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2019 Midwest Area Schedule

07/27: KC Open Pro (9WS)
07/28: KC Open Gold (9WS)
08/16: US GC Classic
08/17: US GC Classic
08/17: Shield Championship-Tulsa (GC)
08/19: Shield Championship-Tulsa (GC)

02/01: 2020 MCA Annual General Meeting

BOLD = MCA Tournaments

« Kansas Challenge: Saturday, July 12 | Main | VPC: Oklahoma Open Wrap Up, Part 3 »

VPC: Oklahoma Open Wrap Up, Part 4

The MCA held a Virtual Press Conference (VPC) today with MCA President Dylan Goodwin as a follow-up to last Saturday’s Oklahoma Open. This is Part 4 of 4 of the Q&A which was geared more toward Goodwin's role as a player:

Now that we have your insight on the Oklahoma Open from your point of view as MCA president, tell us about the event from a player's perspective. We had touched on the "true croquet court" playing surface. How did the players fare in the nine-wicket game on the fast turf? What sort of adjustments did players make? Were there trade-offs?

So, this is a really interesting question. I've never really seen much of a standard opening strategy develop in 9W on long grass. Chernobyls are effective because you can make hoop 1 and 2 in one stroke to get two shots. I will say with the faster grass, red and yellow were opting for corner 1 a lot, but people were also rolling past wicket 2 quite bit after scoring #1. So that means both players had balls for two and coming out of corner 1 or 4 made a lot of sense. Blue was generally taking the south boundary toward corner four. So red and yellow definitely set up more often on the west boundary. I'd probably push more toward the north than I did after having some experience with it -- depending on the opponent.

In the game, it's pretty similar to USCA 6W. Rotation, deadness, setting a three-ball. But at Lee's Summit where the grass was pretty long, I played more side to side. In fact, I just conceded there that it would take two rotations to get set up at the other end (going north/south). 

Definitely at Tulsa, it was more of a vertical game. There's really no safe place on the court. If a player can rush out and make a wicket, they can generally get a good attack to most places on the court.

And going on a two-ball break isn't necessarily a bad idea. It happens on long grass as well for 9W, but it's even more effective on the fast court.

Some of strategies are echoed in the recap ( of the championship match. You won that match against Matt Baird after falling to him in group play earlier in the day. What adjustments did you make for the rematch? Was there a key moment or turning point?

Interesting fact: I said east boundary in that main article when I should have said west.

My theory has been that veteran players are just much better at outlasting the other guy for the first attack or rush to the wicket. And as I recall, I did take the first step in game one, got some deadness and then Matt managed the game well from there. I made a pretty daring, but successful attack to make a challenge near the end.

In the final, even though I thought I made it too easy for him. He did take the first attack. When he brokedown, it gave him a bit of deadness. Not totally crushing or anything like that. But then he seemed to be out of rhythm was struggling with stuffed hoops.

But he is a master of rotation and he kept me from making progress for quite some time, even though my own deadness situation wasn't really that bad. Eventually, I solved it and got a break and really by the time that game came around I was stroking the ball much better. My long roquet game hasn't quite come back yet, but breaks started feeling better. Anyway, I was very surprised when I rolled out of bounds after the seventh wicket on my second break. I felt pretty comfortable at that point and I thought I could get back to the other end and get a leave set up.

So, I didn't really take a different approach, I was just more comfortable and some of the game circumstances worked in my favor. And that is why we do a full season series. It's hard to base a championship on one day Through the MCA Series, we effectively now have five days of battles to see who comes out on top in the long run.

Like last year, there was no fluke for Paul Miller. He did it over several tournaments and capped it by winning the last one.

Greg Clouse, the runner-up in Lee's Summit, didn't make it to the event in Tulsa. How does his absence affect the dynamics of the Pro Division?

Well, it does put a damper on the Pro race. There is a lot of croquet left to play, but it's now a pretty big hill to climb. Just as damaging was Ron Millican and Greg Adams getting knocked out in round one of the playoff. Greg picked up two wins in the morning, but he got a tough draw with Art Parsells as the five seed.

We'll see how it plays out, but if the race doesn't tighten, then I think that will help elevate the championship in September. On the old backyard PBR Tour that we had in Kansas, it was all about just qualifying for that final event and seeing if you could make a run at and claim the win at what was considered the top event. It will take some time to build up that aura around the MCA Championship, but we are on the right track.

I also think it's too bad Greg Clouse and Jason Johnson missed the opportunity to visit the Tulsa club and play on the fast grass, but hopefully, they will be on hand when we go to Parkville on August 2.

I will also say not having Clouse on hand put a bit of pressure on me. I wanted the KC players to represent well against the Oklahoma players. Those kind of rivalries are also part of it and it's all in good fun.

One KC player who represented well is Gold Division champ and MCA Gold Division wickets leader Taylor Airrington. He won the Gold Division in Lee's Summit, too. At this rate, he is going to earn himself a nickname — Air Airrington, perhaps? What makes him successful?

Quite honestly, I don't know. He's one of a few players I haven't had much of a chance to watch. Having Ron and Deborah as your mentors certainly has to be a factor.

Besides Taylor's showing, did any other player's performances catch your attention in Tulsa?

Scott Spradling is a solid player that I had never seen before. Art Parsells played really well considering 

that he really doesn't prefer to play croquet all day. He's not quite as young as he looks. He came close to knocking out Baird in the semi-final. Diane Berg was making some tough hoops in practice on Friday and that impressed several of the veterans on hand. 

Interview conducted by MCA member Justin Marciniak.

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