Day 13 Report: Thursday, November 13, 2003
9:00 AM. Players “present arms” in honor of Prince’s 100th Mac match.
John Prince (NZ) has just begun a match with Robert Fulford (GB); it is Prince’s one hundredth match in MacRobertson Shield competition. His MacRob career started forty years ago when he was a teenager.
As Prince arrived at the National Croquet Center today, the players lined the walkway leading to the courts with a double row of raised mallets, in a show of honor and respect for one of the classiest players in the game.
Robert Fulford (GB) has done his third sextuple peel of this Series, in game 1 against John Prince (NZ). As usual, he peeled both opponent balls to 2 while making the 1-back leave. He is embarking on a third-turn break in game 2. Greg Bryant (NZ) hit David Maugham’s supershot ball and has started a two-ball break in turn 2 of game 2 (Maugham won game 1 with a triple). Toby Garrison (NZ) has made some errors in game 1 against Chris Clarke, but Clarke has yet to make a roquet. Dennis Bulloch (NZ) is up a game against Matthew Burrow (GB).
11:00 AM. Fulford no sentimentalist.
Robert Fulford (GB) treated John Prince’s (NZ) historic 100th MacRob match as business as usual, winning 24sxp, 26tp. In game 2 Fulford went round on turn 3 from the “supershot” opening. He made his usual turn 3 leave, partner and opponent balls on the east boundary north of 4, 4-back ball on the west boundary south of 2.
In the AUS v. USA doubles matches, each team leads in one match.
11:30 AM. GB v. NZ at 4-all.
Toby Garrison (NZ) beat Chris Clarke (GB) in two games to tie the test match at 4-all. GB are up a game in three of the remaining matches; NZ lead in one.
Bruce Fleming and Martin Clarke (AUS) took game 1 from Jacques Fournier and Curtis Drake (USA) after Drake broke down attempting a delayed triple. Trevor Bassett and Simon Hockey (AUS) have levelled their match with John Taves and Jerry Stark (USA). Australia are also up a game in the third doubles match.
11:55 AM. Kiwis leapfrog ahead, 5-4.
Toby Garrison and Dennis Bulloch have been responsible for NZ’s last three wins. Bulloch has just beaten Matthew Burrow (GB) in two games, and the Kiwis have regained the test match lead at 5-4.
12:25 PM. Another lead change in GB v. NZ.
David Maugham and Stephen Mulliner of Great Britain won their matches to regain the test match lead at 6-5. The only remaining match of the day in this test is Mark Avery (GB) v. Brian Wislang (NZ). Wislang can level the match with a delayed triple.
The AUS v. USA doubles matches are proceeding at a slower pace. Fleming and M. Clarke (AUS) v. Fournier and Drake (USA) has just started game 2; Forster and Meatheringham (AUS) v. Louw and Rosenberry is not much farther along.
1:30 PM. Yanks, Aussies tied on the day so far.
Jerry Stark and John Taves (USA) beat Trevor Bassett and Simon Hockey to pull Team USA to within two matches of Australia, but Bruce Fleming and Martin Clarke (AUS) beat Jacques Fournier and Curtis Drake (USA) to make it 7-4 to Australia. The remaining doubles match is just starting game 3, and this has to be considered a must-win match for the Americans.
Wislang (NZ) and Avery (GB) exchanged errors and Wislang is in play.
2:20 PM. GB take 7-5 lead over NZ.
Mark Avery (GB) hit the “last lift” of game 2 and went round to win his match against Brian Wislang (NZ). It just shows how important it is at this level to finish those triples.
Rosenberry has made the first break of game 3 in the sole remaining match, the AUS v. USA doubles.
3:40 PM. Last game still going.
After Rosenberry went round, Meatheringham missed the lift. Louw made an agressive attempt to go after a triple and failed 5. Forster hit and made a leave, Rosenberry missed, Forster failed 1. Rosenberry hit and made a leave and Meatheringham cornered. Louw dug out a break and went to peg with no peels. Forster hit the lift and has started a break. So Forster and Meatheringham are break and 1 v. peg and 4-back for Louw and Rosenberry.
4:30 PM. ...and going...
Forster went round and pegged off Louw’s ball (Y), putting balls in corners I and II. Rosenberry cut the corner I ball (K, the rover) up the line a little, then split it to near 4 going to 4-back. He took position at 4-back.
Forster retreated to the south boundary, to a position wired from R (and from where R would be after running 4-back). Rosenberry scored 4-back and took angled position at penult. Meatheringham shot from corner II and missed. Rosenberry played into the jaws of penult.
Meatheringham shot to near K, trying not to leave a double, but getting a bit too close. Rosenberry scored penult with a sort of vertical sweep shot (face of the mallet moving about perpendicular to the line of aim). He shot at the double and missed.
The Aussies seem inclined to play a conservative two-against-one game, while Rosenberry has been cornering.
5:45 PM. Gone! Rosenberry saves the day for USA; puts Brits on the hill.
With the Tournament Manager stalking around the court ready to peg down the match, Ken Rosenberry hit the peg from the north boundary to win the match and pull USA to within two matches of Australia, 5-7. This elicited a thunderous roar from the partisan crowd.
The win also means that GB need only one more match to clinch the Series. Even if Australia were to win all their remaining matches and Great Britain to lose all theirs, the Series would be tied and the trophy shared.