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by Steve Jones - NZ Correspondent

New Zealand Coat of Arms

Making the supreme accomplishments of the best players come alive in the pages of a new book: "Peel Appeal"

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.
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 " 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 "majestic triple".

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....."

Ordering details:
- 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:: or fax 0064 4 5890722.

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