Day 6 Report: Thursday, November 6, 2003
7:20 AM. What “60% chance of rain” means in south Florida
It has been raining steadily for several hours now. Sometimes moderately, sometimes in buckets. The courts, however, are very playable, and the huge retention basin has scarcely a few puddles in it. But there is intermittent lightning and until this ends play will have to wait.
We’ll see. The forecast for today is mostly cloudly with 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms, about the same forecast as yesterday.
10:10 AM. Rain, lightning, delay start of matches.
At 8:30 AM the courts were about 95% covered by standing water. The rain has never completely stopped since then, but the courts are now almost entirely clear of standing water. If the heavier rain holds off, matches will begin as early as 11:00 AM. That is, if the lightning also stays away.
During the heaviest rains, roads were closed because of the flooding—even on I-95 (motorway).
Most of the players are relaxing on the veranda or in the clubhouse.
11:25 AM. All matches have begun.
It’s still sprinkling, but the courts are in fine shape and the lightning has stopped. All matches are now in play.
The NZ v. USA match was delayed when one of the NZ team’s cars was locked with the keys—and several of the team’s mallets—inside. A few minutes grace was granted, and luckily for NZ the locksmith arrived just in time.
12:35 PM. Rain holding off.
Robert Fulford (GB) TPO’d Martin Clarke (AUS), also “popping” Bruce Fleming (AUS) to 2, leaving balls in corners I and IV. Fleming croqueted out of bounds off the contact, but a few turns later Chris Clarke (GB) failed 2 and Fleming now has a three-ball break.
Avery and Maugham (GB) lead by a game over Forster and Meatheringham (AUS). Maugham has the first break of game 2. Bassett (AUS) has just missed the last lift in game 1 (Bassett and Hockey [AUS] v. Burrow and Mulliner [GB]), and from his reaction it must have been close indeed.
Parkinson has tripled to win game 1 for NZ in one match, while Rosenberry has a standard triple going to win game 1 for USA in another match. Prince made an error while making the final leave of game 1 in the third NZ v. USA match, and Stark hit an 11-yard double and is now making a break.
1:05 PM. Strange day.
The weather is what, I believe, the British would call “close”. It’s rather dark, very still, warm and humid. The birds are behaving strangely. On the lawns, errors are prevalent.
Most matches now have a game complete, and it looks likely that yet another Avery triple will finish the first match of the day in favor of GB.
1:55 PM. The long and the short of it.
Game 1 of Prince & Wislang (NZ) v. Stark & Taves (USA) has finally finished on a Taves triple; the game took over two and a half hours.
Avery finished his second triple of the day to give GB the first point in the second test round.
2:25 PM. Players settling in; fewer errors.
When Trevor Bassett is especially focussed it’s easy to tell—he walks slower than usual. After a shocking error to give away game 1, Bassett is obviously determined not to blunder in game 2.
Three matches are currently “on the striker’s mallet”. Fleming has started a triple that could level the test for Australia, while Bryant and Louw are racing to be the first to post a score in the NZ v. USA test.
3:00 PM. Both tests look competitive so far.
Wynand Louw (USA) finished his triple to give USA the first point in their test against NZ.
Bryant failed to finish a straight double when roqueting peelee at rover. He pegged off the striker’s ball. Fournier declined the lift, roqueted and went round with an effective leave: Parkinson’s ball in corner III, wired from the peg, and open only on Drake’s ball on the south boundary behind 1. Parkinson has cornered in IV.
Stark missed the short lift shot off Wislang’s NSL, and Prince has a chance to level the match with a triple.
In Australia v. Great Britain, Bruce Fleming and Martin Clarke (AUS) have levelled the test at one-all by beating Chris Clarke and Robert Fulford (GB) in straight games.
Mulliner had hit Bassett’s peg and 4-back leave, but failed 3. Bassett made another leave, Burrow missed, and Hockey finished to take the match to a third game.
4:25 PM. Brits 2-1 on the day.
A Burrow triple has put GB ahead of AUS 2-1 after the first day of the second test round.
The remaining two NZ v. USA matches are in their third games. Taves had done the three peels of a TPO in game 2, but missed the peg-out on the croquet stroke. He managed some sort of bombard to peg out the opponent’s peg ball, but Prince finished from the contact.
Bryant (NZ) has the first break in one match; Taves (USA) has the first break in the other.
5:45 PM (posted 9:05 PM, sorry!). USA leads NZ 2-0; 1 match pegged down.
Prince & Wislang (NZ) v. Stark & Taves (USA) finished as a three triples match, the second and third games both losing TPOs. In game 3 Prince hit the lift and TPO’d Taves’s ball (with a seven yard peg-out). He had left Wislang’s ball a few yards south of rover, and put his own ball in corner II. This gave Stark something very close to the start of a “supershot” break, however Stark had a long approach to 1 and failed the three yard hoop shot. Wislang shot gently at partner and missed, Stark shot off to the east boundary, Wislang made 1 and laid up for 2, and Stark took position at 1. Wislang made a long approach to 2, but faced a long hoop shot. With Stark in position at 1, Wislang chose to corner in IV. Stark finished, two-balling the first three hoops and then playing a swap at 4.
In the Bryant & Parkinson (NZ) v. Drake & Fournier (USA) match, as in game 2 the Kiwis had all the early play in game 3. They reached peg and 4-back with the opponents on 1 and 2. Drake hit the “last lift”, started a break, but failed to get position at 3. He shot off, Parkinson hit and made a leave, and Fournier hit and has started a break. After three hoops he had the break under tight control and exercised his option to have the match pegged down.