by Jonathan Kirby, December 2004
What are the most advantageous position to leave the two balls (given a free choice) after the TPO? It looks at face value that leaving a ball anywhere near Hoop 2 is doubtful
There are three standard places to leave the balls, assuming the other opponent ball is for hoop 1.
- Corners II and IV
- Corner II and about 7 yards North of corner IV
- Corners II and III
The usual response to Option 1 is to take contact from the ball in corner IV and try to approach hoop 1 immediately. Even if you don't make it, you have a good chance of using the continuation to get into position with both the opponent's balls in front of you (a squeeze). Option 2 is designed to put hoop 4 in the way of approaching hoop 1. Normally the single-ball player tries to approach hoop 1 anyway, but to say 3 yards rather than 1 (depending on the player). The usual response to Option 3 is to roll from III to 2 and II, then take off from corner II to get position at hoop 1 and run it to the North boundary.
All these options involve leaving a ball in corner II. Since you are generally giving lift and contact, you can't leave a ball near a baulk line (except on a corner spot). Other options such as corners III and IV mean that the single-ball player can take croquet from one ball and send it somewhere useful going to the other ball and then try to roll off hoop 1.
The best answer is to POP the opponent's other ball to 2 in the TPO turn, but I've only seen Rob attempt this regularly (and indeed this is only good if you also have good control of the leave, because you can't leave a ball in corner II so probably need to leave at least one in a baulk corner).