Surbiton names first
Chris Farthing & Stephen Mulliner lost to James Death & Marcus Evans -17
Samir Patel beat Ian Vincent +16
Paul Salisbury beat William Gee +26tp
Mulliner lost to Death -26tp (5th turn)
Farthing beat Evans +26tp (5th turn)
Patel beat Gee +25tp
Salisbury beat Vincent +24
The match was played at Surbiton under blue skies with quickish courts (almost 11 Plummers) and firmly-set hoops, courtesy of Chris Farthing. Both sides were not quite at full strength with Keith Aiton wired by attendance at Wimbledon and Reg is not allowed out of the house these days.
The subtle firm hoop strategy seemed to have paid off when the doubles began with a Mulliner supershot, a Death second ball hit and take-off to 12 inch, slightly angled position at hoop 1 and a most unexpected rejection. However, the master hoop-setter missed the 6-yarder and Evans took a ball to 4b with a NSL. Mulliner hit from A-baulk and replied in kind only to see Death also hit from A-baulk - and promptly fail hoop 1 again. Mulliner missed from 18 yards at a ball and a half and Death motored round on a triple until some over-close balls at rover caused him first to have a poor straight peel and then a failed angled jump. Surbiton failed to hit and that was shortly that.
Meanwhile Paul Salisbury, on his maiden outing for Surbiton, had produced an accurate TP to beat William Gee while Samir Patel, despite conceding the first break to Ian Vincent, appeared to have everything under control with a delayed TP of his own. However, Samir is getting a reputation for post-rover accidents and this time he ran onto partner and then became seized with the dreaded combination pegout compulsion. This culminated in a wildly over-ambitious attempted half-jump double pegout which inevitably left the partner ball (and team captain) unimpressed and the striker's ball very close to a baulk-line. Vincent made hoop 1 off partner and had a standard TP for victory in his sights. However, fortunately for Surbiton, not to say Samir, a missed roquet in front of hoop 2 handed the game back to the home side.
Lunch was a Noble special so there was time to get on with the second round of matches. Madness is clearly contagious because Evans chose to respond to a deep supershot from Farthing by attempting to run hoop 1 from the boundary. Possibly he doubted that Chris would hit the 6-yarder if he failed! However, this proved to be a major error and Farthing produced two good and careful breaks including a 5th turn delayed TP. Mulliner and Death had started about 10 minutes later on the adjoining court but finished about 10 minutes earlier following a Death supershot, a Mulliner ball to middle of E boundary and a Death hit from B baulk plus ball to 4-back with a W boundary leave. Mulliner missed by the proverbial coat of paint into Corner 2 and Death finished a 5th turn standard TP with his usual speed. So 3-2 to Surbiton at this stage.
The other two matches were, sadly for Nottingham, rather one-sided. Patel returned to his normal, sane, persona and finished a nice TP and Salisbury proved just as reliable as earlier in the day to round off a relatively comfortable 5-2 win for Surbiton.