Ireland had their strongest team except for the absence of Ronan McInerney. GB would have liked to have been able to field the Mac side as part of its preparation for November but with both Clarke and Kirby out of the country their places were filled by Marcus Evans and, making his first appearance for GB, Jack Wicks.
As usual the match was played best of 15, a round of doubles matches followed by 2 rounds of singles.
GB started strongest, Evans & Robert Fulford winning 6th turn, 5th turn against Ed Cunningham & Andy Johnston.
Mark Avery & Dave Maugham also won fairly quickly against Mark McInerney & Simon Williams. The match featured plenty of good shooting but a few too many errors from the Irish. Their best chance was in the second, Simon had been TPOed but Mark Mc hit an aggressive 30 yard shot at GB's balls guarding corner 1 with both Marks still for 1. Mark Mc was smoothly running his 3 ball but unexpectedly missed a fairly routine hampered stroke after 6.
The bottom doubles match, Keith Aiton & Wicks versus Patsy Fitzgerald & Alan McInerney was tighter and after the Irish pair equalised +5 in the second the match was adjourned to allow the first round of singles to start.
Fulford versus Cunningham started earliest and was a match both players will try to forget after at least six errors each in game 1 in normal playing conditions. Fulford emerged 2-0 winner after a better but still poor game 2.
Avery was next to finish to take GB to a 4-0 lead beating Simon Williams including a 5th turn TP in the first.
From here Ireland fought back. Andy Johnston had already taken the first 5th turn against Aiton and claimed the second +10 in a game where Keith twice failed 2-back.
Maugham and Mark McInerney had a very tight match. Dave won the first comfortably but Mark replied with a 5th turn win.
Mark looked set to repeat this feat in game 3 but failed 4 on a standard TP. Dave went to 1-back and after Mark missed his tea lady shot embarked on a sextuple. Dave eventually failed 1-back bouncing back to half an inch in front with one of Mark's balls five yards the other side and the other at 2-back and Dave peelee in the jaws of 3-back. (If you are going to break down on a sextuple, that's the best way to do it). Mark missed and Dave was able to re-establish a peeling turn, but was only able to get to penult and peg. The leave was a bit of a mess finishing with Dave rolling out from the centre of the court trying to put partner in corner 2, but missing the corner by two yards on the east side. Mark hit this 11 yard lift shot and finished with a double peel +4.
Patsy took a bitty first game +6 against Marcus. He looked to be about to take the second +25 when he failed a straight forward rover. Marcus had an awkward position to get going from and decided to take the one footer he had as a fine cut and missed it! At least, from GB's point of view, Patsy couldn't now get a rush to the peg and was only able to peg one ball out. Marcus hit to save the match and after one three ball break and then another had been established, +1 to Marcus looked on the cards. However almost at the finishing post, he failed a reasonably easy penult. Patsy was up by rover but was able to lift and line up a perfect 10 yard double from B-baulk which he hit. +4
By the end of the day the Irish comeback had levelled the match at 4-4, their final win of the day coming from Alan McInerney who won the deciding game against Jack +26.
GB's top two got the team off to a flying start. Fulford and Mark McInerney had a top quality match. Rob won the first sixth turn with a sextuple and was round to 4b third turn in the next. The leave left Mark a 23 yard double with a two ball hole in the middle from the end of B-baulk which he hit and then completed a TPO. Rob finished off the squeeze on turn 7.
Maugham won the first against Cunningham and then as in the match above the second started with a fourth turn TPO this time by Maugham. Ed failed to make any progress from the contact and then missed a couple of long shots, after the second of which Dave was able to get going with the aid of a nice Willock. (A Willock is a shot where you choose to rush out your pioneer).
6-4 to GB and also by this stage Avery had gone 1 up, while Aiton had lost a close first to Williams.
Marcus had played his best turn of the weekend to TPO Alan McInerney while at the same time peeling partner from 2 to 5. As usual for Marcus, he pegged off 2 balls giving himself a 4 hoop start in the 2 ball game. From there progress was messy. Marcus maintained his lead and eventually managed a break from 3-back to rover with Alan still on 4. Now badly needing a break Alan sprung to life but his break failed at 4-back. Marcus won from there. +4
Fitzgerald then took the first against Wicks +9.
Avery quickly won his second against Johnston fifth turn to make it 7-4 and leave GB only needing one for victory. Simon Williams soon pegged it back taking his second 26TP after Keith had only had croquet once on the 4th turn in an unpromising position. Keith tried a long roll and speculative hoop after which Simon hit in. 7-5
Alan had the first break in the second against Marcus but failed 3b. Marcus had turns at both a QPO and then a TPO before ending up making a slightly dodgy ladies TP leave for his backward ball on 1-back. He cross-wired Alan's balls at 2, leaving a rush on the peelee in the jaws of 4-back. Alan missed his 13 yarder and Marcus finished to clinch the match for GB.
In the aftermath Patsy finished off Jack and Jack got his revenge with Keith in the adjourned doubles match.
Final score GB won 9-6
Avery & Maugham beat M McInerney & Williams +6TP(M) +7TPO(M)
Evans & Fulford beat Cunningham & Johnston +26TP(F) +26TP(F)
Aiton & Wicks beat Fitzgerald & A McInerney +21 -5 +14
Maugham lost to M McInerney +25TP -26TP -4
Fulford beat Cunningham +6 +19TP
Avery beat Williams +26TP +17TP
Aiton lost to Johnston -26TP -10
Wicks lost to A McInerney -16 +4 -26
Evans lost to Fitzgerald -6 -4
Fulford beat M McInerney +26SXP +14OTP
Maugham beat Cunningham +17TP +13TPO
Aiton lost to Williams -6TP -26TP
Avery beat Johnston +15 +26TP
Evans beat A McInerney +4TPO +16TP
Wicks lost to Fitzgerald -9 -5