The Triple Peel - Peeling Opportunities
The purpose of this article is to point out the opportunities when the peels may be done easily.
A peel is where you cause a ball, other than the one you are striking, to run its next hoop and thereby score a point. The mark of an 'A' class player is being able to complete the triple peel. To qualify the player must peel another ball through 4-back, penult, rover and peg it out, whilst taking their own ball through its hoops in one turn.
A 'straight' peel is when you peel a ball just before you run that hoop yourself. Hence in a straight triple peel you peel 4-back before running it yourself, then penult, then rover! When a straight peel is to be done be careful not to send a pioneer to the same hoop so that it blocks the approach of the peelee or the peel itself. Also remember your turn ends if your peelee flies through the hoop and leaves the lawn!
There is a discussion on peeling and one route by which a triple peel may be achieved elsewhere on this site ("Peeling"). The principal things to remember are your priorities; 1) make your next hoop, 2) keep the break going and, finally, 3) do fancy things (e.g. peeling). There is no merit in snatching a peel if your break fails. Another thing to remember is that there is no agenda for the triple peel - you do not have to peel 4-back when making hoop 3, penult when making hoop 6 ...
For the complete treatise on the triple peel and advanced tactics the reader is encouraged to read Keith Wylie: Expert Croquet Tactics (currently around £15 from the Croquet Association). Unless your handicap is below one or so much of what is there is esoteric, however the sections on openings and leaves should be recommended reading for all croquet players. In what follows it is assumed that a four-ball break is in progress. The detail is deliberately light as it is assumed that the people for whom this article will be useful will be able to follow the gist. The ball positions indicated are vague and are not intended to be more than an illustration - the precise positions are left as an exercise to the player! The player is also left to ensure that the correct colours of balls arrive at the right places!
Notation for diagrams: Red is the peelee, Yellow the striker's ball, and Blue the escape ball (E). Black is a pioneer when relevant. Hoops indicated by numerals or 1-b for 1-back etc., P for Penult and R for rover
4-back may be peeled readily at the following stages of the break
The aim here is to get the peelee and a pioneer to hoop 3. This can be done by croqueting the pivot to hoop 3 as you approach the pioneer at hoop 2. Alternatively the pivot can be rushed to hoop 3 after making hoop 2. Given two balls in the vicinity of hoop 3 you need to place the peelee in front of 4-back and have the other ball as the escape ball. Hoop 3 is run, then the peel made and the break continues by rushing the escape ball into a three-ball break position prior to making hoop 4.
The escape ball can be in two places;
1). Off to one side of the hoop about level with it (figure 1). The peel is achieved with a roll shot, the striker's ball obtaining a rush on the escape ball down the lawn to near the pioneer on hoop 4, or
The advantage in the latter is that 'pull' is not a factor in stop shots. In a roll shot however the forward ball has top spin which will help it run the hoop.
Penult can subsequently be peeled easily after hoop 6 or straight.
This needs precise positioning of the peelee in front of 4-back, generally not more than about 1 foot (30cm) away. The peelee may already be close to position if you failed a hoop 3 peel and continued with a three-ball break, similarly if you failed the peel prior to hoop 6.
The penult peel can be done going to 4-back or straight.
This is a straight peel. Note that if you are unlikely to complete a straight triple, it can be questionable whether it is worth the bother of just 'knocking off' the 4-back hoop. Given a good advanced leave you will finish next turn anyway.
After 2-back you should aim to get the peelee in front of 4-back. The reception ball from 3-back should be croqueted to the West of penult and the pivot rushed close to the peelee on 4-back. The penult pioneer should be to the side of penult to allow a clear passage for the rush of the peelee from 4-back to penult if the straight triple peel is attempted. If you place it plumb in front of penult your further peels will be frustrated.
The pivot is croqueted to the North East of 4-back as an escape ball whilst
obtaining a rush on the peelee to position it in front of 4-back. The intention
is that the peel will be achieved (figure 5), the hoop run by the striker's
ball then the escape ball rushed to corner three (figure 6). Care needs
to be taken not to roquet the peelee when running the hoop with the striker's
ball! With the escape ball rushed to corner three, it is then stopped to the
East side of rover whilst obtaining a rush on the peelee to penult.
The penult peel can be done 'straight' after this.
Using the peelee as the pioneer on hoop 2 (figure 7). On going to hoop 2 move the pivot close to hoop 6 as an escape ball. The escape ball can either be North or South of penult. Run hoop 2 with a rush on the peelee just North of penult. Peel with a stop shot obtaining a rush to North boundary on the escape ball. From the boundary the croquet stroke sends the escape ball to hoop 4 and the striker's ball to the pioneer on hoop 3.
Using the peelee as pivot (figure 8). Position the pivot (peelee) near
penult, place the pioneer (escape ball) for hoop 3 South West of hoop 3. After
running hoop 2 the reception ball is croqueted to hoop 4 and a rush obtained
on the peelee to peeling position in front of penult. The peel is made obtaining
a rush on the escape ball to hoop 3.
This an opportunistic and often risky peel, it can be safer to position the balls nicely for a peel after hoop 6. If, after running hoop 4, you gain a good rush on the reception ball it can be possible to croquet the reception ball to hoop 6 and get a rush on the peelee to penult peeling position. The peel is achieved with a roll shot going to the pioneer on hoop 5.
The peel can also be made similarly to figure 8 where the escape ball is the pioneer on 1-back.
These are opportunistic peels which normally follow a failed hoop 6 peel attempt. As an example, after 1-back the reception ball is croqueted to 3-back and a rush obtained on the peelee to penult peeling position. The peel is attempted with a huge roll shot going down to the pioneer on 2-back. The escape ball is the pioneer on 2-back! Similarly a good rush North after 2-back will allow a pioneer to be croqueted to 4-back (see figure 10 for the belt-and-braces position for this pioneer), and a rush on the peelee to peeling position obtained. The peel is attempted with a huge roll shot going down to the pioneer on 3-back.
If the peel is achieved before making 2-back there is an opportunity to do an early rover peel going to 3-back. There seems little especial benefit in doing the peel going to 3-back since there is no opportunity to do the rover peel other than straight. The balls may be better moved around to do the penult peel on going to 4-back.
This is for the straight peel. Depending on the position of the balls the peel can be done pre- or post-roqueting the pioneer on the hoop. If the peel is done after roqueting the pioneer the pioneer is placed as an escape ball level with the hoop out to one side. The peel is made and the hoop run carefully so that the peelee is not roqueted and the escape ball roqueted. Subsequently a rush is obtained on the peelee to rover. If the peel is done before the pioneer is roqueted is the opportunity of cannoning the successfully peeled ball away from the centre line of the hoop with the pioneer whilst obtaining hoop-running position for the striker's ball.
Rover may be peeled readily at the following stages of the break
This is dealt with in detail in the accompanying article "Peeling".
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