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Commentary Opens Friday

[<<] [>>] by Andrew Gregory at Cheltenham
13 July 2012 (AC - Championships)

Good morning from Cheltenham.


Sorry for delay, problems with wireless router. Also my dongle no longer works.

Quarter-finals day here today.

We have:

Bamford v Evans on lawn 1

French v Maugham / Goacher

Chapman v Mounfield on lawn 7

Avery / Smith v Fulford

Avery v Smith is still in game 2 (of 5) - Avery won the first last night.

Maugham v Goacher went on all day yesterday. They are in the deciding 5th game, with just 2 balls on the lawn. Maugham has a big lead (4-back v 3).


Reg Bamford v Marcus Evans

Lawn 1

G1T1 Reg Black 10y N of IV

G1T2 Marcus Yellow shoots at Black from A-baulk, missing to 2'N of Black.

G1T3 Reg Blue makes double from B-baulk, clips Yellow into lawn. Makes 1 off Black, rushes West. Poor croquet stroke leaves 45d cut to 2. Rushes to 3yN peg. Rolls to 2 sending Yellow nr II. Makes 2y hoop (hits wire, spins through). Big stroke out of II. Picks up break. Goes to 1-back. Leaves rush for Black from East boundary to Yellow near West boundary.

G1T4 Marcus Red shoots from A-baulk. Hits Blue. Fails 1 off partner with a 4-ball break set up.

G1T5 Reg Black shoots from 2 at Yellow, missing (20y)

G1T6 Marcus Yellow picks up break. To 4-back with 2 POPs on Black.


Maugham has beaten Goacher.

Smith has reached 4-back and peg; Avery hits "last shot".

Chapman is on a sextuple on lawn 7.

Marcus's leave: Red 1yW of IV, Blue 2yE of II, Black 12yS of III, Yellow in I.


My expert analyst already knows what Reg is going to do. Reg does not. After much thought...

G1T7 Reg Black takes contact off Blue. Ignores Red and Yellow, leaves rush for Blue to 1-back. My analyst was right!

G1T8 Marcus Red hits Yellow (25y). Big roll out of I leaves him 10y short of Black and Blue. Hits.

On lawn 8, Avery is on a TP.


Apparently Mounfield had first break on lawn 7, but cross-wired himself from his 2-back pioneer. Chapman's sextuple is going well. Needs straight rover peel to finish.

Avery finishes his TP for a 2-0 lead.

Marcus has standard TP in front of him.


According to my calculations, Avery has possibly 23 games still to play. So fewer than 8 a day then.

Chapman completes sextuple for 1-0 lead.

Marcus's clip still on 4-back, delaying the TP.

French v Maugham yet to start.


Marcus finally gets 4-back peel before 1-back.


Avery has first break in Game 3, going to 1-back with spread.

In case you're not up to speed, the Singles is SuperAdvanced: that is, there is an extra lift hoop, hoop 4. So if you get the first break, there are broadly 3 options:

Make 5 or 6 hoops, have spread with rush for forward ball, then continue to 4-back with same ball to reach a "normal" situation.

Make 9 hoops, concede contact, hit your long shot next turn.

Make 6 hoops, lay for backward ball, attempt sextuple.

Avery has failed 2-back ("bit casual"), giving Smith all the balls.

It looks like Marcus peeled penult before 4-back, leaving a straight rover peel to finish.


Marcus wins the first game +18tp.

Mounfield in play on 7. Some of you may not have come across Nick M. First, I must tell you that there is no T in his surname. I first met him when he won a B-class event at Newport last year. At the Newport open weekend this year he came 3rd, losing only to Avery and Fulford, and doing his first TP. I'm not very good at predicting how good a player will get, but Nick's certainly improving fast.


Reg Bamford v Marcus Evans

G2T1 Marcus attempts to lay supershot ball, but misses all the furniture ending up 6 yards from B-baulk.

So this is the other aspect of SuperAdvanced. Reg now has the right to tell Marcus to place his ball in baulk. Reg does so, Marcus chooses to place Blue in 3rd corner.

G2T2 Reg places Red in 1st corner.

G2T3 Marcus Black approaches 1 off Red, sending Red to 2. Pretty good shot. Runs hoop to boundary, misses return roquet, ending up 5y NNE of hoop 1. Oops!


Mounfield returns from 7 with tales of missing 18" roquet owing to intervening crater. He'd reached 1-back, Chapman now has break.

Smith has reached 4-back conceding contact.

Apparently some lawns (eg lawn 9) are too lush for play.

G2T4 Reg has 4-ball break.


Reg POPs Blue through 1 after 3.


Reg has made 6 hoops with Yellow, Marcus's clips now both on 2. Diagonal Spread with rush for Red.


G2T5 Marcus lifts Black (ball at peg) to A-baulk, hits Red.

On lawn 7, we somehow have Paddy Chapman on 2 and 2, Mounfield on 2 and 4-back. Chapman misses lift, Mounfield gets going.

On lawn 8, Smith is back in, trying to organise standard TP.


G2T5 Marcus picks up break.

Both Smith and Mounfield have peeled 4-back after 3.


Marcus tries and fails to get POP before 5.

Good to know Chris Clarke is following this commentary. Despite "not being an expert at SuperAdvanced" he adds the following to my basic 1st break tactics:

"I think making 4 hoops is probably stronger than 5 or 6 providing you're not intending to try a sxp if they take the short lift.

"I think this is one of the interesting positions - ball to 1-b with a spread laying up level with 5 with a rush for forward ball. Long shot virtually guarantees you another lift. Short shot might allow/tempt oppo into a sxp attempt."

Thanks Chris, though for lesser mortals it's easier to make the leave after 5 or 6.


Good news! There's a hog roast this evening.

Marcus has got his 2 POPs on Red. To 4-back with contact leave.

Smith has jawsed penult peel after 6, now rush-peels it after 1-back.

Mounfield lining up penult peel after 6.


Marcus's contact leave:

Red (for 3) in III; Yellow (for 1-b) in II; Blue (for 2) in IV; now sending Black into I from a long way... misses leaving it 6" N of 1st corner. Oops!


Mounfield jawses rover peel before 3-back, rush-peels it after 3-back.

Smith has to negotiate straight rover peel, does so, Avery leads 2-1.

G2T6 Reg lifts Yellow to 1st corner. Rushes black halfway up W boundary. Takes off to Red. Leaves rush nr III for Yellow to 1-back.

G2T7 Marcus shoots Blue at Yellow (33y). Hits!


They're not stopping for lunch on lawn 8. Smith hits 3rd turn, leave, Avery misses long shot into IV.

Marcus has picked up break, partner is hoop 4 pioneer so the TP is delayed.

Mounfield's peg-out seemed a bit long (4 or 5y?) but he copes. 1-1. Lunch.


Marcus jawses 4-back peel before 6, rush-peels it after 6. Peelee is going to 2-back.

Smith going round 5th turn.

Nice salad for lunch.


Marcus peels penult before 4-back, peelee going nicely through to near rover.

Smith is going to 4-back.


It's actually getting quite warm out there in the sunshine.

The Mangler has decided no longer to wait for lawn 8, so we'll shortly have French v Maugham on lawn 10.

Marcus wins game 2 18tp and leads Reg 2-0.

Smith is having his conatct leave.


Martin French v Dave Maugham, lawn 10

G1T1 Martin plays Black 10y N Of IV

G1T2 Dave plays Yellow into II

G1T3 Martin shoots at Yellow, missing into corner.

G1T4 Dave Red shoots at Black from B-baulk, missing into IV

G1T5 Blue takes off to Black, goes off lawn by 2 yards. Comes back into contact.

G1T6 Red misses Black to near III

G1T7 Blue and Black roll over to 1.

G1T8 Dave sends Yellow to middle of East boundary.

G1T9 The first roquet of the match! Martin makes 1, has rush to 2.


On lawn 8, Avery stuck in 1 off partner. Smith missed, Avery going to 4-back, conceding contact.

They've restarted on 7, no hoops yet. Chapman has innings.

On 10 Martin has picked up the break.


Martin fails 6, giving Dave all the balls.

Smith tries and fails to get going off contact. Avery hits 20-yarder with backward ball.

Chapman has 4-ball break.


Chapman POPs Yellow after 4.

And lawn 1 has restarted (Reg Bamford 0-2 Marcus Evans)

G3T1 Reg Black 10y N of IV

G3T2 Marcus Red shoots at Black from A-baulk. Misses to 2' N of ball.

G3T3 Reg Blue makes double from B-baulk. Misses to 6yN of IV.

G3T4 Marcus Yellow shoots at target from B-baulk. Misses into IV.


Avery on a standard TP, rolling from behind 4-back to 6, manages to finish in jaws of 6. Oops! Smith now has chance of standard TP.

Now lawn 7. I originally wrote that the POP failed, but then oppo comes down, sees what i've written (I really should discourage that!) and says he thought it went through. But it looks to me like there are 3 clips on 1 and one on 4-back.

I missed some interaction on 10. Martin now has clips on 4 and 6, Dave on first break going to 4-back.

Reg having 5th turn break.


Smith's TP is delayed. He fails 4-back peel before 6.

Chapman has the innings back. Mounfield misses long shot. You'd expect Chapman to finish now.

Reg has made 6 hoops (no POPs).


Dave's got the innings back on 10.

Reg has made Spread with rush for backward ball.

G3T6 Marcus lifts Yellow (ball at peg), shoots at Blue from A-baulk. Hits!


I can't see lawn 10 at all from here, but when I go out I see Martin's on the lawn.

Marcus has break.

Smith is settling for being 4-back and peg (Avery on 6 and penult).

Chapman on standard TP, 2 peels done.


Smith makes diagonal spread with Yellow (the penult ball) at the peg.

Avery lifts Yellow to B-baulk, misses Black.

No prizes for guessing what Marcus is up to: break to 4-back, 2 POPs.

Chapman finishes TP and leads 2-1.


Smith is struggling to finish. Now approaching rover from 7 yards. He's now looking at some alternative - surely not? No, he plays good enough approach to 5' ish. Poor hoop stroke, bounces off.

Avery has 3-ball break with backward ball; partner ball is still in IV.

Looks like Chapman has won the opening in Game 4.

Statto informs me that (for the second time this week) Robert Fletcher is now World No. 1.


Marcus's contact leave: Black (for 1-b) 1yS of II; Blue (for 3) 7ySE of 3 (ie 1 yard in lawn); Red (for 1) 1'N IV; Yellow (for 4-back) in I.

G3T7 Reg Black plays thick take-off from Yellow to Red, takes off in attempt to get rush to 1-back, short, leaves rush to 1-back from W bdry.

G3T8 Marcus misses! (27y) (Red at Yellow)

G3T9 Reg plays with backward ball!

Avery trying to finish with straight rover peel, but peelee doesn't go far enough through. Now has 10-yard peg-out. Mulliner on to umpire peg. Yellow finishes maybe 2' from peg.


Marcus's contact leave: Black (for 1-b) 1yS of II; Blue (for 3) 7ySE of 3 (ie 1 yard in lawn); Red (for 1) 1'N IV; Yellow (for 4-back) in I.

G3T7 Reg Black plays thick take-off from Yellow to Red, takes off in attempt to get rush to 1-back, short, leaves rush to 1-back from W bdry.

G3T8 Marcus misses! (27y) (Red at Yellow)

G3T9 Reg plays with backward ball!

Avery trying to finish with straight rover peel, but peelee doesn't go far enough through. Now has 10-yard peg-out. Mulliner on to umpire peg. Yellow finishes maybe 2' from peg.


Avery pegs out Blue and Red. Black is for rover, Yellow is 2' NW of peg. Smith lifts Black to B-baulk, misses Yellow by an inch. Avery wins match 3-1.

Reg peels 1-back going to his hoop 4 pioneer, which for reasons unknown is 4yW of 5. Tries to run 5' hoop 4 to boundary, runs it by inches, can't hit near ball. Hits 13-yarder at Yellow (near 2-back).


Update: lawn 10: French 1-b and 4-b v Maugham 2 and 4-b (still Game 1, French has innings)

lawn 7: Mounfield 1 and 1 v Chapman 4-back and trying to pick up break (on 2 now).

Reg's sextuple: so his hoop 5 pioneer is 5y S of 4, that doesn't stop him trying to peel 2-back from 3 or 4 yards. Peel goes through, other ball finishes 1' from S bdry. Now attempting 3-back peel going to pioneer at 1-back. Peel goes a few feet through.


Avery v Fulford will be on lawn 11.

Reg's backward take-off approach to 1-back has finished short. 45 degree hoop. Clubs it through by a few inches. Ref (MM) on to judge hampered shot. Reg copes. His 2-back pioneer (Yellow) is (but of course!) 4y SW of 4-back. Rolls Red to 1' NW of 4-back, doesn't get good rush on peelee. Now has 2y rush to 2-back. That should be good enough (4y N of 2-back,maybe). Another angled hoop, more squinting at ground level. Runs hoop to boundary.


Reg's sextuple still going strong. 4-back is peeled before 3-back, penult before 4-back.


French has reached 3-back and peg v Maugham (still 2 and 4-back). Last shot coming up.

Chapman needs just a straight rover peel to finish TP and match.

Avery has first break v Fulford.


Paddy Chapman is first player into semiFinals.

Reg completes his sextuple.

Hopgood has just lost to Gabrielle on lawn 4. Statto is aiming to have it in the rankings before he gets back to the hut. Note: if you're having difficulty in the art of winding people up, and fancy a fairly easy challenge, words along the lines of "What went wrong, James?" might prompt a heated response.


Reg Bamford 1-2 Marcus Evans

G4T1 Marcus tries his supershot off the furniture opening. Does not go well.

G4T2 Reg has 3-yard rush to 1 from B-baulk. Rushes it to 5yN of hoop. Runs hoop by 2'. Can he roquet Blue? Ref is called (Samir). Not too difficult. Now has 2-ball break.


Avery went to 4-back conceding contact, but has just hit 26-yarder to get back in.

Bamford is world no. 1 again.

Maugham hit his last shot and is now on standard TP.


G4T2 Reg has made 6 hoops with Red. Seems to be stopping voluntarily. Leaves Blue 2yW of IV, Red 12y S of III


Maugham wins game 1 +6tp

G4T3 Marcus misses Red from III to just W of IV

G4T4 Reg shoots from III, rushing Red to 5yE of 4. "This should be an easy turn" avers oppo.


So a question of nomenclature. In the good old days most sextuples were "Ladies'", ie starting with peelee in jaws of 1-back. The sextuples resulting from the tea-lady leave were called (i think) delayed. Now we should clearly now term these "standard", while those resulting from a superAdvanced Diagonal Spread are delayed. So what then do we call a sextuple starting from hoop 3? Other than impressive.

Reg peels 1-back after 2.


Lawn 11: Fulford has done all 3 peels of the TPO before 2-back, and has POPped Avery thru 1 after 2-back.

Lawn 10: G2T1 French Black 10y N of IV

G2T2 Maugham just S of II

G2T3 French hits partner from B-baulk, takes off to Yellow, has leave.

G2T4 Looks like Maugham hit something.

Lawn 1:

Reg jawses 2-back peel before 4, rush-peels before 5. 3-back peeled before 6.


On lawn 8, James Death has just done an octuple, finishing with a straight sextuple.

Reg seems to have peeled 4-back before 2-back.

Fulford's contact leave was backward ball in III, peg ball in IV.

Maugham has first break on 10.


Reg plays slightly duff croquet stroke after 3-back, which means he has to finish with a straight double peel. Copes. Only a 4th turn sextuple so nowhere near as much applause as for Death's effort.


So, guessing a bit on lawn 11:

Avery takes off from ball in IV (Black) to ball in III, tries to roll off 2, retires to a cunning 10y N of Black

Fulford retires Blue to 1yE of I

Avery hits Black, takes off to Blue, rolls off to 2y angled posi, bounces off.

Fulford joins up near IV

Avery misses badly.

Fulford makes 1, now Avery back on lawn.


Reg Bamford 2-2 Marcus Evans

G5T1 Reg 10y N IV

G5T2 Marcus misses from A-baulk

G5T3 Reg misses from B-baulk to 3y S of other 2 balls.

G5T4 Marcus misses to near IV.


Fulford now on 3-ball break to win Game 1 v Avery.

Maugham went to 4-back conceding contact, but has now got back in with backward ball.

G5T5 Reg has reached hoop 2.


Fulford wins Game 1 +12tpo

Maugham on standard TP.

Lawn 11: G2T1 Avery plays ball to 2yN of 5, allegedly through hoop.

G2T2 Fulford just S of II

G2T3 Avery misses

G2T4 Fulford hits double.


Was Death's the first superAdvanced octuple? He is now on a nontuple!

G5T5 Reg makes 6 hoops, diagonal spread,

G5T6 Marcus lifts ball at peg to A-baulk, misses.


Sadly the nontuple died early.

Maugham finishes his TP

G3T1 French K 10y N of IV

G3T2 Maugham Y just S of II

G3T3 French misses K into IV

G3T4 Maugham misses from A-baulk to N of U.

Fulford makes 6 hoops and has reverse spread (This discourages oppo from IV.)

G2T5 Avery hits from I, picks up break.

And I should be keeping an eye on Reg's sextuple, but in these conditions it's ... well I shouldn't say anything, commentator's curse and all that. It very much looks like Reg has had 3 peels, and has just made hoop 6.


G5T7 Reg's sextuple is almost to the straight rover peel stage now.

French is having first break in Game 3.

Avery went to 4-back with 1 POP.


Reg must have had a POP on T5 while I wasn't paying attention, so he wins the fifth game (and the match) +25sxp

Excellent match from both players, shame Marcus's shooting went off slightly in the latter stages.


Sorry for delay, but 10 and 11 are a way away from the hut.

Lawn 10: French went to 4-back with not especially good contact leave ("I needed a 5th corner"). Maugham makes 1 on contact turn, but then misses 6-yard roquet. French wide-joins. Maugham makes 1 with other ball, tries to roll off 2 from II, fails hoop with balls there for tpo.

Lawn 11: Fulford leaves rush to 2, Avery corners in I (other ball in III). Fulford plays with backward ball, makes 2, approaches 3 from III, digs out ball in I and embarks on delayed tpo (bit late for the sextuple).


Fulford completes TPO, has 2 balls off (K for 1, Y for 1-b)

K takes contact from Y (middle of E bdry). Rolls to 1, with Y 6y S of 2, takes unwired posi.

Y to 6y W of III.

K runs 1 to 3yE of II. Takes posi at 2.

Y misses K.

K hits Y, good approach to 2, makes it, does not make 3.


Fulford (Y) now for 3-b, Avery (K) for 4.

Y in middle W bdry.

K runs 4 to S bdry.

Now maybe a dozen turns with Y tapping / deeming near middle of W bdry, K hovering 8y in front of 5.

Finally Avery hits off to N bdry (can't imagine it was a hoop attempt)

Fulford takes 7' posi at 3-back

Avery to 10y E of I

Fulford runs 3-back, takes posi at 4-back.

Avery looks frustrated. Takes posi at 5.

Fulford runs 4-back, goes to 12yS of II.

Avery runs 5 by inches, shoots at Y, missing to N.

Fulford overapproaches pen from N bdry, sending Y near end of A-baulk. Takes unwired posi.

Avery shoots, likes it... but no.

Fulford runs pen to near S bdry, takes posi (wired?)

Avery shoots at whatever he can see, goes through rover!

Fulford finishes.


Meanwhile Maugham completed the dpo with a POP, so both backward clips on 2.

French rolled off 2 from III, sets up hoop 3 squeeze.


Maugham plays in-lawn ball (Red) to I.

French runs 3 to close to ball in IV, rolls off 4 from IV, 2-balls round to 2-back. Yellow is 2y SW of 5. Takes off to 2-back, overhits, hits Red in I. Take-off or roll? He elects for the latter, but underhits. Plays a not brilliant scatter.

Maugham hits with backward ball (Yellow, for 2) but makes no progress.

Avery has first break, makes 6 hoops, spread, sets up for 1-back ball. Fulford misses into IV.


With Maugham having rush to 2, French takes posi at 2-back. Hmm...

Maugham makes 2, rushes South, good rush to 3, should finish.

Avery to 4-back with NSL. All other clips on 1.


Maugham wins 3-0 to set up semi v Bamford.

Fulford declined his lift, and shot at the ball at 4, missing into IV. Crowd surprised he didn't lift other ball, thus delaying TP.

Avery's croquet stroke of partner to 3 finished in jaws of 4-back. This allowed him to do 4-back peel before 3, the penult peel after 3, and I shouldn't be surprised if he peels rover after 5.


Well we nearly lost commentary there. Someone asked if we had a 4 for bridge, but before i could respond Death, Evans, Bamford and Brown were sorted. I bet James can't do an octuple at bridge. ( I think in the early days they allowed bids of 8 spades say, may be a good sacrifice against the grand slam. They don't let you do that now.) Maybe I should revive the ABC... [Association of Bridge-Playing Croqueteers, organised a few weekends in the mid-90s, Fulford & Clarke a powerful pair, produced 2 issues of FINESSE.]

Meanwhile Avery got rover peel before 2-back, just finishing now....

Fulford leads 2-1.


Robert Fulford 2-1 Mark Avery

G4T1 Mark Blue 8yN of IV

G4T2 Rob Red 6-8" N of 6

G4T3 Mark Black misses Blue from A-baulk to N.

G4T4 Rob Yellow misses Red, glances off 6 to 10yE of I

G4T5 Mark Blue rushes Black North and West, Black to 2, rushes Red via hoop 4 to 3yN of IV, takes off short to Yellow, rolls to 1 from S bdry, nice hoop stroke, should be away now.


G4T5 Mark makes 6 hoops, spread.

G4T6 Rob lifts Red to B-baulk, shoots at ball by peg. Misses to end of A-baulk.

G4T7 Mark makes 3 hoops, tries for NSL. Red croqueted maybe 6y SSW of 2, Black rushed 10yN of IV. Goes to Yellow, has to make tiny take-off moving Yellow maybe 2", moves it 6". Yellow can see Black. Blue retires to II.

G4T8 Rob doesn't fancy 7-yarder. Lifts Yellow to B-baulk, shoots at Red, missing.

G4T9 Mark Blue misses Yellow to 1'E of I.

G4T10 Rob Red hits Yellow (5y). Picks up break.


The sun has just disappeared by an ominously impressive bank of cloud. Still given the forecast we've been lucky to stay dry so long.

G4T10 Rob setting up for TPO. Long 4-back peel attempt after 3, jawses it. Jawses penult peel after 6. Other 2 clips still on 1.


G4T11 Rob (Red) finishes TPO. Leaves Yellow 6"E of II, Red ~8yS of III.

G4T12 Mark takes contact off Red, takes off off the lawn next to Yellow.


G4T13 Rob Yellow takes off from Black to Red. Leaves Red 4yW, 2yN of IV, Yellow 1yW of IV, wired from Black.

G4T14 Mark shoots, missing to E of Yellow.


Susan Fulford is loyally watching from the hut, but most of the crowd has been distracted by the hog roast.

G4T15 Rob picks up 3-ball break.


Robert Fulford wins 3-1 and faces Paddy Chapman in the semi-final.

Just in time, the black clouds are now unloading.

Well I'll be off for some hog now. Tune in tomorrow, I hope to be connected for the 10am start, unlike today! Thanks to Samir and Ian Vincent for their efforts in getting me connected this morning. I'm told the router had to be rebooted.


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