Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nontuple Peel You Say?

Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom

About two weeks ago, croquet reached new heights. Even in the small realm of croquet, this isn't landing-on-the-moon big or even Usain-Bolt-breaking-the-100m-record, but it is like somebody bowling a 301, or a 903 in three games.

Here is the best croquet player (scratch that, artist) in history reporting the event, in his own terms [translation in brackets]:
Not in the rankings [not sanctioned], but beat [Jack] Wixy today in the Colchester Club champs, +26TP [26-0 Triple Peel] (5th turn), +26NP [26-0 Nontuple Peel, meaning 9 peels on a 12 hoop break to end the game] (4th turn). Pretty sure this was the first competitive nontuple. Might have never been a nine turn match before either. Hoops were generously wide Omegas though overall don't think the conditions were any easier than at this year's opens [court was normal, if not difficult American conditions]. I had two big chunks of luck in the nontuple plus a relatively good starting position for getting a peel before 1. See below for more detail.

[Jack Wixy is a young (maybe 23) but very skilled protege of Robert Fulford, our narrator and 5-time World Champion.]

The nontuple was;

Jawsed 4 before 1, (The turn started with peelee and another ball 5 yards north of 1, and the other ball just west of 4 having got there by bouncing off hoop 1)

peeled 5 getting a rush to 3,

peeled 6 getting a rush to 5,

peeled 1b before 6,

jawsed 2b sending peelee down from 1b(!) [15-20 yard jawsing] before making 1b,

irish peeled 3b nicely up to 4b from an angle but lucky to have back ball finish in a runnable position, [irish peel is when he is trying to make that same wicket (3 back) through which he is peeling partner. He must have bounced off of the wicket, but stopped in front where he could make it on the second shot.]

relatively unsweaty STP [Straight Triple Peel] finish with longish penult peel going through cleanly down to rover. [This was actually a straight Quadruple Peel as he was peeling 3 back while he was for that wicket]

[So ends Rob's modest post]

It is notable that the first game resulted in a "perfect game" in the American consciousness, while the second game is above nearly everyone's expectations (some readily await the dectuple or dodectuple [duodoctuple?] peel). A Straight Triple Peel, let alone a Straight Quadruple Peel, is very rare in our backyard. I personally cannot wait to watch Danny Huneycutt get an Octuple or try the Nontuple Peel.

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