The strongest Golf Croquet event of the year has just started in Cairo. The 3rd annual Egyptian Open. There are twenty competitors, eleven from Egypt including reigning world champion Mohammed Nasr and three former World Champions (Amhed Nasr, Khalid Younis and Salah Hassan). Also competing from Egypt is last years winner Ahmed El Maadi and current number one in the ranking (ladder) Amr Baher.
The overseas players include Reg Bamford and Robert Fulford.
Players are in four blocks with four from each block to qualify for the seeded KO. Block winner will receive a bye to the quarter finals. All play is in the evenings under floodlights starting at 7pm. On the first day the final match finished at 1am. Temperature during the evening is between 26 and 20 degrees
Ahmed El Maadi bt Reg Bamford 7-4 7-6
Sherif A Wahib (USA) bt David Openshaw 7-6 7-3
Shoukry Aziz bt David Openshaw 7-2 7-3
Yasser Esmat by Mohammed Nasr 7-5 7-3
Amr Baher bt Khalid Younis 7-5 6-7 7-6
Reg Bamford bt Alaa A Nour 3-7 7-5 7-4
Robert Fulford bt Yasser Esmat 6-7 7-3 7-2
Ahmed Nasr bt Salah Hassan 7-4 7-4
Qualifying play for the KO continued on day two and three. The block winners who receive a bye to the last eight were Yasser Esmat, Ahmed El Maadi (holder), Ahmed Nasr, and Sherif A Wahab(USA). Reg Bamford qualified with 3 wins out of four in second place in Block B and Robert Fulford qualified with two wins out of four in third place Block A.
Ahmed Nasr bt Evan Newell 7-6 7-4
Reg Bamford bt Len Canavan (USA) 7-2 7-1
Ahmed Khattab bt Evan Newell (Ireland) 7-3 7-2
Khalid Younis bt David Openshaw 7-5 7-1
Reg Bamford bt Hazem Mahmood 7-6 7-6
Mohmmed Nasr bt Robert Fulford 7-1 7-6
Ihab A Wahab(USA) bt Robert Fulford
Amr Baher bt David Openshaw 7-6 7-3
Salah Hassan bt Evan Newell 7-6 7-6
Robert Fulford bt Mike McClure(NZ) 7-4 7-3
Mohammed Nasr bt Ihab A Wahab 7-5 7-6
Tommorrow 3rd and 4th placed players play off with the winner playing a second placed player for a place in the quarter finals.
Robert Fulford reached the quarter finals with two wins last night. But Reg Bamford was beaten in a close match by Khalid Younis. Also out is current world champion Mohamed Nasr beaten by Alaa A Nour.
Hazem Mahmoud bt Salah Hassan 5-7 7-3 7-2
Robert Fulford bt Skoukri Aziz 7-5 7-5
Khalid Younis bt Ihab A Wahab 7-6 7-3
Alla A Nour bt Mohamed Kamal (USA) 7-6 7-5
(second placed players in each block enter at this stage)
Hazeem Mahmoud bt Amr Baher 7-6 5-7 7-5
Robert Fulford bt Ahmed Khattab 7-6 5-7 7-3
Alaa A Nour bt Mohamed Nasr 7-5 7-5
Khalid Younis bt Reg Bamford 7-6 3-7 7-4
The semi finals will be an all Egyptian affair. In the quarter finals Robert Fulford was beaten by the favourite and holder Ahmed El Maadi in a very close game. The first two games were won with relative ease. Robert won the first 7-4 and Maadi won the second 7-3.
The third was extremely close. Robert had the chance at six to go 4-2 up with a six foot hoop shot but missed. Then at eleven Robert was in great position with a three foot hoop and the ball protected from clearance. But Maadi took on the hoop from the boundary with the ball that had run 10. He shot softly and the ball just rolled through the hoop. At 12 Robert again looked in good position until Maadi cannoned into his own ball from 10 yds and produced the perfect block. Later Maadi won that hoop to take the match.
Other winners from the quarter finals were Ahmed Nasr, Alaa Nour, and Yasser Esmat.
The semi-finals and final of the 3rd Egyptian Open were completed over the weekend.
The holder Ahmed El Maadi beat Yasser Ezmat 7-5 7-5. In the other semi final Alaa Abu El Nour was a surprise winner against the 2004 world champion Amhed Nasr 7-5 6-7 7-5. In game 2 Ahmed Nasr won at the 13th scoring the hoop (Hoop3) from the middle of the north boundary when Alaa had the next ball to play one foot straight in front. In the third game Alaa won a critical ninth hoop from with a shot from corner 4 and the eleventh with a shot from the boundary.
El Maadi was favourite for the final having already beaten Alaa in block play. This was a best of five match. El Maadi made a good start in game 1 to lead 4-2 but Alaa won the next five hoops to take the first game. El Maadi won the second 7-6. But Alaa playing very steadily won the next two 7-4 7-4 to take the title. His victory shows the strength in depth of Egyptian croquet. They have probably ten players of quite similar standard all who would be capable of winning the world championship.