The sun is out this morning, together with some clouds and a breeze that is extending the flags – and it’s a cold breeze with a top temperature of 12 degrees forecast. It should be a dry morning, but there may be rain later in the day. Perhaps more importantly, the wind is expected to increase in strength.
I’ll try and cover the openings in a bit more detail today since I know some of you want to know more about what is happening.
England start today’s doubles with an 8-4 lead and would love to win the Test today. Australia trail narrowly 5-6 against NZ and will really want to win the doubles today. It’s possible we might be able to complete the pegged down doubles from day 1 as well, so a really big day.
Avery & Burch played Essick & Watson, with Mark, Jamie and Zack all entering the match having won all their matches so far. I think Essick and Watson are a really strong doubles pair. So far, they haven’t lived up to my expectations with below par shooting, but they are the sort of pair that Rob and myself would have felt the need to perform well against. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to watch Zack play and he has the core abilities to be really good, but isn’t quite the finished product yet.
T1 Avery 9y N of C4
T2 Essick just S of C2
T3 Burch misses partner from A-baulk
T4 Watson makes very long doubles from 9y W of C3 – hits. Makes h1, approached h2 from C2 to 8 foot straight and runs it well. Fails an easy h3.
T5 Avery goes to 4-b with a rough reverse OSL with a ball 3 yards NNW of C4
T6 Watson lifts the ball at the peg and misses the short lift.
T7 Burch had an adventurous turn which ended up with the peelee bouncing off a straight rover to end on rover and peg and leave a very rough sort of OSL where Matt had a 12 yarder.
T8 Zack took a defensive 15 yarder towards C2 and missed.
T9 Mark played an excellent 25 yard take-off to get a rush to rover, made rover, but couldn’t get a rush to the peg and made a leave giving the Americans a 30 yarder or 60% of a ball at 15 yards.
T10 Matt took the partially wired shot and just flicked the hoop.
T11 Jamie finished +24
G2T1 Matt wide supershot allowing a shot from the end of A-baulk to just E of C2
G2T2 Mark to just S of C2.
G2T3 Zack shoots at Mark…………hits. Goes to 4-b with 3 ducks.
G2T4 Jamie misses narrowly to C2.
G2T5 Matt fails to get a rush to h1 and fails an 8 foot 10 degree hoop. Lots of balls now have 12 yarders.
G2T6 Mark shot at partner in C2 and hit. Went to 4-b with an OSL.
G2T7 Matt lifted the ball at h2 and took the short lift……..missing. I think this event has already demonstrated the difference between shooting at AC and GC where you are always “in rhythm”
G2T8 Jamie finished a standard tp to win +17tp, take down the American’s flagship pair and extend England’s lead to 9-4.
Death & Fisher played Balding & Soo with only Harry having won a match to date.
T1 Death 9y N of C4
T2 Soo Duffer Tice
T3 Fisher misses partner from C3
T4 Balding hits Duffer and makes a leave
T5 Death corners
The story of the rest of the game with a few turns missed out was that James went to 4-b and Tom also reached 4-b. Harry went to the peg and the lift was missed. James was hampered after penult. The Americans regained the innings and the English cornered. Jeff played an excellent pick up to get a standard tp from this, but ended up having a long straight peel at rover which he turned down and made a leave having pegged Harry out. They laid up in the middle of the E boundary with a rush for the peg ball in-lawn. James shot from C3 through to C4, missing. Jeff rushed to try and get the mid-lawn wire through h4, but only wired 1 ball. James shot from C4, missed the open ball but hit the wired ball and finished +3.
The English won game 2 +14 to move to the brink of victory at 10-4
Carter & Patel played Morgan & Rothman
T1 Morgan 9y N of C4
T2 Patel just S of C2
T3 Rothman misses partner from A-Baulk
T4 Carter misses from A-Baulk
T5 Rothman fails to go round finishing vaguely guarded near h1
T6 Carter corners leaving their balls in C2 and C4
T7 Morgan leaves a rush to h1 very tight near C1
T8 Patel shoots from C2 at wide double, missing.
T9 Morgan plays for a stop shot approach to h1, gets a 1 yard straight hoop and runs it by 16 yards getting a rush S on the ball he’d approached h1 off. Fails h2 off Patel, but wired, with partner at h1
T10 Patel shoots from N of h2 to partner in C4………misses to just N of c4.
T11 Rothman shoots from h1 to h2…….hits rushing it into h2 to make the take-off to C4 tricky. Copes and picks up a break before failing h6.
T12 Patel goes to 4-b with a diagonal spread
T13 Rothman missed the long lift to C4
T14 Carter goes to peg with no peels and a failed spread, finishing with a Samir’s ball in C4 and himself 4 yards N.
T15 Rothman took the open 9 yarder at the ball at the peg and hit. Ben made hoop 6 but somehow (might have hit a hoop coming out of C4) ended up with a 15 yard “rush” to 1-b which he missed.
T16 Samir missed.
T17 Stephen hit a 14 yarder at partner in C2 and took his h3 ball to 4-b with a reverse NSL. Recap 1-b + 4-b v 4-b + peg.
T18 Carter lifted the ball in 1-b and shot from C1, missing to C2.
T19 Ben picked up a break but failed rover to give Samir an easy finish.
T20 Samir finishes +5.
G2T1 Ben 12y N of C4
G2T2 Samir just S of C2
G2T3 Stephen hits partner from A-Baulk and took off to the ball in C2 going off 3 yards S of it at pace.
G2T4 Christian shoots at partner……..hits. Makes h1 but misses 3 yarder afterwards.
G2T5 Stephen shot at partner 20 yards away, missing and joining up.
G2T6 Christian takes 20 yarder at ball and a half……….misses.
G2T7 Ben goes to 4-b with a diagonal spread.
G2T8 Christian lifted the Westerly ball and shot at partner at the peg from A-Bailk missing to 10y W of C3.
G2T9. Stephen broke down at h4 with no peels.
G2T10 Christian fails to get going and makes a leave.
From here, I missed of play, but Ben eventually ran 4-b and missed a shot at a ball in C3.
Christian started a dpo, got the first peel after h6 and then in his croquet stroke after 1-b finished just off the wire of penult, ran it, trying to flick off the wire to hit the pivot and went into A-Baulk giving Stephen everything.
Stephen had multiple attempts to get the peelee in front of rover, but never succeeded and laid up rover and peg v 1 + 2b with a defensive OSL (W ball on boundary). Christian lifted the in-lawn ball and hit the short lift and clanged 2-b off partner. This gave Ben a 14 yarder for the game, but he missed. Samir had a 5 yarder for a laid quintuple (😊). Samir hit and went to peg, pegging Stephen out. He laid up with the 2-b ball 3y S of C2 and his peg ball peg high on the W boundary.
Ben took the double and hit the near ball took off to get an ok rush to rover which he overcut to 5y NW of the peg. He rolled up to rover leaving a 4 yard hoop which he failed to a foot N of Christian.
Christian made a leave (unguarded) in the middle of the W boundary with Ben in C3. Ben shot, missing to give Christian a potential promotion rush on partner South. Christian played the promotion really well, moving partner 4 yards SE. He sent the rover ball in front of rover getting a rush to 2-b, but only rushed it 8 feet NE of 2-b. He approached well and ran the hoop with a rush and had a 3-ball break until he failed 4-b. Ben hit a 9 yarder, played a good take-off to get a rush to rover which he rushed to 8 feet W and under-approached to very angled and took wired position.
Samir shot from behind rover to partner 11y S of C3, but hilled off. Ben ran rover by 7 yards and shot at the opponent balls, which were a big target, missing.
Christian rushed badly to 4-b and sent Ben 2y SW of 2-b before joining up. Ben shot at the peg, hitting to equalise +5 at 4.54pm.
G3T1 Stephen 11y N of C4
G3T2 Samir just N of C4.
G3T3 Ben misses Samir leaving a double
G3T4 Christian misses double
G3T5 Ben over-approaches h1 and lays up with partner at h1.
G3T6 Christian hits a 25 yarder and goes to 4-b with an OSL.
G3T7 Stephen lifted the ball at h2 and missed the short lift.
G3T8 Samir went to peg with no peels attempted leaving Stephen 15y N of C4, Ben 7y S of h2 and laying up tight in C4.
G3T9 Stephen shot from where he lay and hit. But misapproached h1 off partner.
G3T10 Christian shot from h2 to partner in C4……..hits and finishes +26 to take the Test 11-4 with a day to spare. A good comeback for England having lost day 1. Winning by large margins could be important if no team wins all 3 Tests.
In the Aus v NZ Test, Wilson & Dumergue played Bryant & Clarke. Neither of the Aussies had won a match after 3 days.
T1 Ian nearly peg high on east boundary
T2 Greg just N of corner 4
T3 Edward missed to in contact with Greg’s ball
T4 Jenny missed south of the two
T5 Edward failed hoop 1 off partner
T6 Jenny missed 9 yarder at partner from north of hoop 4 to south boundary
T7 Edward to 4back with NSL.
T8 Black lifted from hoop 4 and Jenny shot at target from end of B baulk, hitting in-lawn ball. Failed hoop 1 off red (Ian)
T9 Ian missed the ball in the hoop
T10 Jenny ran 1 up to partner, rolled off 2, rushed north of 3 and failed 3.
T11 Edward missed
T12 Jenny went to 4b with an NSL
T13 Edward lifted the ball at hoop 4 and missed into corner 4
T14 Greg over-rolled to get a rush to 1 and joined partner north of hoop 2
T15 Ian missed partner from 2 to corner 4
T16 Greg hit 3 yarder, took off short and missed into corner 4
T17 Ian got a cannon, rushed well to hoop 1, declined a TP and went to the peg, putting black off setting the leave.
T18 Greg approached 1 with a roll and guarded all shots.
T19 Edward shot anyway, from east boundary to hoop 1 – hitting. Failed 4back.
T20 Greg missed from penult to 4b.
T21 Edward hit a 5.5 yarder and finished.
The second game was much higher quality. Edward went to 4-b with an NSL. Jenny hit and went to 4-b with an NSL and Ian hit and finished +17tp to level the match at 6-6.
The Fletchers played Chapman & Fordyce. Robbie, Malcolm and Edmund were all unbeaten after 3 days.
T1 Robbie supershot
T2 Paddy 19y S of C3
T3 Mal misses Paddy from C3 to C4
T4 Edmund hits Paddy from A-Baulk. Goes to 4-b with a diagonal spread, where he laid up only 6y N of C4.
T5 Robbie lifted the ball at the peg and took the short lift……missing.
T6 Paddy didn’t get the 4-b peel after h6, peeled 4-b before h6 but rushed 4 yards short and didn’t even get a possible hoop after his take-off came up short. He played a good scatter on partner. Recap 6+pen v 1+1
T7 Robbie hits an 11 yarder and picked up a break before missing a rush on his pivot to leave Paddy a 3 yarder with a ball near his hoop and a standard double peel.
T8 Paddy didn’t get the penult peel after h6 and failed to get the rush in front of pen for the death roll and failed to get the peel before 4-b ended up with a straight double which he completed to win the first +24.
G2T1 Paddy 9y N of C4
G2T2 Mal long Duffer Tice – maybe 12 yards
G2T3 Edmund shoots at partner down the E boundary………misses to C4
G2T4 Robbie centres the Duffer to h5. Takes off to oppo. Fails to get a rush to h1. Rolls off the hoop from distance, runs h1 but doesn’t get a rush to h2 and fails to approach from distance joining up with partner near h2 with oppos at h3 and h4
G2T5 Paddy shoots from h3 to h2……………..hit. Goes to 4-b with a diagonal spread.
G2T6 Robbie lifted the ball at the peg and took the short lift……..hits. Goes to 4-b with an NSL.
G2T7 Edmund lifts his ball at h2 and takes the short lift…….hits. Jawses 4-b after h3, death roll peels penult going to 2-b, has the peelee close to rover but overhits it and approaches the hoop to leave the option of a half jump or full jump. Plays a half jump, faults finishing rover and rover. That could be a turning point in the match and Test. It would have made it 7-5 to NZ.
G2T8 Mal peels 4-b after h3, death roll peels penult going to 2-b, fails 3-b. Recap 3-b + rover v rover + rover.
G2T9 Paddy has a 7 footer at maybe less than half a ball in a hoop or a 5 yarder. Takes the shot at the ball in 3-b…….misses giving Mal an easy finishing turn.
G2T10 Mal plays a poor croquet stroke sending partner to rover and fails to rush it in front of rover. Makes a leave for rover and peg v rover and rover. Edmund is 15y S of C2 and 1 yard in-lawn. Paddy is 4y E of the peg. Robbie is 3y N of C4 with a rush to rover.
G2T11 Edmund lifts his ball and takes the short lift…….misses.
G2T12 Robbie finishes to equalise +4.
G3T1 Mal to 11y N of C4
G3T2 Paddy to 1 foot N of C4
G3T3 Robbie missed from C3 to C4
G3T4 Edmund hit the ball in C4 from A-Baulk. Makes h1, fails h2 off partner.
G3T5 Robbie shoots from 3 to 2…………misses
G3T6 Edmund played an approach to h2 loading h3 and had another excellent ball to 4-b with a diagonal spread that was laid up 12y N of C4.
G3T7 Robbie lifted the ball at the peg and missed the long lift to C4.
G3T8 Paddy finishes the high pressure delayed tp to show both physical and mental strength after the disappointment of game 2. NZ lead 7-6.
Forster & McCormick played Webby & Westerby
T1 Forster 9y N of C4
T2 Westerby just S of C2
T3 McCormick shoots from C3 at partner missing into C4
T4 Webby misses Forster from A-Baulk.
T5 Forster goes to 4-b with MSL
T6 Aaron misses long lift with the ball at h4
T7 Dwayne over-approaches h1 off partner and guards C1 area
T8 Felix hits from h2 to h1. Breaks down at 2-b
The kiwis ended up winning game 1 +16
In the second, Stephen broke down at 4-b on a finishing turn allowing Felix to peg out Dwayne leaving 2b + peg v 4-b. Aaron quickly established a 3-ball break, but failed a short 4-b. Stephen hit an 8 yarder and finished +5.
The decider saw errors from Aaron at h3 and Stephen at 2-b before Dwayne went to the peg. Felix hit the lift and made a leave. He subsequently picked up a break after the Aussies cornered and was going round to peg out Dwayne when he failed penultimate. Stephen took full advantage of his contact and finished +14 to level the Test at 7-7 going into the final day.
It has been a wonderful Test to watch, swinging one way then the other. Each of tomorrow’s matches could go either way and it should be a great day for neutral spectators. Tomorrow’s match-ups are;
Robbie Fletcher v Paddy Chapman
Malcolm Fletcher v Jenny Clarke
Ed Wilson v Aaron Westerby
Dwayne McCormick v Felix Webby
Stephen Forster v Edmund Fordyce
Ian Dumergue v Greg Bryant
Potentially followed by the pegged down doubles between Dumergue & Wilson v Webby & Westerby on lawn 2.