Reg Bamford won the WCF GC Championship to become the first AC & GC World Champion
Reg Bamford at the GC World Championships 2013 in Cairo (Photo: Tim King)by Dr Tim King at Cairo, Egypt
28th April 2013 (GC - Championships)
Reg Bamford won the WCF Golf Croquet World Championship to become the first simultanesous holder of both the Association and Golf Croquet World Championships - a truely great achievement.
Chris Clarke, who was present, described the final as "the best match of GC ever played. Completely awesome. I hope the footage allows everyone to enjoy it."
Below is the live commentary of the match as published in real-time.
Reg Bamford (ZAF) and Ahmed Nasr (EGY) (4th and 5th seeds respectively) have reached the main Championship final. Finals will also take place for the Plate, Bowl and Shield.
Currently in play. Plate Final - Mike Crashley (NZL) 7-3, 0-1 Tarek Mamdouh (EGY). Bowl Final - Pierre Beaudry (BEL) 7-5, 4-7, 0-0 Yasser Esmat (EGY). Shield Final - Soha Moustafa (EGY) 7-6, 1-3 Sherif Nafee (EGY).
Final is due to start at 16:00.
Main Championship final is best of five 13-point games.
Bowl Final - Pierre played well in the first game but Yasser has begun to up his game. Yasser 2-1.
Ed Cunningham joining the commentary panel today: Pierre coping well with the 35deg heat against Yasser. Pierre bounced off hoop 4 from peg high, Yasser runs to lead 3-1 in third game.
Yasser's Red clears Black from 5 to 7 yrds NE of 5, Black clears Yellow to S of 4, Yasser misses Blue 4 ft in front of 5, Pierre runs an excellent hoop to 4 ft E of 6 ... 3-2 to Yasser
Two clearances from Pierre and one from Yasser leave no balls near 6, Yasser rolls Yellow in front, Pierre runs straight through with Blue from level with 5 ... 3-3
Yasser jawses Red in 7, Black on the N boundary clears Yellow gently and Pierre from the side boundary hits the wire trying to remove Red which then runs down to 5 ft N of 8 ... 4-3 Yasser
The three other balls roll down to 8, Yasser clears Black to S of 9, from where Pierre clears Yellow leaving both his balls controlling 8, Yasser takes a shot at 8 from the boundary, missing. Pierre runs 4-4
Pierre makes 9 after Yasser clears his own ball away from 16 yards.... 5-4 Pierre
Yasser clears blue to S boundary, Pierre has a hoop/ball double from there, missing....5-5
Black takes 4 ft posi at 11, Yellow to posi 18" slight angle, blue plays 9" in front of Red on N boundary protecting Black but not hoop 11, Yasser fires at 11 missing. Pierre sticks in jaws and Yasser faults the jump attempt. Both balls are replaced with no point scored for Black in the jaws. Pierre takes 4 ft posi with Blue and Yasser has a great clearance from E boundary taking yellow out of the jaws of 11 to the boundary. Pierre clears centre ball in return and Yasser misses. Blue runs 6-5 to Pierre.
Pierre finding some great form in the final stage of the match, clears Yellow in front of 12 from the N boundary to have total control of 12, a stop shot on oppo and 18 yard miss from Yasser gives Pierre a one foot hoop for the match, calmly taken to warm applause from the crowd of twenty. Well done Pierre! 7/5 4/7 7/5
Plate Final - Level at Mike 7-3, 5-7 Tarek.
Shield Final - Soha 7-6, 2-7, 1-3 Sherif.
Shield Final - Soha 7-6, 2-7, 3-6 Sherif.
Hami Erian (EGY) and Ahmed El Mahdi (EGY) will compete for 3rd & 4th places on court after Soha & Sherif finish.
Pierre & Yasser were playing on the court for the main Championship final, so there is no impediment to that match starting on time.
Sherif wins the Shield 7-4 in the third.
Game three of the Plate final has only just started.
Plate Final - Mike 7-3, 5-7, 1-1 Tarek. Commentary team is sitting in the shade too far away to provide a blow-by-blow account ...
Plate Final - Mike 7-3, 5-7, 2-4 Tarek.
3rd/4th play-off - Ahmed (blue & black) 3-0 (red & yellow) Hami.
Plate Final - Mike 7-3, 5-7, 5-5 Tarek.
3rd/4th play-off - Ahmed (blue & black) 5-2 (red & yellow) Hami.
Black runs 10 to boundary. Yellow, Blue, Red take position. Black fires at Yellow, hits Red, then cannons onto the left wire and off. Yellow runs 11 to peg.
Mike 5 - 6 Tarek
Plate final: Tarek beats Mike 3-7, 7-5, 7-5.
Short battle at 12 leaves Red a 2ft hoop. Tarek smashes through for 7-5 and the match.
3/4 playoff: Ahmed (b&b) takes the first game 7-4 against Hami (r&y).
Game 2 underway, 1-1.
Meanwhile, on the show lawn, the players are out for a 10-minute warm-up.
First blood to Reg Bamford who takes down the toss (Black & Blue); Ahmed Nasr (Red & Yellow).
Both players have their game faces on as they work around the lawn.
36° C and not much shade to be had on the lawns as the crowd starts to build.
C. Clarke is offering the gallery 4/5, punter's choice.
The carrots are down.
Correct score odds:
Reg 3-0 Ahmed: 5-1
Reg 3-1 Ahmed: 9-2
Reg 3-2 Ahmed: 7-2
Reg 2-3 Ahmed: 9-2
Reg 1-3 Ahmed: 7-2
Reg 0-3 Ahmed: 4-1
And we're underway: Blue is long, but Red falls a bit short leaving a cut back to corner 4.
Reg opts to remove a good yellow instead but doesn't make the block.
First shot in anger: Ahmed thumps one into the left upright.
Reg runs 1 from 6yds, missing 2 by 6".
Yellow, takes pos, open on Black
Blue deep, Red in front.
Black removes yellow gently, halfway to peg.
Yellow smashes Blue to the West boundary.
Blue removes Red quietly, keeping 12ft from the hoop. Red takes pos. Black runs into the right upright from 14yds.
Yellow takes pos. Blue removes Red - both balls on the West boundary. Red takes pos. Another quiet take-out with Black leaves both balls close together. Yellow sends Black to the East Boundary, finishes behind 6 on the boundary.
Blue takes deep pos; Red close. Black and Yellow take angled pos either side of the hoop - Black tough, Yellow no shot.
Reg takes a good look at everything, then runs the 5 yard hoop. Reg 2-0 Ahmed
Red, Black, Yellow take pos at 3. Blue fires and misses. Ahmed runs cleanly to South boundary. Reg 2-1 Ahmed.
Black takes deep pos - close, but no wire. Yellow and Blue both take good 3ft pos. Red goes for the block; misses. Black puts Yellow on the South boundary between 5 and 1.
Big swing from Ahmed but no hit with Yellow. Reg takes the hoop with Blue, Reg 3-1 Ahmed.
Red takes close pos slightly West of 5 and Reg sends Black slightly too far, finishing 1ft West of Red. Yellow takes good close pos and Blue is forced to hit at Red - good shot sends Red to the West boundary but as Black has no shot Ahmed just rolls it back 4 yds in front.
Reg studies Black's jawsing angle closely - then a slight kerfuffle as he asks Ahmed not to walk behind him.
He hits the the right upright hard and bounces back to a few inches in front. Ahemd clears with Yellow, leaving Black West of 4 and Yellow half-way to peg. Blue takes pos and Red has a 4 yrd hoop.
Whacked through to the North boundary and that gives the home crowd something to cheer. Reg 3-2 Ahmed.
Black, Yellow take close pos. Blue takes closer still, blocking Red on Black.
Ahmed takes an extra minute while the RIC moves Red in 9", then smacks Blue to the South boundary, Red jumping 4ft in the air and finishing on the East boundary.
Easy hoop for Black. Reg 4-2 Ahmed.
Yellow takes pos 4ft in front of 7; Blue fires down from the South boundary, missing by a few inches. Red attempts pos from the East boundary and finishes 3" in front of Yellow!
Black takes pos behind and Yellow peels Red into the jaws. Reg lines up the jump.
Solid effort strikes the left upright and draws oohs from the crowd before spinning away. Red runs to 4yds in front of 8. Reg 4-3 Ahmed.
Latest odds: Reg 6/4 on; Ahmed 11/10.
Black shoots, misses everything, finishes wired from Red on the boundary.
Ahmed stands behind Yellow and lines up a hit on Blue (6 yds)
Clean miss - trying to catch an edge down to 9?
Reg shoots at Red from 20 yds - no luck. Red takes 8. Reg 4-4 Ahmed.
Yellow comes back to the West penalty spot before Black takes good pos, 3 yds in front. Yellow takes deep pos behind and Blue goes for the block, missing slightly on the deep side.
Ahmed takes his time before standing over Red. He backs off as spectators walk across his eyeline.
...then fires at Black, catching the left-hand side. Red finishes on the boundary level with 5, Black due East of Yellow.
Reg duly dismisses Yellow to the East boundary, finishing on the South boundary half-way to 5.
Ahmed lines up another cross-lawn clearance with Yellow. Despite half-hopping Blue, he comfortably removes it to the South Boundary.
Free shot for Reg, but Blue clips the outside of 9, finishing near the West penalty point.
Red takes pos, blocking Black (? - looks close).
Black needs to come in from the boundary - a feature of this tournament - which takes a little time, before missing Red entirely from 6 yds.
Yellow takes close pos, and Blue - wired from Red by 5 - is forced to try a long block. No good.
Ahmed calls for the hammer, then runs 9 to the North boundary finishing 4 yds from C3.
Black takes 6ft pos, close to wired. Ahmed looks at the balls from both sides before walking back to Yellow and taking deep pos.
Blue goes for a block? - finishes 6ft behind. Red goes for the hamper, finishing where Reg's right foot would like to be.
He looks uncomfortable standing with his left leg forward and his right foot back and away - but runs 10 to boundary anyway. Reg 5-5 Ahmed.
Yellow takes 3 ft pos. Blue hides 6" behind. Red tries to clip Blue away slowly, misses. Big shot for Reg with Black.
He takes his time, then strikes. It bounces three times before reaching Yellow, but clips it 5 yds West anyway.
Yellow removes Blue, but it's a half-ball contact, leaving them both far from the hoop. Blue takes pos. Red clears to East boundary finishing near 10.
Black takes deep pos from the South boundary; Yellow close. Blue takes close pos 6" from Yellow - a target for Red to cut Black behind.
But he overdoes the cut and misses Black entirely. Black centre-balls Yellow to C4 finishing 5 ft behind 11.
Yellow takes a big shot at Blue but misses narrowly. Reg runs Blue to 3 ft West of 12. Reg 6-5 Ahmed.
Red takes deep pos; Black and Yellow close pos.
Reg makes no mistake clearing Red back down the lawn - he looks to have got the wire on Black behind 11.
Another miss across the lawn from Ahmed and Reg has a 3ft, slightly angled hoop for game 1.
Never in any doubt. Game 1 to Reg: 7-5 in this best-of-5.
Time for a banana, while the hoops are being hammered down.
Game 2 has started, Ahmed's first ball slightly long, so Reg chooses not to clear from Corner 4. First ball does run halfway up to hoop 2.
Reg 0 - 1 Ahmed
Three balls lag up to hoop 2, Ahmed runs the hoop with same ball that ran 1 to a large cheer
Reg 0 - 2 Ahmed
Red is on fire and blasts Black out of Hoop 3 position from the boundary behind 2, Black rolls back in front not quite perfect... and Yellow gives Blue the same violent treatment.
Blue rolls in front and Red misses Black, Black blocks Yellow's shot who tries the double remove but failing to move the hidden ball. Reg runs 3 to 3 yds W of Corner 4.
Reg 1 - 2 Ahmed
Red lands 3 yards short of Hoop 4 position from near Corner 2, Black rolls down 2 yards in front, Yellow from near Red's original position gets perfect 2 ft position, Blue takes position, Red tries a difficult hoop and bounces out. Black confidently takes his 2-yard hoop with oppo in front.
Reg 2 - 2 Ahmed
Yellow goes 1 yard 45-deg angle at Hoop 5, Blue same angle on near side, Red perfect position and great centre-ball clearance from Reg's ball that ran Hoop 4. Yellow lags back and Reg makes light work of the angle to power through Hoop 5 by 2 yards.
Reg 3 -2 Ahmed
Red 2 ft posi at 6, Black to 6" behing Red, Yellow clears Blue to Corner 2 as it has an open shot at 6, from where it misses the clearance back at Red. Red stops Black South and covers the hoop, Black returns and Yellow is rejected from the hoop, from E boundary level with hoop 4, Blue clears Red and almost gets an in-off... Red misses from sideline and Reg has an identical hoop shot as the last one, catches near wire and bounces 7 yards away. Ahmed fails to jaws from a sharp angle.
Blue to in front, Red likewise, Black nicely clears Yellow to N boundary, and ferocious clearance follows putting Blue to the Corner 4 spot from where it misses.
Ahmed runs 1-yard hoop and catches a lot of favourable wire to steal a march at Hoop 7.
Big hoop that one. Reg 3 - 3 Ahmed
Black shoots off N boundary in front of 7 and a great positional shot from Yellow blocks the hoop 8" in front. Blue takes 2 yard position and Ahmed has the hoop hammered in as he takes a pot shot at it with the ball that has just run Hoop 6...very nearly runs! Nice clearance from Black sends Yellow to the peg avoiding a disastrous rush peel, but a perfect half ball clearance is Ahmed's answer from there. Blue joins Yellow on the N boundary, Red and Black take close position, Yellow hits the outside of the wire and Reg misses a 5-yard gentle clearance on Red... the heat or mobile phone distractions? Ahmed takes his 2-yard hoop to off the S boundary.
Reg 3 - 4 Ahmed
Black, Yellow and Blue roll into the area in front of 8 and a savage 9-yard clearance sends Black off the N boundary behind 7, shot back slides down the hill and Ahmed takes his 1 yard hoop with Yellow.
Reg 3 - 5 Ahmed
Blue, Red and Black all roll in front of 9 and Ahmed is disappointed to miss his cross-court clearance. Blue has angled hoop and hits far wire full on and remains in front blocking Red who clears Black to hoop 10, Black rolls back in front and from the sideline Yellow removes Blue to hoop 1. Lovely pace sends Blue into perfect position and a nice jaws from a sharp angle is Ahmed's reply, but is Blue's jump too easy?
Black half-protects blue and Yellow misses from hoop 1. Reg fails the jump from 2 feet, sending Red through. Egyptian hoops and Dawson balls are much less compatible for jumps than the competitors are used to.
Reg 3 - 6 Ahmed
Red does not get great posi at 10, and all the other balls roll up there, Ahmed's first gentle clearance is played in order to send Black to a blocked spot on Yellow, Reg has a sliver, but hits his partner ball and Ahmed runs his 2' hoop to large applause.
Reg 3 - 7 Ahmed
The hoops have been reset for Game 3 and it's Reg to play first as the lights are on and dusk falls - Blue 3 ft dead in front.
The call to prayer rings out as Red fires across the lawn - no luck.
Black sits deep - 5 ft - straight in front again.
Ahmed surveys the situations up close before firing another bullet - no luck again.
Blue runs down to West boundary, 3yds from C2.
Reg 1-0 Ahmed
Red 3' straight in front; Black 1' behind; Yellow 6" West.
Blue clears Red away toward the East penalty spot, between 3 and 4.
Red fires back and smashes Black into C2.
Blacks clips an edge of yellow - enough to knock it half-way to 6. Ahmed rolls back in front.
Lovely quiet remove from just North of 5 knocks Yellow away.
Red attempts pos, wired from Blue but comes up a few inches short.
Black comes deep and Yellow attempts to adjust Red - now it's open on the other side of the hoop.
After checking that his angle has been preserved Reg lines up a crack at Red - and centre-balls it up the West boundary past the half-way spot.
Ahmed's response is a thrash at Black - he only catches it quarter-ball, but it's enough to put it within 3' of 3.
No missing from Reg now though - Black puts Yellow on the West boundary.
Blue and Yellow take close pos, then Red attempts the block - looks good.
Reg is prostrate on the grass again to see how much of Yellow Black can see - not much.
But it's enough! He sends Yellow to the North boundary past 6.
Yellow fires back and smashes Blue away, cutting it up the North boundary - that would have rolled another 30 yards on an open lawn!
Red is badly angled so Blue takes angled pos the other side of the hoop.
Red won't be having that and knocks it away, staying 4 yards from the hoop.
Black takes short, badly-angled pos West of the hoop; Yellow comes deep; Blue rolls up but fails position and Red sits in front.
Black takes short, badly-angled pos West of the hoop; Yellow comes deep; Blue rolls up but fails position and Red sits in front.
Lovely centre-ball clearance from Reg knocks Yellow away and leaves black in front, though 7 yards out.
Yellow takes pos and Blue removes Red to the West boundary, again keeping in front.
Red lines up Blue and smashes, but only catches a knick - Blue's now 12 yards back straight in front and Red on the East boundary near 3.
Black puts Yellow behind the hoop, rolling away to the West boundary itself. Yellow takes wired pos (not in front) and Blue comes to 6".
Red takes pos and Black lines up Yellow - Reg thinks he can see this.
He could too - and cuts it off to the North boundary.
But that's not enough as Yellow fires back and removes Blue to the West boundary.
Another quiet centre-ball take-out from Reg knocks Red toward 6. Red rolls back to the far side of the hoop and Black and Yellow take pos.
Blue puts Red on the West boundary again, leaving itself a long, angled hoop.
Ahmed lines up Black, then backs off - he doesn't look comfortable...
... and he misses his 7-yd clearance.
Apologies for the radio silence due to technical difficulties. Reg did indeed take his simple 3' hoop at 2, before Ahmed took a quick, straight-forward hoop 3.
Ahmed made two big clearances to take control of 4 and has just run to level the scores.
Reg 2-2 Ahmed
Three lags to 5 and a shot and miss from where Ahmed had run 4 to the South boundary gives Reg an angled shot at hoop 5, which he runs down beside 6.
Reg 3-2 Ahmed
He uses the same ball to clear away Ahmed's approach before taking 6.
Reg 4-2 Ahmed
Ahmed puts Red in front of 7 and Reg knocks Black to the boundary. Yellow takes close pos.
Blue fires Red to the West boundary; Ahmed rolls it back.
Black takes on the 7-yarder from the boundary...
...but spins away off the left wire.
Yellow takes 7, but only gets a few yards on the far side.
Reg 4-3 Ahmed
Blue takes pos in front and Red snuggles up behind. Black takes pos and Yellow needs to shift something, but fires and misses.
Blue smacks Red away from point-blank range, and after Red shoots and misses it's an easy hoop for Black.
Reg 5-3 Ahmed
Yellow takes pos, and Blue, shooting straight down the lawn from 20 yards behind 9 cuts it away.
Red takes pos; as does Black, before it's smashed away by Yellow.
But that won't stop Reg from running the hoop from the boundary with Blue.
Reg 6-3 Ahmed
Red takes pos. Black takes closer pos again. Ahmed makes up his mind and smashes Yellow through from 20 yards away on the East boundary.
Reg 6-4 Ahmed
Blue, Red and Black all rollover close in front of 11.
Then Ahmed snicks Blue 20 yards up the lawn from where he'd left Yellow on the North boundary after running 10.
Reg shoots back down the lawn and misses, leaving Ahmed a short 11...
...which he runs well to 4yards in front of 12, 5' West.
Reg 6-5 Ahmed
Reg puts a good Black in front of red and Yellow rolls up, leaving an angled shot.
Reg decides to put Blue deep, before Ahmed smashes Red at Black, scattering them to the boundary - Black behind 12, Red in C4.
Reg rolls Black in front, offering Ahmed a tough angled hoop...
...the biggest roar of the night as Ahmed powers through, and 3 yards out the other side.
Reg 6-6 Ahmed
Reg puts Blue in good pos, 6' straight in front of 13.
Ahmed surveys the area before lining one up from C4.
It misses by inches, finishing in front of 13 on the North boundary.
Reg rolls Black into pos... but catches Blue almost centre-ball - the crowd scrambles to see if he's blocked himself - it looks tight.
Ahmed rolls Yellow down... and hits the back of 13! He finishes up against the east wire with no shot to get in front.
Reg rolls Black to 4 ' in front. Blue is covering Black and the hoop. Ahmed needs to do something with Red from the boundary.
He has the hoop hammered tight...
...the ball placed in a few inches from the boundary...
... a phone goes off loudly behind him! And he has to back off!
...and then a quiet sigh as his jump glances away off the outside of the left peg.
Reg takes his time before adjusting Black to 18" in front, wired from Red (and Yellow, tight to the peg) - has he left a snick sticking out?
Ahmed puts Yellow 3" behind the hoop.
Reg responds by putting Blue 1" in front, not quite in the jaws.
Ahmed could see that snick!
He centre-balls Black to the North boundary! Big roars.
Reg puts his head down to attempt a daring rush-peel.
But almost misses Blue, which pops out, leaving a 45° hoop, still wired from Yellow which is just a few inches behind. Black is almost on the South boundary.
Big shouts as Ahmed attempts to put Yellow backwards through the hoop - is it through?
The referee uses a wire to verify it's not!!!!!
Reg rolls Blue to 18" in front, 30° - Yellow can't see that with the wire behind it.
So Red will have to move it - and does! But it splits the wrong way, leaving Blue due East of 13 and Red down the boundary at the half-way spot.
Reg rolls Black to straight in front, 1 yard off the boundary.
Ahmed taps Yellow the remaining mm's backwards through 13.
Never any doubt on Reg's 7-yard remove from due East - Blue behind 10, Yellow behind 2
Red takes 10' pos
Black attempts its 6-yard hoop...
Yellow rolls over in front, but finishes inches from Red, offering Reg the double-remove...
A clean hit on Red alone puts Blue and Red on the East boundary, Yellow still in front (10'), Black 8' behind the hoop.
Red finds pos wired from Black 3 ft in front.
Black removed Yellow - both balls on the North boundary.
Free shot? Block?
He opts for the block... but it's inches short
Blue makes the remove, but only half-balls it...
Red calls for the hammer - surely he's not going to attempt this from what must be almost 60°?!
He does! Smack the left wire, spins in the jaws...
...and rolls out and inches away
Hoop shot Black from the boundary ...
And he nails it! Spins through the jaws!
Reg 7-6 Ahmed
Reg 2-1 Ahmed in This Best-Of-5
Stoney stare across the lawn at Ahmed from Reg after taking a killer hoop.
Tim King here. Thanks to Jack Clingan for the previous game. I have not read all that has been written so apologies if I repeat the observations of my colleagues. Great drama here and I am glad to see that over 40 of you are reading this online.
We now have the floodlights taking full effect; the night sky is black. We are 19:20 local time.
Reg is on the side boundary near where many non-Egyptians are sat. Ahmed has left the court. Licking his wounds? Ready to show the grit of the true champion that he already is?
Bruce Rannie has commented on the carrots being down ... well they have been given another severe hammering during this break too. Helping to ensure that the hoops are as firm as possible in the sandy soil of the Egyptian Federation.
Just to refresh ... the winners so far today have been Pierre Beaudry in the Bowl (his first ever trophy outside of club tournaments), Tarek Mamdouh in the Plate and Sherif Nafee in the Shield ... Will Egypt win three out of four?
Ahmed puts Yellow into good position ... Blue misses. Black also.
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 0-1. Yellow has run all the way to North Boundary.
Blue good approach. Red overruns. Black even better than Blue. Yellow almost covers Red from Blue.
But Reg keeps it simple & clears Yellow. Red makes the simple clearance on Black but that comes back in to another good position. Blue can see Red at 11 yards.
Reg is looking carefully at all the balls. Yellow has come to a close, angled position.
Reg goes with the clearance on Red ... misses ...
Red clears Black. Black can see Yellow. Red is in good position in front of Hoop 3.
Black makes his clearance. Ahmed runs with Yellow from 7 yards!
The crowd love it !!!!!!!!! ...
Reg from the South boundary with Blue ... misses Red ... Which runs at an angle but only just through ...
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 0-3 Ahmed
Black is to gimme position in front of Hoop 4.
Ahmed runs Hoop 4 with Yellow from the North boundary in front of Hoop 7 ... I thought the crowd was excited before ... Now I have goosebumps ...
This is incredible croquet ...
Blue to good position in front of Hoop 5 ... Red only goes to half-way ... Ahmed is going to shoot with Yellow ...
He is human ... he hits the face of the hoop ... That fifteen yarder would have been the third hoop shot in a row for Yellow ...
Reg is contemplating Blue ... chooses to take closer position ... wired from Red ...
By the way ...
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 0-4 Ahmed
Red to close position. Reg clears with Black & cannons into Blue !? Yikes! Drifted past the hoop ...
Blue put into back of hoop ... did not pass through fully ...
Red to wide, angled position ... Black clears Yellow to West boundary. Black off the South boundary, about three yards West of Hoop 5 ...
Yellow behind hoop ... Blue through hoop in direction of Red ... Red makes powerful clearance of Blue ... Evan Newell would call this position a hoop reset ... Black with first approach ...
Yellow can see the slightly deep Black ... clears both to South boundary ...
From East boundary ... Blue back to another gimme position for the hoop ...
From North boundary ... Red approaches to alongside Blue ... everyone marvels at the power of Ahmed but his touch is also phenomenal ...
Reg possibly had a double ... he clears Red with Black ...
Yellow runs Hoop 5 from the [South] boundary !?
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 0-5 Ahmed
I do not really mean !? ... I mean !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... Ahmed has found his mojo ...
But he does then miss his next shot ... Red shooting from 12 yards at Hoop 6 ...
Reg puts Black into a very close position on Hoop 6 ... Blue is also well positioned ...
Blue can just squeeze past Black ...
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 1-5 Ahmed
Red to prime position in front of Hoop 7 ... Black has no approach ... Reg plays towards Hoop 3 ...
Yellow also to good position ... Blue misses Red ...
Dear reader ... I leave you to do the maths on the past two games ... But this one is definitely flying past in comparison ...
No problem for Red with an easy hoop ... runs all the way to South boundary ...
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 1-6 Ahmed
Black approaches to wired position from Red ...
Ahmed walks all the way down to test firmness of Hoop 8 ... he shoots from two yards in front of Hoop 7 ... But only hits the outside of the right leg on this occasion ...
Blue joins alongside Black ... Red nestles into Blue ...
Black is three yards at an angle ... Reg considers his options ... I think he is trying to calm the excitement here ...
He decides to run the hoop ... Does so smoothly ...
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 2-6 Ahmed
Yellow approaches Hoop 9 to three-yard position at 30 degrees ...
Blue clears ... going off on the South boundary at 30 degrees (towards East boundary) ...
Red & Black to angled positions ... towards West boundary ...
The call to prayer starts to echo around Cairo ... this has been one of my abiding memories of this week ... especially when I have been playing ...
Blue clears Red ... Blue down to North boundary ... Reg makes the angled Black ...
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 3-6 Ahmed
Yellow to 8-foot position in front of Hoop 10 ... Reg positions Blue to cover the hoop shot by Yellow ...
Red to position East of hoop ... Black six inches past hoop ...
Yellow clears Blue & self to North boundary ... More contemplation from Reg ...
I have just been advised I attempted to confuse you all ... Hoop 5 was run from South boundary ...
Blue & Red hide either side of Hoop 10 ...
Yellow tries to hide behind Black from Blue ... but Reg clears Yellow ... Red clears Black ... for once with a controlled clearance ...
Black over approaches ... so few of those errors in this game ... especially from 7 yards ...
Yellow to good position ... Blue is on the East boundary ...
Blue approaches ... Red clears ... but a poor control of the cut ... both onto the East boundary but Blue is the one close to hoop ... Red back beyond half way ...
Black clears Yellow with good control ... Yellow back to another angled hoop position ...
Blue misses the clearance on Yellow ...
Ahmed just approaches with Red ... but to an angled position too great for even him ...
Black runs the 7-yard shot ...
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 4-6 Ahmed
At least Reg has quelled the storm ... perhaps Ahmed is conserving himself for the decider?
Yellow, Blue, Red all to position ...
Before shooting Reg gives Ahmed a glare for his positioning while Reg is shooting ... Black gets bad contact on Yellow ... moves it out of hoop running position but leaves an easy clearance on Blue ...
Blue only snicks Red from North boundary in front of Hoop 7 ... Ahmed runs five-foot Hoop 11 ...
Reg 7-5, 3-7, 7-6, 4-7 Ahmed
So then folks ... fasten your seatbelts ...
I will now hand over to Ed Cunningham for the decider ...
Thanks to Jack and Tim for their views on the previous games. Very hard to call who will take this 5th game and the World Title. Chris Clarke is giving even odds at this stage. Reg plays first so is that an advantage as all four games have been won by the player going first? Hoops being tightened at the interlude, and they're about to kick off again...
Blue to 4 ft 30 deg, Red doesn't clear, Black almost nudges up to Blue, Yellow snicks Blue (almost peeling it) to a tremendous roar from the crowd. Blue has a 8 yarder at Red and Reg eyeballs it from the ground as Black may be covering some of the ball. Misses... Red bursts through the hoop by 2 feet, another loud appreciation from the crowd.
Reg 0 - 1 Ahmed
Black takes 1 foot perfect position at Hoop 2 to a smattering of applause...From sideline by Hoop 1, Yellow takes on the double and is rejected from the centre of the hoop to loud "oohs and ahhs". Red's hampered shot sails past Black who takes the hoop with a look of serious determination...
Reg 1 - 1 Ahmed
Yellow, Blue and Red roll up in the area in front of 3 and Reg narrowly misses the clearance from N boundary behind 2.
Yellow runs 4 feet 20 deg hoop, yet again narrowly missing scoring two hoops in the same stroke.
Reg 1 - 2 Ahmed
Blue holds back about 4 yards from Hoop 4, Red 2 yards in front and Black between that and the hoop, Yellow blocks Blues hoop shot. Blue removes Yellow and Red removes Black holding his own position, Black takes blocked position behind Red but a great nestle from 10 yards by Yellow against Black.
Blue from Corner 4 centre-balls Red and lurks nearby, it rolls back to in front, Black stuns Yellow behind Hoop 4 wired from itself....
...Ahmed just snicks a 7-yard clearance so Reg stops his ball to the N boundary leaving his two near the hoop. From the N boundary Yellow misses his hoop shot by a balls width and Black runs from 4 yards.
Reg 2 - 2 Ahmed
Yellow to 4 foot 45 deg posi, Blue is a foot away from Red and blocked but plays a great [combined] clear and run through to 7 yards in front of Hoop 5, Red rolls back, Black misses and Yellow runs to just past the peg..
Reg 2 - 3 Ahmed
Blue to 1 foot posi at 6, blocking Yellow, Red is wired in front of 5 and plays to a Yard W of 6, Black rolls up and Yellow clears Blue - both ending up on the N boundary as can be imagined....
Black is at the peg and the other balls are in corners 1, 2 & 4!!! Yellow goes to 2 yards in front, Blue between this and the hoop, Red rolls up in the general vicinity and Black only snicks Yellow which then stops Blue away leaving R & Y in control of the hoop and B & B on the boundary... the next couple of shots could be vital...
...great mid-strength clearance from Blue onto Yellow, Red and Black take position and Yellow blasts Blue to the middle of E boundary, Blue centre-balls this shot, so now the roles are reversed, B&B at the hoop and R&Y nowhere. Another stunning clearance from Red but after Black rolls back up the basic position has not changed... mind-numbing clearance from Red in corner 4, Red and Black both ending up in Corner 2, Reg unfazed rolls black back in front, Blue is stunned to hoop 1 by Yellow who holds position beside Black, Blue rolls up again....another clearance by red?
...centre-balls from Corner 2, unbelievable stuff from Ahmed and Reg does the same to Yellow!!
Another cross-court clearance by Yellow, Blue calmly rolls up again as does Red and Black. This is a big, big battle and whoever wins this point will get a huge boost...
Arhh, connection lost there...Ahmed walloped through a 4-yard jump at Hoop 6 and himself jumped a metre into the air to a screaming and whistling crowd!!!!!!! Also makes hoop 7.
Reg 2 - 5 Ahmed
...Red on S boundary having made 7, the other three balls roll down to 8 and Red hammers Black back to the N boundary... a double? Just snicks Yellow which remains 4 yards in front at angle. Ahmed plays safe and stuns Reg away. The crowd is cleared away from near Corner 1 as Ahmed lines up a clearance, nails it centre-ball...as does Reg.
No ball within 8 yards of the hoop when Red rolls up, to be joined by Black and Yellow. Red tries a "free go" from 8 yards away as Red is blocked by Black. This misses and allows Ahmed play a clever clearance wiring Black on Yellow in position....
Black jawses from behind and Yellow jumps from 2 feet to more cheers. Looking good here for his third title.
Reg 2 - 6 Ahmed
Blue runs a 2-yard Hoop 9 after what seems like a quiet phase of play.
Reg 3 - 6 Ahmed
Red takes posi which looks a good deal wired from Blue so Black nails it from the W boundary level with Hoop 1, to respectful applause from all nationalities... Yellow takes deep position, Blue gets angled position and Red is laid in front perfectly... Black facing a 10-yard clearance...
....centre-balls, more applause for Reg although it matters little to Ahmed who clears Blue from across the lawn, Reg centre-balls again and remains in the vicinity of 10, Red takes posi, Black attempts likewise from the peg but hills off, Yellow also to in front and this hoop is beginning to look strong for Ahmed. Nice 5 yarder from Reg, but Ahmed rolls his second ball in front to ratchet up the pressure...
...a fine double clearance from Reg relieves the pressure. He follows with another clearance from Corner 3 landing his own ball towards Hoop 11...
Ahmed has a hoop shot from near Hoop 4 but misses and Reg runs a good 4 yarder.
Reg 4 - 6 Ahmed
Yellow takes posi which Blue removes. Red and Black roll up and Ahmed takes the big clearance from corner 3 at Blue, missing. Blue clears Red to sideline by Hoop 1... could this go all the way to the 13th?
Red misses and Black runs a great angled 11 to the South boundary...
Reg 5 - 6 Ahmed
Yellow to perfect position in front of 12, Blue nails it from just behind 11, Red fails posi and Black achieves it, many of the crowd on their feet now...
Yellow to in front of 12 joining Black and Blue pulls off a huge shot, clearing Red to the sideline and going off the N boundary right in front of 13!!!!
Red misses, Black has a 4-foot hoop....
Yellow almost gets the block at 13. Reg stalks and nails the hoop shot to a standing ovation...what a match from both players WOW!!!!
Presentation ceremony about to start, crowd in awe after a quite unbelievable performance from both players. I am sure many better pens will give their views on this match in the coming days, so I will sign out here, it's been a pleasure to be here in Cairo. Ed