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Open Singles Final - Gregory commentary

[<<] [>>] by Andrew Gregory at Surbiton
10th July 2011 (AC - Championships)

Yes folks you have a choice of commentator. CC is operating from the tent, while I'm in my usual spot near the oche.

Lawn 2 has hoops in new holes, fresh white lines, and it has been mown twice i'm told.
Robert is practising, no sign of Reg.

08:57

Reg is here.

09:04

Rob's practising 2-ball breaks. Reg still hitting 5-yarders
The measurement has been made - it's 12 Plummers.
It's gone 9.00. The Mangler's menacing the lawn.

09:10

Sausages are ready. This relates to perhaps the Mangler's most contentious decision: once the Doubles Final had been postponed, he cancelled yesterday's evening sausages as there would be no spectators. So we have morning sausages.
Reg still practising. Surely he should be stopped?

09:13

As well as the Championship finals, we have the Plate, the Y doubles and the Z.
Mangler's ruling on the Z was top 8 percentage-wise qualify for today's knock-out. If equal on percentage then games played. The Mangler was surprised to realize that this led to someone qualifying because 0/6 is "better" than 0/1.
Reg is now assessing the boundaries.

09:18

Rob wins the toss.
G1T1 Rob (Black) 10yN of 4th corner.
G1T2 Reg (Red) duffer tice 1yE of 6.
G1T3 Rob wanders down to B-baulk to look at the duffer. Doesn't fancy it. Shoots at partner from A-baulk. Misses on right. Comes on maybe one inch North of Black.

09:19

G1T4 Reg inspects target from A-baulk. Fancies it. Yellow hits Blue.

09:22

G1T4 Reg Yellow rushes Black 2y NE of Red. Rush to 1 is 3y short, but he copes. Has break now.

09:30

There's always an air of inevitability of a Reg v Rob final. Though both survived match-finishing turns against them. Those who followed the Mangler's commentary on Wednesday will know that Kibble should have beaten Fulford, but i didn't realize that Goacher had a similar chance against Bamford.

09:34

This is the 100th ranking game between Bamford and Fulford. Fulford leads 55-44.
Rob is Reg's most frequent opponent, Reg is only Rob's 4th most.
How did we ever cope without Statto?
G1T4 Reg (Yellow) is round to 1-back. Diagonal spread, leaving rush for Red.

09:36

G1T5 Rob lifts the ball at the peg (Black) to end of A-baulk. Red appears to be 8yN of 4th corner, so this is a 15-yarder. He's aiming at Yellow, hits.

09:40

G1T5 Rob picks up break.
My expert analyst suggests break to 4-back with 2 POPs. Probably because my analyst is James Death, and that's what he did yesterday.

09:49

G1T5 Rob POPs Red through 1 going to his pioneer which is just NW of hoop 5. He cross-wires himself from the pioneer, has a 6" hoop but at least 30 degrees. On comes ref. Runs hoop by 3", ref stays on for hampered sweep shot, makes roquet. A lucky escape.

09:55

The Red clip is still on 1, we think it's misplaced.
G1T5 Rob is pausing after 6, presumably thinking of his contact leave. His 2-back pioneer is Yellow, Red and Blue are at 1-back for the POP through 2 after 1-back.

10:02

G1T5 Looks like the POP through 2 is in the jaws. After 2-back he's rushed Yellow 2y E of 2nd corner. Red must have been through as he's rushed it South. Rolls to 3-back, croqueting Red near E bdry. Makes 3-back off Blue. Rushes Blue just W of 4th corner, short take-off to Red leaving Blue in corner. Rushes Red North, it's maybe 11yS of 3rd corner. Black into 1st corner.

10:09

G1T6 Reg lifts Red (for 3) into contact with Blue in 4th corner. Takes off to Black, Blue going 2y N of corner. Roquets Black. Takes off to Yellow, sending Black 2y E of corner. Roquets Yellow. Leaves rush for Yellow to 1-back from just E of 2nd corner.

10:09

G1T7 Rob shoots Blue at Black (24y). Hits.

10:14

G1T7 Rob (Blue) thickish take off to Red and Yellow, with Black now 7yE of 1st corner and in-lawn a foot maybe. Roquets Red. Stops Red 3y into lawn. Rushes Yellow 2y ENE of hoop 1. Good approach. Runs hoop cleanly, to about 3yN of Yellow. Cuts Yellow the wrong way, about 4yE of Black.

10:20

G1T7 Rob (Blue) croquets Yellow 1yNW of hoop 1. Cut rushes Black off N bdry 3yE of 2nd corner. He's still got work to do here. He's setting up for stop-shot approach sending Red toward hoop 3. Red is 6y short of hoop 3, but Blue is in front of hoop. Runs hoop 2, roquets Black. Good croquet stroke to get rush on Red (Black going 3yE of 5). Now has break with all the balls. I dare say he'll be able to set up delayed TP.

10:26

G1T7 Rob (Blue) peels Black through 4-back before 6.
We have a crowd of perhaps 25 now. It's a nice sunny morning.

10:31

G1T7 Rob has Black as his 2-back pioneer. Must have taken some wire, as he doesn't have desired rush to penult. Cuts it perhaps 9yE of penult, good croquet stroke puts it in front of hoop. Should get penult peel before 4-back now.

On lawn 3 is the Plate Process Final. Wixy has first break against Hopgood. Huneycutt awaits the winner.

10:35

G1T7 Rob Blue gets forward rush afer 3-back. Penult peel sails through, just missing peg and finishing a few inches E of rover. After 4-back Rob rushes Yellow near to Black, adjusts Black into good position.

10:37

G1T7 Straight rover peel successful. 1y peg-out.

Fulford wins Game 1 +18tp

10:46

G2T1 Reg Black 10yN of 4th corner.
G2T2 Rob plays Yellow from B-baulk to a spot 2yE of 2nd corner, and in the lawn a bit i presume.
Reg is confused about TV2, thinks Rob's ball may be wrong. I point out that this would then have applied to Reg's duffer tice in Game 1. "Good point" he says.
G2T3 Reg shoots Blue at Black from A-baulk. Hits. Takes off to Yellow. Croquets Yellow 15yN of 1st corner, 1y in lawn. Leaves rush for Black.

10:48

G2T4 Rob Red misses Yellow to 1yE of 2nd corner.

10:50

G2T5 Reg picks up break.

10:57

G2T5 Reg has reached hoop 5.

On lawn 3 Wixy took his first break to 4-back. Hopgood had a leave, Wixy hit in. Delayed TP didn't work out, it looks like dour ball to peg.

11:03

G2T5 Reg has taken Black to 1-back. Diagonal spread with rush for Blue.
Mr Mangler tells me seven different people have made a sextuple in this event. Is this a record?
Happy Birthday to Martin Murray and David Kibble. Obviously twins separated at birth.
Martin is 69. His sweater is 48.

11:05

G2T6 Rob lifts Red (the ball near W bdry) to B-baulk. Shoots at Blue (22y). Misses to just W of 4th corner.

11:14

G2T7 Reg (Blue) makes 1 off Yellow. Needs a good cut to get Yellow near Red. Overcuts it to 4yN of Red. Croquets Yellow 2y W of 4. Plays Hogan Roll: Red to 2yN of 3, Blue not bad on Black near 2. Makes hoop 2, with rush on Black into peeling position. Peel goes through by a couple of yards, Blue going to Yellow.

11:22

G2T7 Reg is on a sextuple. Blue rushes Red to 2nd corner after 3,croquets it 8' E of 2-back. His rush on Blue is hampered by 1-back, can only tap it. Good pass roll. Rushes Yellow to W bdry after 4. 2-back peel before 5 ends in front of jaws.

Wixy had a crack at the STP, got to rover and peg. Hopgood missed. Wixy +26

11:27

G2T7 Reg makes 5 off Red, rushes it off W bdry. (Yellow is 2yE of 6.) Croquets Red 2yE of 1-back. Rush-peels Black through 2-back to bdry. Another pass roll: pretty good: Black 4'E of 3-back, Blue has rush on Yellow to 6.

11:31

G2T7 Reg Blue makes 6 off Yellow, rushes Yellow 3y SE of Black. Yellow is croqueted 6yESE of peg. Now trying 3-back peel going to Red at 1-back. Peel sails through to 4ySSE of 4-back, Blue overshoots Red. Taking off to 1-back from 8', copes.

11:41

G2T7 Reg Blue croquets Red 7'E of 4-back. Black croqueted to near peeling posi at 4-back, rushing Yellow well enough to 2-back. Poor shot after hoop leaves Yellow 4yESE of 1. Recovers with another pass roll: Yellow 2yE penult, Blue nice and close to Black. Peels 4-back before 3-back. Good enough rush to 3-back. Makes hoop off Red.

On lawn 1 we shall have Plate play-off: Wixy v Huneycutt (best-of-3).
On lawn 3 we shall have Y doubles final: Hopgood & Murray v Cumming & Rothman (also best-of-3).

11:48

G2T7 Reg Blue now has Red between penult and peg. Takes off to Black, fair rush over to penult. Peel goes through by not very much. Makes 4-back off Yellow. Just the straight rover peel to do now.

Mark Avery has turned up. Feeling better than yesterday but still not great.

11:53

G2T7 Irish peel sends Black almost to yardline. 7 foot peg-out.

Bamford wins Game 2 +26sxp

Match now 1-1

11:56

    Robert Fulford
    Reg Bamford

11:57

Clips
1 1 1 1

11:59

G3T1 Rob Black 9yN of 4thcorner

G3T2 Reg Yellow just S of 2nd corner

G3T3 Rob Blue misses Black from A-baulk. Comes on 1yN of Blue.

12:08

G3T4 Reg (Red) makes target from B-baulk, hits Blue. Rushes Black to 1 - overhit by 4 yards. Good approach. Makes hoop, rushes to E boundary. Black croqueted to 7yE of peg. Blue rushed into 2nd corner. Eschews open cannon. Rushes Yellow to 2. Makes it, now has 5y take-off to get rush on Blue. Gets rush, takes it to within 1' of Black. Has break now.

12:17

G3T4 is pretty much same as G1T4 and G2T5, so I presume we'll be getting same leave.

In game 1 Rob lifted the ball at the peg and hit the short shot, in game 2 he lifted the other ball and took the long shot. This has puzzled us in the hut, no doubt those in the tent have a theory.

12:19

Clips
1 1 1b 1

12:20

G3T4 Indeed we have a diagonal spread.

G3T5 Rob lifts the ball at the peg to A-baulk, misses.

12:26

G3T6 Reg Yellow makes 1 off Black. Blue is near hoop 4, Red waiting at 2. Taking croquet beside hoop 1, another excellent big croquet stroke. Clarke always derides me when i make this sort of comment, but i think Reg is odds-on to finish this sextuple.

12:28

G3T6 Reg peels 1-back after 2, peelee ending up 3yESE of 2-back.

Plate: Huneycutt is attempting to TPO Wicks.

Y doubles: Looks like Hopgood is on standard TP.

12:36

G3T6 Reg hasn't rushed Red in front of 2-back. Optimistic peel attempt before 4 bounces off hoop. Wisely his hoop 5 pioneer is at 2-back. After 4 Blue is croqueted 4' W of peg. 2-back peel before 5 is only jawsed.

Phil wants you to know that Jeter had his 3000th career hit yesterday. Apparently Americans might understand this.

12:41

G3T6 Reg Yellow rushes Black off W bdry after 5. Black is croqueted to 2yE of 1-back. Red is rush-peeled through 2-back. Red is croqueted 1ySE 3-back. Yellow rushes Blue to 6. Yellow has stuck in 6. ERROR!

12:41

Clips
1 1 3b 6

12:45

G3T7 Rob Blue hits Yellow out of hoop. Yellow to 2, rushes Black to E bdry. Croquets Black between 1 and 2, now faced with 5y take-off approach to hoop 1 off Red. Copes. Has all the balls.

12:49

My expert analyst votes for QPO - you'll never guess who it is!

G3T7 Rob more sensibly POPs Yellow through 6 after 2.

Plate: Huneycutt completes TPO, has two balls off, possibly deliberately.

Y doubles: Hopgood setting up for straight rover peel, croquets deep ball off lawn.

12:55

G3T7 Rob is putting out a 1-back pioneer. Contact leave coming up.

13:00

G3T7 Rob (Blue) has the opportunity for POPping 1-back. I'm not sure even Wylie ever advocated this. Yes he's having the second POP! He's making 2-back off partner with Red at 3-back.

13:04

G3T7 Rob leave: Red in 4th corner; Yellow 6yN of 1st corner; Black 3yE of 2nd corner; Blue in 3rd corner.

13:04

Clips
4b 1 3b 2b

13:14

G3T8 Reg lifts Yellow to B-baulk, cuts Blue out of corner. Takes off to Black (Blue now 2y out of corner). Roquets Black. Another big croquet stroke coming up. He's now left his mallet where he wants Black to go: about 15yN of 1st corner. Walks back to align balls. Black's gone to about 11yN of 1st corner. Roquets Red. Leaves rush for Red pointing to 3-back (ish: it's a single ball for Black i guess).

Plate: Huneycutt 3-back (and box) v Wicks 4 (and box)

13:20

G3T9 Rob Black misses Yellow into 4th corner (27y)

My expert's explaining to me how to set up the straight QP.

G3T10 Reg Red taps Black, rushes Yellow to 3-back, makes hoop, rushes Yellow back to 4th corner. Stops Yellow into lawn, rushes Black into 3rd corner.

13:26

G3T10 Reg Red makes 4-back off Blue, rushes back to 3rd corner, croquets Blue 4yS of 4-back, rushes Black to East of Yellow, Yellow to penult, makes penult.

Plate: Huneycutt wins Game 1 +10tpo

Y doubles: Rothman on delayed TP

13:32

G3T10 Reg makes rover off Black. It's looking like another diagonal spread, with Blue at the peg. Black is 4y in from W bdry. Red and Yellow maybe 11y N of 4th corner.

13:32

Clips
4b 1 peg 2b

13:34

G3T11 Rob lifts Black to end of A-baulk. Misses Yellow (17y).

13:37

G3T12 Reg makes 2-back off Blue. Has to play 5-hoop 4-ball break for the game.

13:42

Bamford wins Game 3 +17

Bamford leads 2-1

Y Doubles: Cumming & Rothman take Game 1 +4tp(R). In Game 2 Murray has hit 4th turn after a supershot opening.

13:44

Lunch break. We expect to resume about 1410.

14:01

It's difficult for me to tell as I only turned up on Friday, but the Championships do seem to have been a success. Surbiton do such a superb job of hosting big tournaments, especially of course last year's MacRobertson Shield. 48 players is a good turn-out, boosted by a welcome number of overseas players.

I think Samir Patel has done an excellent job managing his first Opens. It was quite right to aim for starting the Doubles Final on Saturday - it's unfortunate that illness precluded this. And there were those who carped at the early start today, but I think that two unfinished Championships this century is more than enough.

14:05

A table has appeared in front of the hut, laden with trophies. So many people admiring them, i can't see much of the lawn. Don't think we've started yet!

As well as Samir, we should congratulate George Noble for his groundswork. It's a shame the rain has taken the fire out of the lawns.

14:08

    Reg Bamford
    Robert Fulford

14:08

Clips
1 1 1 1

14:11

G4T1 Reg Black 10yN of 4th corner.

G4T2 Rob plays Yellow from B-baulk: 3yE of 2nd corner, presumably in lawn a bit.

G4T3 Reg Blue shoots at Black from A-baulk. Misses on left, comes on 1yN of Black.

Y doubles: Rothman is on a 5th turn TPO of Murray.

14:18

G4T4 Rob Red shoots at yellow from B-baulk. Missed to just S of 2nd corner (10y). Rob has lost every opening.

G4T5 Reg Black rushes Blue close to hoop 6. Take-off to Yellow, rushes it into 2nd corner. Rushes Red to 1'NNW of hoop 1. Take-off gives him posi for hoop and roquet - rushes Red near 3rd corner.

14:21

G4T5 Reg Black plays short take-off to get rush on Yellow to hoop 2. Has break now.

14:28

G4T5 Reg has reached hoop 6.

Huneycutt beats Wicks +10tpo +26tp to win the Association Plate.

Rothman completes TPO with a POP on Hopgood's ball to boot.

14:32

We have an interested non-croquet playing spectator in the hut - he's apparently Reg's body and mind coach. Had a bit of a job lifting Reg after his loss to Mulliner at the GC 2 weeks ago.

G4T5 Reg to 1-back. Another diagonal spread, though this time Yellow's just 6y from peg. Setting up rush for Blue from 10y N of 4th corner.

14:32

Clips
1 1b 1 1

14:41

G4T6 Rob lifts Yellow to end of A-baulk. Misses Black / Blue.

G4T7 Reg's rush to hoop 1 has ended in the "worse than death" position. Takes off to 25 degree posi. Copes, hoop and roquet. Black is 8' W of 6. Setting up for 1-back peel after 2.

14:47

G4T7 1-back peel goes through by 4 yards. There's a pioneer at 3 (Red). Yellow is heading for 2-back. And after 3 Red's headed there too. I think Red's too far North as a hoop 5 pioneer - 8' NNE of 2-back. Peel attempt going to Yellow. Fails onto wire - that won't rush-peel.

Shock on the cards at darts - Death has taken Cordingley to a deciding fifth leg.

14:52

G4T7 Reg Blue makes 4 off Yellow. Rushes Yellow 5' ESE of 2-back. Little take-off. Taps Black into position. Peels it leaving 3y cut rush on Red required. Hits middle of Red - now has 5y take-off back to 5. Plays it well. Makes hoop.

14:59

G4T7 Reg Blue: after 5, rushes Red 8y E of Black / Yellow. Red is croqueted 5' E of 1-back. Roquets Black, croquets it to 6" almost in front of 3-back. Ripple of applause. Good rush of Yellow to 6. Makes 6 (carefully!) Inadvertently cuts Yellow near A-baulk 10y from Black. Croquets Yellow 3y W of 4-back. Black is really too close to hoop! Gentle roquet of Black.

15:06

G4T7 Reg (Blue) peels Black through 3-back to 6y SSE of 4-back, but Blue has gone past Red. Good take-off approach again. Rolls Red to 1' NE of 4-back, getting rush on Black. 4-back peel goes through, but he's gone NNW of Yellow. Cuts Yellow 10' E of 2-back. Underapproach leaves 15 degree hoop. Clubs it through.

15:11

G4T7 Reg (blue): after 2-back, rushes Yellow between hoop 2 and 2nd corner. Rolls Yellow to 1y NE of penult going to Black. Black goes to penult. Rushes Red to 3-back (i'd almost forgotten 3-back - must be sitting next to Cordingley.)

Y doubles: Cumming has reached 1-back, but Hopgood has a chance. Needs to scoop off hoop 3 from 7 yards.

15:15

G4T7 Reg peels penult before 4-back. Overhits approach, makes hoop look trivial. Now croqueting Black to rover from 14 yards. Black maybe 5' shy of rover. Makes penult. Just straight rover peel for the title.

15:20

G4T7 Without running to the side of the lawn i can't see how far Black is in front - 1' to 18" maybe. Irish peel succeeds. Just the rush to the peg from 15 yards. 8' peg-out...

15:20

Bamford wins Game 4 +26sxp

Bamford is Open Champion.

15:23

Well played Reg. Two sextuples out of 3, and won every opening. Rob just didn't shoot well today.

The doubles final will be starting shortly. I'll be starting a new news item.

Y doubles: Hopgood has taken his 3-ball break round to force a decider.



 

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