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Paddy Chapman won the AC First Eight (President's Cup)

[<<] [>>] by Stephen Mulliner at Hurlingham
10-13 September 2020 (AC)

The 2020 President's was played at Hurlingham in sunny weather on beautiful courts that positively demanded peeling at every opportunity. A new record of 11 sextuples was set (Chapman four (in his first five games), Fulford four, Mulliner two and Riva one). In addition to the sextuples, there were one quintuple, four quadruples, two QPOs, one OQP, 12 triples and seven TPOs. The 18 games without "letters" were mainly the product of failed sextuples. The favoured sextuple leave was a tight cross-peg with the inplayer's balls on the west boundary.

Fresh from his Opens triumph at Cheltenham, Paddy Chapman set the pace with a dominant and unbeaten display in the first seven rounds and opened up a two game advantage over Robert Fulford and Stephen Mulliner.

James Death raised the hopes of the trailing pack in Round 8 by inflicting Chapman's first loss by +4 and this was followed by Fulford's flawless fifth turn sextuple against him in Round 9. So, at Saturday lunchtime, Chapman (on 7/9), Fulford and Mulliner (both on 6/8 with their own Round 8 game pegged down) were on theoretically equal terms. Round 10 saw all three win again but Round 11 featured a close and crucial win for Chapman against Mulliner. Round 12 had drama. It showed that Death has no favourites when he beat Fulford +6tpo and Christian Carter came very close to beating Chapman in a two-ball ending.

However, very close means not quite and that made a lot of difference to the overnight position of Chapman on 10/12 and Fulford and Mulliner on 8/11.

Fulford won the pegged-down game against Mulliner at the start of play on Sunday to reach 9/12 but had to rely on Chapman losing to Riva or Giraud to keep his hopes alive. The Chapman/Riva game in Round 13 was very close but Chapman took it +7 and then completed a rock-solid quadruple peel to beat Giraud in Round 14 and clinch the title for the second time.


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