Day 8 Report: Saturday, November 8, 2003
10:15 AM. Another day at the office.
Results started coming in quickly around ten o’clock, and seven of today’s nine matches have recorded a game 1 score. In the Australia v. Great Britain doubles, each team leads one match. In the New Zealand v. United States singles, USA leads in four matches (all triples) and NZ leads in one.
For Team Australia, trailing 3-6 in the test match, today is an important day. NZ v. USA is still wide open. Seven matches are expected to be decided today, including yesterday’s pegged down doubles match.
11:10 AM. Good or just lucky?
Jerry Stark (USA) won his match with John Prince (NZ) with an unconventional game 2 finish. Rather than Irish-peeling his partner ball at penult, he peeled it with a little stop shot and then attempted to cannon it off line with another ball. The cannon failed and he then roqueted peelee on the hoop shot. Calmly, or perhaps desperately, he then peeled the ball through rover from thirteen yards away. The peel was very clean and there was no problem with repeating the error he had made at penult, but nonetheless he failed to get a rush back to the peg, and had to attempt the peg-out from about twelve yards. Center peg.
Bruce Fleming (AUS) has a potential triple on his mallet to win his doubles match. Peter Parkinson (NZ) has the same opportunity against Drake (USA).
11:50 AM. Quick matches so far.
Six of today’s nine scheduled matches are already on the books. Australia and Great Britain are tied on the day at one all, GB leading the test match 7-4. The remaining match, Bassett and Hockey (AUS) v. Avery and Maugham (GB) is tied at one game apiece.
United States lead New Zealand 3-1 on the day and 6-3 for the test.
12:55 PM. Brits in strong position, Yanks 4-1 on the day so far.
Great Britain have taken a strong 8-4 lead on Avery and Maugham’s game 3 win over Bassett and Hockey.
John Taves (USA) beat Toby Garrison (NZ) in straight games despite failing his triple in game 2. Garrison went round but then made no headway in peeling his partner ball on his second break, so instead put out Taves’s forward ball. Taves hit the lift and finished, but only after a nervy ten-yard roquet after scoring rover.
2:40 PM. Shaping up to be another long day.
Ken Rosenberry (USA) hit the “last lift”, when Brian Wislang (NZ) was set to win the match. Actually he declined the lift and shot at a long double instead. The third game is starting now. Naturally these two players are also involved in the pegged down doubles match from yesterday, setting the stage for a very long day indeed.
5:05 PM. Rosenberry redemption.
Ken Rosenberry (USA) followed an agonizing end to his singles match with Brian Wislang (NZ) with a winning play in the pegged-down doubles match to put USA up 8-4 in the test match with NZ. In game 3 of the singles, Rosenberry twice made long hit-ins only to fail easy hoops. Wislang finished the match with a triple peel. The doubles match resumed with a hit-in by Prince, who scored rover and made a strong leave. Rosenberry hit a twenty-yard shot and finished the match with a tense three-hoop break.
Both of the second-round test matches could be decided tomorrow. GB need to win three of the six singles matches to clinch the test. Given NZ’s struggles so far, a win over Australia would settle the Series in the minds of many.
The Americans would need a sweep of tomorrow’s doubles to have the luxury of a “dead” final day. At any rate, they are now in strong position to achieve a first-ever win over NZ.