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Dr Ian Plummer

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Technical
Third Turn 4-back Leaves

It is becoming more common for A-class players to hit-in on third turn, get a 3-ball break established and finish under control. Playing under Advanced Rules there is a lift conceded after running 1-back and a contact or lift after running 1-back and 4-back in the same turn.  A contact is rarely worth giving away especially in top-level play hence it is sensible to stop after running 3-back.

In fourth turn the opponent can shoot from either baulk, hence the situation is similar to the opponent having a lift after one of the standard advanced 4-back leaves (Old, New & Maugham Standard Leaves, Diagonal Spread).  Consequently any of those leaves with the colours permuted appropriately and with one ball omitted is reasonable.  In the fourth turn however the opponent is obliged to play their second ball and hence you can join up with their first ball. 

Given this novelty, which leaves give the best changes of starting a triple in fifth turn?

Simple modifcations to the standard 4-back leaves are left as an exercise for the student. Here some less common options are presented.

Three in a Row

Third Turn Advanced Leave

Figure 1 Third turn advanced leave - three in a row

Figure 1 gives one popular leave developed by Robert Fulford around 1990.

The aim is to maximise the length of the opponent’s shot and avoid doubles as usual.   The typical responses would be a shot from A-baulk missing into Corner II or the ‘short shot’ from the end of B-baulk at one of the balls.

Assume the Opponent Misses into Corner II

The balls are arranged so that the peelee (P) is rushed to hoop 1 and subsequently sent to hoop 3 once hoop 1 is run. This puts the peelee where it needs to be with no fancy shuffling.

Hence in fifth turn: the striker rushes the opponent’s ball past the peelee, stops it up to hoop 2 (optionally a little beyond it) whilst getting a rush on the peelee to hoop 1.  After hoop 1 the striker rushes the peelee to a position from where the peelee can be sent to hoop 3 and the striker can hit the opponent’s ball in Corner II.  The opponent’s ball is sent to join the peelee at hoop 3 and the striker’s ball  approaches the pioneer at hoop 2. There is now a standard laid triple.

If things do not run perfectly the opponent’s ball can be picked up after hoop 2, e.g. by running the hoop to the boundary and taking the 6-yarder into the corner.

Assume the Opponent takes the Short Shot and Misses

This is a trivial pick-up of the break, e.g. turn around and pick the missed ball, stop it towards the peg as a pivot and do the same exercise as above to stop a ball to hoop 2 and rush the peelee to hoop 1.

For the leave some players put the three balls in a straight line, others prefer a dog-leg.

The Disadvantanges

This leave gives the same easy pick-up for the opponent of a triple on you if they hit in. Many of the standard advanced leaves make starting a break more difficult for the opponent should they hit.

The Defensive Spread

Third turn diagonal spread

Figure 2 Third turn diagonal spread

This uses the Diagonal Spread ball positions but ensures that there are two boundary balls (Figure 2).

Both the West and East boundary balls (yellow and red) are on the yard line. The leave can be made by gathering all the balls around 3-back before running it; rush partner (red) off the East boundary after 3-back, tidy up the opponent's ball position and then drive the striker's ball off the West boundary. Note there is no advantage in having the peg occluding the balls!

The Advantages

This leave makes difficult for the opponent to set up a triple on you should they hit, but also makes getting your triple started more difficult, likely being a delayed one. If the opponent is a very good shot this leave is an option.

The Disadvantanges

If the opponent shoots from corner 3 to 4 then it is difficult getting the 4th ball into play, either requiring a Hogan roll or a delayed triple.

Modified Patel Leave

Modified Patel Leave

Figure 3 Third turn Modified Patel Leave

This is a risky leave since the hiding of the peelee behind hoop 1 is difficult and gives a large target if the ball is slightly misplaced. Additionally in making the leave, an accurate rush to 3-back is needed after making 2-back.

The options available to the opponent are to take a shortish shot from A-baulk at red and blue, or to shoot at them from corner 3. If the opponent hits they have a simple triple.

The Disadvantanges

If the opponent shoots from corner 3 to 4 then it is difficult getting the 4th ball into play, either requiring a Hogan roll or a delayed triple.

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Updated 28.i.16
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