The dust has settled and play has commenced in earnest. All teams are concentrating now on what it is really about.
I spoke to Robert Fulford yesterday about the lawns to get some comparisons for you. The bowling green speed was about 15 seconds and the main croquet lawns 11 seconds. Lawn 6 at the moment is a bit slower as are the Shepparton Lawns, say 10 seconds. Hoops were evenly and as firmly set as possible in sandy soil and lawns generally easy, with the bowling green and lawn 6 more difficult, but not appreciably.
The hoops are Australian Croquet Company championships hoops at Rich River and Whyte's championship hoops at Shepparton. During the check of the Rich River hoops two 3 .75 hoops were found, presumably swapped by mistake when being shipped around Australian for national events. These hoops were replaced.
Hoops are set, with the largest ball of a set and with feeler gauges that are meant to be 1/32 inch. A check of all feeler gauges revealed that the size of feeler gauges meant to be 1/16 of an inch (0.8mm) varied from 0.65 to 0.9 mm. Feeler gauges were tested using good quality veneer callipers, capable of measuring to 0.05mm.
The hoops have been set tight on the 0.9mm gauge, but with some ball compression the setting is very close to 0.8mm wider than the diameter of the ball used in the setting.
As a matter of interest of the Australian, New Zealand and English gauges, the New Zealand Gauge was the most accurate - it did actually measure 0.8mm. Plastic gauges were mostly out of tolerance and had the wider variance - probably due to compression with use over time.
Dawson International balls are being used. The balls come from Croquet Australia's stock. Use is minimal and mainly for Australian Championships and International events. The balls have been measured using veneer callipers and some with a micrometer. Diameters do differ on the four measurements taken per ball by up to 0.20mm. There is unknown measurement error in this process.
The measurements confirm that the balls are so close to 92mm that we are wasting our time using feeler gauges and should simply use gauges that measure 92.8mm to set hoops. We will probably do this here for future national championships when we get some made. It a practical sense it is almost impossible to ensure that ball sets are not mixed either in practice or during the event. Unless the balls are subject to continual measurement there is no certainty that they have not been mixed.
Scores just in from Shepparton
Clarke & Fleming (Australia) defeated Hunneycutt & Cherry (USA) -26, +24, +14
Forster & Bassett (Australia) lost to Soo & Lamm -8, +9, +26
Dumergue & Watts (Australia) versus Stark & Bidencope 14/26, 26/9, third game USA in play. Australia - Penult & 5, USA - 4B and approaching 2b with 4 ball break. Australia with a possible lift shot if break completed.
Latest: Dumergue & Watts defeated Stark & Bidencope third game. Bidencope completed break to 4 back set leave a bit low opposite 3 back on east boundary. Watts hit lift from A baulk. Completed double peel from 5 and finished 26/21.
Australia 2/1 now with 9 matches to 3
All teams have agreed to lodge team order of play for the next tests at 4.00pm on the fifth day of Test 1 and 2.
During brief discussions with Team captains & managers they had no issues about the event that they wished to raise.