Robert Fulford lines up a peel (Photo: Samir Patel)by Andrew Gregory at Cheltenham
The rankings have been instantaneously updated. Chris Clarke still No.1, Fulford No.2, both with indices over 2900. Samir is up to No.10 on Grade, but has the third highest index.
In the Plate final Death had a 1-back leave, Patmore hit the tea-lady, and is going round.
In the Y Doubles final, Tudor & Wicks have the first break against Harrison-Wood & Hector.
The Open Doubles final will follow the end of the Plate final (Death being involved in both). I shall be doing text commentary on that too, since James's Mum asked me specially. Subject to me having to leave to catch my train!
I will try to set up a separate news item for the Doubles final, but as I'm a newbie at this stuff, if I fail to do so I'll have to continue on this page.
Rob has 3-yard peg-out.
Robert Fulford is Open Champion
Peelee is 1' in front of rover, looks pretty straight from here.
Rob does Irish peel, Both balls sail through this time, just the rush to the peg can possibly go wrong.
Rob peels penult before 4-back. Peelee goes 3 yards beyond rover. Surely he can't fail to finish from here two games running?
Rob now making 2-back off partner ball.
Crowd now at least 50.
It's clouded over again.
Rob has the 4-back peel before hoop 6.
News from the Plate final: Death seems to have equalised with Patmore, and is going round 4th turn in the decider.
After hoop 2, Rob rushes Yellow to 6y N of 4th corner. Doesn't get behind Red (not sure he was trying), so the triple will have to be delayed.
Turn 4: Samir misses from 3rd corner to 6" West of 4th corner.
Turn 5: Rob sets off on what you'd expect to be the winning turn.
Rob swaps balls at hoop 4 - whether for parity issues or just that it was the best way to continue the break, I'm not sure. He's just left himself a 1-yard hoop at 2-back - powers through to the boundary.
Rob goes to 4-back. Leave: Black (for 1) on East boundary, 3y South of peg-high, with 1y rush on Yellow to Blue on West boundary.
Game 3 is underway
1. Rob supershot 2y NW hoop 5
2. Samir 5y East of peg
3. Rob hits partner ball from end of A-baulk (11y), rushing it maybe 5y SW of hoop 2. Takes off to Yellow, rushes to 3y S of hoop 1 and he's away.
Samir has left Red in conventional NSL position - i.e. not unrushable. Black has rush on Blue to nowhere in particular.
Turn 8: Rob lifts Yellow to end of A-baulk, hits Blue (16y). Leaves 4 yard peg out. Gets it. Time for me to get in the lunch queue!
Samir has left Yellow on hoop 2, I guess it's unrushable to peg.
Patmore has won game 1 of the Plate play-off with a delayed TP.
The lunch bell has sounded.
Samir is in front of hoop 3, presumably thinking of his leave.
Rob finally gives up on Black and Blue, shoots at peelee through hoop. Misses 6-yarder.
Turn 7: Samir has all the balls.
I meant millimetres rather than inches. Rob still thinking. That's obviously why no deep ball - sometimes 2 balls at rover is not enough! Rob contemplating sweep shot through hoop, now thinking of bouncing off wires.
Rob in full control at rover. Why don't players put deep balls out these days? Anyway, Irish peel goes well through, striker's ball also runs hoop - but by inches. Hang on - he's stymied!
Penult peel before 4-back. Goes through to 2y S of peg.
Crowd definitely growing. It's clouded over, but rain is not forecast.
2-back pioneer is at 4-back, enabling 4-back peel to be done before 2-back.
Rob does 2-back peel before hoop 4, rushes peelee across after 4, but not into position. Hoop 6 pioneer is halfway between peg and hoop 6. 1-back pioneer maybe 2y S of 1-back. Peels 3-back nicely before 6.
Rob is contemplating a death roll, peeling 1-back going to his hoop 1 pioneer. No, he's decided on a take-off. Wait! He's changed his mind - death roll it is. Peel goes through a couple of yards, striker's ball finishes 4y shy of hoop 1 ball. Copes with it.
Samir misses tea-lady (35 yards). Can't see how close it was from here (I'm sitting outside the CA hut).
Turn 6: Rob goes for a sextuple.
Rob has 1-back leave (no POPs). Black and Blue each within 1 yard hoop 1. Red 3y S 3rd corner, Yellow near hoop 3, pretty much wired from Black & Blue.
Rob in full control at hoop 3.
Plate finals: Death beat Mulliner +12SXP; Patmore beat Bennett +26TP. Best-of-3 play-off starting on lawn 1.
Rob's take-off glances hoop 4, but he's OK. Gets 4th corner cannon. Makes hoop 1 and he's got a break.
3. Samir shoots at Red from end of A-baulk, misses into 4th corner (13 yards)
4. Rob is waiting for someone to play his shot on lawn 7. He's shooting at Blue from end of B-baulk. Hits (11y).
And it's straight on with Game 2
1. Samir supershot (with Blue ball) - maybe 3y NW hoop 5
2. Rob shoots from end of A-baulk. Hits, rushing ball to near middle of North boundary. Blue is sent near 2nd corner (but in lawn), Red to 4th corner.
I've just been to count the crowd - well to get a coffee actually. About 25 spectators so far, but presumably more will come in the afternoon.
Rob copes with straight rover peel, has a 2 yard peg-out, gets it.
Penult peel before 4-back. Peel sails through to 2 yards north of rover. Surely Rob'll finish now.
The 4-back peel is jawsed before 1-back, and rushed through after 1-back. Then big roll to 2-back pioneer (which was well North of the hoop)
Turn 9: With the lift, Rob is soon back in full control.
Message from the World Champion: "Andrew - you could ask Samir to dribble at his tea lady and then you'd have the lawn speed!!" Good to know that someone's following this commentary. Shame you're not here, Chris - we could have had 4 No. 1 seeds!
Rob gets 3-back peel before hoop 5.
Rob sticks in hoop 4 from about 4' in front.
Samir has 5-yarder (with Yellow) at ball in hoop - misses
Rob has wiring lift (since Yellow hit hoop moving Black)
Red is a conventional hoop 5 pioneer - Rob must be confident of the 2-back peel before 4. And through it goes.
Turn 7: Rob gets 1-back peel before 2. Hoop 4 pioneer is at 2-back - looks a bit deep to me (maybe 2 yards S of 2-back?) Rob's just played a croquet stroke putting peelee in perfect position - from 20 yards!
Turn 6: Samir shoots with Yellow at Black (38 yards). "Half-ball for some of its journey" says Samir - but not at the end of the journey. Rob embarks on his sextuple. Given the conditions and his form, the odds on finishing must be at least 80%.
Samir reckons the lawn's about 11.5 seconds, let's hope the sun shines all day and they get a bit quicker.
OK, Rob's leave:
Yellow (for 2) half way between hoop 1 and 1st corner.
Red (for 4-back) 1 yard NE hoop 1 (wired, obviously)
Black (for 1) 1 yard S of 3rd corner
Blue (for 1-back) 4 yards from Black: "rush" pointing at hoop 2.
Yellow POPped through hoop 1 with a thick take-off to the hoop 4 pioneer. 1-back leave coming up. I've been asked about the lawn speed. 12 seconds was actually estimate - basically they're pretty easy, but not too slow.
Yes we have no TPO. Yellow is going to hoop 1 for some POPping I dare say.
Rob is now on break. Red has naturally gone to hoop 3, so TPO is an option. My money would be on a 1-8back leave. Rob is now running hoop 2.
Turn 5. Rob lifts ball near West boundary, shoots from B-baulk at partner ball (with Red & Yellow in background?)
Samir doesn't get a rush out of 3-back, so hasn't enough control to do his intended diagonal spread. Has OSL instead. Red clip is on 4-back, all the others on hoop 1.
Samir in full control. He's just run 1-back.
If you have any questions for your correspondent, please email me (akgregory#talk21.com) or the Nottingham Board.
This is the nicest day weather-wise. Sunshine, about 18 degrees C.
4. Samir rushes 7-yarder into 2nd corner. Runs 4' hoop 1 for 4-ball break.
Rob has won the toss and elected to start. Samir chooses Red and Yellow.
1. Rob puts out supershot, 2 yards NW 5.
2. Yellow is 5 yards East of peg.
3. Rob misses supershot ball from end of A-baulk (11 yards). Goes off North boundary behind hoop 2.
Samir has 7-yarder for first break.
Greetings from Cheltenham!
The players are practising, the sun is shining. Lawn 8 is running at about 12 Plummers. The hoops are in fresh holes, but I don't foresee any difficulties.
We think Samir is the first unseeded Opens finalist since Jacques Fournier in 1997. Fournier lost to one Robert Fulford in that final. Samir didn't play his first tournament till 1998.
Greetings from sunny Cheltenham. Oh it's clouded over again. Conditions are easy after all the rain. Hoops on lawns 10 and 11 have been re-set overnight, but will still be easy.
Patel +25 TP. Patel 2-0 up.
Patel +26TP. Patel wins match 3-0.
Fulford +26 SXP
Fulford +24 TP
Fulford +26SXP, wins match 3-0. Reg fails to take croquet, Rob fails to make an error.
So there we have it - both semi-finals over in about 2 1/2 hours. Fulford is the obvious favourite for the final, But Samir is hitting well and TPing reliably.
In the Doubles, Death and Fulford are awaiting the winners of the semi-final feast currently on lawn 8 - Foulser & Mundy vs Goacher & Huneycutt. If you think I'm doing ball-by-ball on that feast... Anyway, First game to local heroes Foulser & Mundy.
In the Plate, Chris Williams and Roger Jenkins are still in both halves. James Death and Stephen Mulliner will also be fancying their chances with their single life.