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Entries in Stephen Mulliner (48)

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.

Saturday
Apr222017

Soo 05: Historic Day for Australia

Stephen Forster plays the test-match-winning turn. A veteran of five consecutive MacRobertson Shields, the number on his uniform shows he is the 59th player to be selected to play in the MacRob for Australia

It was a great day for New Zealand, and a historic day for Australia.

The wheels fell off for Team USA today. In croquet the winning recipe is simple: hit in more often; break down less often. The Americans seemed to have forgotten that bit of wisdom today, and the predictable result was a clean sweep for the Kiwis, 2-0 in all three of the scheduled doubles matches, capped off with Hogan's finishing the pegged-down doubles match in a single turn. Having gone from 4-7 down to 8-7 up, they are now definite favorites to win the test.

Australia started the day with a 7-5 lead over England. The first two results were a split, Maugham (England) beating Dumergue (Australia) and Hockey (Australia) beating Mulliner (England), both matches 2-0. Patel, England's captain, did his part with a win over Malcolm Fletcher, +3qp, -26tp, +14tp, to narrow the gap to 7-8. In the last of the 8:30 matches, Greg Fletcher (Australia) took game 1 over Death, +17tp. Death leveled the match with a quick +26tp. Fletcher had all the early play in the decider, but after doing three peels and roqueting partner while running rover, he attempted a long pegout, hard, barely missing the peg and sending the croqueted ball off the lawn. Death made six hoops and laid for a sextuple, but when the straight quad finish wasn't going to work, opted to make a leave. Except he missed a long return roquet after 3-back. Fletcher finished, +9, to make it 9-7.

Burch (England) won the first game against Robert Fletcher, +25tp. But the world #1 player controlled the rest of the match, +26tp in games 2 and 3.

Forster (Australia) came undone with a straight triple attempt in game 1 against Hopgood (England), and Hopgood punished the error +5tp. Forster leveled the match +17tp, and after an exchange of errors in the decider, played a well-controlled delayed triple peel to win game, match, and test match.

This is the first time Australia has beaten England in a test match since 1982. That was a heartbreak year for Australia, the closest they have come to winning the Shield since their last victory in 1935. With today's convincing win, and on current form, the Aussies are clear favorites to win the Shield. Of course matches aren't won on paper, and there are still many possible storylines to this series. Will today be chapter 1 in a glorious story for Australia, or an interesting footnote? Stay tuned.

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
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.

Thursday
Mar022017

Bromley #08: GC Worlds Final Eight

The Final Eight have been decided! After two rounds of Knock Out play, the following players have reached the quarterfinals - John Christie (NZ), Ahmed Nasr (EG), Peter Landrebe (AUS), Felix Webby (NZ), Hamy Erian (EG), Mohamad Karem (EG), Reg Bamford (SAF), and Jenny Clarke (NZ).

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb142017

Morning Coffee: European Masters

As posted on the Nottingham List, the schedule for the 2017 European Masters Series is starting to come together. The season long tournament series awards points for performance in both AC and Golf Croquet tournaments in Europe. More information can be found on the European Masters website. Here is the schedule to date:

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Friday
Dec302016

2016 Best of Croquet Network

As 2016 winds down, it's always a great time to look at the most popular articles and pages on the Croquet Network site. The trends always present an interesting look back at the year in our wonderful sport and the popularity of specific pages or articles makes me appreciate the loyal audience that has been cultivated over a near-decade of work. The past year was particularly enjoyable because, we kicked off a small but targeted effort to invest in and produce more original content. It's nice to see some of those pieces in the top 10 for 2016. 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep132016

2016 USCA Croquet News Volume 2, Web Edition

The 2016 Volume 2 issue of the USCA's Croquet News magazine delivered to the mailhouse last week and should be arriving in member's mailboxes this month. The web edition PDF is also now available to USCA members on the magazine page of the USCA website (log in required).

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul082016

2016 British Opens: Day Seven

The main event of the day was the singles quarterfinals, played as best-of-fives. Paddy Chapman showed impressive focus and control and was nearly error-free in dispatching the ever-entertaining James Death 3-1. Samir Patel was nearly as impressive in a 3-1 win over top seed Reg Bamford.

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.

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Saturday
Jul022016

2016 Solomon Final: GB 17, USA 4

MANCHESTER, UK -- Great Britain retained the Solomon Trophy with a 17-4 victory yesterday at the Bowdon Croquet Club.

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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:

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Sunday
May292016

Great Britain Announces 2016 Solomon Team

The Croquet Association AC Selectors have chose the following players for the 2016 Solomon Trophy test to be played June 28 to July 1, 2016 at the Bowdon Croquet Club in Manchester, England.

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Sunday
Apr242016

AC Worlds: Mulliner 3, Maloof 2

Screenshot from the Livestream. Note that 66 viewers were still tuned in. (L to R) USCA President Johnny Mitchell, Stephen Mulliner and David Openshaw

THE COMEBACK KID

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA -- In a final that had everything, England's Stephen Mulliner repeated his Saturday performance and once again came back from an 0-2 deficit to American David Maloof to claim his first WCF World Association Croquet title. The scoreline went down as 22-26, 9-26, 26-21, 26-19, 26tp-0 for Mulliner in an 11.5 hour epic that stretched out from the morning start to an under the lights finish at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The entire final was broadcast via Livestream by Sherif Abdelwahab. Simon Jenkins brought audio commentary to the live feed in the afternoon and did what must have been six or seven hours of stellar solo commentary (minus a brief break provided by Reg Bamford). The live feed carried through to the awards and in what was unprecedented step forward for the sport. At it's peak, the Livestream broadcast had 144 viewers, while the text commentary also remained strong with 121 followers at peak. Add to that 200 spectators at the venue.

Other winners on day included Ian Lines for the Plate, James Death for the Bowl and Stephen Forster for the Shield.

FULL CROQUETSCORES.COM KNOCKOUT BRACKET: croquetscores.com/2016/ac/wcf-world-championship/main-ko

WCF EVENT REPORT: www.worldcroquet.org.uk/index.php/latest-news/195-stephen-mulliner-is-the-new-ac-world-champion

TEXT COMMENTARY: croquetscores.com/2016/ac/wcf-world-championship/commentaries/7649

Sunday
Apr242016

AC Worlds-Maloof versus Mulliner

Photo by Jeff Soo -- " Stephen Mulliner, England’s colors on his jersey and flying in the background, pegs out to win his semi-final match against top seed and four-time champion Reg Bamford."

LIVESTREAM OF THE FINAL:

livestream.com/accounts/18489438/events/5205737 

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA -- It was a stunning day of action at the 2016 WCF World Croquet Championship yesterday at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. American David Maloof continued his drive to the final with a 3-1 win over David Maugham (ENG). Maugham got the first game with triple, but Maloof took over from there and once the momentum swung it seemed all go his way. He joins Ben Rothman as the only US player to reach the AC World Final.

In the other semifinal, the script seemed to be going according to plan as Reg Bamford (ZAF) jumped out 2-0 and offered up a bit of shock and awe with a sextuple in game one. Stephen Mulliner then took game three with a 26tp-6 score. Ho-hum, right? Even the guys on ESPN probably know that Bamford isn't going to be denied with just one win to and three opportunities. But then, Mulliner followed with is own sextuple in game four and all of the sudden we're in game five and the murmors started to roll throughout the NCC.

Once the action in game five started and Mulliner was in, the historic comeback seemed inevitable. Sherif Abdelwahab kicked on the Livestream and personally, I was able to pop that view up onto my living room 37" HD TV in the living room and watch croquet history from Kansas City. Mulliner did finish 26tp-0 in that last game and advanced 3-2 on what turned out to be a thrilling day of croquet action.

SCORELINES:
Maloof defeats Maugham: 13-26tp, 26tp-1, 26tp-22, 26tp-1
Mulliner defeats Bamford: 0-26sxp, 13-26, 26tp-6, 26sxp-0, 26tp-0

TODAYS COMMENTARY:
croquetscores.com/2016/ac/wcf-world-championship/commentaries/7649 

Click to read more ...