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I just posted this to the Notts list and Aus Croquet list. Included here for those who don't subscribe to those lists, and as a rather handy way to archive this info.
Day 6 saw the start of the business end of the Golf Croquet World Championships. There was drama, controversy, some great play, some average play, and unfortunately the visit of an ambulance.
Round 1 saw lots of the youngsters leave the tournament.
First casualty was Phillip Drew. Phil drew Mike Crashley as his first-round opponent. Both players were happy about this. See croquetscores.com for a commentary on much of this match – it was a thriller! Phil unfortunately couldn’t continue the excellent form which saw him top his block and Crash, who had needed some good results in the final round of block play then had to beat 82-year old Bob Jackson in a play-off game to qualify, had a good solid match. Phil’s clearances were pretty good, but hoop running let him down, and a nervy 3 yard clearance Phil missed saw Crash run the 13th hoop in the deciding game.
Salah Hassan was in good form against William Gee. This was the feature match for commentary on croquetscores.com, so check that out for details. Not a great day for Pidcock mallets, as Will’s sounds like it has internal injuries (I should know, having had to return my new square one after it developed the same sound). Stephen Mulliner’s sounds similar. Worse day for Terminator mallets though, as they both went out in round 1. Salah’s tactics were stronger than Will, who relied on a straight-hitting game, but was unable to hit a high enough percentage of his clearances for this to be successful.
American youngster Stephen Morgan put up a brave fight against the world number 1, Hamy Erian, but despite a 3-2 lead, lost the first game 7-3, and then lost the match in two.
Pete Landrebe had a good win against Mostafa Eissa –one of 11 Egyptians in the last 32. The Egyptians were a bit lucky in the first round – 11 Egyptians – all in different matches. The 10 kiwis who got through weren’t so lucky – NZ World Teams Champs teammates Phillip Drew and Mike Crashley had to play each other, and I got drawn against kiwi captain-in-waiting, Hamish McIntosh.
My match has a brief description on the second instalment in croquetscores.com. Basically I hit a lot and ran some good hoops, and made the most of a clearance in game 2 getting a ball near hoop 11 by jumping through a 3-yard hoop 10. Also ran hoop 12 from the middle of the north boundary after snicking a ball which made up part of a big target with hoop 12. I felt Hamish shot too often, where he could have taken blocking position, and at times hit clearances too hard, though ultimately shooting and hoop-running were the difference in the match.
Another big upset in round 1 was the early exit of 7-time NZ GC Open champion Duncan Dixon to talented young Egyptian Tarek Mamdouh. Tarek came through his block fourth after a poor last-round loss, but showed some good form against Duncan – clearing powerfully, and running his hoops very solidly. The Egyptian supporters were thrilled to see the dangerous kiwi out.
On other lawns there were some interesting matches. Anne Quinn won the first game against Ahmed El Mahdi. Mahdi started the match very slowly, but won the next two games convincingly. Anne will still finish the tournament as Australia’s number 1 golf croquet-playing woman – a really good achievement, particularly with Trans Tasman selection coming up soon (the first Trans Tasman Golf Croquet tournament between NZ and Australia is this year at the start of December – previously the bi-annual Trans Tasman tournament was only association croquet).
17 year old Hemi McLaren had a terrific match with Reg Bamford. He lost the first 7-5, a very creditable performance. But then he came back and won game two on the 13th hoop! He also had a 5-4 lead in the decided, but failed hoop 10 (I’ve no idea where from, but he, and another spectator, was rueing the miss, so I guess there was an opportunity there). Reg won the decider 7-5, but only after a fair bit of tension and some great shots by the talented youngster. Hemi is going to focus on improving his AC for a bit now, but will still just get better and better at GC. He’s a great shot, and has improved massively since last season on tempering his game.
Under 21 worlds runner-up Marwan El Sabarouti has had a great run through the event with 7 wins to come second in his qualifying block but, despite winning game 1, Marwan was unable to continue his run with a 2-1 loss to American Sherif Abdelwahab. Marwan reckoned he didn’t play that well today, but given he has played 20 matches with only 1 day between the first and second sets, he can be forgiven for being exhausted.
So from Round 1 with 11 Egyptians, 10 kiwis, 5 Australians, 3 English, 2 Americans and one rather good South African, Round 2 started with 8 Egyptians, 4 kiwis, 1 Australian, and one each representing England, USA and South Africa.
Round 1 was pretty tame, round 2 has had some controversy, and some very good matches.
First up, Hamy crunched up the last remaining Australian, Peter Landrebe. Not good for my fantasy team!
Salah and Mike Crashley were put onto lawn 5. When I was on 6 I watched the hoop setters carefully reset hoop 2, Stephen Mulliner had a couple of gentle goes at running the hoop, then summoned back the hoop-setters – a couple of small ladies – and asked for the hoop to be reset – at which point one of them promptly just lifted the hoop straight out of the ground! Then they threw a pile more dry, fine sand down the hole – a great way to encourage the development of mounds around the hoops – for this tournament a better option would be damp soil, and then removal later.
Anyway, Salah and Crash started, Salah quickly asked for the hoops to be reset – was told “no”, asked for the referee of tournament so he could appeal, and the “no” was reversed. I turned up to see how Chris was getting on in the next lawn, and it was 4-2 to Crash and 4 of the hoops were lying down out of the ground!
Crash won the first, but appeared to be suffering a bit from his knee injury, and Salah was a comfortable winner in the end.
Chris Clarke v Mohamed Nasr was a great match. Chris was hitting fairly gently in game 1 and, despite being reasonably accurate, he was quickly 6-2 down. He came back well to get to 6-6, and Reg was kind enough to delay the start of our match to watch the final point. It included Chris playing a 4 yard jump to get into the jaws of 13, and another shot into the jaws – both of which were cleared, and the game ended when Chris was off-target with a jump from the boundary.
The next two games I missed as I was playing, but Chris played powerfully and well and was always in control, beating the 2006 World Champion 2-1.
My match against Reg wasn’t that competitive, though it was good to get to 6-6 in game 1. Reg took good position with both balls and ran hoop 13 at his first opportunity. Game 2 was more of a showcase of Reg’s clearing and a couple of long hoops for me before he finished things off.
Despite the intention to play all round 2 matches today, it was then decided to put ONE of the matches on tomorrow morning – Jared Keeman v Stephen Mulliner. It was rather odd to not delay the match that will be waiting on them – Ahmed Nasr v Sherif Adelwahab. So tomorrow Jared and Stephen get a whole match to warm up, but balancing that might have to play 8 games tomorrow, as the quarters will be best of 5 (to the best of our knowledge). Sherif won the second game against
Ahmed after Ahmed missed an easy clearance at 13, but otherwise it was reasonably one-way traffic. The final game happened against a backdrop of a bad accident where WCF and Egyptian Federation President Amir Ramsis had a bad fall outside the clubhouse. It looks like he has a badly bruised cheek and will have a headache for a couple of days, but hopefully he’ll be back at the club and ok tomorrow. An ambulance was called as a precaution, so he’s in excellent hands, and he was in good humour while waiting for the medics. We wish him the very best in his recovery.
The other round 2 game to finish was Mohamed Karem vs Ahmed El Mahdi. The first two games were shared, then Karem had the chance to go 4-1 up at hoop 5 when the infamous Wrong Ball law claimed another victim. Both players had played a series of wrong balls and Mahdi missed a shot. However, instead of Karem running hoop 5, the error was spotted and Mahdi got to play his other ball and took control of the game from there, winning the match 7-5.
Tomorrow I’m a full-time commentator – follow this on croquetscores.com if you would like to. We have 5 Egyptians, 1 kiwi, and one South African in the quarters, and Stephen Mulliner v Jared Keeman to play in round two. Glad I’ve got Chris in my fantasy team, rather wish I’d taken Stephen as well!
Regards to all,
12 Feb 2015 10:10PM (Tournament); 4 Readers
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