CA Logo
CA Logo

Open Singles Final - Clarke commentary

[<<] [>>] by Chris Clarke at Surbiton
10th July 2011 (Other News)

Good morning from a mild, cloudy wndless Surbiton. Today, you will have two commentary options provided by Andrew and myself. I'll try and give a preview of todays final.


Both Bamford and Fulford have played well over the last two days. I think Reg has looked as good as I ever seen him and if I were running a book, it would be Bamford 4-6 and Fulford 5-4. So, the question I'm going to try to answer is what will the tactics be today.
I think it is easiest to look at Reg first. Here, I anticipate that he will continue to go to 1-b and attempt sextuples and that he will play his first ball 13y N of C4 on turn 1.
Rob, on the other hand, could use completely different tactics to both his qf and sf. I expect him to go to 4-b with a contact leave. Whether he pops Reg to 1 and 3 or (my preference to 2 and 2), we will have to see. Why the change? Well, I don't think Rob will be worried about the TPO. Additionally, Reg is shooting well enough that giving him a lift isn't that attractive. Thirdly and most importantly, the hoops are in fresh holes and may prove substantially more difficult - only time will tell.
In terms of openings, I think Rob will be trying to go first and hit hoop 5 to create some type of supershot opening.
If any readers have their own thoughts on todays match, please email me at


Just to clarify, the # is the at button.

So, Rob is now on lawn 2 practising. No sign of Reg yet.
For those of you who aren't sure what to do with your practice, try to practice some shots that you will be taking during the game together with some shooting practice. It is noticeable that Rob is playing a different range of strokes today than he would be if we weren't playing super-advanced.


Reg has arrived. He's wandered over to hoop 1 and after testing its firmness, smiles, indicating in my opinion, that they are much firmer. Will this change his tactics???


No chance of a 9.00 start now since Reg has just had his first practice stroke at 8.59


Well, I've seen Rob run a few hoops now and though they are definitely firmer, they still seem pretty easy.
Reg has just been shooting at 5 yarders.


The Lambertometer reading is 16.0 which equates to 12.0 Plummers.
Rob says that "there is nothing scary about the hoops at all"
Susan says "good"
Rob says "not really"


Reg is now playing a 2-ball break. He looks in great nick.


Unusually, Rob has tried to chivvy Reg into starting playing. Reg says "I'll just check the boundaries".


I'd have been wanting to start at 9.00 as advertised


Reg has won 7 Open singles titles

Rob has won 9.

Readers may be surprised to discover that despite Reg being defending champion, his previous victory was way back in 2002 when he crunched up a useless player called Clarke


Rob wins the toss and goes first
G1T1 K (Rob) to 10y N of C4........a slight surprise - keeping it tight like I would do.
G1T2 R (Reg) Duffer tice 1y E of hoop 6
G1T3 Rob wanders up to B-Baulk and then back to A-Baulk. He shoots at K with U from the end of A-baulk........bad miss by 2.5 balls on the right....has he left a double?


G1T4 It's almost a perfect double for Reg - no gap. The distance between the balls looks to be 2 to 3 inches.
Y shoots at the double from A-Baulk.........hits the middle of U


Despite an average rush to hoop 1, Reg is away. Will he go to 1-b again?


I'm still thinking about Rob's choice of opening. Whilst it would be normal for me, it is somewhat out of character for him. I know that you can't guarantee where your attempted supershot ball will finish, but I doubt we'll be seeing such a passive opening from him in the 3rd.


Reg has made hoop 6 off opo, so no attempt at a tight cross-peg. This will just be a basic spread, allowing Rob to shoot into C4.


I've had some comments from people saying that super-advanced massively advantages Fulford and Bamford. I tend to agree with this. The question is, is that a good or a bad thing?


Quite a diagonal spread which is better than a horizontal one here, since Rob will want to take the long lift. He's laid up about 9y N of C4 and normally Rob would take this from A-baulk.

And he can't resist it today either. He's lifted K at the peg and is shooting at Y from A-Baulk............doesn't look comfortable over the ball depsite the still conditions............snicks it on the left hand side rushing it off next to R.


So, will he go to 1-b, possibly with 1 pop or will he go to 4-b with 2 pops?

I'll guess at the latter.


G1T5 (cont.) Rob has made hoop 1 and is away


G1T5(cont.) R is sent to hoop 1 before hoop 4, so it should be popped before hoop 5.


Rob is deciding whether to send Y to 6 or as an escape ball for the hoop 2 pop before 6. It goes to hoop 6 - sensible at this stage of the match.
R is peeled by 17 yards, but K is wired from U at hoop 5. He has a very short very angled hoop as his only option. This would have been ok yesterday, but might cause problems today


George Noble comes out to referee the stroke. Rob will be hitting this flat and hard I think


Not the shot I was expecting. It was flat, but just mid-paced. It made the hoop look pretty easy and he's back in control


Rob was so concerned with line of K after the hoop 1 peel that he's forgotten to take the R clip off.


G1T5 (cont.) Rob is about to send U as his 2-b pioneer and will be popping R through 2 after 1-b. He's thinking about changing the parity of the balls, so that Y is sent to 2-b for the contact leave.

After a long think, Rob does change the parity, leaving U up by 1-b and sending Y to 2-b.

The leave I'm expecting is
K - C4
U - C2
R - 10y S of C3
Y - 10y N of C1


G1T5 (cont.) R is popped through 2 after 1-b. It is interesting to note that Rob thinks it is easier to make the contact leave with partner at 3-b. This goes against all the standard coaching advice of "don't make the last hoop of your turn off partner".
However, with this leave, I agree with him that having partner at 3-b does make it easier.


Message from Statto points out that Rob has won the last 4 times these two have played in the Opens, but that Reg won the first 4, making it 4-4 lifetime in the Opens


Sorry, I'd forgotten that reg had a ball on 1-b, so we won't be seeing anything other than Y near C2.


Pete Landrebe asks whether the players have the option fo TV1 or TV2. I think the answer to this is that both are compulsory for the final irrespective of the players wishes.


G1T5 (cont.) Rob is round to 4-b and the leave is
R (for 3) 9y S of C3
Y (for 1-b) 5 feet SE of C2
K (for 4-b) in C1
U (for 1) in C4


Jonathan Hills writes in saying that when he spoke to Rob last week, he said he would prefer normal advanced thinking that super advanced slightly favoured the weaker player.


G1T6 Reg lifts R and takes contact from U in C4. A take-off to C1 moves U 3 yards N of C4. Reg now has a 33 yard take-off to try and get rush on Y to hoop 3.


G1T6 (cont.) Gets the line completely wrong, so much so that I'm not sure he actually tried for the rush. JP would be disappointed.


G1T6 (cont.) Looks like Reg is just making a leave for his 1-b ball.


G1T6 (cont.) Reg has laid up tight in C2 wired from U near C4. He has virtually no room to dig a ball oput, but that won't worry him.

G1T7 Rob is finding his winning shot, U at K..........hits.


G1T7 (cont.) Still plenty of work to do from here, but he should finish.

Rob plays a thick take-off to C2 moving K 6y E of C1. He's hit R, so has less spce to get a ball to hoop 2 and just niggles R 2 yards closer to hoop 2. Rushes Y 5 feet NE of hoop 1


G1T7 (cont.) A 2 foot straight hoop 1 is run by 5 yards and he now has a rush pointing back to K on the S boundary. He'll need a couple of good shots to get a standard TP from here. The key though is just to get a break and control for a delayed TP


G1T7 (cont.) Rob has rushed behind R and doesn't seem to be looking at the disjoing cannon.......I wonder why not????

He rushes R 4 feet W of hoop 2, stops it 8y toward 3 and runs a 1foot straight hoop 2 off the N boundary.
After hoop 2, K is sent towards hoop 4, getting a rush on R to hoop 3. A delayed TP to take the first.


G1T7 (cont.) Rob sets up for the 4-b peel before hoop 6, but plays a bad take-off back to 5. Has to approach from 1 yard W, but copes and has a rush East.

Peels K through 4-b before 6 and rushes R to hoop 6, but it finishes N of the hoop. Takes off and makes the hoop. Should be easy now.


G1T7 (cont.) Rob has a forward rush after 3-b and will be peeling K through penult before 4-b


G1T7 (cont.) Rob peels penult to 6 inches E of rover before 4-b.
After 4-b, goes back to reposition peelee in front of rover. Takes off 4 yards short to penult pioneer and snicks it.

Peeling rover from 4" straight.

Fulford Takes the First +18TP*


G2T1 K(Reg) to 10y N of C4
G2T2 Y(Rob) looks at the Duffer, but decides to go 11.5 yards towards C2. I guess he slightly overhit that.


G2T3 U(Reg) shoots at K from A-Baulk..........hits. Takes off to try and get a rush on Y to hoop 1. It's great pace, but just dribbles into Y. Reg pass-rolls Y 16y SSE of C2 (too far) and lays K a rush.


G2T4 Rob shoots R at Y from A-Baulk (17 yards)............misses badly on the right.


This could be a late start for the doubles, which is a shame because Samir has done a great job progressing the tournament much better than Richard and Dave have managed in past years.

The big news is that Rob has taken his jumper off. Is that due to the sun or because of two rough shots??


For those of you with time on your hands, I'm told that Phil will now be doing a commentary on the commentary


G2T5 Reg is pottering round.


G2T5 (cont.) Once again Reg has an oppo ball at hoop 6, so it'll just be a spread instead of a tight cross-peg.Will he lay up in the same place, or further north?


G2T5 (cont.) Reg has just spent 30 seconds using K (in hand) as a test ball to see whether Y at the peg is offering a bigger target for R. You'd think he'd know the rules after 30+ years.


G2T5 (cont.) Reg has a clip on 1-b and is laid up 1y further N.

G2T6 Rob lifts R near the W boundary and takes the long lift at U............misses


G2T7 Reg has made hoop 1 and has a cut-rush to C4. Overcuts it to 5Y N of C4. Reg is now looking for a spot to send Y to hoop 4 and ensure it doesn't get in the way of his roll to K at hoop 2.


G2T7 Y is sent 5feet W of hoop 4 and the big roll from C4 sends R 8 feet in front of hoop 3 and U 5 feet NE of K which is 3yards SE of hoop2. That shot was applauded when it wasn't very good - he really wanted a rush on K to hoop 2 and R a bit shorter.


G2T7 (cont.) Reg approaches hoop 2 sending K 3 yards N of it and gets lucky as U squeezes past K to give a rush back to 1-b. Reg peels 1-b by 2 yards going to Y at hoop 4.


G2T7 (cont.) After hoop 3, Reg is hampered from rushing K to 2-b, so just hits it and rolls it to 2-b from 1-b going to Y at hoop 4.......good shot


G2T7 (cont.) Reg jawses 2-b before hoop 5


G2T7 (cont.) Reg sends out a genuine 1-b pioneer (it's 4 feet E of the hoop). Rush-peels K to the S boundary and will now be rolling it to 3-b going to Y which is 5ft ESE of hoop 6.

K finishes 4feet ESE of 3-b and he gets a good rush to hoop 6


G2T7 (cont.) Reg is peeling 3-b from 18" straight going to Y at 1-b. Peels K by 15yards, but U goes 3 yards past Y. Shouldn't be a problem


G2T7 (cont.) Reg makes 1-b and is now setting up to peel 4-b before 3-b.


G2T7(cont.) After making 2-b, Reg just snicks his rush north, so he'll have to roll 20 yards to 4-b


G2T7(cont.) Perfect roll leaves Y in escape ball position at penult and gives Reg a 2foot rush to 4-b on K. Rushes K 1 foot in front of 4-b and peels it by 3 yards getting a rush on R pointing at C4


G2T7 (cont.) Reg rushes R 3 yards SSE of 3-b. Should be 1-1 now.


G2T7(cont.) Despite having 6 yards to run 3-b into, Reg has over hit his hoop stroke and not got a rush north. He'll need another good croquet stroke if he wants to peel penult before 4-b.


G2T7(cont.) A couple of good shotsleave K 2 yards in front of penult. Reg is deciding whether to peel with a straight drive or with a split roll. Peels K by 1 foot and has a cut-rush to 4-b. Overcuts it so needs to approach from 3 yards SW. No problem, just a straight rover peel left.


G2T7 Reg is peeling K through rover from 9" straight with an irish peel. K finishes almost on the South boundary, but it's fine.

Reg Wins the Second +26SXP to Make it 1-1*

Complete mastery of the physical side of the game.


G3T1 K(Rob) to 8Y N of C4 - that's further S indicating Rob fancies shooting at it again if Reg lays a Duffer and going round if he hits.
G3T2 Y(Reg) to just S of C2.......I like that.
G3T3 U(Rob) shoots at K from A-Baulk, misses on the left, which is OK.


G3T4 R(Reg) doesn't shoot at K from A-Baulk, but goes up to B-baulk to take the double. He's shooting from the N boundary in front of hoop 3 - this can't be shorter................hits the middle of the target (U on the right hand side)


G3T4 Reg overhits his rush on K to hoop1 and will need to approach from 4 yards WSW ..........good shot leaves a 2 foot straight hoop. Runs it with control to get a rush back to U.


G3T4 Reg rushes U into C2 and seems to be lining up the pseudo-cannon. This is completely needless in my opinion, but I'm sure JR will be pleased.


G3T4 Changes his mind and sensibly just gets a dolly rush to hoop 2.


G3T4 Reg goes to 1-b with a diagonal spread. Lays up 10y N of C4.


G3T5 Rob lifts U at the peg and is taking the short lift at R............misses by 2 balls on the right


G3T6 Reg has made hoop 1 and is preparing to peel 1-b after hoop 2


Reg's sextuple in the second game gives him a big lead in the peeling competition


G3T6(cont.) Red is peeled through 1-b and finishes 3y ESE of 2-b.


He's playing so well, it's difficult to see him breaking down


G3T6(cont.) Fails the 2-b before hoop 4, but shouldn't cause him a problem


G3T6(cont.) Reg jawses R in 2-b before hoop 5. Just starting to get a bit scrappy.


G3T6(cont.) Reg once again sends his 1-b pioneers 5feet E of 1-b. R is rush-peeled through 2-b and croqueted to 3feet SE of 3-b getting a rush on U to hoop 6


G3T6(cont.) Reg fails hoop 6 from nowhere


Y - 6
R - 3-B
U and K both hoop 1


G3T7 Rob has to approach hoop 1 from 5 yards NW with a backward take-off. Gets a 2 foot straight hoop......runs it and he's away. I expect a ball to 1-b and a sextuple to follow. He might pop Y to 1-b as well


G3T7(cont.) Rob makes hoop 2 off Y, then rushes it in front of 6 and pops it.


G3T7(cont.) Rob is going to 4-b. I'm not sure whether he's peeled Y through 1-b or not.
The rain has started gently.


Rob's leave is;
R(3-b) - C4
Y(2-b) - 7y N of C1
K (1) - 2y E of C2
U (4-B) - C3


G3T8 Reg lifts Y and cuts U just S of C3. Moves U 1 yard S of C3 to try and get the maximum wiring area through 3 and 6, going to K.
Hits K and pass-rolls it down the W bondary trying to wire from U. UK are just open.
Reg lays up tight in C4 with a rush for R at K


G3T9 Rob shoots with K at Y.......misses badly on the right.


G3T10 Reg is playing his 3-b ball. Ed Cunningham writes in querying why Rob bothered with the second pop on Y through 1-b. My best suggestions are
1. He was worried about Reg finishing from 1-b and 3-b
2. If Reg takes his 3-b ball to the peg and somehow Rob ends up pegging Reg out, he'd prefer Reg to be on 2-b than 1-b, so there is no potential squeeze.
3. It is easier to make a good contact leave.


G3T10(cont.) Good controlled pick-up from Reg. Can he find anything better than a spread when he gets to the peg? Probably not, he need a few good shots to even get a spread.


G3T10(cont.)Looks like Reg will be making a spread with U at the peg.

Yes, that's what he has done. He is laid up 12y N of C4. Big shot in match terms coming up.


G3T11 Rob lifts K and is shooting at R from A-Baulk............


G3T11(cont.)..............misses badly on the right


G3T12 Reg wins the 3rd +17 to take a 2-1 lead


The players will resume at 2.10


Meanwhile, the plate final, Huneycutt is game and break up vs Wicks.
In the doubles plate final, Cumming & Rothman are game up +4 against Murray and Hopgood. Murray is round to 4-b in game 2, but Rothman has hit the lift and is going round


The players are back and it's Reg's toss.

G4T1 K(Reg) to 9y N of C4
G4T2 Y(Rob) 11y towards C2
G4T3 U shoots at K from A-Baulk............misses on the left


G4T4 R(Rob) takes his 11yarder at Y from B-Baulk............misses.

I can't remember Rob shooting this badly in an Opens final before.


G4T5 Reg has made hoop 1 and it will be another ball to 1-b


Well, nothing much happening on lawn 2, so I'll take this opportunity to wish Messrs Kibble and Murray a Happy Birthday.


On lawn 1, Huneycutt has finished his TP to win the Plate final in straight games.


G4T5 Reg is round to 1-b with another diagonal spread. He has laid up 10y N of C4.


G4T5 Rob lifts Y near 2 to A-Baulk and shoots at K..........misses on the right.


G4T6 Reg has only managed to get partner 7y SE of hoop 2, so not a great start.
He's followed that by rushing R to possibly worse than death position.


G4T6(cont.) Reg runs hoop 1 firmly and gets hoop and roquet.
Rushes K 5 feet in front of hoop 2. Runs hoop 2 and again has hoop and roquet, so it will a longer than ideal 1-b peel


G4T6(cont.) Peels 1-b by 3 yards.


G4T6(cont.) Reg needs to run the peelee in front of 2-b from near 1-b, since his hoop 5 pioneers is 6 feet N of 2-b.
Good shot rushes it 6 foot straight in front.
The peel is bad. It has finished on the East wire which is not good at all given where his hoop 5 pioneer is. This should cause problems.


G4T6(cont.) After making hoop 4, he rushes Y 2y SE of hoop 1 and then rushes K in front of 2-b. He peels 2-b leaving himself a 7 footer on R pointing at C3. Hits the rush slightly off centre on the right. Takes of 5 yards to 2 foot straight in front of hoop 5. Runs 5 by 6 yards and is back under reasonable control to peel 3-b going to 1-b


G4T6(cont.) Croquets K to within inches of 3-b getting a good rush on Y (near 1)to hoop 6. Rushes to 2y S of 6 and is in good position


This is, of course G4T7 rather than T6.

Reg has peeled 3-b going to 1-b and now has his 2-b pioneer 3y W of 4-b and has made 1-b.


G4T7 Reg has rushed the peelee 4 feet in front of 4-b and will need a fairly wide split to get a rush on Y to 2-b.

The peel sails through, but his rush is pointing closer to corner 4 than 2-b


G4T7 Reg rushes Y to 4y E of 2-b - good shot.


G4T7 This approach may beto win the's a fraction short..........this is failable


G4T7(cont.) Smashes it through to the boundary.


As the match comes up to the 6 hour mark, I'm sure the manager is hoping that this turn finishes


G4T7 Rushing from 4-b to 3-b is the last difficult part of the turn..............8 feet SW of the hoop. That should be that.


G4T7 Penult is peeled before 4-b


G4T7 Just a straight rover peel left. Reg is peeling rover from 15" straight - no problem

Reg Bamford Wins his 8th Opens -18TP +26SXP +17 +26SXP*

A very impressive performance, congratulations. Thanks for everyones emails, I'll leave you in the capable hands of Andrew for the doubles final.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on this news web page are those of the Editor and contributors. The Croquet Association is not responsible for statements other than those clearly identified as being made on its behalf. The full editorial policy is available online. The Web News Editor is the CA Office.