Jenny Williams: Day 3
Some commentary from Day 3: GB v NZ singles follows. For notes on the USA matches, I can highly recommend the very interesting and informative commentary by Eileen Soo on the Croquet World Online website.
Today 37deg, "the flies are absolutely horrific", but apparently a bit better at Shepparton where the GB/NZ action moves to tomorrow. Tomorrow supposed to hit 40. The kiwis, however, seem to be faring well in their "back to black" uniforms.
Today's matches in order of completion:
Rob v Paddy
Rob finished first, despite playing on the quick bowling green. Two triples - looks like a bit of a ploy to keep Paddy out of the play by not risking a breakdown on a SXP, but maybe there were other reasons.
game 2: Paddy made a couple of errors - including failing hoop2. Rob popped him to 3 and had his standard 1&3 leave: his balls tight in corner 2, oppo hoop3 ball just north of corner 4, oppo hoop1 ball halfway up west boundary.
Paddy considered things for a bit and had a long hard look at the long roll from corner 4 sending a ball to hoop2 and going to the balls in corner 2. Then he lifted his hoop1 ball, hit partner near corner 4 and did the big roll on this fast lawn...
- reports suggest the front ball would have gone off by about 10 yards
- but it hit hoop 6 - and also that the back ball could have gone off by some way - but that hit the peg. Paddy missed the subsequent 15 yarder and that was that.
Shane v Jonathan
a quick, clinical +26TP, +26TP. The kiwi #6 played very well, Jonathan missed no short shots, and lost without taking croquet.
Mark v Robert
Playing on the sandpit there weren't too many errors in this match.
In the first game Mark failed 4-back with 1 peel done, but Robert then failed hoop4.
(might have been another error or two in here, not sure) Game 2 was a tidy 26tp.
Keith v Greg
Like Chris and Rob, Keith remains error free in this tournament. A very impressive Mac debut.
Game 1: Keith to 4back 3rd turn, Greg hit 4th turn but left a double for the lift. Keith finished 5th turn.
Game 2: lots of missing at the start. Keith then went around somewhere about 5th turn and won 7th after the lift was missed.
Chris v Brian
Brian won game 1 6th turn. Chris opted for a defensive opening and took a defensive lift.
Wiz supershot. Chris went about 2 yards east of the peg Wiz hit his 21-ish yard dribble from corner 1 at Chris's ball. An error came when he was approaching 2back from about 18inches towards corner 1 with a thick takeoff. The striker's ball didn't get past level with the hoop (bad contact suspected). Brian retired to the middle of the East boundary.
Chris hit his 6 yarder and went to 4b with a poor MSL: ball at hoop4 about 2/3 the way through hoop4 leaving a decent target. Brian shot from A baulk at this ball and missed. Chris finished.
Brian east boundary
Chris missed into corner 4
Brian took an aggressive 4th turn shot at Chris's ball in corner 4 and missed Chris to 4back with a good MSL Brian lifted the ball at hoop2 and took the short shot. Hit, went to 4back with a good MSL with the oppo balls the right way around.
Chris took the short shot with his hoop 1 ball and finished.
Dave v Aaron
This match finished about 2 hours after the other singles matches
Dave supershot. Aaron dribbled at it from corner 1 leaving Dave a free shot to end just out of corner 4.
Dave shot missing Aaron's ball to about a yard along south boundary from corner 4 Aaron shot at Dave's ball in corner 4 and missed Dave -> 4back Aaron hit lift -> 4back Dave hit and finished.
Dave just out of corner 4
Aaron missed leaving a double
Dave missed the double
Aaron -> 4back, Dave missed, Aaron finished.
The only thing to add to Kate/Gary's report of the third game is that Dave had an excellent opportunity to finish from the contact after getting a good rush to hoop2 after running 1, however he got his reception ball too close to the line of the peg approaching hoop 5 and only had about a third of a ball to shoot at after 5.
For the rest of the match both Dave and Aaron kept having finishing opportunities - which Aaron finally took.
Current match standings: 8-4 to GB
GB can wrap up the test match if they sweep the doubles at Shepparton tomorrow, but going by the results so far, it looks likely that the kiwis should be able to hold them off till the final day. It'll be interesting to see what sort of peeling turns the Brits attempt if they do seal the test early.
While GB must be pretty overwhelming favourites for this test (though all is clearly not yet lost), the Australia v NZ test in the next round is looking like being a cracker. It'll be interesting to see if any team orders are changed given the results of the first round tests, and to see how Paddy gets on once he really gets into his MacRobertson Shield campaign, particularly given his excellent results against Australia in the Trans Tasman series earlier this year.