David Maugham won the Eastern Championship
|*Ian Burridge||Steve Woolnough|
This year's Easterns was held at Colchester where the lawns were easy paced, but suffered from bobbly patches, particularly on 1 and 2. There was a small yet exclusive entry of 11 and best-of-5s were played from the quarters.
There were no surprises in the early rounds with Fulford beating French, Rutger beating Farthing and Brown beating Ailsa all in straight games. Indeed, the quarters were also fairly one-sided with straight game wins to Fulford over Wicks, Patel over Woolnough and Aiton over Brown. Maugham beat Rutger 3-1 in the other quarter.
The swiss provided many interesting turns, the best of which was a sextuple from Fulford which almost had all the peels done before 2-back. Wicks also had an excellent turn with a qpo and pop to 2 against French. Unfortunately it soon turned into an oqp as French hit a 30-yarder and finished. The swiss turned into a knockout on Sunday where Ailsa beat Brown +17 in a good quality final to gain revenge for her first round defeat.
The semis and final game reports follow.
Aiton vs Maugham
6th turn 26tp to Dave
5th turn 26tp to Dave
- Keith to 4-b 5th turn with a sub-optimal spread
- Dave hit and failed hoop 1
- Keith missed from 2 to 1
- Dave tpo'ed and had 2 balls off 1v1
- On turn 14, Dave had a break from 2 to 2-b
- On turn 56 Dave won +4
Fulford vs Patel
- Fulford to 4-b 3rd turn with defensive spread
- Patel centre balls long lift, but plays good croquet stroke and goes to 4-b with 1 pop and a spread with 4-b ball at peg not rushing to 2
- Fulford misses long lift with hoop 2 ball
- 6th turn Patel fails hoop 3 off 4-b ball
- 7th turn Fulford leave
- 8th turn Patel misses
- 9th turn Fulford finishes +15tp
- 3rd turn Patel to 4-b with aggressive leave
- 4th turn hit and tpo. Balls in C2 and 8 yards S of C3
- 5th turn Patel takes croquet from ball in c2 and rolls it towards hoop 1 going off by the peg ball
- 6th turn leave with Patel near C4 and Rob in C2 and 4 yards South of c2
- 7th turn Patel to 6 yards S of c3
- 8th turn Fulford makes 1 and 2 off partner, but hampered after 2 and retires to c2.
- 9th turn Patel misses peg ball
- 10th turn Fulford hits 7 yarder and finishes +13tpo
- 3rd turn Fulford to 4-b with defensive spread (approached 1 from between 4 and 5)
- 4th turn Patel misses long lift
- 5th turn fails hoop 3
- 6th turn fails hoop 1
- 7th turn Fulford hits 10 yarder and finishes +26tp
Final: Fulford (F) vs Maugham (M)
- M supershot
- F just S of c2
- to 4-b with aggressive leave
- miss from b-baulk
- M finishes +26tp
- F supershot
- M hits - defensive 2/4 leave
- R hits ball near c2 from b, takes off to other ball hitting hoop 4 and misses 8 yarder not leaving double
- M hits ball near c2, takes off to ball near c4, hits 7 yarder to 4-b with MSL
- Lifts ball at 4 misses long lift
- Cross wires himself from ball at 2 after 1, tries to scatter partner at 3 and leaves single ball target.
- Hits 13 yarder rushing it near other ball. Fails to get rush to 1, fails to approach hoop 1 from near c4. Fails 6 yard 40 degree hoop.
- Hits 20 yarder from 4 to 3, fails hoop 4 with peelee jawsed
- To 4-b popping to hoop 6. Fails NSL, leaving ball at 4 (4-b ball) mostly open and lays up tight in c4
- Hits ball near c4 and finishes +17tp, peeling 4-b before 3-b and having straight double.
- M Supershot (14 yards narrowish)
- F lags 15 yards 5 yards East of ss ball
- hits ss ball, rushes other ball into hoop 5. Fails to take off to 1. Goes to c4
- Hits 11 yarder at ball at 5. Goes to 1-b
- Fails hoop 3 with 1 peel done
- M to 4-bwith MSL, 2-b ball in front of hoop 2
- F lifts backward ball, hits long lift. Tries take-off peel of 4-b after hoop 3, going to partner in hoop 2. Peel ends up on right wire, and he goes 4 yards past partner and misses the sixth of a ball he can see, hitting hoop and finishing 4 yards sourth of it
- Hits 17 yarder from near 4 to ball s of 2. Fails to rush ball in 2 more than 4 yards towards 1, rolls down to 1 and fails a 3 yard 20 degree hoop.
- F hits 6 yarder with 2-b ball. Fails 2-b
- M hits 18 yarder at balls at 1 and finishes +16tp
So the number 6 seed at the Opens won his 7th Easterns. Even more astonishing was that he attempted zero sextuples. In fact, Fulford has lost 3 matches 3-0 this year to people who have attempted zero sextuples despite only losing 3 matches 3-0 in the previous 18 years. The only finals he has won are those against opponents who have attempted sextuples or sextuple leaves.
Clearly Dave did what he does best and shot very well, but it was a poor performance from Fulford whose shooting even at short range has been suspect for the last couple of months. The top players have exchanged matches this year and the world ranking seem to be in a constant state of flux. Will Fulford and Bamford be able to regain their place as 1 and 2 in time to guarantee being in separate halves of the worlds? Tune in to the Northerns for the next instalment.
Keith Aiton adds: It might entertain some of you if I gave you the blow-by-blow account of my third game with Beastie at the Easterns. It was certainly fun to play, with plenty of ebbing and flowing, good play and crass errors, and probably also some tactical points.
By way of background I had already lost the first two games and out of my four attempted roquets not one had felt good (or come close to hitting).
In the third game I played U and K and went first:
- U supershot
- Y peg high on E boundary
- K misses Y from 4 yards W of III going 6 yards S (0 hits and 5 misses)
- R misses double target from B baulk going to IV
- K snicks Y and goes to 4-back, nice turn, well controlled until trying to move the ball at the peg, Y, a couple of inches for the leave it jerked sideways out of a hole and sat on the peg but too far S so that I had to lay up on the E boundary further S than I would have liked in order to avoid giving a clear shot for Y at U and K.
- R hit short shot at K from A baulk, failed hoop 1 leaving a shot for U at Y from 3 yards S of 2 to 3 yards N of 1
- U misses Y (another corkingly bad swing! 0-6)
- TPO of K by R - both balls pegged out - Y left on E boundary so that 4 blocks approach to 1
- U approaches 1 sending Y 2 yards NW of 2, fails 3 yard slightly angled hoop with wild thrash ending up almost off the E boundary where it had just approached from!
- Y goes to S boundary in front of 1
- U misses Y (0-7)
- Y approaches 1 sending U 3 yards S of 2, runs 1 hard to N boundary, misses U to S boundary 4 yards E of I
- U misses Y (0-8)
- Y rolls off 2 and takes 2-ball break to 2-back, does not attempt 3 yard straight hoop, and, mindful of the lift, goes to E boundary, maximum length position.
- U takes lift from III, misses Y - much better shot, dead on until it jumped sideways at the last second, ended up in IV (0-9, but cause for hope!)
- Y to W boundary 10 yards N of I
- U to 3 yards E of 5, intending to "menace" Y but hit a bit too hard and gave opportunity for wired approach to 2-back
- Y attempts position at 2-back wired from U but gets a hint of hill and leaves technically wired but perfectly hittable shot
- U misses Y to W boundary (sigh, 0-10)
- Y hits U, makes 2-back and 3-back, has to roll up to 4-back (I think), attempts hoop and sticks
- U hits Y as hard as I dare rushing it to rough level with 5 and on the line of 3 and 4, make nice approach to 1 with 5 foot slightly angled hoop and Y 2 yards SE of 2, run 1 but miss (possibly hilled off) a medium weight 8 yard "trickle" at Y just about reaching N boundary
- Y hits U, sends U towards IV approaching 4-back, U just goes off S boundary and Y has 7 foot angled "position".
- U HITS!!! rushing Y straight to N boundary, attempts pass roll approach to 2, hopeless effort not getting pass nor position, take position wired from Y on the basis that Y won't risk shot from B baulk in case I turn round and pick up Y and can set up 2-ball break
- Y takes lift from B baulk and attempts position at 4-back, gets angled position SW of the hoop.
- U runs 2 and misses Y to E boundary 10 yards S of III (1-11)
- Y misses U (shock, horror, can't believe my luck, here's a good chance!)
- U approaches 3 with a thick take-off, runs 8 foot hoop far too smoothly and runs just past Y. Rolls down to 4 and splits U slightly W of the right line, it hills that way as well and U fails angled hoop from 4 feet
- Not sure how much of U can be seen by Y but he seems disgusted to clip it, takes off to 4-back slightly too far and takes position
- U decided not to shoot this time and goes to W boundary 8 yards S of II - my thinking was to "guard" the W side of the lawn in view of the impending lift, believing Y won't go to the E side as that would be too close to 4
- Y runs 4-back and hits U, fails to approach penult and retires to the now unguarded W boundary 9 yards S of II (U is now SE of rover)
- U takes lift from I, misses Y to just W of II (1-12)
- Y hits U, fails to approach penult (goes screaming past it!) and takes position leaving open shot for U from S of rover
- U smacks Y to N boundary (hooray, 2-12), big roll to 4 is short - 4 yard hoop and Y 2 yards SE of 5 - run 4 smoothly to S boundary and hit return roquet to N of 5, make 5 with no rush, beautiful roll up to 6 and obtain rush to 1-back. Approach to 1-back is slightly overhit and when U runs the hoop the rush to 2-back needs cutting half ball on the right - make my worst swing of the day and cut it just off centre on the left so that Y goes off the W boundary about peg high. Approach to 2-back is overhit, U retires to N boundary 4 yards E of II
- Y goes to N boundary 8 yards W of III
- U attempts position at 2-back, short, about 4 yard position
- Y attempts position at penult, too far, probably not runnable
- U shoots at Y and misses going to 3 yards E of the middle of N boundary (2-13)
- Y misses U
- U rushes Y a little W in order to give clear sight of 2-back, intending to croquet Y to W of 3-back attempting position. Just can't hit these rolls hard enough, or straight enough, and have 5 yard angled position with Y 2 yards SE of 5. Fail pretty good (smooth) attempt at hoop and end up in position (lucky boy!)
- Y goes back to penult, longish angled position NW of hoop
- U runs 2-back, takes position at 3-back about 8 feet in front and slightly E of straight in front.
- Y fails penult bouncing off to near 4-back (my eyes light up!)
- Briefly consider taking closer wired position at 3-back but decide to go for finishing, run hoop by 9 inches (damn!), retire to W boundary level with 6
- Y goes to middle of N boundary
- U goes to 6 yards SE of 4-back
- Y moves a few inches nearer 4-back
- U moves to five feet from 4-back in runnable position, still E of the hoop
- Y misses U to E boundary leaving U an 8 yarder
- Just give me one straight swing and we're home and hosed - U misses Y by nothing (oops, that's not good, 2-14)
- Y rushes U well S of rover, takes off to penult and leaves Y in position
- U misses Y (goes wrong side of penult! 2-15) ending up on N boundary
- Y runs penult and takes position at rover
- U takes position at 4-back, 4 feet SSW of the hoop
- Y runs rover, takes position at the peg
- I have a hampered backswing for shooting at Y so I attempt and fail 4-back
- Y pegs out
Dave Maugham adds: Some notes from my point of view:
8. TPO of K by R - both balls pegged out - Y left on E boundary so that > 4 blocks approach to 1
I left 3 balls on in the Southerns final, and K finished the turn after contact. I thought I'd try something different.
10. Y goes to S boundary in front of 1
K plays the Openshaw lunch card. Half an hour later:
11. U misses Y (0-7)
I complete my lunch and let it digest for a bit. 20 minutes later:
12. Y approaches 1 sending U 3 yards S of 2, runs 1 hard to N boundary, misses U to S boundary 4 yards E of I
I couldn't decide how hard to hit it (gentle to keep it near 2, or hard to have a good swing), and didn't have a very good swing at it.
15. U takes lift from III, misses Y - much better shot, dead on until it jumped sideways at the last second, ended up in IV (0-9, but cause for hope!)
My problem with having 2 off is that although K is shooting poorly, he may remember how to shoot if he gets enough chances.
20. Y hits U, makes 2-back and 3-back, has to roll up to 4-back (I think), attempts hoop and sticks
Thrashed at it, rather than playing it smoothly.
22. Y hits U, sends U towards IV approaching 4-back, U just goes off S boundary and Y has 7 foot angled "position".
I did want U deep, to make shooting as unattractive as possible since it will miss to the west of 4-b. Not quite that deep, though (actually if it had pulled a bit more towards the corner, it would probably have stayed on).
26. Y misses U (shock, horror, can't believe my luck, here's a good chance!)
The other problem with having 2 off is that *my* shooting might deteriorate...
28. Not sure how much of U can be seen by Y but he seems disgusted to clip it, takes off to 4-back slightly too far and takes position
I could see all of it, and was going for rushing it to 4-b. Hitting it on the wrong side wasn't great, but at least I could take croquet...
29. U decided not to shoot this time and goes to W boundary 8 yards S of II - my thinking was to "guard" the W side of the lawn in view of the impending lift, believing Y won't go to the E side as that would be too close to 4
The *intention* may have been to go 8 yards S of II but you *went* 2-3 yards S of the corner.
30. Y runs 4-back and hits U, fails to approach penult and retires to the now unguarded W boundary 9 yards S of II (U is now SE of rover)
I ran 4-b by 3 inches in order to have a reasonable chance of not missing south of U.
32. Y hits U, fails to approach penult (goes screaming past it!) and takes position leaving open shot for U from S of rover
I'm having some psychological fun with the crater NW of penult.
36. Y attempts position at penult, too far, probably not runnable
Oh, it was runnable...
38. Y misses U
... but the little voice in my head said "What do you do after you've run this then eh? You can't take position at rover, because that gives him a ball at his hoop, and failing it gives him a rush..." I gave in and took the 10 yarder that I didn't really want to shoot at.
42. Y fails penult bouncing off to near 4-back (my eyes light up!)
46. Y moves a few inches nearer 4-back
Hopeful of an impasse...
47. U moves to five feet from 4-back in runnable position, still E of the hoop
... or a 9 yarder.
48. Y misses U to E boundary leaving U an 8 yarder
52. Y runs penult and takes position at rover
Wired, as well, I think.
54. Y runs rover
By 3 inches, (sigh), another wristy effort. But fortunately good enough.