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Dr Ian Plummer

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Technical
Advanced Pegged Out Tactics

Scenario 1 - Discussion

Scenario 1

Clips: blUe on 3, blacK peg, Red rover, Yellow box.

UK are guarding H3/C3 with a rush for U to H3. R is just South of H1. What should R do?

NC: I shoot R at UK.  I am assuming that the 5-20 ranked player could finish the game from that position with a two ball break.  My chance of hitting and finishing higher than not shooting and letting the good player make a break. 

SJ: Shoot at U.

SP: Hide. Probably in C1, but C2 might also be playable, depending mainly on how good the rush to hoop 3 is. 

SM: I think I would lay-up and bide my time. The top 20 player may finish a 2-ball break from there, but is a near certainty to finish the 3-ball break I would give him if missing a 30-yarder. Probably on west boundary.

RB: If I have a good rush to 3 I should get a decent rush to within 2-3 yds of your ball, kicking that ball out a yard or two and rushing to 4. After 4 I can either rush to 5 or to West boundary. Either way the three ball break is fairly easy.  If I don't get a rush out of 4 I am not going to attempt a speculative 5, I will lay up in C4 so your "lurking" is not going to bother a good player.

The temptation in this situation is to always try and do something "positive" such as shoot, position or ‘lurk'. You have to accept that sometimes (often in fact) the best thing you can do is to not make your position worse and wait for a better time.

TM, DK: Waiting for lift shoot. Just out of C2.

RB: C2

SP: I'm intrigued by the number of people suggesting just out of C2.  How far out do you have in mind, given that you're getting there from south of hoop 1?  If you aim at 6" out of the corner and miss on the right, you end up in the corner, which is fine.  But if you miss on the left you could easily be a yard or more out - are you happy with that?

RB: Depends if you are going out of the corner on the North boundary or West boundary. If you aim just out on the North boundary you are less likely to be a yard out and are probably less useful anyway. Having said that, I'd go in the corner and not worry too much about a potential cannon (very unlikely after 4, not a lot of help after 3).

DK: "just S of hoop 1" might give a clear shot at the N boundary peg [in C2], which is what I had in mind, otherwise I agree with you - the shallow shot at the S corner peg is not a good idea.

JK: but putting myself in the position of the player ranked 5-20 playing UK, if R went to C2 I'd take my rush to 3, and start a break with the good backup plan of making 1 hoop and laying up in C4. If R went to corner I, I'd either improve my rush to 3, or (eventually) take the rush and quite possibly make 1 hoop and lay a wired rush to hoop 4. So C2 is probably better for R.

NP: Does it matter over-much if you're a yard out of the corner?  What's the worst that can happen?  Opponent gets a rush right into C2 (not trivial from H3 given tight hoops - my experience is that tight hoops in soft ground makes hoops fairly runnable but getting accurate rushes out of hoops difficult).  If successful then partner can be croqueted maybe 2-3 yards into the lawn - but probably more like 2 given the need to get a rush from C2 to H4.  Then opponent has to run a 2-ball break round hoops 4-6.  If he does that and rushes close to C2 then he has a chance to turn the break into a 3-ball breakafter 2-back - but if the ball was right in C2 he could have had the chance to do that anyway via a stop shot approach to 1-back.

I agree with RB that there probably isn't much danger of a cannon after H3 or H4 so maybe you should just shoot right into C2.  But lurking in the back of my mind is that if you are in C2 after partner makes H6 there is the possibility of a 1-b/2-b cannon, which is more dangerous.

RB: NP asked "Does it matter over-much if you're a yard out of the corner? "

Yes it does matter!!

If you are a yard out of the corner and opponent rushes in or close to the corner, he can stop you out 2-3 yards into the lawn. The difference that makes to a good player successfully digging out the break is much greater than you think. The chances of getting behind such a ball even if you don't get a perfect rush to it are MUCH higher than a ball in or a few inches out of the corner. That yard makes a big difference. It's why I would be IN the corner in this situation.

CC: responds:

Some people have suggested that UK may be likely to 2-ball out from hoop 3. 75% has been mentioned. I would put the likelihood at under 10%. As the single ball player, you actively want your opponent to be taking risky lines of play, particularly up the middle of the lawn. So, don't ever be worried about your opponent playing a 10-hoop 2-ball break to beat you. It does happen, but when you finish playing after 30 years, you'll be able to count those occasions on one hand.

The next thing I think about is "what do I need to win?" In this example, I only need to make rover and peg out, so I don't need a 3-ball break. If I was on hoop 3, I would need a break and this would be a good opportunity to get one. However, I don't, so I will never shoot in this scenario.

So, having decided not to shoot because my opponent is unlikely to finish and I have plenty of time to try and generate a chance to make a hoop and peg out, what should I do defensively?

With my opponent on hoop 3, I have a few areas where I may get a free shot

  1. When they try and make hoop 5
  2. After they make 1-b and give me a lift
  3. After they make 4-b and give me a lift
  4. When they make some random error.

With only 1 hoop to make, I want to try and ensure that I maximise the chance of a, b and d, so I want to try and maximise my defensiveness. If I was on 1-b or 2-b, I might consider lurking somewhere, but that substantially increases my opponent s chances of getting a 3-ball break. Remember, the 2-ball player should be thinking that they need a 3-ball break to win this game.

So, from a defensive standpoint, there are two obvious corners, C1 and C2. Most answers have opted for C2, but I have a preference for C1 – why? Firstly, the hoop that opponent is most likely to have a random error at is hoop 5. C1 will generate a shorter shot. Secondly, I believe that it is more difficult to pick up a 3-ball break if the ball is in C1 than C2. (the stop shot approach to 1-b from C2 is both fairly safe and not too difficult and the C2 cannon for 1-b/2-b is game winning). So C1 is my preference.

The final question is should I be in the corner or just out. Unless I am confident of getting 4" outside the corner, I'll probably just go into it. The C1 cannon isn't massively useful. There was some discussion about whether being a yard out of the corner was bad. Historically, both Kiwis and Aussies have tended to play well out of corners – this is bad. If you play 2 or 3 feet out of a corner, Robin Brown has already pointed out that your opponent can rush into the corner and stop a ball 3 yards in-lawn. However, equally/more importantly, they can rush 3 or 4 yards outside the corner and instead of having 3 feet to take-off behind your ball, they now have 5-6 feet, so less chance of an error and if they succeed, they've got their own ball 3-4 yards out of the corner. So, once again as a rule of thumb, in the corner is better than 2+ feet out.

Therefore, my line of play in scenario 1 would be to play to C1. In subsequent turns, I may play 3-4" North of the corner (I don't think there is a lot to choose between North and East).

DM: There is another one that needs to be considered:

  1. When they lay up for a rush peel through 1-b

You have to be in C3 if they do this (it's a really wasted opportunity if you're in C4), so you have to consider how you get there. It's obviously relatively easy from C2, but not so easy from C1 (there's a lot of furniture in the way, and you don't half look a donkey if you hit the peg and stay in the middle...). If you go to C1 and then the opponent makes 3 and is for 4 (or 5) and guarding C4 then going to C2 is less attractive, as they are much more likely to 2-ball through the middle hoops and have the stop-shot approach at 1-b for a break.

This makes C2 marginally more attractive for me, although as CC points out, it's grey enough that neither corner is definitely "wrong".

RF: Mostly agree with what CC says. 

In scenario 1 having played to C1 I like the fact that it is risky for the opponent to speculatively approach 4 on a two ball break putting partner to the west, where if you are in C2 there is no risk in doing this.

I'd consider abandoning C1 for C2 if opponent was particularly good at rushing style pick ups, the boundaries (around C1) were good and they had the extra vital quality in their armoury CC tried and failed to draw out an answer to talking about rushing to 4-b in scenario 3, patience and the ability to recognise that having rushed imperfectly to their hoop they can just roll back to the corner and leave a rush again and have another go next time. Otherwise I think pick ups trying to rush to C1 out of a hoop are relatively likely to end up with R gaining a free shot. 

I used to worry about hitting C3 from C1, but I think if you just play down the line you are 99.9% certain of missing the peg to the east and accept being a fair bit north of C3 it is fine. Go over there as soon as opponent has got off 3 and is guarding another area.

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Updated 28.i.16
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