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« 2016 British Opens: Rothman Takes A Piece of History | Main | 2016 British Opens: Day Seven »

2016 British Opens: Day Eight


Paddy Chapman: Despite playing some of the best croquet of the tournament, he was out-shot by Rothman in the semifinals. Photo by Eileen Soo. Click to Zoom.
The singles semifinals were all-day affairs, averaging around two hours per game (including lunch and tea breaks). Between the two matches there were nine games played, each with a successful peeling turn (eight triples and one quad). Four of these peeling turns were TPOs, and all four were won by the pegged-out player. Samir Patel and David Maugham traded games, Patel winning +25tp, -15tp, +25qp, -15tp, +10otp. Ben Rothman and Paddy Chapman traded OTP games, then Rothman broke the pattern to close out the match +10otp, -10otp, +9otp, +18tp.

This is only the second time an American player has reached the British Open singles final. Whatever the outcome, there will be a new champion. Patel has been in the final twice before. Since the start of the Fulford/Bamford era in 1991, in which Fulford has won eleven times and Bamford ten, there have been only four other champions.


Self-coaching is much more common in croquet than in most sports. We learn by watching and interacting with better players, imitating their swings and tactics. This can be dangerous when it comes to tactics. A good swing is a good swing, period. But the appropriateness of a given tactic depends not just on the position, but on the abilities of the players. Imitating Reg Bamford’s tactics is fine if you are approaching that rarified level. For the rest of us, the trick is not to imitate, but to evaluate.

To take the most obvious example from the Open Championships this week, just about every player is using the corner II opening when playing second. This is a fine defensive opening for players who are at least somewhat capable of digging out a break from this position, and who are facing similar or weaker opposition. That’s why the top players are using it: by definition, top players always face similar or weaker opposition, and are quite good at creating breaks from nothing. But when you are the underdog, using the corner II opening is playing into your opponent’s hands.

Long hit-ins are the great equalizer in AC. An inferior player can win by hitting one or two long shots, if those shots result in breaks. Using the Duffer or standard tice gives the weaker player the chance to do just that.

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