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Entries in Matthew Essick (18)

Wednesday
Apr262017

Soo 10: England Levels with USA

USA's top pairing of David Maloof & Ben Rothman extended USA's lead over England to 6-4, taking full advantage of errors by Jamie Burch & James Death (ENG) to win +2tp (Maloof), +10. Matthew Essick & Danny Huneycutt (USA) had chances against Samir Patel & Stephen Mulliner (ENG), but the English pair won with a pair of triples (one each), +6tp, +24tp.

Greg Fletcher rushes to hoop 1 to start his match-winning turnStuart Lawrence & Jeff Soo (USA) advanced to peg and penult in game 1 against James Hopgood & David Maugham (ENG), but a botched leave led to an excellent Maugham pickup and finish, +4tp. The Americans equalized after yet another failed TPO, this time with all three peels done. Hopgood managed a reasonable contact leave, and Lawrence went out of bounds trying for a rush on partner. Maugham cornered, and Lawrence parlayed some excellent long rushes into a finish, +14. There were few clean breaks and no peels in the decider, England winning +9 to claim a winning day and level the test match at 6-all.

In the NZ vs. AUS singles, Aiken Hakes (NZ) dispatched Robert Fletcher (AUS) with a pair of +26tp wins. There was sideline chatter about whether or not Hakes's hand was resting on the ground during a sweep shot, but the shot was ruled clean and the referee's ruling was of course not subject to appeal. Malcolm Fletcher posted a win for Australia soon after, beating Joe Hogan (NZ) +17, +17tp. Australian captain Ian Dumergue extended his team's lead, beating NZ captain Jenny Clarke +17tp, +17tp. Stephen Forster (AUS) took game 1 from Chris Shilling (NZ), +5. Shilling equalized, +17tp, but Forster won the decider +19.

The late-starting matches were split, NZ #1 Paddy Chapman beating AUS #2 Simon Hockey +17tp, +14tp, and Greg Fletcher (AUS) beating Harps Tahurangi (NZ), +26, +10tp. Another winning day for Australia gives them an 8-4 test match lead, leaving NZ a very tough hill to climb.

Tuesday
Apr252017

Soo 09: US Holds 5-4 Lead After Singles

Yes, he hit it. Matthew Essick (USA) pegs out to cap a wild finish to his match with James Hopgood (ENG)

USA and England Split the Day's Singles

In the USA vs. ENG singles, England captain Samir Patel posted a quick +26tp, +26tp win over USA's Jeff Soo to tie the test match at 2-all. James Death (ENG) opened with a quick +22tp over Stuart Lawrence (USA). In game 2 Death broke down at 1-back; Lawrence missed and Death hit, giving him a chance for a sextuple peel. Three peels done, he missed the return roquet after 2-back, allowing Lawrence to take control for a +9tp win. James Hopgood (ENG) took the first game +15 against Matthew Essick (USA) after an exchange of errors; Essick was cleaner in game 2 and won +9tp. Meanwhile, Lawrence played well to reach peg and 4-back, but Death hit and contrived an elegant triple peel to take the match, +5tp in the third. This put England up by one.

ROUND TWO PHOTO GALLERY

Jamie Burch (ENG) ignored expert opinion and TPO'd David Maloof (USA) in game 1. Maloof shot well but never quite pulled together a three-ball break, Burch winning +9tpo. Maloof controlled game 2 for +25. Maloof had the first break in the decider; Burch hit the lift. He had a go at peeling Maloof's backward ball through hoop 1, but then missed his pioneer at hoop 5. But Maloof's shot missed, hit the hoop, and stayed on court. Burch made an NSL, Maloof missed, and Burch closed out the match +17tp, extending England's lead to 4-2.

In the first of the late-starting matches, Stephen Mulliner (ENG) won game 1 by +24tp against USA captain Danny Huneycutt. Huneycutt equalized in a scrappy game 2, +13. Ben Rothman (USA) won the opener against David Maugham (ENG) +17tp. Essick vs. Hopgood devolved into a remarkable exchange of errors and hit-ins, Essick finally putting the match away +7, bringing USA back to within one. Mulliner attempted a TPO in game 3, which quickly became a delayed peel attempt and finally a straight double. Two peels done, he managed a good enough contact leave to keep Huneycutt from scoring, and hit on the next turn. But a hampered shot after 1 gave control to Huneycutt, who finished +13 to tie the test match at 4-all. Maugham likewise attempted a TPO in game 2, breaking down with two peels done; Rothman finished +20 to give USA the end-of-day lead at 5-4.

Australia Has Another Winning Day

Robert & Malcolm Fletcher (AUS) each had a triple peel in a +26tp, +17tp win over Paddy Chapman & Aiken Hakes (NZ), extending Australia's lead to 3-1. Greg Fletcher's undefeated run came to an end today, he and Simon Hockey (AUS) losing to Joe Hogan and Chris Shilling (NZ), +26tp, +17, Shilling doing the triple in game 1. Jenny Clarke & Harps Tahurangi (NZ) won a protracted game 1 against Ian Dumergue & Stephen Forster (AUS), +4. Nearly nine hours into the match, the Aussie pair leveled with an even closer game 2, +2. A little before 7PM, Dumergue pegged out to give Australia another 2-1 day for a 4-2 test match lead.

Monday
Apr242017

Soo 08: USA Up 2-1 on England

Repeating the result from Day 1, the first day of the second round of test matches ends with Australia and USA leading their opponents 2-1.

18-year-old Matthew Essick debuted for USA today. He needed a few turns to settle in, but had an OSL in game 1 and an NSL in game 2; partner Danny Huneycutt tripled both times as opponents James Hopgood & David Maugham (ENG) never took croquet. Huneycutt's return to form is welcome news for Team USA.

Stuart Lawrence & Jeff Soo (USA) had several changes of innings with Jamie Burch & James Death (ENG), ending when Burch hit a 30-yarder and tripled to finish. In game 2 Death went round third turn off the opponents' Duffer tice, and Burch finished fifth turn to level the test match 1-all.

Malcolm Fletcher starts his match-winning triple peel

David Maloof & Ben Rothman (USA) took game 1 from Samir Patel & Stephen Mulliner (ENG) +17. Patel's triple-peel attempt in game 2 ended with four balls around rover. Maloof went round and Patel missed, but then Rothman's triple attempt came undone at 3-back. Patel hit in, but while approaching the two balls at 3-back he inadvertently roqueted Mulliner's ball. A nifty bombard dislodged Rothman's ball from the hoop, and Patel finished +6. Rothman had the first break in the decider. Maloof needed a couple of turns to get going; he went round with no peels and left a reversed B spread; that was enough as Patel missed the 11-yarder and Rothman finished to put USA up 2-1 for the test match.

Stephen Forster & Ian Dumergue (AUS) won game 1 by +3 against NZ's top pairing Paddy Chapman & Aiken Hakes, after Hakes's escape ball got in the way at rover. The Kiwis leveled the match +26, Chapman taking two turns to finish, then punished a first-break error in game 3 to win the match with a Hakes triple.

Simon Hockey & Greg Fletcher (AUS) went game up against Jenny Clarke & Harps Tahurangi (NZ), the latter making his MacRob debut today; Hockey tripled for +10tp. The Kiwis regrouped to win game 2 +17tp, Clarke tripling. Hockey put out a supershot ball to open game 3; Fletcher hit and went round, after a long hoop 1. Hockey managed to get a number of referees on the lawn at one or two points in his turn, but finished without incident, +26tp, to level the test match at 1-all.

All players, officials, and visitors from NZ and AUS paused to observe ANZAC Day at 1:00 local time, joining with their compatriots at home for the traditional Dawn Service.

Robert & Malcolm Fletcher (AUS) won game 1 by +4 against Chris Shilling & Joe Hogan (NZ), both sides breaking down while attempting triples. In game 2 Shilling finished a straight triple to level the match. Shilling put out a supershot ball to start the decider; Hogan hit and got going but missed a five-yarder after hoop 2. Robert went round to an NSL, Hogan narrowly missed the short shot, and Malcolm finished to make it a winning day for the Aussies.

Sunday
Apr232017

Soo 07: Rest Day Coverage Plus Line-up Changes

The unusual outcome of a failed straight triple attempt on Day 4

Lawns and players alike will be given a rest today. Given the forecast high temperature of 95 (35C) this is a welcome break. Volunteers and officials will undoubtedly have some duties today, but perhaps also get something of a rest day.

After the excitement of two close test matches in round 1 all are looking ahead to the next round. Team orders have already been submitted to the Tournament Director, a day earlier than usual. Harps Tahurangi joins the NZ lineup at #6; Hakes, Hogan, Clarke, and Shilling each move up a position (Garrison, who has returned home, played at #2 last week). That means Hakes makes the jump to the top group and Clarke to the middle group for singles matchups. Shilling & Hogan will partner again in doubles; Clarke & Chapman have split up, Clarke partnering Tahurangi and Chapman partnering Hakes (thus keeping a MacRob veteran in each doubles pair).

The Australian team order is unchanged. England has swapped Maugham and Mulliner in the singles lineup, and rearranged the (arbitrary) order of their doubles pairings. USA adds Matthew Essick to the lineup at #5, replacing Morgan there and also in doubles.

Players have of course been focused on their own matches and have had less opportunity to see their next-round opposition in action. Peeling stats are a good indicator of overall quality of play. There are many ways to slice this data; here are the stats for each team on games won with a triple (or better) peel as a percentage of all games won. (This includes OTP games.)

AUS ... 89%
ENG ... 83%
USA ... 60%
NZL ... 54%

Obviously this statistic does not correlate 1:1 with test match wins, NZ having beaten USA. But it does suggest that NZ and USA have room for improvement.

Thursday
Apr202017

2017 MacRob Reader Q&A #01

With the 2017 MacRobertson Shield off and running, most readers should have noticed that we have Jeff Soo from Team USA and Paddy Chapman from Team New Zealand both doing player journals. In addition, we have another correspondent that will provide additional analysis at the end of each round.

For true fans, I hope you've noticed the live feed that runs each day on Lawn Four. It's a simple security camera concept (www.nest.com) and for a one-view, overhead look it does well if you have a good-sized computer monitor. The Macrobertson Shield site indicates Chrome is best for a browser, but Chrome actually generates an error for me, so I have been using ... wait for it .... Internet Explorer. I know right? Gasp.

Anyway, if you pop up the croquetscores.com commentary, that works pretty well. Really enjoyed watching Stephen Mulliner going for his Sextuple yesterday against Robert Fletcher (didn't work out and he lost 0-2).

QUESTION AND ANSWER

We have had a few reader questions in the comments and Jeff Soo took a moment to answer:

What was the nature of the appeal concerning the English team order?
Jamie Burch is their #1, despite being ranked below Maugham and Mulliner.

I notice that Matthew Essick is not on the USA team for this test. Is this the week he's off, or is he not on the team?
Matthew is a high school senior and can't miss that many days of school and still graduate, so he will only play the middle test (vs. England).

Why are they using the powder-coated hoops instead of the super hoops?
The club owns Rodoni hoops. They are excellent hoops, and it would be a significant expense and significant effort to import Superhoops. The Superhoops probably would be a bit more of a challenge, but that didn't seem worth the effort and expense. The main issue is the soil. To keep the grass alive in the desert summer they have to water every day.

STATISTICAL LOOK

I also wanted to add this bit of data on rankings and the line-ups posted by Phil Cordingley:

A quick bit of analysis following the announcement of the team orders last night. With apologies for format (won't let me use any useful HTML to make it look pretty), the table shows for each team the root mean square of the differences between players' relative ranking within their team according to their world ranking (WR), and their actual order as announced last night. The lower the number, the closer the announced order is to what the WR would suggest. By comparison, a team which put its worst player first and shuffled everybody else down one position would score 5.48. I draw no conclusions myself ;-)

Country S.D.
New Z. 4.36
Australia 3.16
England 2.83
USA 1.41

Tuesday
Jan242017

Morning Coffee: US Announces MacRob Roster?

There was certainly a bit of drama in the long wait for the US MacRobertson Shield roster line-up. I was sort of expecting a Livestream press conference with fireworks, cheerleaders and some AC/DC. Alas, the roster quietly appeared on the Americas forum on Croquet World Online. The report there names Jeff Soo, Ben Rothman, Danny Huneycutt, David Maloof, Matthew Essick

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul082016

2016 British Opens: Day Six

In the much-anticipated Bamford vs. Essick match, Essick hit only one of five long shots, and Bamford won with two sextuple peels. All eight seeds advanced to the quarterfinals, some needing to play two matches to get there. While the conditions are fairly easy, it is nonetheless impressive that 28 of 34 games today included a successful peeling turn of three or more peels, including three sextuples and three quads.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul062016

2016 British Opens: Day Five (Singles Draw)

Fifteen players qualified today for the main singles knockout, joining the seven who had qualified yesterday. Tomorrow’s knockout pairings have been posted on the CA Site. One of the more interesting match-ups is Reg Bamford (South Africa, resident in England) vs. Matthew Essick (USA).

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul042016

2016 British Opens: Day Two

Doubles was again the main order of business for the day. In the one remaining match from the round of 16, Death and Patel (England) advanced over Essick and Hurst (USA), Patel tripling in game 1 and finishing off the contact after an Essick TPO in game 2.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jul032016

2016 British Opens: Day One

Day One of the British Opens at the Cheltenham Croquet Club was a short day with a single round of the main doubles knockout. Most of the top-ranked teams had fairly easy matches, but a couple of matches were especially competitive. Jeff Dawson (England) and David Walters (Wales) bested Ben Rothman (USA) and Gavin Carter (Jersey) with two triples by Dawson.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul012016

2016 Solomon Trophy Player Report: Days 1-3

On Day Four, Great Britain leads the Solomon test 15-3. Team USA's Jeff Soo has the following player report from the first three days of play:

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr172016

2016 AC Worlds-Undefeated List

A look at the quest for the perfect block record at the 2016 AC World Croquet Championship:

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Sunday
Apr172016

2015 AC World Championship-Day 2 Early Check-in

Updated on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 12:55PM by Registered CommenterDylan

Updated on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 12:58PM by Registered CommenterDylan

Updated on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 01:04PM by Registered CommenterDylan

Updated on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 03:01PM by Registered CommenterDylan

Updated on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 03:13PM by Registered CommenterDylan

Updated on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 03:15PM by Registered CommenterDylan

As we progress through Day Two of the AC World Championships being held in West Palm Beach, Florida, it's a good time to provide a few resources. First Chris Clarke has posted the full event schedule and format at:

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr172016

2016 AC World Championship-Day One Update

With the action underway for day two of the WCF Association World Championship in West Palm Beach, Florida, here's a quick look at how the eight blocks stacked up on day one with some early results already starting to factor in:

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Thursday
Apr142016

Young Players Ready For ACWC Exhibition

Younger players are setting a new tone for elite level Association Croquet with a special exhibition game open to visitors and press at noon on Friday, April 15, 2016, at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.  

Some, like 17-year-old football player Matthew Essick from North Carolina, grew up in croquet families.   Others, including the two teenagers from New Zealand, learned croquet at secondary schools in a program sponsored and run by the country's national croquet organization. They are in West Palm Beach to compete at the WCF World Assocation Croquet Championship next week and will go up against a field of 80 players from 13 different countries.

Click to read more ...