Teams can try and remove their opponent’s bowls from the pitch by knocking them out of the way, but always have to be careful not to knock off the bails from the stumps. No extra points are given for knocking a bowl over the boundary rope.
A familiar tactic is to roll a bowl just past the stumps – called a slip bowl – so that other bowls can then gently cannon off this bowl and land behind the stumps where they can’t be safely removed by the opposition. Teams are wise to this tactic and either block off the slip bowl with their own slip bowl or use the slip bowl to get their own bowl behind the stumps.
The other important rule is that the bowl must roll along the ground at all times after it has been delivered; no aerial bombardments are allowed as in petanque. The main reason for this is to prevent damage to the cricket pitch although the local spinners would welcome this extra wear on the surface. Any bowler disobeying this rule is given a warning and if they re-commit the same offence their team is penalized a point.
The Bangladeshi champions are the Rocketman, a team who used to work on the ferries in Bangladesh but now play Bocket full time in the Indian sub-continent. Their captain is Iqbal Qasim: “Yes, we went from Rockets to Bocket. We started to play Bocket while we were waiting for the ferries to fill up with people – not on a cricket pitch but just in the field by the jetty; we think we are good because we have a steady hand under pressure and don’t panic; we are also lucky because our third bowler Masood used to be a groundsman and so he can read the borrows and subtleties in the pitch before we start to play. It is not like a bowls green where the grass grows in one direction and everything is flat – cricket pitches have many undulations and cracks.”
Many cricket grounds are quite large and so 4 or 5 games of Bocket can take place concurrently, which means that most Bocket championships can be completed in just one weekend. The Third Man is responsible for ensuring that no bowls from one game interfere with any of the other games taking place. Another official, called the Silly Point, does help the Third Man by indicating bowls that could cause problems for other matches.