It's 10 o'clock and the final is about to get underway. The Hurlingham Club seems remarkably empty given the Finals of the British Opens is about to start. Perhaps the coolness and cloud cover may have something to do with it; it's not been that pleasant sitting out yesterday, and croquet players are notoriously superior to the average British public in venting their frustrations about the weather.
Samir and Reg and hitting up on lawn 4; their match will start around 10:30.
On lawn 1, the plate draw and process finals will be taking place, with Marcus Evans v Mark Ormerod in the former and Patrick Hort v Gabrielle Higgins in the latter. Marcus is nowhere to be seen, following unconfirmed reports from the reigning double world croquet champion that an alcohol tasting party took place till late at the Hurlingham Club last night.
On lawn 2 and 3, the Z knockout is about to start. Lawn 2: Ben Rothman and Stephen Morgan have been drawn against each other, I am playing Dave Kibble (I qualified for the KO by losing the only Z game I played). Lawn 3: Kevin Beard v James Hopgood and Alain Giraud v Keith Aiton.
By the way, I would like to express my gratitude to my fellow commentator Justin Timberlake for his insightful commentary in my absence yesterday. Justin has taken a little time out from his other pursuits to grace us with his croquet knowledge.
Lawn 4: Samir Patel vs Reg Bamford, Game 1. Samir has BK, Reg has RY.
Turn 1: B to E boundary
Turn 2: Reg 1 foot S of C2 with R
Turn 3: Samir shoots K at B, hits. Takes off to red, rolls red down to max distance spot on W boundary, K clangs in to H2, leaves a 4 foot rush on blue pointing west north west.
Turn 4: Reg shoots yellow from A baulk at red, hits full-ish. Is now taking off to Samir's balls near H4.
I've had a wander down to lawn 2 to get involved in my Z game. In the meantime, Reg took the yellow ball to 1-back, with a tight diagonal spread. There was early interest in a POP, but this never materialised. Samir is lifting the ball which was on W boundary (K), and is taking the long lift.
Marcus has turned up at 10:40 looking pretty quiet, and has got going with his plate game on lawn 1.
Lawn 4: Samir misses in to C4, Reg is playing his H1 ball.
Lawn 4: Reg got the first peel after hoop 2, on the way to H3 pioneer. After hoop 3, he sent H3 pioneer to north boundary behind H2. He sends this 5 yards ESE of H1, and has a hairy moment, where red hits the wire of 1-back, but still gets a good rush on yellow pointing south. He rushes this down to 2-back and gets the peel, and has just approached H4.
Lawn 4: Turn 6: Reg has peeled 3-back by 2 yards, and has just made H6. He plays a take off sending H6 pioneer (B) near 4-back, going to peelee.
Other news around the lawns.
On lawn 3, Keith tries and fails a TPO on Alain Giraud; he peeled 4-back going to 3-back, rushing escape ball 5 yards north of 3-back. Unfortunately he misapproached 3-back, and placed black tight to the side of 3-back which doesn't rush to H1 or H2. He explains that they're playing super advanced. Hopgood is in-play and he's on H2 and H3.
On lawn 2, Dave Kibble and I are playing super advanced; he's trying an SXP with one peel done. He's currently planning to peel 2-back going to H5. Stephen Morgan is doing well against Ben Rothman, after Ben Rothman laid up for ladie's SXP, then missed the 7 yarder after Stephen shot at the ball in 1-back and just missed. He went to 4-back, Ben missed the lift shot and is now on a break with the 2nd ball, having given up enteraining thoughts of completing the triple.
On lawn 1, Ormerod is in play at 1-back against Evans who is on 1 and 1-back, and Hort is on a break with 2nd ball to the peg. Not sure if any peels have been attempted.
Lawn 4: Reg had a tight 4-back peel after 1-back going to blue 1.5 feet away, but he's left himself a bit of a cut on 2-back pioneer and the angle of the cut was hampered by peelee. He had to rush this straight, leaving a long roll up which he makes comfortably, and he crashes red through to the boundary.
Lawn 4: it looks like Reg just has to finish the straight rover peel to take this first game.
Lawn 4: Reg wins the first game on turn 6, +26SXP.
The crowd is gradually assembling, as the temperature increases to 'tolerable when sitting out'. My biggest achievement of the day so far has been to successfully help shift the event trophies from the boot of Dave Kibble's car to the manager's tent.
Lawn 1: Ormerod is running 3-back, and will be making a contact leave. I forgot to mention that the two Plate finals are being played super-advanced. Hort, going for the SXP has reached the peg with his back ball and made 2 peels on his way, so he is now for 3-back and peg. He is also making a contact leave, which is a 4 corner leave. Pretty good.
Lawn 2: Morgan has made it to peg and is making a spread. If Rothman misses then Morgan is looking good on 4-back and peg. Dave Kibble has managed 3 peels of the SXP and is trying to peel 4-back going to 3-back.
Lawn 3: Alain has to do two peels to beat Aiton. It looks like it's not going to be easy as he's failed a peel or two already. Hopgood is having a TPO on Beard, and has completed two peels.
Lawn 4: Game 2:
Turn 1: Reg (BK)went first to E boundary.
Turn 2: Samir (RY) went just outside C2.
Turn 3: Reg hits partner 3rd turn, got Samir out of the corner to max distance position on W boundary, and joins with partner.
Turn 4: Samir missed partner up the boundary ending up in C2.
Turn 5: Reg is on a break with K. He might try a POP again.
Lawn 2: Kibble has a straight double peel to finish his SXP. Gets the irish peel, has rushed peelee about 5 feet slightly angled peel. By the way, I know most of you are more riveted on whether Kibble finishes the SXP in the first round of the 'Zed', which is why I'm giving such detail. Rothman missed the lift against Morgan, who is now on a finishing turn for what would be quite a large ranking upset.
Lawn 3: Giraud broke down on penult and rover, and Aiton is back in. He's on H4 with B and 3-back with K.
Lawn 4, Turn 5 (cont): Bamford makes H3, rushes pioneer to H1. Has done a POP.
Lawn 2: Kibble completes his SXP to win +25SXP. Morgan didn't have good rover pioneer and rushes on to the peg having made penult and sent partner 3 yards south of Peg. He does a forward take off and runs rover to 2 yards off A baulk. He shoots and partner and misses. Let's see if he gets punished.
Lawn 3: Aiton is trying a quad starting from H4. He makes hoop 5 and is trying the 3-back peel going to H6 pioneer 1 yard NW of H6. Hopgood is on a straight rover peel of TPO.
Lawn 4: Bamford has got to 1-back with a POP on yellow, and is making another diagonal spread.
Lawn 3: Aiton misapproaches H6 and runs away to C4. Giraud hits 3 yarder on partner with penult ball. Hopgood is finishing his TPO, taking off from partner 2 yards out of C4 to get good northwards rush on peelee.
Lawn 4: Reg finishes his diagonal spread with yellow, for H2, 6 yards SW of H2 and red tight at the peg.
Lawn 1: Hort has just pegged out against Higgins to win the plate process final. Evans is approaching hoop 2 with backward ball, with forward ball on 1-back. Ormerod is 1 and 4-back.
Lawn 2: Rothman is making hoop 3.
Lawn 3: Giraud completes his single peel to beat Aiton and reach the Z semi final. Hopgood finishes the TPO, leaving peg ball 5 feet E of C2, his backward ball (for H3) 2 yards N of C4. Kevin's ball is for H1.
Lawn 4, turn 6: Samir lifts red and takes the long lift, narrowly missing in to C4. He says that's the second shot in the game that was centre ball-ing then hilled off. Clearly his turn 4 shot should have hit as well.
The sun comes out at the Hurlingham Club, and a whole host of croquet players have appeared. I barely recognise them when they're not in whites.
Sorry, lots of chatter on whether the Y Doubles should be best of 3 starting at 1pm means I've lost the plot on the big game taking place.
Lawn 3: Kevin Beard has made it to H4, playing Hopgood on H3 and peg.
Lawn 4: Reg with 2 peels done, has made hoop 5, sending it south of 3-back. He is stop shotting this 3 yards WSW of H6 going to peelee at 3-back. He jawses the 3-back peel, and has now made H6 with a rush back.
Lawn 1: Evans, having done the three peels of the TPO before rover, has rush peeled partner through 1-back near 2-back. He has played an ambitious split peel attempt going to 2 balls at rover which doesn't go through. He has made rover, and will have 2 balls off, leaving 2-back versus hoop 1.
Lawn 2: Rothman is doing a QNP, as Stephen Morgan had to rush peel Rothman's 1-back ball to start his first break. He got 4 of the peels before 3-back and just has a straight rover peel to finish.
Lawn 3: Beard has just hit in and is getting a break going.
Lawn 1: Ormerod is taking croquet to approach H1 from boundary south of H1, after some interaction. Runs it with a northwards rush.
Lawn 2: Rothman finishes to win +2QNP. He had a cheeky go at pegging out one of Stephen's balls from some way away to get a +1QNP score, but sadly failed. Good finishing turn though against Stephen Morgan, who must be very disappointed that he came so close to beating his fellow American.
Lawn 3: Kevin has got a 3-ball break going and should finish against James Hopgood.
Lawn 4: Reg has proceeded rather serenely through with his break, and now has a straight rover peel from less than one foot in front to take the 2nd game.
This commentator is going for a large lunch and drink at the bar. I suspect Reg will finish the 2nd game +25SXP, and will be going for lunch too.
Unlike the BBC's cricket TMS, we will not be supplying the lunchtime random musing commentary service.
Lawn 4: Ooo wait, Reg rushed to 4 yards away instead of 2 yards away. Still, that doesn't stop him taking the second game +25SXP.
I have been criticised for talking up the size of the Hurlingham Hill on lawn 4. I swear I could see contour lines on the satellite function on Google Maps...
Nick Parish here, taking over from Eugene while he slacks off for lunch. Reg and Samir are made of sterner stuff and have cracked straight on with game 3.
Reg east boundary tice with red turn 1. Samir to corner 2 with blue. Reg shoots yellow at red...hits. Takes off to blue. Sends blue a couple of yards off the west boundary and a couple of yards south of the peg. Joins up with red on the east boundary a yard or two apart.
In other news, Kevin Beard played a very nice single ball ending in his Z knockout game to defeat James Hopgood.
Sorry for the delay. Samir is too busy mangling to play. He's deciding between best-of-one and best-of-three for the Y Doubles Final. My suggestion of best-of-five has been met with glares. Can't imagine why.
Samir shooting with black from A baulk at yellow. Misses.
Reg plays with yellow. Taps black, rushes red to blue...OOOH! No he doesn't. Smacks straight into hoop 5. That'll teach me to assume the balls will go where he intended, just because he's Reg. Plays a great roll sending red to hoop 2 and getting a rush on the bliue towards corner one. Cuts it well and approaches from about five yards away. Has a 4-5 foot straight hoop. Creeps through. Now has a 4-5 yarder, possibly slightly hampered. Hits, and should be away.
Reg going round. Now approaching hoop 3 with all the balls. May be considering a pop of black which he's sent to hoop 1.
Reg has popped black going to hoop 4. Black goes through by about nine yards. "Very clean" says my expert adviser, approvingly.
The Y Doubles final is about to start on lawn 3. Disappointingly, they're going for a single game. It's Hope & Murray v. Higgins & Polhill. GO MIDDLESEX!
Reg is preparing his leave. Looks like a standard DSL. Puts black (the hoop 2 ball) a couple of yards off the boundary but in trying to rush blue back south-east of the peg rushes it into the peg instead. Pauses. Thinks. Paces. Thinks some more.
In the Y Doubles, Andrew Hope has the first break. I rudely predict it will not be his last.
I was right about the doubles. Hope's break ended after one shot when he played the wrong ball. Higgins's turn.
Reg has croqueted blue about a yard due east of the peg. So blue at the peg (Samior's hoop 1 ball) is open to both black and Reg's balls. Black is quite deep, though (about 4 yards south of hoop 2 and a yard or two off the boundary). Reg's balls are a yard or two north of hoop 5 with a rush into the lawn.
Samir is shooting blue from where it lies at Reg's balls. Could be his last shot. HITS! Centre-balls yellow, rushing it into red for good measure. Now what?
Samir croquets yellow into the lawn, getting a rush on red to black. Red isn't playing ball, however, and smacks into the peg, ending up a yard north of the peg.
Samir is rolling to hoop 2 and black. Slightly short - has rush on black pointing to the middle of the west boundary. Over-cuts it to about three yards north of hoop 1. Plays good backward take-off (easy money) to a yard straight, runs hoop and is away. TPO?
Top comedy in the doubles. Gabrielle rolls up to hoop 2 from corner 2, having unfortunately left partner a yard west of the hoop. Her ball cannoned into partner and ricocheted perfectly into hoop running position. Audience applauds wildly, then withdraw applause when they notice that the other ball going to hoop 3 went off the lawn. I'm considering withdrawing Gabrielle's "expert adviser" status.
Right, back to the big final. I need to concentrate and remember that Reg isn't for 4-back so it's unlikely Samir will be TPOing. Luckily, Samir is more on the ball than me. He's going to pop Reg through hoop 1 instead.
Samir jawses the first pop going to hoop 4. In the Y Doubles Murray has the first actual break. He's just made hoop 2. Not quite under control yet.
Samir completes the pop with a rush-peel after hoop 4. Sends it to hoop 2. Presumably looking at a second pop, going to 4-back and conceding contact.
No sign of Eugene, and I need to leave for my son's birthday party in five minutes. Do you think my wife would notice if I didn't turn up?
Samir is running 1-back and popping red. Jawses it. May struggle to dig out a perfect contact leave from here.
Unfortunately I need to head off so there may be a gap until someone else picks up.
Hi, this Eugene back from lunch.
Game 3, turn 6: Samir finished his turn with two POPs on red, and a good contact leave. He left balls in corner 1 and 2, left one slightly outside C4, and Reg's H3 ball 5 yards S of C3. Reg has previously POPed Samir to H2.
Turn 7: Reg lifted H3 ball and sent black from corner 4 up the boundary SE of H3. He shuffles the other balls around a bit, and makes a leave for red just oustide C2, with blue just north of C1.
Turn 8: Samir playing black, miscued his shot at blue just outside C1 and it goes in to C1.
Turn 9: Reg, playing red, roquets yellow in lawn, didn't get it in to peeling position. He takes off down to C1, presumably had a chance of getting a cannon, but turns it down and shoots at black in C1. He stops this out getting a rush to H3. Makes it and rushes to C2, sending blue south of the H1 just E of the line, going to yellow.
He is taking on a very ambitious shot, even for Reg's standards. He will be trying to peel yellow through 1-back, getting a rush on black to H4, which is only 2 yards NE of C1. Can he do it?
Reg plays the ambitious shot. Yellow goes through rather cleanly, and hits a combination of the dry patch under the shade of the tree, and the massive contours of Mount Hurlingham, and starts to gather pace. Will it go through 2-back as well?
Hmmm... it's missed 2-back and is still picking up speed on the hill. The speed cameras have failed to test it's exact speed, as it crashes in to the wire nettting S of H1, waking up a few Hurlingham members lounging in deckchairs nearby. Red stopped about 3 yards west north west of black, so he would have had at least some chance of a difficult cut rush. Samir could be on an easy finish here, with all 4 balls between H1 and A-baulk.
Turn 10: Samir, playing black roquets red on the boundary and send it to hoop 4 going to yellow on the boundary. Sends this a few yards SW H3, getting a northeast rush on blue. He's for hoop 2, remember. Some spectators are somewhat bemused.
Samir rushes blue to 2 yards north of hoop 3, places the balls in contact, and gets down ready to play a roll to approach hoop 3. Ghastly silence around the manager's tent as the spectators wonder what's going on.
Just in time, Samir realises his mistake and stands up with a disgusted look and swing of his mallet. He turns around and plays a scoop roll to H2, getting a 5 foot straight hoop at H2. Blobs it in to the jaws, and looks upset with himself.
Turn 11: Reg shoots yellow down at red near H4, and misses by a foot down to S boundary. Didn't sound like a good hit.
Turn 12: Samir runs hoop 2 with black, and unfortunately just clips blue on the way through. He takes off down to RY near H4, hits yellow and rolls it to H4 to get a rush on red to H3. He doesn't get a clean strike and only sends it a few yards NE of H4. Tries a roll approach to H3, and is a yard short. Runs away to C2.
Turn 13: Reg shoots red 1 yard SW of H3 at blue 5 yards N of H2, and hits it in to C2, getting a corner cannon with blue. He plays a good cannon sending blue 4 yards ESE of H1 and black to 2 yards NE of H6. He plays a split shot sending black to 5 feet ENE of 2-back, going to yellow at H4. He approaches H4, runs it gently and has a sideways rush on yellow towardds 2-back. Has a good chance of getting a quintuple peel going here.
Meanwhile, the plate final between Patrick Hort and Marcus Evans is taking place on lawn 1 after Ormerod lost -2TPO to Evans. The two Z knockout semifinals is taking place on lawn 2, with Kibble taking on Rothman and Beard versus Giraud. The best of 1 Y doubles final is happening on lawn 3, with Hope on a break, and the Middlesex pair of Polhill/Higgins on the glamorous clip positions of H5 and H2 respectively.
Lawn 4: Reg rushed yellow too far to peel it going to H5. He makes H3 off blue and sends it 1 yard N of 1-back, going to peelee at 2-back. Peels it getting a rush on black to H6, which he rushes 2.5 yards SW of H6. Is playing a hoop approach now.
Lawn 4: Reg runs H6 to the boundary, and rushes black just out of C1. He is looking for good for the finish, according to the plain-clothed expert commentator sitting next to me, whom I still can't recognise outside of his croquet whites.
Lawn 4: Reg sends black to 2 feet NW of rover as a reserve 2-back pioneer, then plays a brilliant rush on yellow sending it in to peeling position under a yard away. Peels yellow to peg high with a split roll, leaving himself with a 5 yarder on blue at 1-back. Hits and approaches 1-back.
The manager tells me I need to go to Specsavers, as apparently his roll up to H2 left a 2 yard, 30 degree hoop, not the straight hoop which I thought it was.
I think potential croquet commentators probably need to go for eye tests before being let loose on the world wide web.
Lawn 3: Hope has gone to peg with a peel on Martin Murray's ball to penult. He leaves blue and black with a wide cross peg, and a tight rush to penult east of H4. Polhill lifts black and takes the short lift shot, missing. This could be it.
Higgins is lamenting that Nick Parish's suggestion of best of N (N a prime number >2) didn't materialise.
Lawn 4: After 1-back Reg sends blue 4 feet directly north of 4-back, going to yellow. He rushes this south towards 3-back, and sends this 3 feet west and 1 foot south of 4-back, going to black near H5. He rushes black to 2-back and makes 2-back, rushing a few yards NE of 4-back. Stephen Mulliner, resplendent in a garish-looking turquoise polo shirt, burgundry trousers and straw hat, thinks Reg will need to do something with blue ball (supposed 3-back pioneer) as it's directly N of 4-back, and doesn't rush easily south.
Reg plays a good promotion with black, flicking blue a yard or so W of 4-back, and getting on the rush line of yellow in to peeling position. He underhits the rush, and has to play a split take-off getting behind blue.
Lawn 3: Martin Murray, on penult with partner on peg, sticks on penult off Gabrielle Higgins' blue ball, giving another lifeline to the tall Middlesex duo.
Lawn 4: Reg jawses 4-back peel going to blue, the 3-back pioneer. He rushes blue badly to 5 yards NW of 3-back, makes it then rushes blue to one yard SSW of rover, in pretty much wired position from 4-back. He plays a big roll send blue and red up towards penult and 4-back, and has an angled rush-peel on yellow through 4-back.
Lawn 4: Reg sends yellow towards penult and makes 4-back off black, then rushes it towards yellow which has been placed a yard or so NW of penult. He promotes yellow in to a better peeling position with black, and sends blue about peg high. He taps yellow to one foot in front of penult, and gets a nice Irish peel sending yellow about 2 yards WSW of rover. This is looking rather straightforward now.
Lawn 1: Patrick Hort seems to be having most of the play, but can't see the clips. I will ask the man with binoculars to update, for any Hort/Evans fans out there.
Lawn 2: Rothman, playing Kibble, has gone to 1-backmade a tight diagonal spread. Can't see the clip positions of Beard v Giraud, although it looks like Giraud is taking a lift shot.
Lawn 3: Gabrielle is taking her H2 ball around.
Lawn 4: Reg places blue deep and black level with rover, and rushes yellow in front of rover. He goes for a stop shot peel sending yellow 4 feet through, then plays a jump shot sending red to the boundary, to applause from the Hurlingham members who have gathered under the trees near corner one of lawn 4. He rushes yellow to less than 2 yards from the peg.
Reg played superbly for his straight games win, and is looking in terrific form for the Worlds. But don't go away chaps, there are other important matches to report on.
Lawn 2: Kevin Beard beat Alain Giraud +25 to reach the all-important Z final.
Lawn 3: Gabrielle managed to get to 4-back with a good diagonal spread. Hope has lifted yellw (peg ball, for the peg), and shot down the boundary, going off next to blue and black.
Anyway, I have moved down to lawn 1, where I can follow the other events.
Lawn 1: In the plate final which is best of 3, Patrick Hort is on a sextuple peel in game 1. He is currently approaching 3-back with 4 peels done.
Lawn 2: Rothman is on a TP versus Kibble, and is currently lining up the penult peel going to 1-back. Kibble had a 3rd turn ball to 1-back, dribbling in to the jaws of 1-back hoping for an easy sextuple peel turn start. Ben hit in on 4th turn, and rush peeled Dave's 1-back ball.
Lawn 3: Nigel Polhill is on a break with his ball. It's unknown whether he will attempt any peels.
Lawn 1: Patrick had a go at the penult peel going to 4-back pioneer, but it bounced out. It'll have to be a straight double peel to finish his SXP.
Lawn 2: Rothman is lining up for rover peel going to 3-back.
Lawn 3: Polhill's break is looking a little ragged, with the 3-back pioneer rather deep, and rolling up to 2-back from a few yards away having not had a good 2-back pioneer.
Lawn 1: Hort lines up for an irish peel through penult. Gets it, sending peelee 4 yards N of rover and staying in the jaws.
Lawn 2: Rothman jawsed the rover peel going to 3-back and rush peeled it after 3-back. He just has to finish the break to enter the Z final.
Lawn 1: Patrick has rushed blue in to a rather impossible looking peeling position. He tries to jaws it leaving space for the jump, but it runs across the hoop. He has to jump to the boundary, which he does, cannoning blue of the jaws to the side of rover, and hits the return roquet. He will now be giving contact to Marcus at the end of this turn, with his balls for rover and peg.
Lawn 2: Rothman beats Kibble to reach the Z final, +19TP.
Lawn 1: What's this? Hort plays a very nice promotion flick with oppo ball to cannon peelee back in front of rover, and is now lining up a posthumous rush peel through rover. He absolutely smacks the shot, gets the rush peel by a couple of yards, and has a very long pegout from 2 yards S and just to the side of the peg.
The bystanders of Patel, Evans, Maugham, Aiton and Hopgood are all rather impressed.
Lawn 1: Patrick spends an age lining up, then runs off the lawn for a quick drink of water. He is now back and playing the pegout shot....
Lawn 1: Front ball flicks the peg! Sadly his strikers ball flicks off the oppo ball back 1 yard in front of rover, leaving him hampered on the single ball pegout. He swings and swings....
Lawn 1: He shoots and hits the peg. What a great finishing turn to take the first game +23SXP.
Lawn 3: Polhill has made it to peg, and has pegged out Andrew Hope (Y), leaving Martin Murray (R) on penult and Gabrielle on 4-back. He has rushed Gabrielle's blue to corner 2, and gone off on max distance on East boundary.
Keith Aiton says that the pre-arranged plan of the Higgins/Polhill duo was for Polhill to go around and peel Gabrielle through 4-back, and do the pegout. Whilst Aiton and Higgins were in conversation, Polhill, in control after hoop 5, chose to send partner ball to 1-back and then to 3-back. One wonders how good Polhill is at following team orders...
Dave Maugham is living up to his 'super manny' status on the side of the lawns, entertaining Patel junior. Even Wixy thinks Dave would be a great candidate to join a foster parent scheme.
Lawn 1: Plate final, game 2. Evans shoots at H5 in first turn, and misses, hitting the peg centre ball. Hort goes just outside C2. Evans, playing red, hits the blue ball outside C2, and send this to H2 going to yellow near peg. He gets in front of H1 and blobs the hoop. Surprisingly, Hort misses red with black off the north boundary.
Lawn 3: Martin Murray takes the lift shot, aiming to get position at penult, and ends up in the jaws!
Lawn 1: Evans shoots red at yellow which is peg high, and misses.
Lawn 3: Polhill joined up with partner in C2. Murray ran penult hard. It was apparently on the LH wire, so it ended up running a yard or two wide. He took on a shot at rover, which bounced off near C4. Polhill/Higgins laid what they thought was a wired rush towards 4-back in C2, but left one ball open. Murray shot and just missed.
Lawn 4: the Z final of Beard vs Rothman has just started. Rothman has had the first break.
Lawn 3: Gabrielle ignored red and rushes nicely to 4-back, makes it and rushes two feet in front of penult. Plays a nice approach, but dribbles through penult leaving a hampered shot on partner. More discussion on what to do.
Lawn 3: Higgins runs away to max distance E boundary. Murray lifts red to the end of B baulk and shoots at black (for peg) which is next to the peg. He misses to 5 yards SW of rover. Nigel joins up with Gabrielle's ball a yard or so north.
Lawn 4: Rothman has gone to 1-back but looks rather disgusted with himself, having missed a very short roquet at the peg whilst setting up the diagonal spread.
Lawn 3: Murray goes 5 yards N of corner 4. Higgins rushes partner ball up to the north boundary and rolls to directly north of H2, with an angled rush to rover. Murray shoots, likes it initially and then shakes its head. It goes off 2 feet next to Gabrielle's ball on the N boundary. Gabrielle roquets red and tries to get a rush on partner. Rushes it 5 yards ENE of rover. Over rolls it....
Lawn 4: Kevin Beard is on a break having had a trivial pickup.
Lawn 1: Patrick went to 1-back with an interesting leave. He left yellow and red cross pegged north south, made H6 then rushed H6 pioneer (partner ball) in to the jaws of H6. He sent it just south so it was wired from B baulk, then place partner ball right next to it, so that it was also wired from both red and yellow. Evans lifted yellow and shot from A baulk, missing to the end of B baulk.
Lawn 3: After a very long discussion, Gabrielle runs away to one yard W of corner 4. Martin Murray shoots at black ball which is a few yards south of rover, and hits sending it off the boundary. He thinks about taking off to get behind blue ball outsice C4, but decides to send black towards H2, trying to get his red ball in front of the hoop. He plays the shot and end up a yard to the side. He plays his continuation shot and gets in front of rover. Gabrielle is shooting at red from outside C4....
Lawn 1: Hort is on a sextuple
Lawn 3: Gabrielle hits!!! Applause all around the lawn, from the massed spectators awaiting the final presentation.
Lawn 4: Kevin Beard, on 1-back in his break, has left blue and black not quite cross pegged, and approached 1-back, with partner 5 yards NW of 1-back then chooses to run 1-back. He runs 1-back to mid-lawn, hits one of the balls in lawn, then gets a rush on the other ball up the lawn, to get a rush on red just outside C2 towards 2-back. Gets the rush and makes 2-back.
Lawn 1: Hort's balls are in a funny position. Not quite sure what is going on.
Lawn 3: Gabrielle having hit red to within 5 yards of partner, takes off to partner and gets a rush to partner towards rover. She sends it NE of rover, approaches and just dribbles through with a southwards rush on partner. A long discussion, then she taps partner, rolls it to 3 yards inside max distance position on E boundary, going to peg. Pegs out the ball, leaving a peg vs rover position.
Lawn 4: Beard went to 3-back with a contact leave.
Lawn 3: Murray goes for position at rover, and overruns by a yard. Polhill, playing black, dribbles at the peg and ends up 5 yards past. Murray shoots and hits black, sending it to the side of H2. He plays a forward take off to rover and doesn't get position. Takes a 4 feet, 20 degree position, leaving black 2 yards S of north boundary near hoop 2.
Lawn 1: Patrick has got the 3-back peel with an escape ball towards hoop 6, which is the hoop he is for.
Lawn 3: Nigel lags to 3 yards SE of penult, and Murray goes for his hoop, just going through to some gasps. He turns around and is aiming to hit the peg back through the hoop....
Lawn 4: Rothman is on a break with black.
Lawn 3: Murray takes a wire and ends up on B baulk halfway between 4-back and penult. Polhill dribbles at the peg from 7 yards away, I think he should have shot hard. It misses a few yards past. Murray has a quick discussion with Hope and decides to shoot for the ball, not the peg. He plays the shot quickly...
Lawn 3: and it hits!!! sending black S of H1. He takes off to 4 yards from the peg, and just flicks it, winning +1!
That now makes it two games in this tournament where Hope/Murray have played Higgins/Polhill, and won by +1.
Lawn 3: Hope/Murray win the Y Doubles plate, beating Polhill/Higgins +1 in the final.
Lawn 1: Patrick had a hampered shot after 1-back, but makes the roquet. Now looks to be sending peelee to 4-back from N of H6, aiming to do the 4-back peel before 3-back.
Lawn 4: Rothman has taken his 1-back ball to 4-back, and is 1 and 4-back versus Kevin's 1 and 3-back.
Lawn 1: Patrick is still going with his SXP. The presentation will start after his present turn so we are hoping he can completed his turn. He gets 4-back peel before 3-back, and has a 5 yard peel attempt at penult going to the 4-back pioneer 2 yards S of penult. Jawses the peel, and gets the rush to 4-back. Makes 4-back and places 4-back pioneer peg high, getting a rush to the 4th ball and sending it a few yards NE of penult. Just has the two peels left now.
Lawn 4: Kevin Beard hits the defensive spread with his H1 ball, hitting a ball in C4, and is now on a quad. He has done 1 peel and is for hoop 6.
Lawn 1: Hort taps penult peelee back through penult and plays an irish peel, sending penult level with rover just to the side. He turns round and hits escape ball NE of penult. Could be another SXP finish now.
Lawn 4: Kevin Beard is approaching H6 and is looking to rush peelee across to 4-back after H6.
Lawn 1: Patrick leaves one ball up between penult and 4-back, and goes down to peelee at rover, placing the other escape ball ENE of rover. Rushes peelee about 4-5 feet in front of rover, and plays a nice stop shot peel sending peelee through by about 3-4 yards. Runs gently and hits escape ball.
Lawn 4: Kevin Beard ran hoop 6 a little short of the rush line, and tries to get a thin cut peelee to 4-back. Misses to a few yards S of C3.
Lawn 1: Patrick gets a rush on partner and rushes it to about 3 yards away. Pegs out.
I can't be that often that a plate game is won with consecutive SXPs. It highlights the high number of peeling turns that have taken place this tournament, and possible the added effect that Super Advanced rules have had on game play on fairly straightforward lawns.
Lawn 4: Rothman is starting his turn with H1 ball, aiming to finish this and with the Z event with a triple. The manager informs me that the Z event is not a hugely coveted event, either by spectators/WWW followers or by actual players, but with 36 people still following the commentary and such luminaries as Hopgood and Death (5 times apparently) on the Z winners list, I beg to differ.
in the absence of the presentation starting, we can keep going.
The presentation has just taken place.
Lawn 4: Rothman completes his TP despite the heckling from those attending the presentation.
In other news, the alternative Solomon Trophy warmup was completed last night, with Stephen Morgan losing to Patrick Hort, Ben Rothman beating Hopgood, and Jasmine Morgan defeating John Smith in the tie breaker.
So, that's it from me. Hope you've all enjoyed the commentary. I hope I will still be allowed back at the Hurlingham Club again, after providing a semi-realistic commentary on the lawns and the players.