In this module you will learn the main types of openings and how to react to them.
Remember that in the opening the first four balls may only be played from either of the two baulk lines, A baulk (on the southern boundary) and B baulk (on the northern boundary).
Aim of the opening
The aim of the opening is to obtain the initiative and control the game. Ideally, not just to get the first hoop but to get a break going.
The standard opening
Lets look at the standard opening to see how that might work.
1. Red plays to the East boundary opposite 4
2. Blue responds by playing to the West boundary somewhere between hoop 5 and the peg
3. Yellow can either shoot at Red
Or shoot at the tice
4. Finally Black shoots at Blue (where ever it is)
Why do we play this way?
In theory, the 5th turn is for the first player to rush one of his balls to the north boundary, take off to the opponent's ball now in the 2nd corner (having missed the tice), play a thick take off to put that ball into to the court and going to the tice ball, rush to the first hoop and start a break! Watch the top players and see how often this happens - not too often!
Great, but what options do I have?
There are a few alternatives, most of which are aimed at getting the opponent's balls out into the court and allowing you to set up for a break in the next turn, whatever the opponent does (unless he roquets of course!);
Take off to the ball (Black) in the 2nd corner and then roll it into the middle of the court and going to the tice (Blue) ball; play the tice ball behind hoop 1 and return to your own ball leaving a good rush to either hoop 1 or the preferably the Black ball.
You could just shift the tice (Blue) ball to hoop 1 and then join up and leave a good rush to Black in the 2nd corner. If the opponent joins up in that corner you have a great opportunity for a break, if he doesn't join up, a break is going to be much harder than the first alternative.
Just roquet your own ball and set up a meaningful rush from where they are on the east boundary. This is a pretty negative option, if the opponent plays dry and goes into a corner or par-joins (4-8 yards apart) you will find it very hard to get a break going.
The Duffer's tice
This is named after Duff Matthews. The first ball is played close to a baulk line eg. about 3-6 yards off the end of either A or B baulk.
What is the response?
In this case, both players shoot at the first ball on the east boundary. The idea is that there will often be a quite large target and the opportunity to start a break if you hit. Assuming all the balls miss, the first play has a great opportunity in the 5th turn to make a break - unfortunately in many cases nothing comes of it because he does not know what to do!