MacRobertson Shield Days 13 &14: England bt New Zealand but Australia take the Shield
Day 13 was the first day of singles in the Test against New Zealand, with England leading 4-2. Any chance of winning the Mac depended on both USA beating Australia, and then match count; so England needed a big score.
In early play Dave Maugham was on the 1-2 losing end of a high quality match with Aitken Hakes, but James Hopgood had a 2-0 win over Chris Shilling.
The rest of the matches were more balanced, and as the temperature soared to over 40 degrees C play became slower, and the increasing pull in croquet stokes increased errors, particularly in peeling turns. Stephen Mulliner was lucky to beat Joe Hogan after the latter missed a peg out in game 3, but the others all won 2-0 for an overall 5-1 result on the day and a 9-3 test score.
Day 14 returned to doubles, with a strong start by the Kiwis who won 2 of the 3 opening games, but England remained resilient in even higher temperatures to score another 3-0 clean sweep, and win the test 12-3, with six matches to play.
However, moments after that result, Malcolm Fletcher pegged out to win his match and for Australia to beat USA 11-6 (with four points still to play for) and hence win the MacRobertson Shield.
Tomorrow is effectively now dead play. Australia and USA have three doubles matches to play out, while England and New Zealand have six singles. It is likely that the late starts won't start, and with the temperature forecast
to rise further it will not be surprising if play in this MacRobertson Shield fizzles out with matches abandoned on safety grounds if temperatures approach the forecast 44 degrees C.