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Entries in Jeff Soo (92)

Saturday
Apr222017

Chapman 04: Excellent Day for New Zealand

New Zealand's Joe Hogan on Day 4
An excellent day for New Zealand today! We needed a big result to get back into the test match, and that is exactly what happened.

Jenny and myself had a good win against Stuart Lawrence & Jeff Soo. Although we won in 2 straight games, all the players made some hoops and there was some interactivity.

Aiken and Toby had an excellent strong win against Danny Huneycutt and Stephen Morgan. Aiken did an excellent TP in the first game, getting the first peel before 1b.

The big upset of the day was the huge win by Joe and Chris against Ben Rothman and David Maloof - we had the goal of trying to take 2 matches out of 3 for the day, but to get all 3 was a huge bonus and got us back to level-pegging at 7-7 in the test. Both Chris and Joe played some excellent controlled croquet to take the match, and Joe hit two great 'final' lift shots along the way.

At the conclusion of the scheduled matches, Joe and Chris continued their epic pegged-down match (now in its third day) vs Danny Huneycutt & Stephen Morgan. From yesterday's position of H1 and peg vs 2b alone, Joe managed to finish without the Americans playing any more strokes. He played an immaculate 3-ball break to the peg amidst much applause, including what is perhaps the shot of the tournament: after running H5, he hit his return roquet into the jaws of H5 with a pioneer waiting at H6. He played a half-roll stroke at a pace that would have easily sent the front ball off the lawn (and possibly into the neighbouring houses), but managed to smack the croqueted ball into the peg, ricocheting across to beside 1b in the process and leaving himself a 4-yarder on his H6 pioneer.

Adding this result onto the scores, NZ lead 8-7.

Friday
Apr212017

Chapman 03: Solid Play Narrows the Gap

Aiken Hakes on his way to his first MacRob singles win
Spirits are high in the NZ team after today's play. We needed a solid day to put some points on the board after two fairly inconsistent days of doubles, and that is what we got.

Aiken Hakes playing in his first MacRob singles match had a tight match with Danny Huneycutt, going to 3 games. Danny had a chance to finish but broke down allowing Aiken to make his first singles match a memorable one by taking victory.

Another debutante, Chris Shilling played really quality croquet to defeat Stephen Morgan in 3 games. He sealed the match with a TP in the decider.

Jenny was a little unfortunate to go down to Stuart Lawrence, who played some excellent croquet to win in 3 games, with 2 TPs.

Joe Hogan, whose last MacRob singles match was 27 years ago, played some classy croquet (including a TP) but eventually went down to Jeff Soo in a close deciding game.

Toby Garrison (late start 1) had an extremely close first game with Ben Rothman, with both having chances to finish. In the end Ben took it 26-23. Both players also had some play in the second game, but Ben held his nerve also take the second game and the match with a TP.

David Maloof vs myself was the second late start, i.e. the last match to go on today. After David had a ball round to 4-back early in game 1, he didn't have much play after that and I took the match in two straight games (and a very lucky finish to a TP in the second).

The match score stands at 7-4 to the USA at the end of today's play, with still the one doubles match (from yesterday) unfinished.

The Chris Shilling & Joe Hogan vs Danny Huneycutt & Stephen Morgan doubles match re-started again this evening at around 4pm, and the kiwis managed to level the score at 1-1 with another excellent finishing turn by Chris. In the decider, the kiwis had the first ball to 4b, but the Americans hit the lift and joined them on 4b. After that there was a wee bit of interaction until Danny managed to get a delayed TP under control - only to come to grief at 2b with 2 peels done. This allowed Chris to complete the SPO on Stephen's ball. The state of play at the moment is:

Danny - 2b
Stephen - box
vs
Joe - H1
Chris - peg

The kiwis are laid up about 10yd North of C4 with Danny having just missed a shot at them from near C2. The match will be completed when time allows - it may yet prove crucial to the result of this test match. There is still all to play for.

Thursday
Apr202017

Soo 04: Singles Round on Day 3

Stuart Lawrence on his match-winning turn against Jenny ClarkeIn the NZ vs. USA singles, all four of the 8:30 matches went to third games. Soo (USA) was first to finish, +26tp, -16tp, +12 against Hogan (NZ). Huneycutt's (USA) form improved today; he took game 1 against Hakes (NZ) +17 and had chances to win game 3, but Hakes came up the winner -17, +24tp, +8. Clarke (NZ) nearly finished a triple in game 1 against Lawrence (USA) despite jawsing the peel at rover and then jumping clean over it; she succeeded at bombarding partner through rover, but roqueted the ball on the croquet stroke. But a long hit-in a couple of turns later gave her the game, +24. She went break up in game 2, but Lawrence eventually took control for +13tp. Clarke again had the first break in game 3, but Lawrence managed an adventurous pickup to build a break and leave an NSL, and closed out the match with another triple, +17tp. A few minutes later, Shilling (NZ) completed his own comeback against Morgan (USA), -17, +17, +24tp.

Two of the England vs. Australia doubles matches finished before any of the singles. As expected, Robert & Malcolm Fletcher (Australia) vs. Burch & Death (England) was a quick match, all three games +26tp. Death had the first triple, but Malcolm Fletcher had the other two, putting Australia up 6-4. Simon Hockey & Greg Fletcher (Australia) added another pair of Fletcher triples to the day's tally, as the Aussie pair won +19tp, +26tp. In Patel & Mulliner (England) vs. Forster & Dumergue (Australia), a Mulliner TPO resulted in an OTP win for the Aussies in game 1. But the English pair kept their team within striking distance by winning the match, -14otp, +17, +15, bringing the test match score to 7-5 Australia.

Chapman (NZ) beat Maloof (USA) in a high-quality match, +17tp, +26tp. Garrison (NZ) vs. Rothman (USA) was a more error-prone affair, Rothman winning +3, +16tp to make it a 3-3 split in the day's singles.

The pegged-down doubles match resumed with Hogan playing a wide join. Huneycutt ran penult smoothly, ending a few feet from rover but at a steep enough angle that Huneycutt opted to shoot at Hogan's ball; the shot missed. Hogan made a leave, Huneycutt cornered, and Shilling made 4-back and penult, then another leave, his ball north of corner IV and Hogan's ball about level with 6, a couple of yards in from the west boundary. Oddly, Huneycutt chose to shoot at Shilling's ball; he missed, and Shilling finished to level the match.

Shilling had the first clip to 4-back in game 3. Morgan hit the lift and needed two turns to get to 4-back with a defensive leave. Huneycutt broke down at 2-back with two peels done. Shilling went round, peeling Morgan's ball at rover and pegging it out. The match has again been pegged down, 2-back and box vs. 1 and peg, NZ to play. The test match score is 7-4 USA.

Thursday
Apr202017

Chapman 02: Tough Day at the Office

New Zealand's Chris Shilling in play on Day 2 versus Team USA Day 2 was another day of doubles for New Zealand, with Aiken Hakes & Toby Garrison taking on Jeff Soo & Stuart Lawrence, Paddy Chapman & Jenny Clarke taking on David Maloof & Ben Rothman, and Joe Hogan & Chris Shilling taking on Danny Huneycutt & Stephen Morgan. As it turns out, it was a tough day at the office for New Zealand.

Jeff & Stuart won their match 2-1 - in the third game, NZ were TPOing the Americans, but failed to gain a rush to peg out Jeff's ball. Stuart held his nerve to finish his 4-ball break to the peg and take the victory. Paddy & Jenny were involved in a high-quality first game versus Ben and David, however the second game contained a number of unexpected errors. In the end, it went to a decider, with NZ having a TP opportunity to win but missing a 7-yard return after rover with all the peels done. From there, the Americans took the game and match 2-1, with a +2 scoreline in the third. At the time of writing, Joe & Chris' game has been pegged down, with the match score currently 1-0 to the Americans. The situation in the second game is USA penult and box vs NZ 4b and peg.

It is very unusual for a match to last so long on such easy lawns, however it just goes to prove that MacRob is different from usual tournaments, with a lot more determination to win from all players. The pegged-down ending will hopefully be played to a conclusion sometime over the next couple of days.

Thursday
Apr202017

Soo 03: US Picks Up Two More Wins

USA's Ben Rothman peels rover en route to putting his team up 4-1NZ vs. USA continued in doubles while Australia vs. England switched to singles. Chapman & Clarke (NZ) quickly took the lead against Rothman & Maloof (USA), +17tp with Chapman tripling. In Hakes & Garrison (NZ) vs. Lawrence & Soo (USA), Soo failed a triple attempt but then hit the opponent's leave to take game 1. No croquet for Lawrence & Soo in game 2, Hakes finishing with a tidy triple. Hogan & Shilling (NZ) vs. Huneycutt & Morgan was only getting around to finishing game 1 by that point, Huneycutt hitting the peg from corner III to win the game.

On the upper lawns, Burch (England) breezed to a +26tp, +26tp win over Hockey (Australia), leveling the test match at 2-all. Death (England) vs. Forster (Australia) was a three-triples match, Death winning the outer games to put England ahead. World #1 player Robert Fletcher (Australia) righted the ship for his team with two triples to beat Mulliner (England), the second following a failed sextuple attempt by the Englishman (and current World Champion). Greg Fletcher (Australia) vs. Hopgood (England) was another three-triples match, Fletcher overcoming a game 1 loss to put his team ahead again.

With only seven lawns available, two singles matches had a late start. In the Captain's match, Dumergue (Australia) had all the action in a +26tp, +26tp win over Patel (England). Malcolm Fletcher (Australia) had a heartbreaking game 1 loss to Maugham (England), having all but finished the triple but then missing a short roquet; Maugham controlled the rest of the match to make it an even start in the singles. Australia leads the test match 5-4.

Soo had a 4th-turn OSL to begin game 3; Hakes then had a bit of good luck in snicking off the peg to roquet. His TPO attempt never seemed in doubt, until his luck was reversed at rover, where his ball crept through just the wrong amount on the Irish peel. He was able to roquet the escape ball, but failed to get a rush back to the peg. Lawrence finished off the contact to extend the Americans' lead to 3-1.

An exchange of errors led to a game 2 win for Rothman & Maloof. Chapman was set to finish the match in game 3, but a jump through rover and lack of a proper deep ball left a seven or eight yard shot, which he missed. Down 0-24, Maloof went round and Rothman tripled to ensure another winning day for USA.

Hogan and Huneycutt both struggled in game 2. Hogan finally got a ball around and pegged out Morgan's ball, with Huneycutt for 3-back and Shilling for 4-back. A couple of turns later the game has been pegged down. It is NZ to play, with Hogan's ball just south of the peg, Shilling's ball a few inches out of corner I, and Huneycutt in position at penult (his hoop).

Wednesday
Apr192017

Soo 02: Day 1 Reveals Easy Conditions

Smiles for the Aussies as Dumergue & Forster win to give their team a 2-1 lead over England

Both test matches started with doubles, as usual. The English got on the board quickly, Maugham & Hopgood winning 2-0 over Robert & Malcolm Fletcher (Australia) with a pair of Maugham triple peels. Next to finish were Soo & Lawrence (USA) over Hogan & Shilling (NZ), the Kiwis not taking croquet and Lawrence tripling on turns seven and ten, for an excellent MacRobertson Shield debut. Rothman & Maloof (USA) each had a triple peel in their 2-0 win over Garrison & Hakes (NZ), putting USA up 2-0. In the Burch & Death (England) vs. Forster & Dumergue (Australia) match, Burch had a quick triple to win game 1. Death did a TPO in game 2, but Forster finished to level the match.

ROUND ONE PHOTO GALLERY

On the lower lawns, Greg Fletcher tripled to win game 1 with partner Hockey (Australia) against Mulliner & Patel (England). Mulliner did most of a DPO in game 2, but missed the pegout, giving Fletcher an easy finish, which brought Australia level with England for the test at 1-all. In Clarke & Chapman (NZ) vs. Huneycutt & Morgan (USA), Clarke had some struggles with control, but Huneycutt couldn't find his shooting touch, the Kiwis winning 2-0 to bring the test match score to 2-1 in favor of USA.

Aussie captain Dumergue put together a well-controlled triple peel to end the day's play and put his team up 2-1 in the test.

By test match standards, the conditions are very easy. The lawns are a comfortable medium pace, and the combination of sandy (and well-watered) soil and powder-coated hoops makes for easy hoop-running and peeling. In the afternoon the wind picked up, giving a taste of what could be the main challenge during the series. Thus far 11 of the 13 games have finished with triple peels, and this rate of tripling seems likely to continue.

Tuesday
Apr182017

Soo 01: 2017 MacRob Preview

Defending champion NZ team practicing shortly before the opening ceremony

After many months of preparation from organizers and players alike, the 25th MacRobertson Shield is about to begin. New Zealand looks to successfully defend the Shield, something they have never done before. Australia, making history with a team including three brothers, hope to make more history by winning the Shield for the first time since 1935. England hope to return to the norm: a GB or England team has won the Shield 14 times. USA look to defy the rankings and international expectations by winning the Shield for their first time ever.

After team orders were announced, the Australian and New Zealand teams mounted appeals against England's team order. USA supported England, and the Tournament Director cast the deciding vote to deny the appeal. The team orders (singles in order of merit, doubles ordered arbitrarily):

USA
1. Rothman
2. Maloof
3. Soo
4. Huneycutt
5. Morgan
6. Lawrence

1. Rothman & Maloof
2. Huneycutt & Morgan
3. Soo & Lawrence

NEW ZEALAND
1. Chapman
2. Garrison
3. Hakes
4. Hogan
5. Clarke
6. Shilling

1. Chapman & Clarke
2. Garrison & Hakes
3. Hogan & Shilling

AUSTRALIA
1. Robert Fletcher
2. Hockey
3. Dumergue
4. Malcolm Fletcher
5. Greg Fletcher
6. Forster

1. R. Fletcher & M. Fletcher
2. Forster & Dumergue
3. Hockey & G. Fletcher

ENGLAND
1. Burch
2. Mulliner
3. Maugham
4. Patel
5. Death
6. Hopgood

1. Death & Burch
2. Maugham & Hopgood
3. Mulliner & Patel

In the first round, NZ plays USA and Australia plays England.

Sunday
Apr092017

Soo #07: Trifecta for Morgan

Stephen Morgan with the Stark Cup after winning the AC Nationals Singles Title
Stephen Morgan and Danny Huneycutt overcame a game-one loss to win the doubles title. Morgan then made it a sweep by winning the singles 2-0. Morgan becomes the current holder of three USCA national titles.

PHOTO GALLERY

Daniel Pailas won the singles Plate. He won his final game with a delayed triple peel to clinch the award.

The doubles final featured a wild three-ball finish, +1. The singles final was more one-sided, Morgan tripling in game 1 and controlling most of game 2. Soo had a chance to get back into the match after Morgan didn't quite finish another triple, but Morgan made yet another long hit-in to put the match away, +24tp, +16.

SINGLES KNOCKOUT SCORES

Quarterfinals
Jeff Soo 26-14, 26-5 over Danny Huneycutt
Stuart Lawrence 26-14, 26-11 over Dan Pailas
Brian Cumming 26tp-0, 25-26, 26-10 over Chris Patmore
Stephen Morgan 26-13, 23-26, 26-15 over Simon Jenkins

Semifinals
Jeff Soo 26-8, 26-9 over Stuart Lawrence
Stephen Morgan 26tp-0, 26-19 over Brian Cumming

Final
Stephen Morgan 26tp-2, 26-10 over Jeff Soo

FULL EVENT RESULTS
croquetscores.com/2017/ac/us-national-championship/singles-ko

Saturday
Apr082017

Soo #06: Morgan vs Soo

Stuart Lawrence in doublesThe remaining doubles semi-final finally finished, Danny Huneycutt and Stephen Morgan winning game two, which had been spread over three days.

The singles plate has a three-way tie on +2 net wins, with two more players on +1, so there's still plenty to play for.

I made it to the singles final and will play Stephen Morgan. Morgan will be looking to become the simultaneous holder of the GC and AC national singles titles, while I am hoping to pick up my second AC singles title.

The doubles final has already started. My partner Stuart Lawrence and I won game 1 +18. Each side has a clip on 4b in game 2. Huneycutt and Morgan have the innings, but we are next to play when we restart.

CroquetScores.Com Results:
croquetscores.com/2017/ac/us-national-championship

Friday
Apr072017

Soo #05: AC Nationals Down to Four

Ian HarshmanIn the singles quarterfinals, Danny Huneycutt's uncharacteristically shaky form continued, which allowed me to win 2-0. Dan Pailas gave plenty of fight but likewise went down 2-0 to Stuart Lawrence. Brian Cumming v. Chris Patmore opened with a quick Cumming triple, but Patmore fought back with an extended 3-ball ending and leveled the match. The third game was more error-prone, Cumming winning. Simon Jenkins v. Stephen Morgan had some similarities, particularly in the error-prone game 3. Morgan survived, ending an impressive run by Jenkins, who had started the singles blocks 0-4.

The singles plate is underway as a flexible Swiss. Jim Bast and Wayne Davies are undefeated.

The pegged-down doubles match had to wait for the end of the Jenkins v. Morgan quarterfinal, leaving just over an hour to play. The match has once again been pegged down in game 2, and will resume first thing Friday.

Jeff Soo vs Stuart Lawrence
Brian Cumming vs Stephen Morgan

2017 USCA AC Nationals Singles Knockout:
croquetscores.com/2017/ac/us-national-championship/singles-ko 

Thursday
Apr062017

Soo #04: AC Nationals-Into The Knockout

Danny Huneycutt jokes with his opponentWhen Simon Jenkins beat Ian Harshman in the final round of the block, he made three people very happy: himself, Mike Taylor, and Sherif Abdelwahab, all of whom were now in a playoff for 4th place in Block B. And he made two other people, well, sigh in resignation: Harshman, who would be the fourth player in that playoff, and the tournament manager.

And, five hours later, Jenkins was still smiling, having played his way into the main singles knockout. He and Taylor then began their doubles semi-final with Danny Huneycutt and Stephen Morgan. Huneycutt and Morgan won the first game, and the match has been pegged down in game 2.

Meanwhile, the other doubles semi-final was able to start much earlier. Stuart Lawrence and Jeff Soo beat Wayne Davies and Daniel Pailas in two games. Lawrence tripled to finish the first, adding to the day's relative flurry of peeling.

The knockout shapes up as follows:

Jeff Soo vs Danny Huneycutt
Daniel Pailas vs Stuart Lawrence
Brian Cumming vs Chris Patmore
Simon Jenkins vs Stephen Morgan

Full Results: croquetscores.com/2017/ac/us-national-championship

Wednesday
Apr052017

Soo #03: Tiebreakers Dead Ahead

Mike TaylorWhile there were some faster games today, there were still plenty of games going to time, including a 14-11 barn-burner in which Jenkins played Aunt Emma tactics to beat Pailas. Pailas has now beaten the top four seeds in his block but lost to two of the lower-ranked players; he can guarantee a spot in the knockout by winning his final game. A four-way tie for second place remains possible in this block. As does a four-way tie for fourth place. Which could also happen in the other block. The manager rather hopes that none of these scenarios transpires. But it does look highly likely that playoff games will be needed to determine the Elite Eight.

Some key matches for the final block games:

Huneycutt v. Lawrence: Lawrence is already in the KO; Huneycutt needs a win, or a loss from Bast.

Bast v. Osborn: An Osborn win and a Huneycutt loss creates at least a three-way tie for fourth in Block A

Patmore v. Morgan: Morgan is already in; Patmore assures himself a spot by winning

Cumming v. Taylor: Taylor desperately wants a win, although even with a loss he could still make a playoff

Jenkins v. Harshman: Jenkins still has an outside chance to make a playoff with a win; Harshman can guarantee at least a playoff spot with a win

Tuesday
Apr042017

Soo #02: Windy Start for USCA AC Singles

Dan Pailas in play at the National Croquet Center for the 2017 US AC Nationals
Four rounds of singles block play were scheduled for play at the USCA Association Croquet Nationals yesterday, but only three rounds were played. Despite the 3:15 time limits, many games have gone to time. Stronger wind today added to the challenge of fast lawns, solid hoops, and hoop hills. Stuart Lawrence had the day's only successful triple peel.

Every player has at least one loss. Block A has a six-way tie for first place on 2/3. Block B merely has a four-way tie for first. Net points will not be used as a tiebreaker, so there remains a strong possibility that extra tiebreak rounds will be required on Wednesday.

CroquetScores Results: USCA AC Nationals

Monday
Apr032017

Soo #01: 2017 AC Nationals Rolls Out 

Simon Jenkins on the finishing turn during doubles quarterfinals

The 2017 National Championships of Association Croquet are underway at the National Croquet Center. The doubles quarterfinals took up all of day 1, with one match needing the full 8-hour time limit and another match coming close. (The latter match must have had a long lunch break, because they were the last to finish.)

Top seeds Danny Huneycutt and Stephen Morgan advanced with comfortable wins, Morgan tripling in game 2. Stuart Lawrence and Jeff Soo (seeded #2) also advanced in straight games, though without style points. The other matches were upsets, with the last-minute pairing of Wayne Davies and Daniel Pailas surviving 10-9 in game 3 against Chris Patmore and Jim Bast and Mike Taylor and Simon Jenkins prevailing +3 in a game three nail-biter over Brian Cumming and Ian Harshman.

Friday
Feb032017

2017 MacRobertson Shield Statistical Preview: Part 2

In anticipation of the upcoming MacRobertson Shield Tier 1 World Team Championship between Australia, England, New Zealand and the United States this coming April, this is the second of a three-part statistical look at the team line-ups. This week we'll focus on a pair of charts on Tripling Percentage by Games Played and Wins and follow with two charts based on Dynamic Grade and World Rank. As a note, this week's charts do include Chris Shilling in place of Paul Skinley for team New Zealand as that line-up switch was announced this week. All statistics are sourced from croquetrecords.com.

Click to read more ...