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« Soo: Riva Back from 0-2 to Advance #08 | Main | Clarke: Advancing to the Super 8 #07 »

Clarke: Top Four - Chapman, Mulliner, Bamford and Riva #08

Edward Wilson in play against Jose Riva during the quarterfinals

2018 AC Worlds Report – Day 7

We were treated to four interesting matches at Kelburn today. The sun was out and there was no breeze, so conditions were as benign as they could be. By early afternoon there were a couple of faster patches near hoops on most of the lawns which made breakplay that bit more interesting.

The first match to finish was Chapman v Patel. It looked like a straight games victory for the Kiwi before he failed rover when about to peg Patel out in the third. Patel took that game, but Chapman then won the fourth.

2018 AC Worlds KO | AC Worlds Articles | KO Forum Discussion | Clarke Photo Gallery

Stephen Mulliner completed three triples to win his match against Greg Bryant 3-1. Despite three of the four games being one-sided (a total of 8 points being scored by the loser), the match still took about 9.5 hours to complete, highlighting the danger that playing best of 5 causes in non-trivial conditions.

The next match to finish was Edward Wilson v Jose Riva. This was a very exciting match, full of positive (often too positive) croquet. Wilson took a 2-0 lead and had opportunities in all the remaining games before Jose hit his last lift in the 5th and completed a triple peel that had many scary moments.

Mulliner has a shot watched by Janet Boutel. Click to Zoom.Finally, at around 7:00 p.m., Bamford beat Hockey 3-1. Hockey had shot very well during the match and both players had struggled to pick up breaks at times. At game all, Hockey failed to finish a triple and laid up rover and peg only for Bamford to finish next turn.

The four semi-finalists are the first four players I highlighted in my preview, so play has gone very much to form. Greg Bryant has been ill for some time now and hasn’t produced his normal level of play – he certainly looked tired this afternoon. Wilson can reflect on a good 3 weeks and will no doubt learn from his defeat today. Patel has never been on form this event and can be pleased to have won as many games as he has. He was one of the few players in the event to use intelligent leaves as a standard part of his play. Hockey played some high quality croquet and could easily have taken Reg to a decider.

Tomorrow, semi-final play moves to Wellington which has disappointingly been one of the slowest venues, when I had anticipated it would be the best. Both matches are very interesting. The favourites are probably Chapman to beat Mulliner and Bamford to beat Riva, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see both matches turn out to be close.

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