Day 3 Report: November 3, 2003
10:00 AM. Rain showers, play continues.
The middle day of the first test matches starts in the tail end of a tropical depression. About an inch and a half of rain fell last night, but so far only scattered showers have appeared this morning.
Fewer spectators are expected today than on the weekend. There has been good local press coverage of the event, and several groups who knew nothing about croquet came out to watch. On two occasions as I was chatting with such spectators, I was asked, “Can you tell me when we will see some matches?” This with a match in progress directly in front of them, and of course other matches all around.
10:40 AM. Why he’s #1 in the world.
World #1 Robert Fulford of Great Britain has won the first game against USA’s Jerry Stark after a triple peel on the opponent. Stark began a two-ball break in the end game, but failed 5. Fulford rushed the ball to the south boundary, a few yards east of the end of a-baulk. From here he split the croqueted ball to 2 while getting a perfect rush on his partner ball in corner I. From there the finish was trivial.
All matches except Burrow (GB) v. Louw (USA) have finished one game, all with triples.
11:30 AM. A strong start for Great Britain.
Mark Avery quickly finished off his match with Curtis Drake, winning 26tp, 26tp and not allowing Drake to take croquet in the match. Robert Fulford followed his impressive TPO win with a meticulous fifth-turn TP to beat Jerry Stark in straight games.
Most of the remaining matches are a bit more interactive.
1:00 PM. Americans struggle, Kiwis battle.
The day’s toll has become grim for the Americans, with five matches lost in straight games. Whether clean matches or scrappy ones, the Brits have always had the edge. The lone bright spot for Team USA is Kenster Rosenberry, now starting game 3 with Stephen Mulliner.
Wislang and Prince have beaten Fleming and Clarke to give the New Zealanders a good start to a day in which they must perform well to retain a realistic hope of winning the test.
1:30 PM. Kiwis still in it.
The Forster/Meatheringham v. Bulloch/Garrison match was all but over, but a missed short roquet has led to a game 2 win for NZ. Their third game is about to start. Meanwhile Bryant has embarked on a triple in game 2.
2:15 PM. Brits go 6-0 on the day, need only one more win.
Stephen Mulliner prevailed in a back-and-forth game 3 to give Great Britain a clean sweep for the day. They need to win only one more match out of the next nine to win the first test match.
Bryant’s triple attempt ended messily, but Hockey missed the 10-yard lift shot. Parkinson finished to tie the match at game-all. The third game of Forster/Meatheringham v. Bulloch/Garrison is very scrappy so far.
3:25 PM. Aussies have the edge for the third straight day.
Forster and Meatheringham (AUS) finally prevailed over Garrison and Bulloch (NZ) after a long and ugly third game. Two minutes later, Bassett finished a clean game to put Australia up 2-1 on the day and 9-3 for the test match.
Team New Zealand now face the daunting task of getting through the final nine matches with no more than one loss.