Making the supreme accomplishments of the best players come alive in the pages of a new book: "Peel Appeal"
Having been fully occupied since January with completing the details of my
new book and sheparding it through the printing process, I now find myself
just as fully occupied in getting it known and distributed. So it should
come as no surprise that my third column in this space is about the book.
"Peel Appeal" looks at the triple peel as seen from my experiences over the
years, as well as the experiences of some of New Zealand's leading players.
The matches described are some of the most fascinating and exciting ever
played. An interesting and amusing anecdotal account of New Zealand and
world croquet over the past 15 years, the book also serves as a coaching
guide for both beginners and more expert players.
To begin with a quote from myself: "Poor old Jim Bast! If ever a player
deserved to win a match, it was Jim that sunny September afternoon at
Hurlingham! He did everything except finish , and I was as dead as a Moa -
twice! The occasion was block play in the 1991 World's - my first visit to
the hallowed turf of Hurlingham, England! We both needed to win the match to
qualify for the playoffs - it was Jim's last chance although I still had
another match to play. The match had see-sawed, with both of us playing well in
patches on a difficult lawn #4. Eventually we got all four clips on 4-back,
but then Jim took the upper hand and reached the peg with one ball and then
got going with the other. Then the drama really began!...".
The book begins by describing my own beginnings in Croquet and
the first triples I completed or watched other complete. The mechanics of
the triple peel are covered comparatively briefly but with enough explication
to give the reader the basics of the various options for orchestrating leaves and placing the balls
in the right positions each peel.
Famous (and not so famous) triples (and failed triples)
are discussed as well as TPO's, 3-ball triples, sextuples and even
octuples. There are lengthy sections on Test Match Croquet (both
MacRobertson Shield and Trans Tasman) and on who the best croquet
player might be (or might have been).
The book ends with a chapter on some aspects of the future of croquet.
Diagrams and photographs (many in colour) complete this fully indexed book, the first to be written by a New
Zealander since the 1940's.
Contributions from Ashley Heenan, Bob Jackson, John Prince, Paul
Skinley, Aaron Westerby and many other leading New Zealand players give this
book added interest, and the Foreword by Charles Jones, JP, contains some
classic stories of his own!
In the book, John Prince is quoted "...in partnership with Gordon Rowling, we
won the Doubles Championship [British Open Doubles, 1974, Hurlingham]. In
the third game of the final I well remember doing a triple starting on hoop 2
with one ball in corner 1. Maurice Reckitt writing in "Croquet" called it a
Hopefully this book contains something for everyone - this is
certainly the intention. Although I discuss at length matches played at
tournaments such as the MacRobertson Shield and the World Championships,
people not aspiring to these heights as players will be able to follow the
action with ease as the subject of peeling has been gently introduced in the
early chapters. I hope the book will be used to complement the coaching
manuals by giving an alternative view of playing techniques. In particular,
it chronicles ways of playing the game that cannot be found in the manuals
because the players concerned have used that all-important but indefinable
quality "inspiration" to
strut their stuff.
"....The ritual began again. Surely this time the answer would become plain
and the fate of both players satisfied. Yes, this time it must be. Never in
the history of this great competition has so much depended on such a small
moment, it seemed. The British players had stopped in their deliberations on
adjacent lawns and were breathing thinly, waiting for the moment. The Kiwis
had ceased their stirring too but were breathing not calmly but with a
panting that gave away their apparent nonchalance. The Americans' and
Australians' pace too had slowed as had the clinking of tea cups long since
discarded into their saucers. It was as if time was standing still in the
mini-world of croquet at Cheltenham. Burridge is swinging now, this is the
moment, the moment is upon us....."
Following in the tradition of great players before him, Steve Jones (#12 in
the current world rankings) has put between the pages of a new book the
anecdotes, the advice, and the personal experiences he most wants to share
with croquet players everywhere, much of it centered on the ultimate
refinement of advanced play - the peel.
- US$19.95 (+ postage & packing: US$9.30 (2 weeks); US$7.00 (4 weeks); US$5.40 (8 weeks).
- US$16.95 (+ p&p) if order received before publication date, 29 March 1997.
To order, send your remittance (check in $US will be OK) to:
- Steve Jones,
43 Pokohiwi Road,
Lower Hutt, New Zealand.
For prices in other currencies, E-Mail to::
S.Jones@irl.cri.nz or fax 0064 4 5890722.