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Dr Ian Plummer

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Technical
Super-Advanced Tactics - Second Break

Under Super Advanced rules, when the opponent has taken the first break around to 1-back, what should the player do if he hits the lift?

James Hopgood posed the question:

I guess there are a variety of other options than "just make 9" versus 1-back and the sextuple, if you are playing well, for example:

  1. Go to 4-back with two POPs and a defensive leave;

  2. Go to 1-back and then TPO with a peel on partner;

  3. Do a "NZ"-TPO with a couple of peels on partner, and possibly peg two off.

  4. Just do the TPO, bearing in mind that it is the last game of a best-of-five.

What are the odds are of each of these tactics for winning the game  in comparison with the sextuple, particularly for players who might have a fair completion rate on triple peels (e.g. 80% or higher) but a much lower completion rate on peeling turns with more than four peels?

Chris Clark responded:

Firstly, against most players, I don't think Reg Bamford should just be going to 1-back. I believe that there is lots of benefit to be gained by peeling them to hoop 2 and then going to 1-back with the cross-wired balls in the optimal positions at hoop 1.

However, if we assume that you are not going to 1-back, what else can you do? On a tricky lawn, there are lots of good defensive options and the immediate TPO becomes very strong, but let's assume trivial conditions.

Anything that leaves opponent a 13 yard shot isn't great in my opinion, so the standard defensive stuff is out.

If you are able, then peeling opponent to 3 and getting the 4-back ball in hoop 2, hoop 3 ball in NSL position at hoop 4 and laying up level with hoop 6 on the West boundary is pretty strong. This is my standard attempted response. To do this, you really need to peel 2 before 6 and ideally have the correct parity of the balls (partner at 6 for optimal control). This is a turn worth practicing. Where you choose to leave your rush at the end of the turn is personal preference. There are two options:

  1. Shortish rush at the ball at hoop 4

  2. Longish rush pointing about 6 yards East of Corner 2 (so there is no double from either baulk and you can rush to Corner 2)

The above is far from straightforward and Robert Fulford's suggestion of 1 peel and then putting the 4-back ball on the back of hoop 1 is an excellent fall-back position if the above doesn't work. I think Steve Comish said he made it about 19 times before anyone hit in with their backward ball against him. It was also the leave that Fulford used against me in the deciding game of our quarter final in the 2002 Worlds. I missed.

I'm not a great fan of the TPO against a strong opponent on an easy lawn, so I think that the two alternatives above offer you the best chance.

Samir Patel adds:

As a fan of the “ball on the back of hoop 1” option, a couple of observations.

  1. You need a lot of confidence in the ground around hoop 1. The exact position is important and any hills and/or rabbit-runs can be a disaster.

  2. You have a choice of whether to put the other ball (their hoop 2 ball) at hoop 2 or hoop 4.  At hoop 4 pretty much ensures a standard TP if they miss, but you need to keep an eye on the viability of their shot at partner from where the balls lie.  Putting a ball at hoop 2 can permit you to extend the long lift, but only at the expense of reducing the short lift.

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Updated 28.i.16
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