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Dr Ian Plummer

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Beginners' Coaching Notes 4

1 The End Game
  1.1 Use Stop Shots to Peg Out
  1.2 Avoid Making Rover Off Partner Ball
2 Peeling
3 Practice Games

1 The End Game

This term refers to the strategy involved when balls are about to peg out. It can happen that you only manage to peg out one of your balls in a turn leaving the other on its own with possibly many hoops to make. Alternatively your opponent may deliberately peg out one of your balls to increase their chances of winning.

A ball which has been through the last hoop is called a rover ball. You can only cause a rover ball to peg out by either striking it directly against the peg or by causing it to hit the peg through the action of another rover ball. In a game played without bisques you can peg out your own ball irrespective of whether your partner ball is a rover or not. In a handicap game however you can only peg out your own ball if another ball has been pegged out (can have been done by an opponent) or your partner ball is also a rover (Law 38). This rule was put into handicap play to stop good players taking one of their balls around and pegging it out leaving the weaker player with only three balls on the lawn, forcing them to play a three-ball break.

1.1 Use Stop Shots to Peg Out

If you are trying to get the front ball in a croquet stroke to hit the peg you should ideally use a straight stop shot. In this type of shot the front ball travels in the true, intended direction. In roll shots however there is a deviation to the intended paths of the balls due to an effect called 'pull'. This is described in 'Peeling' below. You should be able to stop shot a ball on to the peg from 8-10 foot away.

1.2 Avoid Making Rover Off Partner Ball

If you are trying to complete a break and peg out both of your balls in that turn it is advantageous to leave your partner (rover) ball near the peg and then use an enemy ball to make rover. The enemy ball is roqueted after running rover and then a take-off to near your partner ball allow you to roquet it and peg out the balls.

If you are forced to make rover off your partner ball you have to get a good rush back to the peg after running rover to be certain of pegging out.

This situation can be assisted if you are playing a four-ball break through the penultimate hoop. Normally in a four-ball break you cast the old reception ball to the next-but-one hoop. After penultimate there is no next-but-one hoop, so it can usefully be sent a little way past the rover hoop, whilst you go to pivot, to act as a second reception ball behind rover. When you run rover you hit this ball and then have a short take-off to get a rush on your partner to the peg.

Incidentally if you use a rover ball to rush another rover ball to the peg and that ball hits the peg, your turn finishes. The ball is pegged out and you have nothing to take croquet from.

2 Peeling

It is possible, whilst making a break, to use roquets or croquet strokes to push another ball through its next hoop whilst the striker's ball goes elsewhere. This is known as a peel. The ball which is peeled scores that hoop, for whichever side the ball belongs to and its clip is moved to its next hoop.

Peeling requires accurate aligning of the balls in the croquet stroke. The croqueted ball will travel along the line of the centres of the balls involved in the croquet stroke if a stop shot is played. If however a wide split roll is tried it will be found that both ball deviate from their intended trajectories and both curve in slightly towards the aiming line. This is called pull.

Pull varies with conditions; on slow, heavy or wet lawns it is most noticeable. It is also most marked when the angle of the roll shot is about 45 degrees.

Demonstration: Set up a stop shot peel from 4-foot in front of a hoop. Run it. Using the identical ball positions ask the players to indicate which upright they would like you to make the front ball hit. Play a 45 degree roll shot to the side they indicated.

Practice: Let each person do a couple of peels and convince themselves of the existence of pull.

Peeling balls using rushes (rush peels) are rare since they are extremely difficult unless the ball to be peeled (the peelee) is in the jaws of a hoop. When a croquet stroke is used to peel at a hoop other than the one the striker wants then an escape ball is needed. After the peel the striker can then rush the escape ball to somewhere useful to maintain a break.

3 Practice Games

Complete the session by arranging full bisque practice games between the players.

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Updated 28.i.16
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