from the same end of the court.
  5. Players need not alternate throws.
  6. Consecutive or alternating throws by teammates shall be at the option of the players.
  7. In the interest of safety and court maintenance, all participating players must wear flat-soled shoes.
  1. Court Maintenance

  1. The designated home team has the responsibility for maintaining the court prior to League Play competition.
  2. The home team capo is expected to assign players to groom the court.
  3. If necessary, a team capo may arrange to trade or otherwise modify its maintenance duties with the opposing team capo.
  4. Allow a minimum of 30 minutes to properly groom the court.
  5. Games start promptly at their designated times so consider adding 10 to 15 minutes of practice time when scheduling your home team for court maintenance.
  6. The following standards have been set by the BBL Board of Directors:
  1. Pick up any debris that may have blown onto the court and put it into one of the trash containers. Make sure you do not pick-up too much sand/oyster flour.
  2. Use the large broom to prepare the surface.
  3. Wet the court with a fine spray. Usually one pass is sufficient.
  4. Once the court has dried (about 10 minutes), roll the court using the large roller.
  5. Use the wooden wedge to enter the court with the roller. Enter from the sides and not the ends as the court may be damaged if you enter from the end.
  6. Return all of the grooming equipment to the shed and replace the equipment in its designated location.
  1. Entry Fee

  1. The required entry fee must accompany the completed team roster prior to the established registration deadline.
  2. A Team Waiver Form must be signed by each player and turned in by the designated date.
  1. Conduct and Courtesy see article 1 (unacceptable behavior and conduct contrary to the precepts of good sportsmanship)

  1. Team capos are responsible for the actions of their players.
  2. If a player is standing in the playing half of the court while the opposing team is rolling and the opposing team requests that the player step aside, that request will be honored.
  3. All bocce balls should remain on the court behind the throwing line and be visible to all players during the round.
  4. Only participating players will be allowed on the court while the game is in progress.
  5. Spectators are not allowed on the courts at any time during regulation play.
  6. Courtesy and respect should be displayed at all times.
  7. Profanity and unsportsmanlike conduct is not permitted.
  8. Violations may result in a warning by a BBL Director to the player and team capo.
  9. A severe violation or violation after warning may result in the player’s expulsion by the BBL Director from the game or match.
  10. All trash, pop tops, cigarette butts, food, etc., are to be discarded in the appropriate containers.
  11. Bicycle, skateboards, scooters and roller skates are prohibited on or around the courts.
  12. No dogs allowed per Civic Center Park rules and regulation (City Code 6.16.030).
  13. Beverages are not allowed at any time on playing surface.
  14. No smoking within fenced area of bocce courts.
  1. Scorekeeping

  1. In order for league standing to be posted and correct, official BBL Score Sheets must be submitted for each scheduled match immediately following the conclusion of the match.
  2. Completed score sheets are to be placed in the designated box provided at the storage shed.
  3. Each team Capo is responsible for submitting a score sheet after each match.
  4. The score sheet must be completely filled out and legible.
  5. You must include the date of play, the designated night of play, and the team name and team number.
  6. Both Capos must sign confirming the final score.
  7. It is not the Scheduling Coordinator’s job to fill in missing blanks, to phone for scores or track down missing score sheets.
  8. Although the Home team is responsible for submitting the completed (and signed) score sheet after each match, both teams’ Capos are ultimately responsible for missing score sheets.
  9. Penalties will be levied for incorrect or missing score sheets.
  10. The Score Sheets are located in the Bocce Shed.
  11. Incomplete Score Sheets may result in both teams losing one game (one game from the win column will be added to the loss column).
  12. Missing Score Sheets may result in both teams will having zero (0) games recorded for that day.
  13. If a team forfeits a match for any reason other than an official BBL cancellation:
  1. the “winning” team must still submit a score sheet for the forfeited night of play.
  2. The score should be recorded as 12-0 for each match in favor of the “winning” team
  3. the forfeiting team’s signature is not required in this instance.
  1. Score Sheets are picked up at least once a week. 
  2. League standings are compiled on the weekend and posted in the league showcase at the bocce courts on Monday.
  3. If you have any questions on how to keep score, or how to properly complete the score sheet, please ask for help. The Board of Directors are available to help and will assist you with any concerns. 
  1. Playoffs

  1. Currently, the top 4 teams from each division automatically advance to the playoffs.
  2. Standings are calculated using total number of games won and lost.
  3. Depending on league size, there may or may not be “Wild Card” teams that advance to the playoffs. These “Wild Card” teams will be selected based on total games won and lost.
  4. If two or more teams are tied at the end of the season, the following is used to break the tie.
  1. The team that won the most games in among the common matches (head-to-head) wins the tie.
  2. If the head-to-head records result in a tie, then a point differential is used.  A teams point differential is calculated by taking the total points scored (PS), and subtracting the total points allowed (PA) from all the teams’ games in the regular season.  The highest point differential wins the tie.
  3. If point differentials result in a tie, then only the points scored (PS) are used.  The team with the highest points scored wins the tie.
  4. If points scored result in a tie, then only points allowed are used.  The team with the least points allowed wins the tie.
  5. If a tie still remains, a coin-flip will determine who wins.

Article 1

Unacceptable Behavior and Conduct Contrary to the Precepts of Good Sportsmanship

Section 1. The following shall be deemed as examples of, but not an inclusive list of unacceptable behavior and conduct under this Code of Conduct:

  1. Behavior, including words and gestures that reasonably offends others such as repeated swearing or using of foul language or epithets, even if not directed at someone specific.
  2. Slow play that is drawing out a game to gain advantage or to tire or influence opponents.
  3. Stopping or moving a played ball or palino before both captains and/or the referee if one is designated, have agreed that the point(s) have been determined and the frame is completed. This includes kicking the balls or stopping balls or the palino as they approach close to the side boards or back boards but are not yet out of play.
  4. Players who agree among themselves contrary to the various regulations in force such as time of scheduled games, number of points for a game, time limits, etc.
  5. Cheating such as mismarking the position of balls, using tampered balls, recording invalid scores or changing valid scores.
  6. Players who protest to or argue with their opponents or with the referee (certified or not) instead of allowing the team captain to handle the matter.
  7. Team captains who argue instead of following the proper procedure for obtaining a ruling from a neutral third party.
  8. Players who leave the court without notifying the opposing captain.
  9. Players who arrange the results of a game or retire from competition without an acceptable excuse.
  10. Irregularly formed teams (teams formed with non-roster players) unless preapproved by the tournament director.
  11. Other inappropriate behavior deemed to be adverse to the spirit of this Code including but not limited to displays of poor sportsmanship such as defaulting a game without valid excuse, moving about or otherwise disturbing a player during his or her turn to play or insisting on nonexistent rules.
  12. With respect to members who are spectators including players who are not then playing, engaging in conduct that disturbs or disrupts the game in progress including yelling, shouting or making loud comments about the play or the decision of the referee.
  13. At the discretion of the Board, the person engaging in such inappropriate conduct may be given a warning, although a warning is not required, and subsequently may be expelled from the premises and a complaint may be made to the appropriate disciplinary committee.

Article 2

Disciplinary Committee and Investigation Procedure

Section 1. The president shall establish a disciplinary committee to investigate and deal with alleged violations of this Code.

Section 2. In conducting investigations, the committees shall provide the subjects of the alleged misconduct with a statement of allegations and an opportunity to appear and be heard, to present witnesses, written statements and any other evidence relevant to the case.

Section 3. Complaints of misconduct must be written, signed by the complainer and at least two (2) persons designated as witnesses. The complaint shall be submitted to the president who reviews it for probable cause. In so doing, the sector president may speak to witnesses and parties involved, and thereafter dismiss it or if the complaint has merit submit it to the disciplinary committee which shall conduct an investigation to determine whether or not there has been a violation of this Code.

Section 4. If the disciplinary committee finds a violation, it shall recommend a penalty and forward the recommendation and record of the investigation to the entire Board which shall review the recommendation and approve or modify it, or reject it and dismiss the underlying complaint. Such action shall be final.

Section 5. If the penalty recommendation is suspension or termination of membership, the matter shall be referred to the board of for action under the Bylaws.

Article 3

Penalties for Violations

Section 1. The disciplinary committee may summarily penalize an offending player, team manager or coach, or spectator as the case maybe by one or more of the following actions:

  1. Giving a warning to the offending person (player, manager, coach, entire team or spectator).
  2. Voiding one or more balls.
  3. Permitting the aggrieved team to re-play one or more balls.
  4. Temporarily stopping the game
  5. Excluding the offending player(s) and their balls from the remainder of the game or match
  6. Declaring the game or match forfeited by the offending team.
  7. Dismissing the player, team manager, coach, entire team or spectator from the game, match or league.

Section 2. Disciplinary committees may impose the following penalties:

  1. a warning: verbal or written
  2. a public letter of reprimand
  3. and/or in addition to the foregoing, probation, suspension, or expulsion from the league.
  4. In addition, the committee may impose any other penalty it deems appropriate in the circumstances.