Patsy Fitzgerald clinched victory 8-6 at about 4pm today for Ireland's first victory against GB (unless there is some ancient history I'm unaware of).
Ireland had a great start winning all 3 doubles matches and this in the end was the decisive factor. GB seemed a little out of sorts, perhaps struggling with the old mark II Dawson balls. Patsy started particularly well on his debut for Ireland. GB's two Ians (Burridge and Lines) started the doubles with the intended policy of keeping it tight and not giving Patsy anything easy but then couldn't resist making a DL third turn after they hit. Patsy hit and went straight to 4b. Later, to clinch the doubles, he ran a good sweaty 8-foot rover.
The match swung about once the singles started on Saturday afternoon. Burridge and Maugham won quickly for GB, Williams for Ireland. Patmore seemed to be in charge against Alan McInerney but the other two matches could have gone either way. Marcus Evans and Andrew Johnston both played some good stuff. Marcus had the first chance to clinch the match, making an excellent precision pick up to get his second break going but having just done the 4b peel was hampered out of 6 and missed his 1b pioneer. Andrew soon finished with the third triple of the match. Ronan McInerney came close to producing a fantastic match to defeat Rob Fulford. Rob won the first 5th turn, but Ronan replied in kind in the next finishing off the contact after a TPO by Rob on the 4th turn. The third game looked likely to go to Ronan 26TP sixth turn but he couldn't get the peels going and eventually playing a slightly angled Irish penult peel had the back ball finish on the front of the hoop. Rob won a couple of turns later. Meanwhile Alan had come back with a late triple against Chris to level at 1-1 overnight with the overall match score Ireland 5 GB 3.
Sunday started with the six remaining singles and the prospect of Patmore and Alan McInerney's third turning out to be the crucial game if we reached 7-7. Dave Maugham won quickly though scrappily against Ronan. Ed Cunningham and Rob Fulford went to a third. Rob went to 4b third turn but Ed hit and TPOed in turn 4, pegging two balls out. Ed hit a couple of 20-yarders to have reasonable chances to get a two ball going but eventually Rob finished after running 3 from a couple of yards, hitting Ed in front of 5 and rolling up to 4.
Things at this stage were looking fairly rosy for GB, back to 5-5, Patmore and Lines were game up and the other two matches at game all. The only downside for GB was that Ian Burridge should probably have clinched his match already twice failing to finish from penult and peg allowing Alan McInerney the chance to fight back.
Ian Lines was next to finish, winning a tight second game after a more comfortable first. Simon Williams won the decider against Marcus to make it a personal 3/3 for the weekend. Simon has a history of doing well in this event having one year beaten Mulliner, Avery and Irwin in quick succession. Marcus played a lot of good croquet getting to 0/3, I'm sure he'll have more luck next time he plays for GB. 6-6. Patsy levelled against Chris Patmore. Alan now took the decider against Ian Burridge, Ian missing a hampered stroke after 3 when starting his second break. 7-6 to Ireland.
So at 2.30 GB's hopes rested completely with Chris Patmore all the other matches having finished and Chris having two matches at 1-1. Chris got the first break against Patsy but missed an attempted sweep shot after being hampered out of 4. A couple of turns later, Patsy was on a triple actually getting the 4b peel before 3. Everything seemed under reasonable control but Patsy made a real mess of organising a straight rover peel and ended up rover and peg with a leave. Chris missed but Patsy failed to get a rush to peg after making rover and pegged one ball out. Chris hit but only made two more hoops before Patsy was able to finish off.
Congratulations to Ireland and thanks for all the hospitality. GB's first loss since 1986?
(one match to finish), Irish names first
Cunningham & Johnston beat Evans & Maugham +20 +12
McInerney & McInerney beat Fulford & Patmore -4tp(F) +25 +14
Fitzgerald & Williams beat Burridge & Lines +26tp(W) +17
Ronan McInerney lost to Rob Fulford -26tp +14Otp -5tp
Ed Cunningham lost to David Maugham -17tp -25tp
Simon Williams beat Ian Lines +15 +24tp
Andrew Johnston beat Marcus Evans +25tp -26tp +11tp
Alan McInerney to finish versus Chris Patmore -26 +4tp
Patsy Fitzgerald lost to Ian Burridge -3 -18
R McInerney lost to Maugham -9 -17tp
Cunningham lost to Fulford -21tp +13 -9Otp
Williams beat Evans +11 -17tp +14
Johnston lost to Lines -18 -5
A McInerney beat Burridge -9 +4 +14
Fitzgerald beat Patmore -10 +25 +20