Royal Pro cloth: what does it do to the averages?


Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on September 15, 2015

Bert van ManenNot a lot, actually. In 2014, a Grand Prix was held in Oosterhout, the Netherlands. It was played on van den Berg tables with Simonis rapide cloth. The 32 players in the main tournament – 16 seeded, 16 qualifiers – played a combined average of 1.134. A year later, that same room again hosted a GP, on the same tables, but now they were fitted with Royal Pro 4 cloth. The 32 players averaged 1.135…

Comparing Grand Prix tournaments is not an exact science. Other than the cloth, many more factors are involved, some that can’t be measured. Quality of refereeing, audience participation, lighting, humidity and temperature, craftsmanship of the table mechanic, the age of the rubbers. Add your personal favorite, the list goes on and on.

The most obvious question is: who were the players? We are in luck here, because the fields in these six GP’s (see chart) are very close to identical in strength. The stronger two-thirds of the field is in all the tournaments, and for the remaining spots: it’s 0.9 – 1.0 player X or it’s 0.9 – 1.0 player Y. You’ll find the guys with the high averages – Jaspers, Burgman, de Bruijn, van Beers,van Erp, Hofman, Christiani – in every main draw.

I saw and took an opportunity to get closer to an answer to this question: “Can Royal Pro deliver the same averages as Simonis?”, by taking inventory of what happened in Holland in 2014 and 2015, under very comparable circumstances. I have  a good impression and a provisional opinion now, but I will let you make up your own mind.

– FYI, Dutch Grand Prix’s are played with anywhere from 85 to 120 players. That field is reduced to 8 groups of 4, the top two in every group seeded. Matches in the main tournament are to 40 pts, equal innings. From the last 16, the format is knock-out.

– Oosterhout 2014 and Oosterhout 2015 appear to offer the best grounds for comparison. Simonis and Royal Pro are identical for the main draw, Simonis does a bit better for the last 16.

-Vlaardingen 2015 on the other hand, makes a case for Royal Pro, with the second best average for the final 16, and the best average (by far) for the last 32.The 1.371 for the last 16 in Vlaardingen, when compared to the four “Simonis” tournaments at a combined 1.277, is about a 1.44 standard deviation up. That is just enough to be significant, not enough to prove anything.

– Were there any individual performances so out of the ordinary that they might have distorted the statistics? No. You sometimes see a recreational player make 7 pts in 57 innings, (or 20 in 15) but for that reason I’ve left out the results of the pre-pre-pre and following qualification rounds. Jaspers played above even his own high level on the final two days of Vlaardingen (40 in 16, 40 in 11, 40 in14), but he had every opportunity of doing the same in the other venues. So his results should not be considered an anomaly.

– Is this an adequate sample size? Not quite. Even with almost 40.000 points made, the sample is on the small side. The upcoming Grand Prix in Capelle (also played there in 2014) will add interesting information. Also, I will keep a close eye on the results of the league matches in the rooms that have Royal Pro cloth.

– The results of the pre-pre-pre and following qualifications in Oosterhout 2015 and Vlaardingen 2015 suggest that players with lower averages benefit from the higher speed of the Royal Pro cloth, more so than the top players. To me, that makes sense. If you are 0.5 or 0.6, you may struggle on a slower table. Players with a 1.2 average and up usually have plenty of power.

-Simonis scores a 1.100 in these  Grand Prix’s, Royal Pro scores 1.181. What does that mean? Again, not a lot. The margins are small and new tournaments could show different results. But you’d have to be very biased to look at these numbers and deny that Royal Pro does at least as well as Simonis, at half the price.  l

Last 6 Grand Prix’s in the Netherlands
Capelle 2014 pts innings average
tables: Gabriels, cloth: Simonis
last 32 4230 3828 1.105
last 16 1016 820 1.239
Oosterhout 2014
tables: van den Berg, cloth: Simonis
last 32 4206 3706 1.134
last 16 1018 730 1.394
Rosmalen 2014
tables: Wilhelmina, cloth: Simonis
last 32 4075 3874 1.051
last 16 972 814 1.194
Vlaardingen 2015
tables: Wilhelmina, cloth: Royal Pro 3
last 32 4304 3500 1.229
last 16 968 706 1.371
Rosmalen 2015
tables: Wilhelmina, cloth: Simonis
last 32 4171 3754 1.111
last 16 1045 808 1.293
Oosterhout 2015
tables: van den Berg, cloth: Royal Pro 3
last 32 4252 3744 1.135
last 16 1013 774 1.308
Overall average on Simonis: 16.682 / 15162 = 1.100
Overall average on Royal Pro 3: 8556 / 7244 = 1.181