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Good afternoon to all those croquet aficionados out there - and welcome to the Final game of this year's Dixon Advisory Croquet Classic.
The weather here at the delightful Cammeray Croquet Club (northern Sydney), and today's finalists are - as you may have gleaned from the title - Simon Hockey, and Peter Landrebe
03 Mar 2019 1:02PM (Tournament); 1 Readers
The format of the event has been that of a double elimination knockout - with Simon Hockey being the undefeated player in the main draw, and Peter Landrebe having come through the repercharge.
The net effect of this is that Simon starts 1 game up in a Best of 3. If he wins the first game of the Final, it's all over, and the $3000 flies home tonight to Jamestown South Australia the runner-up $1000 remaining here in Sydney.
If Peter wins game 1, then a deciding game will take place to determine the prize distribution.
Normal Advanced, 2.5hr games.
03 Mar 2019 1:09PM (Tournament); 3 Readers
The players have tossed and S.Hockey is the winner, and has chosen to go in first. He will be playing Blue and Black. (Landrebe = Red and Yellow)
03 Mar 2019 1:11PM (Tournament); 2 Readers
T1: Blue to C4 (Corner 4)
T2: Red to 1ft South of C2
T3: Back from A-baulk to 12 yards North of C4.
T4: Yellow from B-Baulk at partner... Misses slightly on the South side.
03 Mar 2019 1:13PM (Tournament); 2 Readers
As I said, the weather is delightful (probably 28 degrees, fine, sunny, slight breeze), and the crowd seem very content. They are made up of about a dozen of the players from the main event (main draw of 16), a couple of the qualifiers who didn't make it through, a couple of spouses, half a dozen of Cammeray's extremely hard-working an generous helpers, another dozen or so club members, some staff from Dixon Advisory (the wonderful sponsors), and Julian the wine-man, with a table full of delightful looking drinks. All up, about 40 people here. Very nice.
03 Mar 2019 1:17PM (Tournament); 2 Readers
T5: Hockey fired up the East boundary with Blue, missing to Corner 3.
T6: Landrebe took his 10in rush to Hoop 1 with partner, made the hoop and got a good rush to Hoop 2. Failed hoop 2 from just over a yard straight-on (trying to run it through to the boundary to hold a rush back to Hockey's ball in the middle of the East Boundary.
T7: Hockey plays Blue (in C3) at Yellow (the receiver at 2). Misses to 4 yards South of C2.
Simon Hockey has been shooting well this tournament, so I would have expected him to hit one of those first 2... but this is the first game of the day for him (having made it through to the final last night), so it may take him a bit to warm up.
03 Mar 2019 1:20PM (Tournament); 2 Readers
T8:Landrebe runs 2 with Red, doesn't quite make it to the boundary, and gets a rush back down to near H5. Takes off putting Yellow about 3y South West of H4, and gets a good rush on Hockey's Black on the East Boundary. Plays it reasonably well, but could have been better. Ends up taking off to H3 from 2 yards behind. Takes off into the middle of the leg... Interesting.
03 Mar 2019 1:22PM (Tournament); 2 Readers
Manages to hit away back towards partner south of H5, and has about a 4 yard join.
T9: Hockey plays Black (near H3) at partner on the West boundary and hits.
Takes off to Landrebe's Yellow (the ball SW of 4), and rushes it to south Boundary. Will have a good chance of getting a rush on Red to H1, and should get Yellow somewhere between the peg and H2.
Hockey does the above, but yellow only just gets past the peg. However, the rush to 1 was ok, and a 2.5 yard hoop approach should give him a break.
03 Mar 2019 1:27PM (Tournament); 3 Readers
Runs H1 with a 4 yard rush towards 2. Rushes it half way there and will be putting red at 3 trying for a rush on yellow towards H2/C2. Rushes it to just off the boundary behind 2, and will have a comfortable 3y takeoff behind Blue to get a rush to H2. Does this all nicely, but rushes slightly short of 2. approaches from 4ft to the side and has a 1y hoop. Is through and this should be a break of 9, now having all 4 balls under control - IF he hits the 4 yard roquet afterwards (Black only came through 1ft, but is not hampered on Blue).
Hits, and all is well.
03 Mar 2019 1:30PM (Tournament); 2 Readers
The Cammeray lawns have been freshly cut this morning (as they were on Friday morning before play), and the sun has been drying them out for most of the day, so they are speeding up by the hour.
The grass cover is excellent, and the lawns are particularly true (apart from the odd slight slope near a boundary or two - but nothing drastic). My guess is that they have been running at a speed of around 10 to 11 seconds throughout the tournament, but probably more towards the 10 second mark. While this is great for being able to get the balls where you want them, and not having hills and slopes interfere with long roquets and hoop approaches, it does mean that if you can roquet and do a reasonable 4-ball break, there's not much else required to give you a win.
Now, that doesn't mean that that is easy (99 out of 100 players do not have enough consistency to control every easy 4-ball break they play), or that difficult shots don't occur, I just mean that there are less variables that come into it - and less things you have to really concentrate on - once a player is in control of a break.
03 Mar 2019 1:40PM (Tournament); 2 Readers
S. Hockey is going well so far (soon to be approaching H9), and the only interesting thing that has happened so far is that when doing a split to send striker near the H8 load, it went past it and ended up in hoop running position (hampered on the load), so he ran the hoop and hit the 3 yard return roquet.
The leave was looking like being a loose 2-4 (with the ball at 2 over near the West Boundary), but now looks like being a reverse something... possibly.
03 Mar 2019 1:44PM (Tournament); 3 Readers
Right, the leave is:
Landrebe's Yellow (for H1) is 2y North and slightly West of the peg.
Red (for H1) is on the West Boundary level with the peg.
Blue and Black are on the West Boundary, just South of C2.
12.5 yard shot as the balls lie for Landrebe, or minimum of 13 yard lift if not. Seems very short to me. However, as good a roquetter as Landrebe is, 13 yards is still very missable.
03 Mar 2019 1:47PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
T10: Landrebe picks up Red, takes it to B-Baulk, and fires at Blue in C2.
03 Mar 2019 1:48PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
It feels like he always hits those 13 yard shots at balls in the corner when he plays me.
Not this time though. Misses slightly south.
T11. Hockey calls the ref. to check the alignment of the 3 balls up near C2, and will probably be attempting to play Blue (for H1) onto red, and rushing red in to Black - sending it to 1.
03 Mar 2019 1:50PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
Plays it very well, although only gets black Peg-High.
Will now put red at 3, going to yellow by the peg, put yellow at 2, and rush partner to 1 - all ready and set up for an on-time Triple Peel.
03 Mar 2019 1:51PM (Tournament); 7 Readers
Hockey does the first few steps with consummate style, and is through H1.
His completion rate of TPs has been good this event (4 from 6), and he has looked more in control as the tournament has progressed. On current form, stats say that this should be the match complete.
03 Mar 2019 1:53PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
Otherwise, TPs have been a bit lacking this tournament, with a handful of players having completed them (and many trying), and I'm really not sure why there haven't been more. All of the top 14 players (those given a direct entry into the event) are on a handicap of 0 or less, and most of those usually do at least 1 peel every couple of tournaments. In addition, the conditions haven't been that tricky (lawn speed and flatness-wise - Hoops have been set at 3.21/32in consistently).
My guess is that the lawns being foreign to most players, and the pressure of consistently high-calibar opponents, have had their bearing on the matter.
03 Mar 2019 1:58PM (Tournament); 4 Readers
Hockey has Black jawsed in H10, and is currently approaching H5 with Blue.
Rushes black through H10 after 5, and rolls it accross into a peeling position for Penult after running H6.
Doesn't end up in great position, and has a speculative attempt at peeling from 2y and 35degrees, and ends up sitting Black beside the hoop. Break carries on though.
03 Mar 2019 2:03PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
Spectators are enthralled by the match, and most of them are watching in silence, and not even touching the drinks at the expected rate. I guess this will change soon. Some of the clubhouse conversation (most people are outside) seems to be revolving around certain people's frustrations and complains with regard to "old people". I find this quite amusing.
03 Mar 2019 2:05PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
Back to the match, and Hockey attempted to load H9 after running H7, but crunched the load (Red) into the peg, and it sat nearby quite happily. He then tried to peel penault while rolling to H8. That didn't work either.
However, he did make H8 quite happily, has been around seeing the sights of the lawn, and rushed Red from the peg to H9 and has a forward rush afterwards. Will attempt to peel Penult while holding a rush on Yellow to H10, but has to rush Black 2 yards back towards the hoop (from the peg direction) in order to do so.
03 Mar 2019 2:08PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
Too difficult, so will be going for a straight double peel.
While I would like to see Simon finish the tournament with his usual high standard of play, a straight double peel is never a guarantee when hoops are firm in the ground, and more interaction is by no means out of the question.
03 Mar 2019 2:10PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
Peeling penult from 1ft straight in if front. Interestingly, he attempts to play it as an Irish peel (both balls through at once). Given that Hockey spent a good portion of time this morning complaining about Irish peels and their lack of merit, this also gives me great pleasure.
Hockey sees those in-the-know in the clubhouse grinning and gives a slight shudder before taking his stance.
Peels Black to peg-high, and striker stops in the jaws. All good.
Hits escape ball and puts it down past rover, and rushes Black to 2y short of Rover. Tries a stop shot peel, and peelee sticks in the jaws.
Blue jumps over Black, and hits the return roquet.
Will be taking off to Yellow (1y SE of Rover) and going for a posthumous bombard peel, and subsequent rush to the peg.
03 Mar 2019 2:15PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
03 Mar 2019 2:15PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
Black has only just started to enter the jaws, and looks like it might be slightly to the East, so will have to be a cut-bombard to get it through. Also, he will be bombarding from about 2ft North and very slightly West, while trying to hold a rush back.
Yellow hits black, but only gets it into the middle of the hoop. Blue is 4ft on the other side, and will be hitting black back North.
03 Mar 2019 2:18PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
Didn't look happy with the failed bombard I must say. and any ant who had happened to be wandering past H5 in the following seconds may have wished he had worn a helmet.
03 Mar 2019 2:20PM (Tournament); 4 Readers
Hits black back to near C3 (checks clips in pocket to make sure he's still playing the right ball), and will roll both balls out just south of C2.
Landrebe's Red is in line with H1 and H2, about half way between H5 and the peg.
Yellow is 1y East of 5, and slightly south. It was technically wired from Red, but Hockey's Blue snicked it after hitting Black, and it now has an open 8y shot at red (and vice versa).
03 Mar 2019 2:21PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
T12: Landrebe plays Yellow from where it lies and middles Red. Rolls Red to H2, going to Black in C2. Taps black and chips it in 1 yard, getting a rush on Blue to 1. Rushes it to 5ft West of 1.
03 Mar 2019 2:23PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
Tennis ball comes on to the lawn from the courts next door.
This has been happening comparatively infrequently this tournament, but I am delighted to say that one big innovation from the Cammeray club this year is to have attached a tennis racket to a hook between the 2 courts in order to cover all eventualities.
03 Mar 2019 2:24PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
Referee disposes of the tennis ball without the racket (is this in accordance with Health and Safety?).
03 Mar 2019 2:25PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
Back to the game. Landrebe approaches 1 to a slight angle. Thumps it through 18inches and is slightly hampered on opponent Blue (peg ball). Misses...
03 Mar 2019 2:26PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
T13: Hockey hits 3 yard roquet and will be setting a leave.
Puts Yellow (for H2) at H3, Red (for H3) just off the West Boundary 2y North of 2 (not wired from Yellow), and retreats to just off the South boundary, roughly behind H5. Sets a 2y rush to ROver with black.
03 Mar 2019 2:27PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
T14: Landrebe thinks.
03 Mar 2019 2:28PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
After that, he plays Red at Blue/Black, going through the 3ft gap between them to SB.
03 Mar 2019 2:29PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
T15: Hockey rushes blue to Rover, plays a 4ft sideways approach well, and hammer Back through to the boundary (attempting to punch a hole in the paling fence too), and leaves himself a 4y roquet on Red.
Just hits the middle of it.
Takes off to Blue (sitting beside H5), and has a 5ft rush to the peg.
03 Mar 2019 2:30PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
Rushes well and has a 1yard peg out.
Game, Match, and Tournament to Simon Hockey (South Australia)!
03 Mar 2019 2:31PM (Tournament); 6 Readers
Great play, and very well done for an in-form GC player (and only mildly in-form AC players) Peter Landrebe.
A thoroughly enjoyable tournament for all involved, and a credit to Cammeray, its members, and of course, the generous benefactors, Dixon Advisory.
Thank you very much to all of the above (and referees, players, and Julian the wine-man), and I look forward to seeing you again next year.
p.s. The shirt the players got for this event was Excellent - nice and bright, lots of colours (Royal blue, Yelow, Green, and White).
More colour in croquet is always the rational option.
03 Mar 2019 2:34PM (Tournament); 5 Readers
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