Cross Wiring Your Opponent
Various, October 2004
This article is taken from a series of postings to the Nottingham mailing list in October 2004, and have been edited and reformatted for clarity.
Richard Dickson Asked
Anybody got any tips for cross-wiring?
The following replies are available below.
- David Kibble, with a general explanation about cross-wiring your opponent
- Samir Patel, with a walk-though a tea-lady leave in a handicap game
- Robert Fulford, explaining an alternative to the traditional cross-wire for the top A-Class player.
General Explanation About Cross-Wiring Your Opponent
By Dave Kibble
Arrange to run your last hoop before the cross-wire off an opponent's ball.
Before going to your final hoop, leave opponent's other ball roughly in the position you want to leave it and your partner ball 1-2 feet away in the direction you want to rush away from the cross-wire. Approach your final hoop with a rush back to the cross-wire location.
Here you have an alternative:
- (I prefer) rush almost onto the line of the cross-wire on the same side of the hoop as the other balls and about 2-4 feet beyond the balls away from the hoop. Then croquet to the wired position on the far side of the hoop (make sure you have been over there, know where it is and have carefully lined the balls up to get there) and, crucially, get a rush along the wiring line towards the hoop on the other ball.
Remember that the croquet stroke could go anywhere, and you might have not been able to get it to the wired spot anyway because of things being in the way - now you are in a position to cut-rush the other opponent's ball to a wired position - which shouldn't be more than a few inches away. Look carefully at the positions of the balls you are trying to cross-wire and, look for the perfect spot for the final croquet on the opponent's ball - ideally you don't move it at all, but you might have to. Now think of the spot to move it to more as a region and work out the line the ball could follow that would give the best chance of a cross-wire if it goes too far, too short or just right. This is especially important if you are trying to not move the ball much - fine take-offs can have a nasty habit of moving the ball an inch or two! (and too fine is end of turn, doh!) Always make sure that the ball's travel distance is not really critical.
In the croquet stroke, get your rush on your partner ball - the reason for placing it where you did is to reduce the chance of striker's ball crashing into one of your nicely cross-wired balls! If there is any chance of that still, rush in a different direction and play a roll afterwards. Also think about backswing for playing the rush - you don't want to be hampered by the ball.
- After your final hoop, rush to the cross-wired position immediately, take-off to the far opponent's ball, again arranging a rush on the cross-wire line to simplify the cut-rush to perfect cross-wire position. The rest is the same.
Why do I prefer option 1? Well, rushing to the cross-wired position isn't easy so the croquet stroke to position that ball and get a rush along the cross-wire line-to-be is a wider angle and therefore more difficult to judge than the croquet stroke from the other side of the hoop. I accept the risk of rushing to a position where everything is in the way of croqueting to cross-wired position, but haven't had a difficult rush left yet.
If you might not get the cross-wire, get your rush to the next hoop, or a defensive corner - you might get lucky and then you have a compromise rush and roll, otherwise, you risk becoming a sitting duck!
I also use a bit of subtlety if the court is less than evenly paced - try and find two cross-wired spots that are within evenly paced areas - i.e. on a fast court, look for two cross-wired lush areas.
Now for the obvious (that often gets missed): The more vertical about the hoop the wiring line is, the less critical the ball positions are to get the wired position - so it's worth going vertical unless you are leaving a ball on the playing side of its hoop! Also, if one of the balls is close to the hoop, running the hoop could yield a roquet, even though it's not the right hoop.
Think also about the orientation of a diagonal cross-wire with respect to where you want to rush to afterwards - one way the hoop is in your backswing for the final rush, the other you are completely clear of the hoop.
Finally, if you are cross-wiring someone really good (top 5-10?) they are probably OK at jumping hoops whilst staying online so you need one of the balls to be within a foot of the hoop to prevent this.
Tea-Lady Leave in a Handicap Game
By Samir Patel
This is probably easier to explain by way of example. Let's assume you're taking a break through to the peg, and wish to cross-wire the opponent around hoop 1, and then disappear somewhere - ideally near corner 3. (Something that should be seen in handicap play more often than it is).
- First, you want to arrange things so that you are making Rover off an oppo. ball. Partner can be pivot or the Penult pioneer.
- After Penult, send one oppo. ball and partner down to hoop 1 while approaching your pioneer at Rover. (If you want to be really neat, put one of these balls in the region of hoop 1 after 4-back, and then rush from Penult to hoop 1. You can now position the balls as you want them, and take off to the Rover pioneer.)
- Partner should be a couple of yards NE of hoop 1 (further if you're happy with a longer rush to corner 3). This will make positioning the final ball easier, and also keep everything out of your backswing for the rush to corner 3. The oppo. ball is ideally placed NW or SE of the hoop, I guess about a yard would be ideal, but try to avoid getting it too close to the hoop. You'll have another rush and a croquet stroke to position it again, so it's not too critical, but you don't want to have to move it far.
- I've made an assumption that you want to wire these balls NW/SE of hoop 1. This reduces the risk of giving a wiring lift (always likely if you wire NE/SW. Wiring E-W is harder since the hoop is smaller. N/S gives the risk of oppo. running the hoop to hit. (Or just running the hoop if they're for hoop 1).
- From Rover, get a rush towards hoop 1.
- You now have two options -
- Rush to close to the wired spot. Take-off, positioning this ball and getting a rush on the other oppo. ball towards the hoop.
- Rush behind the other oppo. ball. Stop-shot the ball into almost wired position, while maintaining a rush towards the hoop.
- You should now have a short rush on the oppo. ball towards hoop 1, with the other oppo. ball on the far side of the hoop. They shouldn't be far off wired.
- Play a little rush - maybe a cut rush - to move the remaining oppo. ball to find the wired spot. If all has gone well, you'll only be trying to move this ball a few inches. If the balls were already wired you're playing this rush a few inches straight towards the hoop. (Some players prefer to be rushing away from the hoop; this gives you the option of rushing to a wider range of places - including the other side of the lawn if it's going very wrong. However, I prefer to be able to see all the balls relevant to the cross-wiring when playing the rush.)
- If oppo. is now wired, play a little take off to partner. This take-off is at (almost) 90 degrees to the wiring so there is little risk of destroying it. (Hence the spot for partner ball some time ago). Just don't be greedy and try to take off any further than necessary, else you risk moving oppo. out of wired position.
- If they are not wired, you'll have to play a small croquet stroke to move the ball the last inch to make sure of the wiring. (In this case, the fact that partner is only a couple of yards away means that you don't have to do anything difficult - just position the ball and then rush partner as well as you can.
- Rush partner as close as you can to wherever you want to join up (near corner 3), and then roll the rest of the way and leave the rush you want.
- Finally, make sure you're not leaving a wiring lift!
A Few Other Pointers...
If one ball is close to the hoop, the possible positions for the other ball are huge.
However, too close to the hoop and an inch or two out of position can move the wired area by several yards. Too close and you'll also probably leave a small slice of ball showing.
Against the best players, at least one ball needs to be within a couple of feet of the hoop to stop them jumping the hoop to hit.
An Alternative to the Traditional Cross-Wire
By Robert Fulford
When not conceding a lift, I like leaves with my balls in a corner cross-wired from one opponent just the other side of that corner hoop, with the other near the diagonally-opposite corner. To be honest, this sort of leave isn't that useful to players outside the world top-100 because the ball just the other side of the hoop can simply corner, but players inside that group don't use this enough. It can be a great defensive leave if the opponent wants to play one particular ball as you can leave them only a long shot at partner where if they hit they are then faced with a corner to opposite corner take off and if they make that all they then have is a rush into court with a couple of balls very close to corners.
e.g. say you are going to peg from Penult with partner on 4-b versus 1 and 4-back, lay up with the opponent's hoop 1 ball just SW of 4-b, his 4-b ball near corner 1 and your own balls wired from the hoop 1 ball near corner 3 with a tight rush to 4-b. For someone with a grade of 2500 in easy conditions, this is a better leave than a tight cross-wire of the opponents at 4-b because it is much harder for the hoop 1 ball to get going if it hits and finishing is still relatively easy if they miss or corner.
The other advantage of this sort of leave is that it is significantly easier to make than a tight cross-wire of the opponents. It is relatively easy to throw together starting from a position with partner near a corner hoop.
Suppose the opponent sticks in 1-b on a four-ball break off your 4-b ball, with your partner at 2-b for hoop 1. If you are in the world top 100 and you don't fancy hitting in with your hoop 1 ball what do you do? I suggest the following. Hit the ball out of the hoop and then send it to near corner 3 trying to obtain a rush on the ball in the middle to 1. If you don't get a rush it hasn't done the leave any great harm by sending the first ball to corner 3. If you do get a rush, you play to leave that ball just NE of 1 (anywhere from NW to SE is all right), making sure it is not hampered or wired on its partner and get a rush on your partner to the boundary where you expect the wire will be. If the hoop is jumpable make sure you don't leave a double.
Sometimes you will end up putting the ball near the hoop hampered or wired on partner or far enough away from the hoop that getting the wire doesn't look promising. In this case, you will have little option but to roll over to another corner and the leave is likely to be pretty poor. The more you try to make these cross-wires the less often you will do this, so they are worth persevering with.