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Advanced Game Commentary - Aiton vs Maugham

Keith Aiton and David Maugham describe a game played during the Eastern Championships 2007. Seeing the experts play it often seems effortless, the following dialogue gives an insight into their thoughts in a game where the innings frequently changed. The jargon and notation are standard for game reporting - see bottom for clues.

Keith writes:

It might entertain some of you if I gave you the blow-by-blow account of my third game with Beastie (Maugham) at the Easterns. It was certainly fun to play, with plenty of ebbing and flowing, good play and crass errors, and probably also some tactical points.

By way of background I had already lost the first two games and out of my four attempted roquets not one had felt good (or come close to hitting).

In the third game Keith played U and K and went first


Keith Writes

Dave Responds


U supershot opening



Y placed peg high on E boundary



K misses Y from 4 yards W of III going 6 yards S (0 hits and 5 misses)



R misses double target from B-baulk going to IV



K snicks Y and goes to 4-back, nice turn, well controlled until trying to move the ball at the peg, Y, a couple of inches for the leave it jerked sideways out of a hole and sat on the peg but too far S so that I had to lay up on the E boundary further S than I would have liked in order to avoid giving a clear shot for Y at U and K.



R hit short shot at K from A baulk, failed hoop 1 leaving a shot for U at Y from 3 yards S of 2 to 3 yards N of 1



U misses Y (another corkingly bad swing! 0-6)



TPO of K by R - both balls pegged out - Y left on E boundary so that 4 blocks approach to 1

I left 3 balls on in the Southerns final, and Keith finished the turn after contact. I thought I'd try something different.


U approaches 1 sending Y 2 yards NW of 2, fails 3 yard slightly angled hoop with wild thrash ending up almost off the E boundary where it had just approached from!



Y goes to S boundary in front of 1

Keith plays the Openshaw lunch card. Half an hour later:


U misses Y (0-7)

I complete my lunch and let it digest for a bit. 20 minutes later:


Y approaches 1 sending U 3 yards S of 2, runs 1 hard to N boundary, misses U to S boundary 4 yards E of I

I couldn't decide how hard to hit it (gentle to keep it near 2, or hard to have a good swing), and didn't have a very good swing at it.


U misses Y (0-8)



Y rolls off 2 and takes 2-ball break to 2-back, does not attempt 3 yard straight hoop, and, mindful of the lift, goes to E boundary, maximum length position.



U takes lift from III, misses Y - much better shot, dead on until it jumped sideways at the last second, ended up in IV (0-9, but cause for hope!)

My problem with having 2 off is that although Keith is shooting poorly, he may remember how to shoot if he gets enough chances.


Y to W boundary 10 yards N of I



U to 3 yards E of 5, intending to "menace" Y but hit a bit too hard and gave opportunity for wired approach to 2-back



Y attempts position at 2-back wired from U but gets a hint of hill and leaves technically wired but perfectly hittable shot



U misses Y to W boundary (sigh, 0-10)



Y hits U, makes 2-back and 3-back, has to roll up to 4-back (I think), attempts hoop and sticks

Thrashed at it, rather than playing it smoothly.


U hits Y as hard as I dare rushing it to rough level with 5 and on the line of 3 and 4, make nice approach to 1 with 5 foot slightly angled hoop and Y 2 yards SE of 2, run 1 but miss (possibly hilled off) a medium weight8 yard "trickle" at Y just about reaching N boundary



Y hits U, sends U towards IV approaching 4-back, U just goes off S boundary and Y has 7 foot angled "position".

I did want U deep, to make shooting as unattractive as possible since it will miss to the west of 4-back. Not quite that deep, though (actually if it had pulled a bit more towards the corner, it would probably have stayed on).


U HITS!!! rushing Y straight to N boundary, attempts pass roll approach to 2, hopeless effort not getting pass nor position, take position wired from Y on the basis that Y won't risk shot from B baulk in case I turn round and pick up Y and can set up 2-ball break



Y takes lift from B baulk and attempts position at 4-back, gets angled position SW of the hoop.



U runs 2 and misses Y to E boundary 10 yards S of III (1-11)



Y misses U (shock, horror, can't believe my luck, here's a good chance!)

The other problem with having 2 off is that my shooting might deteriorate...


U approaches 3 with a thick take-off, runs 8 foot hoop far too smoothly and runs just past Y. Rolls down to 4 and splits U slightly W of the right line, it hills that way as well and U fails angled hoop from 4 feet



Not sure how much of U can be seen by Y but he seems disgusted to clip it, takes off to 4-back slightly too far and takes position

I could see all of it, and was going for rushing it to 4-back. Hitting it on the wrong side wasn't great, but at least I could take croquet...


U decided not to shoot this time and goes to W boundary 8 yards S of II - my thinking was to "guard" the W side of the lawn in view of the impending lift, believing Y won't go to the E side as that would be too close to 4



Y runs 4-back and hits U, fails to approach penult and retires to the now unguarded W boundary 9 yards S of II (U is now SE of rover)

I ran 4-back by 3 inches in order to have a reasonable chance of not missing south of U.


U takes lift from I, misses Y to just W of II (1-12)



Y hits U, fails to approach penult (goes screaming past it!) and takes position leaving open shot for U from S of rover

I'm having some psychological fun with the crater NW of penult.


U smacks Y to N boundary (hooray, 2-12), big roll to 4 is short - 4 yard hoop and Y 2 yards SE of 5 - run 4 smoothly to S boundary and hit return roquet to N of 5, make 5 with no rush, beautiful roll up to 6 and obtain rush to 1-back. Approach to 1-back is slightly overhit and when U runs the hoop the rush to 2-back needs cutting half ball on the right - make my worst swing of the day and cut it just off centre on the left so that Y goes off the W boundary about peg high. Approach to 2-back is overhit, U retires to N boundary 4 yards E of II



Y goes to N boundary 8 yards W of III



U attempts position at 2-back, short, about 4 yard position



Y attempts position at penult, too far, probably not runnable

Oh, it was runable...


U shoots at Y and misses going to 3 yards E of the middle of N boundary (2-13)



Y misses U

... but the little voice in my head said "What do you do after you've run this then eh? You can't take position at rover, because that gives him a ball at his hoop, and failing it gives him a rush..." I gave in and took the 10 yarder that I didn't really want to shoot at.


U rushes Y a little W in order to give clear sight of 2-back, intending to croquet Y to W of 3-back attempting position. Just can't hit these rolls hard enough, or straight enough, and have 5 yard angled position with Y 2 yards SE of 5. Fail pretty good (smooth) attempt at hoop and end up in position (lucky boy!)



Y goes back to penult, longish angled position NW of hoop



U runs 2-back, takes position at 3-back about 8 feet in front and slightly E of straight in front.



Y fails penult bouncing off to near 4-back (my eyes light up!)

Another thrash.


Briefly consider taking closer wired position at 3-back but decide to go for finishing, run hoop by 9 inches (bo**ocks!), retire to W boundary level with 6



Y goes to middle of N boundary



U goes to 6 yards SE of 4-back



Y moves a few inches nearer 4-back

Hopeful of an impasse...


U moves to five feet from 4-back in runable position, still E of the hoop

... or a 9 yarder.


Y misses U to E boundary leaving U an 8 yarder



Just give me one straight swing and we're home and hosed - U misses Y by nothing (oops, that's not good, 2-14)



Y rushes U well S of rover, takes off to penult and leaves Y in position



U misses Y (goes wrong side of penult! 2-15) ending up on N boundary



Y runs penult and takes position at rover

Wired, as well, I think.


U takes position at 4-back, 4 feet SSW of the hoop



Y runs rover, takes position at the peg

By 3 inches, <sigh>, another wristy effort. But fortunately good enough.


I have a hampered backswing for shooting at Y so I attempt and fail 4-back



Y pegs out



U, R, K, Y = Blue, Red, Black, and Yellow
N, S, E, W, SE, etc. = compass points applied to the lawn; hoops 1 & 4 lie South, 2 & 4 lie North
I, II, II, IV = corners 1, 2, 3, 4

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Updated 28.i.16
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