Toad in the hole (game)

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Toad in the hole is a pub game, involving throwing brass coins at a lead topped table with a hole in the middle. A variation of this game has been played in pubs in East Sussex, UK, the 'hole' being in the centre of the lead which is on top of a wooden table. Toad in the hole is a more refined version of the coin-throwing game Pitch penny.

The only known league in the country is based in East Sussex, and has three divisions, involving roughly 21 teams based in pubs around the county. There is also a major "International Competition", run by Lewes Lions Club and held in Lewes every year.

The game itself involves throwing four brass coins or "toads" from the same distance as a dart board, to a square toad table, made of wooden legs and with a lead surface. If a toad goes down the hole it scores 2 points, or if it lands on the top it scores 1. If it hits the back of the table, or falls off it is void, so a grand total of 8 points per turn can be scored. Scoring is performed in darts fashion, playing from 31 down. The first competitor throws 2 toads, with their opponent then throwing 3, and from then on they throw all 4, until they reach scores of less than four, wherein only the number of toads equal to the required finishing score may be thrown. Like darts you must finish exactly - scoring more causes you to "bust".

For the last two years the Laughing Fish have won the league, but the game is getting a lot more competitive with teams trying ever harder to improve. Pubs outside the county are also trying to compete, with The Woolpack, Burgess Hill aiming to compete in the near future.

International Competition winners[edit]

  • 1995 Lewes Arms [1]
  • 1996 Lewes Arms
  • 1997 Brack Mount
  • 1998 Lewes Arms
  • 1999 Lewes Working Men's Club
  • 2000 CSBS
  • 2001 Lewes Arms
  • 2002 Swan Cygnets
  • 2003 The Laughing Fish
  • 2004 The Laughing Fish
  • 2005 The Laughing Fish
  • 2006 Old Azurians
  • 2007 Kings Head
  • 2008 The Laughing Fish
  • 2009 The Laughing Fish
  • 2010 DCC
  • 2011 DCC
  • 2012 The Chalk Pit
  • 2013 Old Azurians

The official rules of toads as used at the International Competition[edit]

Throw Scoring: Toad into the hole is 2 points and cleanly on the table without hitting the back is 1 point.

Game Scoring: Starts at 31 for each game and decreases by points scored until 0 is reached. The first team to 0 wins the game.

Starting a Match: A coin may be tossed to see which of the teams is to start the first game.

Starting a Game: At the start of each game the first player in each team uses 2 toads, the next player uses 3 toads, and the next player and those thereafter use 4 toads.

Ending a Game: Where a score of less than 4 is needed to finish a game, then only that number of toads may be used, i.e.; if there are only three points left, the thrower may only play three toads.

Matches: Best of 3 games (5 in the final) but, if a team wins the first 2 games (3 in the final out of 3 or 4), then the match ends.

Abroad[edit]

Variants of this game are played both wider afield in Europe, for example Spain where it is known as juego de la rana, the Basque Country where it is known as igel jokoa or the jeu de la grenouille in France. Outside Europe, it is widely played in South America where it is variously known as juego de la rana in Chile, juego de sapo in Peru and Argentina, tiro al sapo in Bolivia or just rana in Colombia.

References[edit]

  • Finn, Timothy: Pub Games of England (Oleander Press)

External links[edit]