The Cordingley Reports, Volume 1: GB v. USA
Editor’s note: Phil Cordingley is the Team Manager for the Great Britain team. He will be writing reports from the British perspective. This page will be updated daily (or so).
Everyone arrives safely, David Maugham after a day’s delay courtesy of Air France. In Paris though, so could be worse. Minor sartorial problem with GB blazers, solved when we discover that Dave and Robert have swapped shapes since they were bought, so a simple switch solves it. Ed.—You see, the team would really be lost without their Manager.
In terms of the teams, the USA team is probably the most interesting. Their selectors have made the brave, but probably correct, decision to field their strongest team ever for any International by selecting John Taves and Jacques Fournier, who have had little competitive play over the last two years. They are also considerably strengthened by the eligibility of Wynand Louw, who is South African by birth. They have also selected two rookies, Curtis Drake and Kenster Rosenberry.
New Zealand has not been helped by the late withdrawal of Bob Jackson, who has been replaced by Peter Parkinson.
GB has put out a team of five old sweats and one newcomer, Matt Burrow of Jersey.
Australia has included some youth, with Trevor Bassett and Simon Hockey in their twenties. They are also the least experienced, with three newcomers.
The lawns are fast enough to be testing, the hoops reasonably firm considering the sandy soil. Wind strong enough to affect travelling balls.
Day 1 Overview
Britain takes a 2-1 lead. In the event, neither Taves nor Fournier showed any particular signs of rustiness, and the Americans gave Britain a tough time. Indeed Drake and Fournier recorded the Americans first ever doubles win against GB in the Mac by beating Burrow and Mulliner in straight games. In the other two matches, GB won the first games comfortably, but had to endure considerable opposition in their seconds to come out just about worthy winners.
Clarke & Fulford v. Louw & Rosenberry
Game 1: Louw to E boundary, Clarke to 1 yard out of II on W boundary. Rosenberry to corner II. Fulford hits Louw, makes hoop 1 and rushes to W boundary. Now rolls out of bounds going to ball just out of corner II. Americans lay up. Clark hits and goes to 4b. Ultimately Fulford finishes with a TP.
Game 2: Great Britain catch a break when Rosenberry, starting with four balls on E boundary, is taking croquet for the second time with all four balls still on E boundary. First Clarke, then Fulford have chances, but both fail hoop 2. Fulford then fails hoop 4. Rosenberry goes to 4back. After a few chances, Louw goes to the peg with no peels. Clarke gets going, completes three peels but misses a 3-yard peg out and retires to corner IV. Americans lay up on N boundary. Fulford misses partner. Rosenberry gets hampered after penult and faults. Fulford has ball replaced, pegs out the American rover and lays up on W boundary level with one, such that Rosenberry has no shot as he is still hampered by penult. Rosenberry attempts to cuddle the peg to stymie the British pegout (not much else to do), but this time Clarke makes no mistake.
Burrow & Mulliner v. Drake & Fournier
Game 1: No croquet for Great Britain. Mulliner missed Forunier’s supershot ball on turn 4. Drake took a couple of turns to get round. Fournier failed hoop two, but finished next turn.
Game 2: Drake round first again, after GB spurn a couple of chances. Burrow hit two lift shots, the first after Fournier missed a return roquet after 1b, the second after he got to the peg, and eventually got to 4back. Mulliner failed to approach first after the lift was missed. Drake failed twice and Mulliner got going. Pushing to finish, rather than ensuring a ball to the peg, Mulliner did the 4back peel with his 3b pioneer as the escape ball. He negotiated the tricky backward take off, but failed to get a forward rush. The subsequent roll left him half wired from the peelee behind 4back. Again pushing to finish, he took on the shot, but clipped the wire and missed into B baulk. Drake again failed rover, but finished with a sweaty 6-yard peg out after the Brits missed.
Avery & Maugham v. Stark & Taves
Game 1: Maugham hit the duffer tice and went to 4b on the 4th turn. Eventually Avery gets to the peg with three peels but misses a 7 yard return roquet after jumoing through rover. Taves misses a 4 yarder into corner II after grovelling through hoop 1. Maugham hits from hoop 2 and lays up, finishing next turn.
Game 2: Taves hits on third turn, but misses 3 yd roquet on duffer, leaving three balls in the midlle. Stark goes to 4b on 5th turn after Maugham misses. Taves belies rustiness by playing a good turn when he misses a hampered shot after penult with the peelee waiting by rover for the straight peel. Avery fails to approach 1, but leaves Taves a sliver when trying to take wired position. Taves hits, makes rover and lies up. Avery hits last shot from hoop 1 to E boundary and goes to 4back, but with a poor leave after leaving the hoop 2 ball open on the reverse NSL. Taves hits and has a leave. Maugham hits his 30 yard last shot, but sticks in 1. Next turn he gets going by jumping a ball he has accidentally put in front of hoop 2, only to stick in 3. Next turn gets going, ending up with a straight double peel. The peelee only goes 2 feet through. The subsequent attempt at a long angled rover peel all but misses the hoop completely. Elects to keep all four balls on the lawn, with American rover in corner IV to make peg out difficult. Stark hits lift but fails rover. Maugham trickles to partner on W boundary level with 2, but fails to leave rush to rover. Stark goes to E boundary 9 yards N of 4. Maugham has a leave, and Avery finishes after Stark misses.
Great Britain wins the second round of doubles 2-1, to lead the match 4-2 overall. Another day where the Americans fight for all they are worth and the Brits come out winners, just.
Clark and Fulford v. Stark and Taves is probably the match of the Shield so far, with 5th (Clarke), 5th (Stark) and 6th (Taves) turn TPs respectively in the three games. In this match Taves’s only error, if you want to call it that, was missing a shot on the fourth turn of game 3. Interestingly, whilst making his leave in game 3, Fulford has to have an old peg hole repaired. After the interruption, he picks up partner ball instead of his own and is about to play it, when an alert Clarke forestalls to prevent disaster.
Mulliner benefited from another night to overcome jet lag and a couple of hours practice on Saturday evening, playing much more confidently than yesterday. Burrow again showed no signs of debutant’s nerves. Maugham and Avery needed all their experience to win the 3rd against Drake and Fournier, after Drake had played tremendously well to pick up crucial breaks, only to succumb to the Brits platinum clad stopping bisques, also played at crucial moments. In this pairing Maugham has looked totally solid, with Avery good when it matters, but occasionally flaky hoop running and short roquets.
Clark & Fulford v. Stark & Taves
Game 1: Clarke lays an anti duffer (2-3 yards off E boundary). Stark lays a long duffer. Fulford hits partner, but has a long take off to 1 after getting hampered by hoop 6 on the duffer. Clangs a long hoop. Taves hits and goes to 4b. Clarke hits the lift and TPOs Taves. Stark gets long position for 1 off contact. Clarke goes to corner 4. Stark clangs to bad position on wire. Clarke joins in corner II. Stark goes to E boundary level with 4, the best he can do. Fulford finishes.
Game 2: Taves takes 3rd turn ball to 4b. Leaves three balls in western half of court, but allowing a shot through to corner I. Fulford misses into corner I. Stark finishes with a 5th turn TP.
Game 3: Clarke lays an anti-duffer. Stark goes to corner II. Fulford joins partner, leaving a rush to II. Taves misses into II. Fulford goes to 4b, popping Taves to 2, with a diagonal spread with Stark on the peg not rushable directly to 2. Taves hits the lift, gets going by rushing the hampered ball at the peg to 6 and rolling off 2 from there, and TPOs Fulford. Clarke has a couple of half chances to finish, which he turns into all but full blown opportunities before clanging the critical hoop.
Avery & Maugham v. Drake & Fournier
Game 1: Fournier lays a supershot. Avery goes to corner II. Drake hits in corner II, but fails to approach hoop 1 and retires to the E boundary. Maugham misses. Fournier joins up. Avery hits oppos from by hoop 6, but misapproaches hoop 1 off partner. This potentially leaves Fournier a 10-11 yarder from the peg to hoop 1, which Avery guards. Fournier misses this shot, but goes to 4b when Avery misses the pickup. Maugham misses the lift. Drake fails position at hoop 1. Avery hits partner, takes off short to opponents and misses. Drake picks up a break, peels 4b after 3 but takes off into the back of five after 4 and has to retire to the E boundary. Maugham eventually gets going and DPOs Fournier, leaving the GB balss in corners II and III. Drake goes off N boundary rolling from II to III. Avery goes to corner I. Drake hits in corner III, pass rolls this ball to the E boundary going to 13 yards short of corner I, rolls off hoops 1 and 2 to get going, but clangs 5 for no apparent reason. Avery goes to E boundary level with 4. Drake takes position at 5. Avery shoots at him, missing to the W boundary. Drake runs 5, hits Maugham on W boundary level with 2, and gets going by scooping off 6 from Avery's ball. Plays completely controlled break but sticks again for no apparent reason in rover. Avery gets going from this, but sticks in 2. A couple of turns later Avery gets going after Drake misses a shot and finishes.
Game 2: Another supershot opening, and Drake has a 3rd turn ball round, leaving all 3 balls on W boundary. Maugham hits and TPOs Drake. Fournier fails to get position at 1 from the leave. Some time later he hits oppos joined in corner II from E boundary level with 4, but is only able to get position at 1. Maugham goes to corner IV. Fournier runs 1 to N boundary, picks off Avery in corner II, rolls off 2, rushes to 3 and approaches 4 off ball in corner IV and finishes.
Game 3: Third supershot opening, but this time Drake fails to get a rush on the supershot ball. Nevertheless, he rolls off 1 to a foot dead in front. And sticks! Maugham hits and goes to 4b. Drake misses the lift. With not the tidiest of pickups (roll off 1 to 3 yards from corner IV, run it to N boundary, trickle off hoop 2 pioneer), Avery gets going, but clangs a slightly long 2 back with 1 peel done. Drake gets going, but unaccountably misses hoop 4 pioneer from 4-5 feet. Avery goes to the peg with a spread. Maugham finshes from penult after the lift is missed.
Burrow & Mulliner v. Louw & Rosenberry
Game 1: Mulliner puts out the supershot. Rosenberry goes to corner II. Burrow misses into corner II. Louw hits into II, makes hoop 1 but his take off to his deep hoop 2 pioneer goes off. Burrow goes to 4 back and Mulliner finishes on the 7th turn with a delayed TP (4b peel going to 1b, straight double) after the lift is missed.
Game 2: Burrow sticks in hoop 1 early on, from which Rosenberry goes to 4b. Mulliner hits the lift and does a TPO. Eventually Louw, still for 1, hits and sets a break, but sticks in 2. Acouple of bites at the cherry later, Louw misses a long shot and Burrow finishes.
Day 3 Summary
To quote David Coleman, today GB opened its legs and showed its class (Ed.—Our regular readers will please pardon the inclusion of this tasteless phrase, but we fear to mar the full sweep of the author’s prose by its removal) with a 6-0 sweep (12-1 in games) of the first round of singles. Our previous night assessment had been that we had good chances in a couple, but that Taves, Drake and Fournier in particular were likely to prove tough opponents for Maugham, Avery and Clarke respectively. It is a great testament to the GB players concerned that these were all won in straight games, with Maugham (two 8th turn TPs) and Avery (7th and 6th turn TPs) putting in all but error free performances.
Robert Fulford overcame significant resistance in the first to beat Jerry Stark in straight games. In the process he managed arguably the unluckiest and best shots of the tournament so far. After Jerry had gone to 4b in the first, Robert runs 1 and has the chance to pop through 1 going to 2 balls at hoop 2, with the intention of roqueting Jerry’s 4b ball to send it to 3 for a standard TPO. The peel sails through 1, and ends up stymieing Robert from the ball he wants to hit, leaving him with a 5 yarder on the other, and with a break to rebuild after. Strangely, he managed it, completed the delayed TPO and went on to win the game. The best shot came in the three ball ending when Jerry clanged 5 on Robert's hoop 1 ball, with his peg ball on the S boundary about 1 foot out of corner I. Robert roqueted Jerry leaving it by 5, and played a split sending it to hoop 2 getting a dolly rush on the corner I ball to hoop 1.
Chris Clarke’s shooting was pretty impressive against Jacques Fournier, overcoming an early inability to get going in time to win in straight games. Chris played very defensively and reaped the rewards, on one occasion going round after inducing Jacques to corner (difficult in these conditions), on another causing Jacques to break down trying to pick up a break from a very difficult position.
Matt Burrow’s win was characterised by some good play scattered with unforced errors that will need to be eradicated to win against opponents in better form than Wynand Louw. For his part, Wynand’s extremely straight shooting was completely nullified by his increasing inability to run hoops.
By midday, GB had a 5-0 lead, leaving Steve Mulliner and Kenster Rosenberry to settle their match with a third game after lunch. Steve’s shooting magic proved to be too much of a match for his propensity to fail hoop one, and he won the decider with a 10th turn TP to complete the sweep.
Fulford v. Stark
Game 1: Stark gets 1st break and goes to 4b with a spread. Fulford misses long lift into corner IV. Stark clangs 1. Fulford hits partner in corner IV. Pops Stark's hoop 1 ball to 2 and TPOs his other ball. Leaves his hoop 1 ball on E boundary wired by hoop six from approach to hoop 2, and peg ball in corner 1. Stark plays thick take off from E boundary to corner 1, putting croqueted ball to 3. Takes off from corner 1 to 18 inches dead in front of 2. Runs 2 and snicks ball at 3. Makes 3 and 4, rushes to 5, but clangs it. Fulford roquets Stark by 5, croquets him to 2, getting 1 foot rush on ball just out of corner 1 to hoop 1!!! Finishes.
Game 2: Fulford lays supershot. Stark misses to 3 yards S of 2. Fulford shoots at double from A baulk, hitting farther ball. Goes to 4b. Leaves partner a rush on Starks ball on E boundary to 4b ball on W boundary level with 2. Stark misses. Fulford finishes.
Clarke v. Fournier
Game 1: Lots of hitting in at start, but no going round. Fournier gets first break to 4b, with an OSL. (Actually a failed spread, but with the W boundary ball deep). Clarke hits short lift and goes to 4b, popping Fourniers hoop 1 ball to 2 and leaving his 4b ball in front of 2b. Fournier lifts hoop 2 ball and hits Clarke on E boundary. Cannons ball from in front of 2b to get rush to 2. Ends up having to take of from 5 for position at 3, gets in front but clangs. Clarke hits from hoop 5 to E boundary level with 4. Mis-approaches 2, but jumps through anyway. Gets hampered after 3b, but hits peelee at rover. Finishes.
Game 2: Clarke lays anti-Duffer. Fournier lays a Duffer anyway. Clarke misses partner. Fournier misses Duffer. Clarke goes to 4b with a spread. Fournier misses lift. Clarke fails 1 trying to run it with control for a rush back to E boundary. Fournier hits from E boundary but clangs hoop 2 on Clarke's forward ball. Clarke has leave giving partner a longish rush to 2 from corner III, Fournier's hoop 2 ball at hoop 2 wired from corner III balls, and his hoop 1 ball on S boundary level with hoop 1. Fournier corners hoop 2 ball to IV. Clarke picks up difficult break, which only gets the third ball at hoop 6, and goes to the peg with no peels. Leaves a vertical spread. Fournier lifts ball at penult, hits short lift and goes to 4b with a spread. Clarke lifts backward ball and misses partner at peg from corner III to corner I. Fournier gets going, but bumps into hoop 1 when rolling ball from corner I to 5 going to 4 himself. Hits 13 yarder at hoop 4 pioneer, but clangs after rolling up to difficult position from 8/9 yards away. Clarke hits from S boundary level with 4 to hoop 5 with ball waiting at 4b. Finishes.
Maugham v. Taves
Game 1: Taves gets going on 3rd turn after supershot opening. Misapproaches 2b and retirees to corner II. Maugham makes 1, but fails stop shot approach to 2 and lays out of corner II. Taves misses from 3 to corner II. Maugham goes to 4b with MSL. Taves misses. Maugham finishes.
Game 2: Corner II opening. Taves hits partner on 3rd turn, takes of 4 yards short of corner II ball and misses. Maugham hits, makes 1 but clangs 2. Taves hits 7 yarder at 2, but fails to approach 1 and has a leave by hoop 1. Maugham hits partner just off E boundary level with 4 from hoop 2 and goes to 4b with an MSL. Taves misses. Maugham goes into peg rolling peelee from E boundary to 4b going to 2 himself, but hits the pioneer and makes 2 and finishes anyway.
Burrow v. Louw
Game 1: Burrow gets 1st break, but clangs 2b trying to run it to the boundary. Louw gets going but misses 2 yarder on 3b pioneer. Burrow hits, and immediately misses 2 yarder of his own. Louw rolls out of bounds approaching hoop 2. Burrow joins in corner III. Louw hits from hoop 2 to corner IV. Gets break going but sends striker's ball off in cannon. Burrow turns down 7 yarder at Louw on E boundary in favour of cornering in I. Louw hits the 13 yarder this leaves with Burrow's other ball at hoop 2, his hoop. Louw clangs hoop 2. Burrow joins in corner I. Louw misses into corner I. Burrow goes to the peg with the aid of a stop shot approach and 3 yard hoop 2 (play to your strengths!), leaves a spread. Louw misses ball at peg. Burrow finishes.
Game 2: Louw gets first chance but clangs 1. Burrow misses, joining. Louw hits from hoop 1 to E boundary level with the peg. Clangs 1 again. Burrow goes to 4b with a spread. Louw lifts ball at peg and hits short lift. This time runs hoop 1 cleanly, but misses 7 yard return. Burrow misses from hoop 2. Louw clangs 2 off partner. B misses, joining up. Louw misses half-wired partner at hoop 2. Burrow gets break, but takes off short to 3b pioneer and misses with one peel completed. Louw gets a break, but clangs 2b. Burrow runs tricky 3b and goes to the peg, peeling penult straight, and leaves a spread. Louw shoots W boundary ball from where it lies, but misses E boundary double. Burrow finishes.
Mulliner v. Rosenberry
Game 1: Rosenberry runs first break to 4b with a defensive leave. Mulliner hits, but clangs hoop 2. Rosenberry finishes.
Game 2: Mulliner takes first break to 4b with a spread. Rosenberry misses long lift. Mulliner doesn't complete his delayed TP, finishing for peg and rover with oppo's balls in rover and just off W boundary level with hoop 2. Rosenberry lifts ball at rover, hits short lift and goes to 4b. Mulliner misses short lift (which might have been a target). Rosenberry mis-approaches 1, retiring to partner at hoop 2. Mulliner hits from 1 to 2 with peg ball and has a leave. Rosenberry shoots from corner I to E boundary, hitting ball wired by hoop 4. Runs break to peg, with no peels. Leaves “B” spread. Mulliner hits 10 yarder with backward ball and finishes.
Game 3: Rosenberry hits Mulliner’s Duffer on the 3rd turn and has a Dream Leave. Mulliner hits down E boundary and goes to 4b with a spread. Rosenberry plays to peg ball as it lies, missing the slightly hampered target on the E boundary. Mulliner under hits take off approach to 1, possibly slightly wind affected, and clangs. Rosenberry goes to 4b with a spread. Mulliner hits long lift and this time over hits approach to 1 and clangs, this time off partner. Rosenberry plays backward ball, missing from hoop 3 to hoop 1 into corner 1, leaving partner at hoop 2. Mulliner approaches 1 with a stop shot from corner I. Runs the hoop, and with a trade mark roll from hoop 1 sending peelee to 4b going to 2 himself, finishes.
Avery v. Drake
Game 1: Drake lays a Duffer, which he misses on the 4th turn. Avery goes to 4b with a spread. Drake misses long lift. Avery finishes.
Game 2: Drake puts a ball to E boundary between peg and rover. Avery goes 1 yard N of corner IV. Drake misses from B baulk into corner IV. Avery hits in corner IV and goes to 4b with an MSL (balls on hoops 2 and 4, hidden from baulk, hoop 4 ball hampered from shot at balls on E boundary). Drake misses short lift. Avery finishes.
Day 4 Summary
Great Britain won the 3rd and final round of doubles 2-1 to take an unassailable 12-3 lead in the Test, with the remaining six singles to be decided tomorrow.
Conditions are still pretty ideal, although some players struggled first thing to cope with the slower pace after overnight rain.
Perhaps fittingly, Avery & Maugham gained the clinching point after yet another error free performance from Avery. He clinched the match with back-to-back TPs, on the 6th & 12th turns today. They remain undefeated in both singles and doubles.
Fulford was also faultless, having 5th and 4th turn balls round in his and his partner’s match against Drake and Fournier. In the first, his partner redeemed himself after breaking down on a standard TP by going out from hoop 4 from a non-trivial position in the subsequent 3-ball ending. He made no such mistakes in the 2nd game, finishing with a 6th turn TP.
Too many unforced errors from both Burrow & Mulliner ultimately lead to them finishing too few turns to compete with Stark & Taves. Taves finished strongly in the second when it looked like the Brits might nick it. Their shooting remained as good as yesterday.
Clarke & Fulford v. Drake & Fournier
Game 1: Clarke lays supershot. Fournier hits, sends Clarke towards corner II but hits hoop 4 going to corner IV. Fulford hits resultant 9 yarder, and lays up with rush to corner II. Drake misses. Fulford goes to 4b, popping Fournier to hoop 3. Leaves Fournier in corner IV, Drake in middle of W boundary, and lies up in corner II. Fournier misses short lift. Clarke overcomes being partly stymied from hitting peelee after running 3, does the 4b peel, but clangs 4 trying to run it to the boundary. Fournier DPOs Fulford, laying up in corners II & III. Clarke croquets corner II ball to 5, fails to roll off 4 from corner III and clangs. Drake makes 1 and lays up with 3 yard join at hoop 2. Clarke goes to middle of W boundary. Drake misses 3 yard join. Clarke hits, sends ball to 5 getting longish position for rush to 4. Clips it, and fails to roll off 4 from hoop 2. Retires to 2 yards off middle of W boundary. With careful play, Drake gets to 6. Makes 6 and 1b with no rush to 2b. Croquets partner to just out of II, but misses corner I himself to 1 foot out on the S boundary, leaving Clarke, with a lift, a rush to hoop 4. Clarke finishes, thank you very much.
Game 2: Fournier lays supershot. Clarke hits, sends croqueted ball towards IV and goes 1 yard S of II himself. Drake hits in II, fails to approach hoop 1 from by hoop 4, and retires to corner II, joining Clarke's ball. Fulford hits and replicates 5th turn in game 1 (goes to 4b, popping Fournier to 3 etc.). Fournier misses into corner II. Clarke finishes with the aid of a death roll penult. Peel.
Avery & Maugham v. Louw & Rosenberry
Game 1: Louw plays standard ball to E boundary. Avery lays duffer. Rosenberry misses Duffer, into middle of lawn. Maugham hits and goes to 4b with an NSL. Louw misses the long lift shot. Avery's straight rover peel grovels through. He jumps it to his good deep ball. Cannons partner to get a perfect rush to the peg, finishes.
Game 2: Louw plays standard ball to E boundary. Avery lays duffer. Rosenberry misses down E boundary. Maugham misses Duffer to S boundary. Rosenberry misses Maugham into corner I. Maugham misses Duffer to N boundary. Louw misses Duffer from E boundary, but hits hoop 6 and deflects to the N boundary by Maugham. Maugham clangs hoop 1. Rosenberry establishes break, but sticks in 1b. Maugham goes to 4b with NSL. Rosenberry misses the long lift. Avery finishes, almost identically to game 1, but not needing the cannon this time.
Burrow & Mulliner v. Stark & Taves
Game 1: Burrow lays supershot. Stark goes to corner II. Mulliner hits in corner II, but fails to approach hoop 1. Taves hits and goes to 4b with a "B" spread, but with a deep W boundary ball. Mulliner hits the short lift, but clangs hoop 2 on Stark. Stark misses to middle of W boundary. Mulliner misses partner at hoop 4 to S boundary. Taves retires to 1 yard S of corner II. Burrow hits 7 yard join, has a leave, but leaves opponents with no more than a 13 yarder. Stark hits and clangs hoop 1 on Burrow. Burrow misses ball in hoop. Stark comples two peels of the delayed TP, and clangs a 3-foot 4b. Burrow peels Taves through rover, but gets hampered after penult. And misses. Stark finishes from 4b.
Game 2 Taves lays supershot. Mulliner goes to corner II. Stark misses into II, leaving a double. Burrow misses. Stark makes 1 with no rush. Takes off short to corner II and misses. Burrow goes to 4b with an NSL. Taves misses the long lift. Mulliner sticks in 3b on Taves, trying to run it with control with the other balls waiting at penult. for the delayed peel. Taves goes to 4b with a spread, with Burrow by the peg and Mulliner almost on the W boundary. Mulliner lifts and misses ball at peg. Stark does a straight 4b peel on way to peg, with a vertical spread. Mulliner, ball in penult., hits short lift and pegs out Taves, leaving GB balls at optimal points on E & W boundaries. Taves takes position at penult. Mulliner joins Burrow on E boundary. Taves runs penult., hits and finishes.
Day 5 Summary
On the last day, Great Britain and USA split the second round of singles 3-3, GB winning the Test by a final score of 15 - 6. Before the match, it was perhaps not clear which team was most expecting to benefit from the other’s rustiness, especially in light of the USA’s selection of two players with little match play in the preceding 12 months. The USA’s performance on the final day probably illustrated that the Brits had.
Whilst no strategic team decision had been made, there were a number of issues affecting the approach to the final day’s play. The format of the Shield this year requires the players to play in the fiercest of croquet cauldrons for fifteen straight days. So with the Test already won, the dilemma was whether to err towards conservation of energy, or to rack up as many wins as possible, the latter becoming critical in the case of an overall tie. In the event, I suspect most players found it difficult to suppress their natural competitive instincts, so the States did extremely well to tie the day. Suffice it to say, you can be pretty sure any tactical decisions taken by the Brits were a genuine pointer to the developing tournament, and taken with any sense of these being dead matches, which they were not..
Before play the most interesting match ups (to me, anyway) looked to be those between Mulliner & Drake and Burrow & Taves. In the former Drake belied his inexperience with an immaculate 5th turn TP in the second game to level the match, only to illustrate it with tactical errors in the decider having been TPOed by Mulliner. Taves underlined the respect he has among the Brits by winning from 1 and 4b against peg and ball box in the first, and completing a 6th turn TP to take the decider. In between Burrow showed fighting qualities of his own with a 6th turn TP of his own.
After beating Fournier in straight games in the 1st round of singles, Clarke might have expected something a bit easier playing Stark in the 2nd round.. Not a bit of it. By his own admission he found it “disappointing” not to make hoop one having had consecutive strokes from within its jaws. And this with a standard TP match clincher waiting on the other side of the hoop. On the other hand his approach as the single ball in a 3 ball ending to 2 feet in front of 2b from corner II, sending the croqueted ball to 3b for the winning break has to be shot of the day. (And not, as some of his “team mates” rather cruelly suggested, the 5 yard roquet that preceded it or the 4 yard roquet after running the hoop). But none of this should detract from Stark’s performance in taking the match in the end.
A much improved Wynand Louw took advantage of David Maugham’s off day so far as shooting was concerned. Wynand shrugged off an increasing inability to run hoops in previous matches to play faultless, if rather conservative, croquet to beat him in straight games.
Avery maintained his unbeaten record this event by beating Rosenberry in straight games.
But turn of the tournament has to go to Robert Fulford, who clinched a classy and tight match against Jacques Fournier with a delayed sextuple peel in the deciding game. Indeed, Fulford had not layed for the six in the first game only because a minor error had forced him to go to 4b with the first ball, and had had an attempt in the second game come to early grief in no small part due to a sudden cloudburst.
(Some tactical notes from Fulford v. Fournier: In game 1, Fulford won +26TP. As a shining example of how to maintain a positive attitude, Jacques claimed to have won the opening, as both his clips were still on hoop 1 after Robert completed the first break to 4b. This positive view proved less convincing in games 2 & 3, as Robert popped both balls to 2 in the second, and the forward ball to 2 in the third.
In game 2, Fulford attempted to leave striker’s ball in the jaws of hoop 3 for his 1b leave. Having popped opponent to 2 & 2, this would have made it un-rushable to oppo’s hoop, but eminently rushable to the S boundary, from where it can be split to 1b going to hoop 1 pioneer. (In fact it hilled on to the right hand wire. No justice). As part of the same leave, Fulford left opponent balls vertically cross-wired at hoop 1, with one ball 1 yard off the S boundary. This gives opponent the option of taking one shot which is 6 yards shorter than the other, but leaves a ball all but on the boundary behind the break. Maybe doesn’t make so much difference if opponent hits, but it’s always good to sow that little seed of doubt in opponent’s mind wherever possible).
Fulford v. Fournier
Game 1: Fulford lays supershot. Fournier hits and rolls to cross peg. Fulford misses from corner I, trickling. Fournier misses triple target from I. Fulford gets a break, but has to abandon 1b leave and continue to 4b after putting opponent in front of hoop 1. Leaves a spread. Fournier misses short lift. Fulford finishes.
Game 2: Fournier lays supershot. Fulford goes to corner II. Fournier misses in II.. Fulford hits double in II, goes to 1b, popping opponent to 2 & 2 (see tactical notes above). Fournier misses, Overcompensating for sudden downpour, Fulford over rolls hoop 1 approach from 6 yards dead in front. Retires to corner I. Fournier goes to 4b, but late pop of Fulford to hoop 2 after 2b means he can do no better than an OSL (often fatal at this level). Fulford misses short lift. Jacques completes his TP with the aid of a death roll penult. peel, getting a 2 foot rush on his 2b pioneer which is on the non-playing side of 2b.
Game 3: Fulford lays supershot. Fournier again hits, again rolls to cross peg position. Robert misses double target, this time shooting hard into B baulk. Fournier goes to 4b with a “B” spread. Fulford hits open W boundary ball from peg. Goes to 1b, popping Fournier’s backward ball to hoop 2, lays up with a standard crosswire at hoop one, with his balls 5 yards apart on E boundary just out of corner III. Fournier misses the tea lady. Fulford finishes. What? You want more? Oh, very well then. Peels 1b after 2, and 2b before 5. Rushes peelee to 3b after 5, but not to peeling position. Slightly overhits rush to peeling position after 6 to SE of hoop, leaving little room to miss both peelee and hoop going to 1b pioneer that’s 5 yards S and a yard or two E of 1b. Peel grovels through a yard, striker’s ball hits hoop and ends up beside 2b. Cuts fifteen yarder on 1b pioneer to pretty much in front of 1b (spawny waster). Peels 4b with 3b pioneer as escape ball. Peels penult.. straight, peelee going to about 1 foot WSW of rover. Spurns Irish peel from 1 foot dead in front of rover, and has to jump peelee to good deep ball. Finishes. There, satisfied now?
Clarke v. Stark
Game 1: Stark lays supershot. Clarke goes to optimum position on E boundary. Stark misses Clarke’s ball. Clarke hits E boundary double from B baulk, but fails to approach hoop 1 and retires to E boundary. Stark hits from hoop 1 to 2 and goes to 4b with a spread. Clarke centre balls long lift. He fails to get rush to one, fails to approach from distance, and so lies up by hoop 1. Stark misses. Clarke runs hoop 1 but misses pioneer trying to rush it up the lawn, ending up by Stark’s forward ball. Stark has a leave. Clarke misses. Stark finishes.
Game 2: Clarke goes to E boundary, 8 yards N of corner IV. Stark lays a longish W boundary tice. Clarke misses partner from B baulk into corner IV. Stark misses tice into corner II. Clarke misses partner in IV. Stark with tice at Clarke in IV. Clarke goes to 4b with a spread. Stark misses long lift. Clarke gets going, completes two peels, but gets cross-wired from peelee after 1b. Attempts to hit it by running penult. but misses. Stark single peels Clarke out, leaving partner ball 3 yards S of corner II and striker’s ball on E boundary level with the peg. Clarke takes contact from E boundary ball, rolling it to 4 yards E of 2b and going to 5 yards short of corner II ball. Hits corner II ball, rolls it to 3b going to 2 feet dead in front of 2b. Runs it, hits 4 yarder and finishes.
Game 3: Stark lays supershot level with rover. Clarke hits, croquets Stark to 3yds NNW of corner IV and goes to corner II. Stark misses partner. Clark misses shot at opponent balls. Stark goes to 4b, with a spread, with the aid of a stop shot approach to hoop 2 from corner II. Clarke misses long lift. Stark sticks in hoop 1. Clark misses partner in corner IV. Stark runs difficult hoop 1 and misses Clarke in IV. Clarke gets going, but unfortunately takes off from corner IV into 4b whilst going to hoop 3 pioneer (partner). Fortunately opponent (in corner IV and by hoop 4) is cross-wired, so he can lay up by hoop 3. Stark misses from IV into III. Clarke goes to 4b, popping Stark to hoop 3, leaving Stark’s forward ball in front of 2b hidden from A baulk, backward ball in corener IV, and himself on W boundary outside corner II. Stark hits and gets going, but after 1 peel sticks in a 2b that’s slightly longer than it should be, with the escape ball just off A baulk. Clark lifts to A baulk, but sticks in hoop 1. Stark finishes with a straight double peel.
Maugham v. Louw
Game 1: Louw standard ball to E boundary. Maugham lays Duffer tice. Louw hits partner down E boundary. Rolls to Duffer, but fails to approach hoop 1 and retires to W boundary tice position. Maugham misses tice. Louw goes to 4b with a spread. Maugham misses long lift. Louw goes to the peg with no peels, but leaves attempted cross peg open. Manages to rush partner to middle of E boundary, atke off back to the peg and scatter one opponent ball to corner II whilst cannoning to the middle of the W boundary himself. Maugham hits short lift at partner in corner II. With the aid of approaching hoop 2 into the jaws from some distance, he goes to 4b with a reverse NSL, opponent peg ball in the jaws of hoop 2. Louw lifts 4b ball and hits peg ball in hoop 2, having made a double of it and the boundary ball. Louw finishes.
Game 2: Maugham lays a supershot. Louw goes to corner II. Maugham misses into corner II. Louw hits in corner II and goes to 4b with a spread. Maugham misses long lift shot. Louw goes to the peg with no peels, this time leaving a closed cross peg. Maugham misses opponent on E boundary from the peg (not sure if this was a target or not). Louw finishes.
Burrow v. Taves
Game: 1 Burrow lays supershot. Taves goes to corner II. Burrow hits in II, but misses resultant 7 yarder on supershot ball into A baulk. Taves goes to 4b with an NSL. Burrow hits long lift and goes to 4b with a “B” spread. Taves misses open shot from peg. Burrow completes all peels of his triple, but clips the top of the straight rover peelee trying to jump it. Peg out attempt through hoop 5 misses narrowly. Pegs out remaining ball with opponent hoop one ball on W boundary and 4b ball off E boundary level with hoop 4. Taves hits ball by peg with his hoop 1 ball from where it lies. He rolls across to E boundary getting rush to 1. Picks up difficult break and takes it to the peg, peeling partner straight at 4b. (Arguably this is a rather gratuitous peel, and could have cost him the game when the peelee barely got through and the resultant half jump left a 5 yard return roquet). He lays up on the N boundary behind hoop 2 with a rush to penult. with Burrow wired from the peg by 3b. Burrow misses narrowly. Taves finishes from penult.
Game 2: Taves lays standard E boundary ball. Burrow lays a Duffer tice. Taves hits partner, rolls to Duffer, but clangs hoop 1. Burrow hits ball at 1 and goes to 4b with a spread. Taves misses long lift. Burrow finishes, with the aid of a 4b peel after rushing partner back after hoop 4.
Game 3: Burrow lays supershot. Taves goes to corner II. Burrow misses into corner II. Taves hits resultant double and goes to 4b with a spread. Burrow misses long lift. Taves almost comes to grief when striker’s ball grovels through rover when Irishing straight rover peel, but he hits hampered 5 yarder at deep ball and finishes.
Avery v. Rosenberry
Game 1: Avery lays standard E boundary ball. Rosenberry goes to corner II. Avery misses into II. Rosenberry misses into II. Avery goes to 4b with an NSL. Rosenberry hits long lift and goes to 4b with a spread. Avery misses long lift. Rosenberry misses longish return roquet after 3b, with one peel completed. Avery finishes.
Game 2: Rosenberry lays E boundary ball 9 yards N of corner IV. Avery goes to E boundary just N of IV. Rosenberry hits partner down E boundary and has dream leave. Avery misses long shot down E boundary to corner IV. Rosenberry gets going, but sticks in hoop 6 following backward take off approach. Avery goes to 4b, again with an NSL, with the aid of a mid-court open cannon after rushing too close to a less than perfect hoop 4 pioneer. Rosenberry misses the long lift. For the first time in six games (at least), Avery doesn’t complete his triple, when the close range, straight, angle penult. peel grovels through, and he’s lucky to have a short roquet after the subsequent half jump. This failure is presumably such a shock that the subsequent leave leaves a ball open at rover, so he has to separate. Rosenberry misses 9 yarder from rover at Avery’s backward ball 4 yard’s off the E boundary. Avery declines 4 yard pickup and misses partner in corner II. Rosenberry hits in corner II with his backward ball. He makes hoop 1, rushes to 3 yards E of rover, but takes off the lawn trying to get a rush on partner on the E boundary. Avery hits 10 yarder at opponent, makes rover, rushes back to E boundary, rushes to partner in corner II and finishes.
Mulliner v. Drake
Game 1: Mulliner lays supershot. Drake goes to corner II. Mulliner misses into II.. Drake hits in II, fails to approach hoop 1 and retires to corner IV. Mulliner hits but clangs hoop 1 off partner. Drake misses from hoop 6 to close to corner 1. Mulliner stop shot approaches 1 and goes to 4b with a spread. Drake hits short lift shot, but fails to approach hoop 1 so lays by 1. Mulliner misses partner by hoop 4 from hoop 2. Drake rushes partner to the peg, but fails to make hoop 1 off Mulliners balls and retires to corner 4 again. Mulliner misses partner at hoop 2 from hoop 1. Drake hits ball behind 2 from the peg, but clangs hoop 1 on Mulliner’s backward ball. Mulliner finishes.
Game 2: Drake lays supershot. Mulliner misses, trickling. Drake hits trickling at double, goes to 4b, leaving balls off W boundary. Mulliner misses from B baulk to 8 yards N of corner I. Drake finishes, completing the peels before 2b.
Game 3: Mulliner lays anti-Duffer. Drake lays Duffer anyway. Mulliner misses Duffer to the peg. Drake clips the Duffer ball, gets going but misses 3 yard return roquet after 4 to hoop 6. Mulliner in turn misses his 3 yarder around hoop 5. Drake hits from hoop 6 to 5 and completes break to 4b, but sends deep ball off the W boundary when laying the spread. Mulliner completes TPO, leaving his hoop 1 ball 9 yards S of corner III and the peg ball in corner II. Drake takes contact from Mulliner’s hoop 1 ball, but sends striker’s ball off the W boundary rolling both to hoop and corner 2. Mulliner fails to approach hoop 1, so retires to N boundary behind partner at hoop 2. Drake goes to middle of W boundary.Mulliner palys peg ball from hoop 2 to corner III. Drake takes longish position at 1. Mulliner joins partner wide on E boundary. Drake triangulates on N boundary behind hoop 3. Mulliner hits partner and lays on S boundary behind hoop 1. Drake goes to corner 1, not shooting. Mulliner stop shot approaches 1 and finishes.