In this next instalment, the benefits of shooting and taking the advantage are discussed.
Point or Shoot
The technique for winning a game can be summed up in simple terms as; always try to have more boules in your hand than the opposition at any given time.
One of the first pieces of advice I was given by a French playing partner was, “It can only count if it is on the terrain”. In my opinion a good triplet needs at least two players who can shoot reliably. If you can field three players who have a flexible range of interchangeable skills, you have an advantage…in my time playing I have rarely if ever met anyone who can only shoot but there are many who will say “I’m a pointer, I can’t really shoot.”
Shooting should not be the tactic of last resort when your pointer and milieur have played all their boules without success. A good shot is worth two potential points, one gained and one removed. Good pointing is a vitally important aspect of the game but it is not the only way to get your boules to a scoring position. Logic would suggest, therefore, that a new player should learn to shoot from the start.
Playing the advantage could be simply described as the art of having more boules in hand than your opponents. For example, if they win the toss you potentially have the last boule. Try to play to keep it that way.
The main aim is to acquire, augment and consolidate the advantage during the course of play. A common fault in casual games and sometimes competition is often the inexperienced pointers belief that it is their job to beat the opponents point boule and often use all their boules trying. The poor old shooter is then left to navigate around four of their own boules against five in hand by the opposition. A general but most certainly not a rigid rule is to point one and if it is second…shoot the ‘on’ boule.
Consider this scenario. They point first and, if you shoot accurately, they have nothing and you have one but, even if you play a winning poin they still have at least a second and a potential shot on for two. As a general guide , if the opposition point first and it is close in front, shoot it “Boule devant ,Boule d’argent”. If you leave it there and point past it, it will come back to bite you. You must work to avoid a situation where a good shot can gain the opposition more than one. Of course, there are times when to get two good boules in front you will deliberately point the first one short and play again.
There is a classic example worth watching on YouTube of two top class triples Madagascar V Thailand. The team from Thailand put a good first point in. It was shot out and instead of shooting back they pointed again, won back the game, and again it was shot out. Unbelievably this continued for the complete end , six points shot , 6 – 0 .
The next instalment is regarding practice.
Please remember to add the Mulled Wine Melee on 27th December to your diaries. Bring family, friends and any tasty Christmas food leftovers!