1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Quoits

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QUOITS (O. Fr. coiter, quoiter, to incite), a pastime resembling the ancient discus-throwing which formed one of the five games of the Greek pentathlon (see DISCUS), the two main differences between the ancient and modern sports being that the quoit is ring-shaped (one surface being rounded, the other—the back—being flat) and is lighter than the discus, and its throwing is a test rather of accuracy than strength. Few traces of a game resembling quoits can be found on the continent of Europe, and its origin may be sought for on the borderland of Scotland and England. There are references to it in the Midlands dating from the beginning of the 15th century, and it was one of the games prohibited in the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II. in favor of archery. Ascham, in his Toxophilus (1545), says that "quoiting be too vile for scholars," and in old times it was chiefly played by the working classes, who often used horseshoes for want of quoits, a custom still prevailing in country districts. According to the modern rules, slightly modified from the code drawn up in 1869, two iron or steel pins 18 yds. apart are driven into the ground, leaving 1 in. exposed. Each is situated in the centre of an "end," a circle of stiff clay 3 ft. in diameter. The quoits, made of iron, may be of any weight, but are usually about 9 lb. each. They must not exceed 8½ in. in diameter, or be less than 3½ in. in the bore, or more than 2¼ in. in the web. When delivering his quoit a player must stand within 4 ft. 6 in. of the centre of the end and at its side. Matches are played between teams or individuals, the object of the game being to throw the quoit as near to the pin as possible, a "ringer," i.e. a quoit actually surrounding the pin, counting two, and a quoit nearer to the pin than any of the adversary's, counting one. A match may be for any number of points, the team or player scoring that number first being the winner. In championship matches all quoits farther than 18 in. from the end, are foul and removed. All measurements are made from the middle of the pin to the nearest edge of the quoit. If one or more quoits are lapped, the one most accessible is first measured and withdrawn. All quoits on their backs are a foul. The general principle of curling, to drive the opponents' quoits away from the pin and place one's own near or on it, is followed.

Scotland, Lancashire and the Midlands are the principal centres of quoiting in Great Britain. In Scotland the game is patronized by the Curling Clubs, and this is also the case in the United States and Canada. Billy Hodson was champion of Great Britain in the middle of the 19th century, and his trip to America in the early 'sixties is of historical interest, as it resulted in two contests for the championship of the world with James McLaren of Newark, N. J., a native of Scotland, who was champion of America. One hard-fought match was won by each, the deciding one remaining unplayed. The championship of America is rewarded by the "Bell Medal," presented by the Grand National Curling Club of America.