Opens - Thursday
Been really wet here, some flooding both last night and this morning. Play eventually started on some of the lawns by 10.30 am and all were in use within the next hour. Any chance of fast conditions for the final stages have bitten the dust.
24 players made the knockout stage and today's plan is to get to the quarterfinal stage by the end of play.
One of the first matches to start was Stephen Mulliner versus Robert Fulford. Mulliner took the second game to equalise, having hit a 30 yard last shot to save it. Stephen then established a 3 ball break third turn of the third game but missed a hampered stroke after 3 and Fulford finished sixth turn with a sextuple.
Pete Trimmer and James Death met on a heavy and hilly lawn 3. After 4 turns there were only 2 balls left on the lawn, Pete having gone round third turn and James having TPOed and pegged two balls off. The two game was fairly scrappy with Pete winning by 7 with James's best chance to get a 2 ball break being approaching 1b from the boundary straight in front, but he overapproached. In the second James failed 1 third turn allowing Pete to go round, but then after James missed the lift Pete took off off the lawn.
James went to 4b having given up on a 1b leave when the cross wire failed.
Pete hit the lift and finished.
Chris Clarke met Mark Avery. Mark looked to have the first game in the bag but with all the peels done, though with the peelee in a slightly awkward position just through rover, missed a 3 yard rush out of 4b and the game went to Chris. Chris had the first ball round in game 2 but Mark hit the lift and won in two turns.
Chris was first to take croquet in game 3 on turn 6 after a Duffer tice opening where Mark had shot through the Duffer from corner 3 on turn 3.
Chris failed to approach 2 with a backward take off from the north boundary.
Mark took a 30 yarder at partner ball which left Chris a 17 yarder. Chris shot and immediately reacted like he thought he'd struck the shot really poorly but hit! With hindsight Mark the previous turn could have taken a six yarder at Chris's ball on a boundary that would have allowed him to either significantly lengthen Chris's shot or have a go at rolling to 1 from 20 yards. Chris went round laying up on the west boundary and Mark missed through into C2. Chris finished having got going approaching 2 with a drive sending a ball to 4.
Reg Bamford looked likely to win in perfect fashion against Canada's Leo McBride with a fifth turn QP followed by a sextuple but just clipped the peelee jumping over it after his stright rover peel. Leo rather forgetting himself raised his arms and cheered! Reg pegged out 1 ball. Leo obtained a 3 ball break and with all 3 balls round rover decided to leave Reg's ball just south of rover wired from the peg and layed up in C2 with a rush to 1. Reg from a couple of feet shot through hoop 5 and hit the peg!
Keith Aiton was the first seed to fall against Tony Le Moignan on the easiest lawn, lawn 10. The first 2 games were error free 17TP to Tony then 26TP to Keith. In the third Keith hit the lift and TPOed Tony leaving one ball in C2 and the other on the east boundary. Tony rolled to corner 2 putting the other ball between 1 and 2, attempted to take off to 1 from C2 and ended up taking position. Keith cornered the ball in the middle into C4.
Tony ran 1 to the N boundary, hit the ball in corner 2, rolled up to 2 and just made it. Tony hit the subsequent hampered stroke, rolled off 3, got a rush he took to hoop 5, took off in front of 4, ran it and hit the ball in
C4 and that was that.
Arguably an equal shock was Phil Cordingley, ranked 150 in the world, beating Ian Lines ranked 10. This probably says more about how Phil's ranking has suffered while he has been doing lots of sterling work for the CA than anything else. The match was scrappy though considering it was on the very easy lawn 9 and I'm not betting on Phil to get much further.
Marcus Evans who was a surprise choice as seed was drawn to play Matt Burrow. Matt won the first 26TP. In the second Matt had the equalising break to 4back and made an NSL. Marcus shot with his hoop1 ball at partner which he could hit directly or off hoop4 and hit them simultaneously. He didn't get in position to start his own triple, but opted to TPO Matt's ball instead. Eventually Marcus won +10.
Marcus had the first break in game 3, but made a hash of the leave. Matt missed a double down the East boundary into C4. Marcus, who had a partial rush to C4, ended up taking off to 1 from about 15 yards. He ran hoop 1 so his shortest shot on any ball was about 10 yards, and opted instead to take his 25 yarder at partner in C4 which he hit and finished.
Ed Duckworth started off playing David Harrison-Wood on lawn 11. Despite being next door to the match, I didn't watch any of it, and Ed's gone now, so I don't really know what happened. Ed won comfortably and quickly.
Ed then went on to play Pete and demolished him +26TP, +26TP, no croquet. He plays Reg next.
After a scrappy +15, +12TPO win in heavy rain against Jenny Williams, David Goacher played Chris Clarke in the second round. Chris had the first ball around. David then took 9 minutes to miss his lift. Afterwards Chris played a bad touch shot and missed his subsequent 7 yarder. Goacher went around, but Chris hit the lift and finished. Chris won the next +26TP after David missed a short roquet early on.
It's 7.15, the only main event game in progress is Maugham against Cordingley which has just started. Phil's had a ball to 4back and Dave has just failed hoop 2 off the 4back ball.
I might not be doing this tomorrow, but hopefully someone will be.