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Commentary Opens Saturday

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

Good morning from Cheltenham. SemiFinals Day Reg Bamford v Dave Maugham (lawn 8) Paddy Chapman v Rob Fulford (lawn 1) I know I'm supposed to offer some tactical insight here, but that's not really my forte. Anyway, with the first break: Reg will go to 1-back and go for the sextuple; Dave will go to 4-back conceding contact. Rob will do the same as Reg, not sure about Paddy. Faced with clips on 1 and 4-back, Reg will go for the 6 hoops and finish anyway, both Rob and Paddy will TPO. Dave will not be faced with 1 and 4-back. So if I were offering odds? Well I've only seen 1 day's play, but based on that Dave has his work cut out v Reg. Rob and Paddy close. So for the Championship: Reg evens Rob 11-4 Paddy 100-30 Dave 10-1 I then thought about this and decided that Rob is too long, I would definitely put my money on him. So Rob's firmed to 2-1, Paddy drifts to 4-1. Please note I'm not going to take money on this, but just for fun, who's your money on?


Lawn 1 Paddy Chapman v Rob Fulford

G1T1 Paddy Black 10yN of IV

G1T2 Rob Red 1'N of 6

G1T3 Paddy Blue hits Red, takes off to Black, goes off lawn. looks a juicy target. Red is 3y W of peg.

G1T4 Rob Yellow hits from A-baulk. Picks up break.


Lawn 8 Reg Bamford v Dave Maugham

G1T1 Reg Blue 10y(?)N of IV

G1T2 Dave Yellow to just S of II

G1T3 Reg hits partner from A-baulk, takes off to Yellow, rolls Yellow to peg, lags 3y short of partner.

G1T4 Dave Red hits Black from A-baulk. Picks up break.


On lawns 1 and 8 we now have President's Cup hoops. Not fresh hoopholes.

Lawn 1, G1T4 Rob Yellow has made 6 hoops, no POPs. Blue and Black are 6" W and E of peg. Red has rush into lawn from W bdry.

G1T5 Paddy lifts Black to B-baulk. Shoots at Blue. Hits.


G1T5 Paddy POPping Red after 1. The crowd prediction is Black to 4-back with 2 POPs on Red. First POP rejected by hoop.


So the only reason I had Paddy at 100-30 originally was so I could say Burlington Bertie 100-30. Award yourself points if you know who Burlington Bertie was, withoutusing the Internet. Anyway why 100-30? I guess 10-3 sounds like a time. As does 20 to 6.

G1T4 Dave Red going to 4-back. Yellow already in or very near II.

G1T5 Paddy POPs Red through 1 before 4.


There's a steady drizzle falling.

Dave's contact leave (Red for 4-back, other 3 clips on 1):

Yellow in or very near II, Red in III, Blue and Black in contact in IV

G1T5 Reg is thinking.

On the other lawn, Paddy is making only 6 hoops with 1 POP. Just shows you can't trust the crowd.


Lawn 8

G1T5 Reg lifts Black into contact with Yellow. Rolls Yellow to 15yN of I, hits 8-yarder at partner. Leaves rush to 1 from IV.

Lawn 1 Paddy makes conventional Spread with Yellow (for 1-b) at peg, with rush for forward ball.

G1T6 Rob lifts Yellow to A-baulk, hits Black. Red is close to W bdry.


Might try new notation:

L8G1T6 Dave Yellow misses Red into III.

L1G1T6 Rob Yellow makes 3 hoops.


Later today we hope to see the resumption of the Doubles semi, in which Avery & Maugham are 1-0 up on Burch & Evans. Death & Fulford await in Final.

L1G1T6 Rob makes spread.

Clips: Rob: Red 2, Yellow 4-back; Paddy Blue 1, Black 1-back.

L1G1T7 Paddy lifts Blue, shoots at Black (near peg) from B-baulk. Hits.


Well, this confirms my weakness of tactical analysis. Reg is going for the TPO. Red is jawsed in 4-back after 3. Unless it's some NZ tactics...?


L8G1T7 Reg Blue: Red is rush-peeled after 4. But black has been croqueted not to 6 but to 2-back. Maybe for POP on Yellow? Crowd is mystified.

L1G1T7 Paddy setting up for TPO, fails 2.

L1G1T8 Rob Red misses Yellow, sticks on wire at 3.

L1G1T9 Paddy Blue goes for 1-back peel after 2, still has option for TPO.


L8G1T7 Reg Blue: has peeled Black through 1 before 6, peels red through penult after 6.

Maybe Reg just fancies the Clips?!!

L1G1T9 Paddy Blue peels Yellow through 4-back after 3.


L8G1T7 Reg Blue: peels red through rover before 2-back. The fourth ball is 4y SE of 2. Another peel on partner? Tries it but doesn't go through.

L1G1T9 Paddy Blue fails 5. That's 2 errors from Paddy, and this one should be fatal.

L1G1T10 Rob Red hits 5-yarder. Trivial DP to finish.


L1G1T10 Rob Red has peeled Yellow through rover after 5.

L8G1T7 Reg Blue, peels Black through 2 before 4-back. Seems to be looking for 1 more peel on partner.


L8G1T7 Reg Blue peels Black through 3 before rover. Crowd still confused as to why. Surely not 2 balls off?


Fact from Chris Clarke which i unquestioningly reproduce: Reg's last TPO was 11th July 2010 in the 5th game of the Opens Final v Fletcher.

Reg just one ball off. Blue (for peg) is in II, Black (for 4) 7yN of IV. Yellow still for 1.

Rob wins Game 1 +16.


L8G1T8 Dave yellow takes contact from Black, pretty good roll to 1, fails hoop. Looks to be just about runnable.

L8G1T9 Reg Black to IV

L8G1T10 Dave calls on ref, runs 1, misses 9-yarder at Blue in II.


L1G2T1 Rob Yellow 10yN of IV

L1G2T2 Paddy Black 1yE of 6

L1G2T3 Rob Red hits yellow from A-baulk. Fails to get going.

L1G2T4 Paddy Blue has some sort of long target from A-baulk. Hits.


L8G1T11 Reg Blue takes off from Yellow. Hits Blue off 5'N of Black in IV.

L8G1T12 Dave Yellow shoots at Blue. Hits! Has 4th corner cannon. Underhit: Black is 2yW of peg. Decent approach to 2. Scythed into right wire. With Blue peg high near E bdry, that might be that.


L1G2T4 Paddy Blue has made 6 hoops. Cross-peg leave with rush from W bdry, this time with the rush for Black.

L1G2T5 Rob lifts Yellow to near III, hits Red.

L8G1T13 Reg is on 3-ball break to finish.


Reg wins game 1 +12tpo.

L1G2T5 Rob Yellow POPs Black thru 1 after 1. Setting up for POP after 4, croquets Blue in front of 2. Second POP will have to wait a bit.


L8G2T1 Dave Black bounces off 5 to 3yW of peg.

L8G2T2 Reg Red to 15yN of IV.

L8G2T3 Dave Blue hits Red from III. Fails to get in front of 1. Retires to IV.

L8G2T4 Reg Yellow has 11-yarder at Black with Red in the background. Smacks Black near to Red.

L1G2T5 Rob has made 6 hoops with Yellow, Black has been POPped to 3. Sort of reverse NSL with Black at 1-back.

L1G2T6 Paddy lifts Blue to I, shoots at Red, missing to just E of II.


L1G2T7 Rob Red peels Yellow through 1-back before 1.

Some trenchant criticism of Reg's tactics from Christchurch NZ:

Reg Blue peels Black through 3 before rover. Crowd still confused as to why. Surely not 2 balls off?

"Absolutely 2 off. Reg has not been willing to go to 1-b and concede a 17 yarder for the game. He won't be willing to concede a potential finish off the contact or squeeze either. He's just trying to maximise the amount of opportunities that he gets himself and rely on being much better. It might not win, but I really like this change in tactical variety from Reg."

Reg just one ball off. Blue (for peg) is in II, Black (for 4) 7yN of IV. Yellow still for 1.

"Hate it. Just asking for Dave to play well now."


many apologies, I've just lost connectivity in the bar. Now moved to the tea-room (nearer CA Office and am now back.


L8G2T4 Reg Yellow POPs Black through 1 before 4. POPs Blue into jaws before 5, rushPOPs it after 5.

L1G2T7 Rob Red peels Yellow through 2-back before 4.

Reg Yellow has made 6 hoops POPping Blue and Black to 2 & 2. B spread - ball at peg can see Black, maybe Red / Yellow as well.


L8G2T5 Dave Blue hits Red (12y). fails to approach 2.

L1G2T7 Rob Red setting up for penult peel before 4-back.


L8G2T6 Reg misses 15-yarder into II.

L8G2T7 Dave picks up break.

Rob wins Game 2 18sxp, leads 2-0


Not wholly sure about this, but...

L1G3T1 Paddy Blue to 10yN of IV

L1G3T2 Rob Red to W of II

L1G3T3 Paddy misses partner from A-baulk

L1G3T4 Rob Yellow hits Red (12y?), takes off to Blue/Black picks up break.


L8G2T7 Dave has made 8 hoops with 2 POPs. Contact leave: Red 9yS III, Yellow 5yS II, Black just N of IV, Blue going into I from afar.... misses to 1'N of I.

Clips: Reg: Red 3, Yellow 1-back; Dave: Black 2, Blue 4-back.

L8G2T8 Reg lifts Yellow to I, rushes Blue to 1-back. makes hoop, rushes to Red.

L1G3T4 Rob Yellow makes hoop 6 off partner, rushes it 7yN of IV. Looks like he'd tried for tight cross-peg but failed, so now Blue goes near W bdry, Black near peg wired from Blue, rush for Red seems to be pointing to 5.


L8G2T8 Reg Yellow tries to get rush on Black to 2-back, but is short, can only cut-rush it to end of A-baulk. Tries roll approach to 2-back (why not take-off?), not in front. Retreats to IV. At least Dave has to play Blue.

L1G3T5 Paddy lifts Blue, shoots at Red / Yellow from A-baulk, misses.


L8G2T9 Dave lifts Blue, rushes Black into middle of lawn. Sends Black near III, leaves Red 2yNNW of IV, Rolls Yellow to 5yS of II and a bit E, leaves 2y rush for Black into lawn.

L1G3T6 Rob gets 1-back peel after 2, 2-back peel before 4.


L8G2T10 Reg shoots Yellow at Blue (21y). Hits.


Chris Clarke is on the ball:

L1G3T2 Rob Red to W of II

"Tennis anyone?"

If that's my first E / W error I'm not unhappy!

"p.s. This is the opening I wanted Marcus to play yesterday."

L1G3T6 Rob jawses 3-back peel before 6, rush-peels after 6.

L8G2T10 Reg has made a couple of hoops and is having crosswire at 3.


Robert Fletcher is now down to No. 3 in the world!

L1G3T6 Rob gets 4-back peel before 3-back, now has straight double peel for the match.

L8G2T10 Reg leaves Black 3y SW of III, Blue 3yE of 6. I'll scurry out to check the crosswire... yep, it's good. Red under-rolled to 4yW of 1, Yellow placed 3YSW of Red.

Clips: Reg Red 3, Yellow 4-back; Dave Black 2, Blue 4-back.


L1G3T6 Rob's penult peel "only" reaches peg-high, but a bombard promotes it to within 2y of rover.

Rob wins Game 3 +26sxp and match 3-0. Ripple of applause.

L8G2T11 Dave shoots Black at Red / Yellow, misses. Reg could pick up standard TP from here.


Sorry that wasn't a lost connection that was me having lunch. I'd have interrupted to inform you of any error, but there wasn't one.

L8G2T12 Reg standard TP to lead 2-0.

Now the players are having lunch.


Just picked up early message from Jenny Clarke: "Chris is otherwise occupied, but says that if he were a betting man he would have 10k on Reg at evens!"

Which is why i said I'm not taking real money.


Duncan Hector has been videoing various action during the week, and I know the footage I want to see: Cliff Jones' campervan being rescued by tractor from muddy field.


In the lull I've been catching up on the Plate:

Draw: SemiFinals: Christian Carter v Mark Ormerod, Wilkinson v Mulliner;

Process SemiFinals: Mulliner v Chris Williams; Miranda Chapman has beaten Noble.

And the Y Doubles final will be between Carter & Gabrielle Higgins and Foulser & Mundy, or the Grumpy Old Daves as i call them.


Reg Bamford 2-0 David Maugham

L8G3T1 Reg Blue 11yN of IV

L8G3T2 Dave Yellow just S of II

L8G3T3 Reg Black shoots at Blue from A-baulk. Misses on the North side.

L8G3T4 Dave Red makes double from B-baulk. Misses to 2yN of IV.


Red may be nearer 8' N of IV.

L8G3T5 Reg Black rushes Blue into IV. Stops Blue into lawn; makes 1 off Red. Rushes Red near Blue. Rushes Blue 3y NW of 6. Looks disappointed. Approaches 2. Runs to N bdry. Declines 7-yarder at yellow, takes off to it from Blue. Has cut-rush to 3. Overcuts it, now Yellow only 3yE of 2 (Red at 4.) Big roll, sending Yellow 4y WSW of 1, Black 4y SW of Red. Not bad cut, Red is 5yESE of 3. Take-off approach is good enough, still not what you'd call a break.


L8G3T5 Reg Black hits Red after 3, takes off to Blue. It's in between rush to 4 and rush to Yellow. Rushes Blue 4yN of 1. takes off to Yellow. That's good, though hoop 1 may be in play. More disappointment, Yellow well short (don't think it hit 1.) Another take-off approach. 4' hoop. Runs it to boundary, now has break.


L8G3T5 Reg Black has some work to do to get a decent leave before 1-back, with Red still near E bdry. Rushes Yellow there after 5. More thinking.


L8G3T5 Reg Black has made 6 hoops and managed a pretty good diagonal spread, with 2-yard rush for Blue.

Dave is looking at playing Yellow (ball at peg) as it lies. Or maybe just looking at Yellow. It is very close to peg but hard to tell from here exactly where.

L8G3T6 Dave has lifted Red to A-baulk. Shoots at Black. Misses.

Very flexible catering arrangements, Pete Trimmer is now being served a late lunch.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue ignores Red for now, sends Black to 2, makes 1 off Yellow. Rushes Yellow 7yS of Red. Yellow croqueted 4y SW of 6, Blue roquets Red. Pass roll, Red to 3, Blue to Black. Attempting 1-back peel after 2, rejected to 4y W of 2.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue makes 3 off Red. Yellow is halfway between peg and 4. Another 1-back peel attempt coming up. Black perhaps 4' from hoop. Black is again rejected. Blue OK.


Sextuples are much more fun when the peels don't work.

L8G3T7 Reg Blue makes 4 off Yellow. Red is 2yE of 1. Yellow is rushed to II, croqueted 3y NNE of 1. The third 1-back peel attempt. He'll be happy with that. Black may be rush-peelable through 2-back!! And a rush on Red.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue makes 5 off Red. Red is croqueted 5yS of 2. Black not in front of 2-back as I thought, but he'll do the peel now before 6. Peel goes through, has 8' rush on yellow to 6. OKish rush. Realizes black clip still on 1-back, picks it up. Approaches 6, runs it with rush on Yellow to Black. Time for 3-back peel attempt before 1-back. Short angled peel. Maybe 1', 30 degrees (to SW). Peel rejected, has overhit Blue.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue takes off to 1-back. Still only 2 peels done. Yellow is 2yW of 2-back. Red is rushed 2y S of 4-back. He now attempts 3-back peel going to Yellow at 2-back. Peel goes through by 2 or 3 yards. Makes 2-back off Yellow.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue rushes Black to leave 8' peel through 4-back. Peel goes through by more than 5 yards. Yellow currently loitering near rover. Blue makes 3-back off Red.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue croquets Red 4'SSE of penult, rushes Yellow to Black. He'll be doing stop-shot approach of 4-back sending Black to penult. Well played. Now needs straight double peel to finish, with balls in pretty good shape.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue has longer peel than one might like at penult - maybe 3'. Irish peel, Black only 1y through. Blue roquets Red,takes off for rush. Yellow is 7'E of rover.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue has slightly hampered rush on Black. It won't peel from there - will it? Maybe 2 or 3' from hoop, 45 degrees (NW). Here we go, Black is stuck in front of hoop, just in jaws. Blue is close to Yellow. (Red 2y SE of 6.) Reg is looking at a point 4y NE of rover, where he can just cut Yellow. Is he going for cannon? No, Yellow is croqueted 1yN of end of A-baulk. Blue 4' in front of rover. Jumps through to boundary, not moving Black.


L8G3T7 Reg Blue rushes Yellow toward Red, takes off for rush on Red. Can still finish. Good angle of cut on Red, but short: 4yN of rover. This for the finish... No, Red misses Black altogether, flicks off hoop to 3yE of 1. Blue 7' S of rover.


Reg has hands on hips. Calls on umpire.

L8G3T7 Reg Blue roquets Black gently. Peels Black through rover by 6 yards. Aiming for peg, centre-peg from 7 yards.

Clips: Reg: Blue box, Black peg; Dave Red 1, Yellow 1.


The disadvantage of being in the tearoom rather than the bar is I'm lacking an expert analyst, but did Reg do the right thing? He'd have got 2 lift shots under superAdvanced rules, now if Dave can play 2 3-ball breaks he gets 1 35-yarder.

L8G3T8 Dave Yellow picks up 3-ball break.


L8G3T8 Dave Yellow makes 12 hoops. Red is near 3, waiting for Dave to rush Black down and wire it from peg, laying up near I. Oh dear. 7' rush after rover missed altogether.

L8G3T9 Reg hits peg from 7 yards. Wins 3-0.


So we have Reg Bamford v Rob Fulford in tomorrow's final. What are your odds? Assuming you haven't already accepted £10,000 on Reg. How about Reg 4-6, Rob evens.

Presumably the doubles semiFinal will be resuming shortly.


Marcus Evans has turned up in a suit, very smart. He's been warbling at a wedding.

Players are practising on lawn 8.

In the plate Ormerod beat Carter, Mulliner beat Williams.

So we have:

Draw final: Ormerod v Mulliner / Wilkinson

Process final: Mulliner v Miranda Chapman

Mulliner v Wilkinson in progress on lawn 1. The 2 finals will be played tomorrow, plus play-off (if necessary).


Open Doubles SemiFinal, lawn 8

Jamie Burch & Marcus Evans 0-1 Mark Avery & Dave Maugham

They've remembered who won the toss on Wednesday.

G2T1 Jamie tries supershot opening, but fails to hit any furniture. They're playing superAdvanced, so Black goes into III.

G2T2 Dave Red rolls Black 4y SSE of II, Red 3y NW of IV

G2T3 Marcus Blue shoots at Black from B-baulk, missing.


After a relatively dry period, the rain has restarted in earnest.

G2T4 Mark Yellow shoots at Blue / Black, missing.


G2T5 Jamie Black plays, but his rush to 1 is poor, ending up 4yS of 2(!) Rolls Yellow to between 1 and I, gets between Red and IV. Cuts Red to 7yE of 1. Approaches to 2 yards. Fails hoop.


G2T6 Mark Yellow hits Black (4y). Makes 1. Can't work out whether to remove waterproof. On 3-ball break, Blue still 4yS of II.


G2T6 Mark Yellow has reached 1-back. Dave on pointing at things. Red is buried in II.


G2T6 Mark Yellow has made 9 hoops. Red in II, Yellow in III, Blue / Black in contact in IV.


G2T7 Burch emerges. Black takes off from Blue to 6yW of Yellow, hits it. Croquets Yellow 2yNW of 5, finishing 9y from Red. Partner on to forbid shot. Black to IV (8'E of Blue).

Yellow can see Blue.

G2T8 Avery Yellow to III

G2T9 Burch Black rushes Blue to 1 (ish). Sticks in hoop 1.


G2T10 Maugham Red shoots at Blue (22y) misses to S bdry.


G2T11 Burch Black makes 1, hits Blue. Rolls off 2 from middle W bdry. Now approaching 3 from III. Makes it.


In the Plate, Wilkinson has beaten Mulliner.

G2T11 Burch Black makes 6 hoops. Spread with Yellow at peg. Leaves rush for Blue.

Clips: Burch Black 1-back, Evans Blue 1; Avery Yellow 4-back, Maugham Red 1.


G2T12 Maugham lifts Red to near III, missing into IV.

G2T13 Evans Blue rushes Black 4y SW of hoop 2, thick take-off to Red ends up on wire of 4, unable to hit anything. Blue retreats to III.


G2T14 Avery Yellow comes on to lawn. Maugham follows him with umbrella (regular-sized, my analyst points out). Yellow to 4' W of Red in IV.

G2T15 Burch Black misses Blue in III.


After donning waterproofs and gloves, Maugham is ready.

G2T16 Maugham Red rushes Yellow to 1. Makes it, rushes to 3, grovels through 2 but he's OK, now has standard TP.


G2T16 Maugham Red peels Yellow through 4-back after 3.

So I was playing at Nottingham the other weekend and my face fell off. Well not mine, one of my mallet's. My mallet was made by Bob Jackson in winter of 1986/7 I think. Jacksons were all the rage then. It's a bit battered and bruised now. The first face fell off in the early 90s perhaps, at a cold Coles in Cheltenham. A lot of Jacksons were similarly afflicted at the time. As a temporary solution for the rest of the tournament I Superglued it back on, and resolved to play with the other end. When I forgot to play with the other end, the face promptly fell off. Superglue clearly not good enough. I'm not a DIYer, so I asked around and apparently Araldite was the answer.

Araldite comes in 2 tubes about 3cm long each. You mix the stuff from each tube together. I misunderstood the instructions. It said "Squeeze half an inch from each tube". It meant half an inch as it emerges from the nozzle. I understood half an inch's worth of the tube, so squeezed out half the contents of each. There was a fair amount of Araldite squidging out from between the mallet and the face, but it worked. I could play with either end again

In due course, the other face fell off. So naturally I used up the rest of my Araldite, using the same method as the first face.

So now my third face has fallen off. I need to purchase Araldite again. No DIY shops in centre of Cambridge, so I resort to Amazon. I'm confused. There's rapid Araldite, rapid steel, precision, standard... Which do I want? Please help.

Of course, I fully intend to ignore the instructions again.


G2T16 Maugham Red peels Yellow through penult after 6.

Assuming there's not much left in this game, will the Doubles Final start tonight? On the one hand, the tournament will finish. On the other, it is raining.


G2T16 Maugham Red peels Yellow through rover before 3-back.


Avery & Maugham win game 2 +20tp(M), and match 2-0.


James Death is on lawn 8 practising, so presumably the Doubles final will be starting. Yep, Robert Fulford's changed back into whites.


Rain has eased to heavy drizzle.

Doubles Final, Lawn 8 (Super Advanced, best of 3)

James Death & Robert Fulford v Mark Avery & David Maugham

G1T1 Avery Black bounces off 5 to 3y NNW of 5.

G1T2 Fulford Red to 1'N of IV.

G1T3 Maugham Blue hits Red.


G1T3 Maugham Blue underhits croquet stroke out of IV. Cuts Black to 5y NW of 1, takes off, makes it. Has 3-ball break now.


Not many other games going on. Hopgood and Trimmer having a Z on 1, MM's on lawn 11 coaching i think.

G1T3 Maugham Blue makes 9 hoops. Contact leave: Red 2"N of IV, Black 1'S of II, Blue in III.


G1T4 Death Yellow takes contact with Black. Thick take-off to Blue, hits it. Take-off to Red, hits it. Rolls to 1 with Red South of hoop, runs hoop, attempted roquet of Red bounces off hoop. Red / Yellow 6 yards apart.

G1T5 Avery Black shoots at Blue (25y), missing into III.


G1T6 Fulford Red hits Yellow (6y). Takes off, hits Black (5y). Blue is 8' W of III. Stops black out, rushes Blue 5'W of 1. Approaches 1, removes jacket. We shall be seeing a TPO now. I expect.


Thanks to Alan Pidcock for a very detailed answer to my Araldite question. However he underestimates my ignorance of, disinclination for and incompetence at DIY, using such terms as abrade, cellulose thinners (isn't that some sort of diet?) and chisel.

G1T6 Fulford jawses Blue in 4-back after 3.


G1T6 Fulford Red: Blue is rush-peeled before 5.


G1T6 Fulford: after 5 Red rushes Yellow bit close to Blue to send Yellow to 1-back, so Yellow is now near end of B-baulk. Red runs 6 to Yellow, Yellow croqueted to (5y short of) 2-back, and Blue is now peeled through penult with Red having dolly rush of Black to 1-back. I first discovered this method thanks to Wylie's "Expert Croquet Tactics", though I imagine all my readers will have at least one copy of this magnificent book. I've obviously borrowed a lot of Wylie's notation for my commentaries.


G1T6 Fulford peels Blue through rover before 3-back.


G1T6 Fulford Red completes TPO. Contact leave: Yellow in II, Red 8yS of III. Presumably hoop 3 is in play between Red and Yellow.

Black clip is on 1, Yellow is on 2.


G1T7 Avery (Black) takes contact with Red, takes off to Yellow. Must have been within 1' of going off lawn. Takes off from Yellow to 1. Not bad strength, but wide. Maybe hoop is7', 35 degrees. Checking Red and Yellow not wired. Takes position.


G1T8 Death Yellow to IV.

G1T9 Avery runs 1 by 12 yards. Maugham on lawn. Avery shoots at Red (20y), missing.


Death comes to inspect target. "Bit of a hole in that, I'll let you play partner."

G1T10 Fulford Red hits Black. Croquets Black 5y NNW of 2 (open on Yellow). Red comes off 10'W of Yellow in IV, wired from Black.


Alan Pidcock replies:


With that level of practical ignorance you should be proposed for Hurlingham membership."

G1T11 Avery Black to III


G1T12 Death Yellow rushes Red to NW of 1. Sets up presumably wired rush to 2.


G1T13 Avery Black to 4'N of IV.

G1T14 Death Yellow makes 2, rushes Red into IV. Rush to hoop 3 is 10' wide, but copes. Rushes Black to end of A-baulk, does roll, not so good, this man's too quick, now has perfect 3-ball break.


I'm probably grateful (to French) for Death's exit from the Singles before I started commenting, the man is quick. He's through 2-back now.


Death & Fulford win Game 1 +12tpo(F)


G2T1 Death Blue goes through hoop 5 to 2y SW of 6.

G2T2 Avery Yellow to 6"N of IV

G2T3 Fulford Black misses Yellow (13y). Balls in contact.

G2T4 Maugham Red hits Black (the Southern ball). [No, not Colin.] Red picks up break.


Just visited bar for refreshment, good to see 15 or so still watching.

Pete Trimmer has just done his first superAdvanced sextuple (with cannon peg-out), plunging Hopgood deeper into melancholia.

G2T4 Maugham is making 9 hoops.


G2T4 CORRECTION: Maugham has only made 8 hoops, to prevent TPO. Contact leave: Yellow in II, Red in III, Blue and Black in contact in IV.


G2T5 Death puts Blue in contact with Yellow, takes off to Red, takes off to Black, goes off lawn 6yN of IV.

G2T6 Avery Yellow misses Red into III.

G2T7 Fulford Black


G2T7 Fulford Black hits Blue, cutting it off lawn. Takes off to Yellow. Rushes Red to 1. Possibility of first peel of QPO after 1. Peel attempt misses hoop through lack of expected pull. Will he continue with QPO attempt?


Hopgood cheered by draw for Z knockout: Hopgood v Hopgood. Turns out it's a typo for Hector. Death favourite for his 3rd Z!

G2T7 Fulford Black peels Red through 3-back by 10 yards before 3. He peels Red through 4-back before 6.


G2T7 Fulford Black has 1-back pioneer at 6 to allow possibility of penult peel before 1-back. Gets peel through by 1'.


Death is complaining of how many hoops Fulford is making him score. James only had to make 12 in total in the Doubles semi.

G2T7 Fulford Black peels Red through rover before 3-back.


Chris Clarke has woken up. "I'd offer Bamford 4-9 Fulford 7-4 tomorrow." I'd be tempted by a small wager on Fulford at those odds, but Clarke is usually right.

G2T7 Fulford Black completes QPO. Leaves Blue in II, Black 8yS of III. Again.


Other clips still both on 1.

G2T8 Mark Yellow takes contact with Black, takes off to Blue. Takes off to 1. Take-off too thick, Yellow 4y short. Takes 4' posi.

G2T9 Death Blue to IV.


G2T10 Avery Yellow has ideal result, just failing to run 1. Looks like he might be able to reach III from there.

G2T11 Fulford adjusts Black to middle E bdry.


G2T12 Avery Yellow runs 1, misses 19-yarder at Blue into contact.


G2T13 Death Blue rolls Yellow 3y SE of 3, roquets Black, rolls Black 4y SSW of 1. Blue into I.


Hopgood cheerily informs me that he was world #22 on Tuesday, and is now #54. "I am majorly confused. Why do I keep losing?"

G2T14 Avery to IV.

G2T15 Fulford to 4'N of I.

G2T16 Avery misses Blue into contact (26y).


G2T17 Death Blue stops Yellow into lawn, makes 1 off Blue, rushes Blue into I. Rush of Yellow to 2 is short, 4' hoop, copes. Rushes Yellow to end of A-baulk. Black is 3y SE of 1. Rushes Black to 3. "Serviceable" says my crowd. Good word, I like it. Doesn't get rush S after 3, but good roll and now he's perfectly placed.


G2T17 Death's 2-back pioneer is 9yN of hoop, but I don't think that will matter. No indeed it does not.


Death & Fulford's strategy of giving Maugham the first break has paid dividends:-)

Oh dear, i don't normally do emoticons. It's been a long couple of days. But how long will tomorrow last?

Death finishes, game 2 +12qpo(F).

James Death & Robert Fulford are 2012 Open Doubles Champions.


The sun is out. A lovely evening and no croquet to watch. Please join me tomorrow for the Open Championship final: Reg Bamford v Robert Fulford. 10am start.


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