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MacRobertson Shield Report: England v New Zealand

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pictureMark Avery and Jamie Burch in play during the MacRobertson Shield 2022 (Photo: Victorian Croquet Association)

by England MacRobertson Shield Team at Victorian Croquet Centre, Cainlea, Melbourne
22nd November 2022 (The MacRobertson Shield)

Day 1: Doubles 1

Today saw the start of the second test, with England playing New Zealand, and Australia playing USA.

Jamie and Mark raced into an early leave with a TP by Jamie in the first, but didn't quite finish off game 2 (missed roquet before rover). After some missed lifts, Bryant/Clarke took that game but Mark and Jamie wrapped up the first point in game 3. Match score 1-0.

James and Harry had chances in their first game, but a TP never got going and Chapman/Fordyce hit more than we did to win. Game 2 had more errors on both sides, but NZ pipped that one too. Match score 1-1.

Samir and Christian had a long drawn out game 1, with plenty of chances on both sides before Westerby/Webby pegged Christian out leaving them for penult and peg with Samir for 4-back alone. After some cagey play, Samir hit a 40 yard shot and finished. Game 2 was quicker, but still with chances for both sides. However, it concluded (at around 6pm) with another England win. Match score 2-1.

[Samir Patel]

Day 2: Doubles 2

James & Harry had a quick match against Greg & Jenny with an error free 17tp 6th turn in the first game before a comfortable second to stretch England's lead to 3-1.

Christian & Samir never really got going against Paddy & Edmund and succumbed to a 2-0 defeat. (Test Score 3-2)

Jamie & Mark who have demolished all before them so far were playing Aaron and Felix, they put down a chance to win the first game and eventually lost it at lunchtime. As the wind picked up so did the error count. Jamie had a controlled tp to equalise but the third game went scrappy. Mark had a chance to finish from 4back and peg but taking off to partner at the peg, accidentally pegged himself out. Felix went from 2back to the peg, set the leave giving Jamie a 16yd peg shot with the New Zealand balls waiting at the other end for a game winning break. Jamie shot anyway, missed the peg but hit one of the New Zealand balls to rapturous applause (from the England team anyway) A big win that gives us a 4-2 lead going into the first singles tomorrow.

[James Death]

Day 3: Singles 1

A bad day at the office almost all round as we lost the day 5-1. Only Jamie winning, maintaining his unbeaten record, keeps us in contention with two days to go.

[Harry Fisher]

Day 4: Doubles 3

Trailing 7-5, a big day was needed. Mark & Jamie kept their unbeaten doubles record intact with a 2-0 win over the previously unbeaten Paddy & Edmund. There were numerous stoppages for gusty winds as players stood over their shots, and a few pauses as everyone took cover for the torrential horizontal rain and hail.

James & Harry won the first but unfortunately timed errors cost them their match. As it finished Christian was running a 3 ball break to win his and Samir's match 2-0.

2-1 on the day, only trailing 7-8 going into day 5. Winning 4 of the 6 singles will win the test tomorrow.

[Mark Avery]

Day 5: Singles 2

Going into the final day of test 2 trailing by 1 point, England needed to win the day 4-2 to secure the test. Mark continued to demonstrate his pure class with two quick tps against Felix, and Christian joined him in the clubhouse shortly after with two 9,12,5s against Greg. Paddy picked up a 2-0 win against James in a similar timeframe and it was 9-9 before lunch.

Aaron had the first against Jamie with a 26TP and Jamie responded with a 5th turn TP in the second. After lunch it was Aaron who took round first break but Jamie hit the lift and was beginning his leave after running 3b when he missed a cut rush into Baulk. A pressure turn for Aaron came to an unexpected end when his jump shot at the jawsed rover peel was faulted and Jamie finished with a another classy TP.

Harry and Jenny exchanged 26-0 games in the first two to make their match 1-1 when starting lunch. But Jenny took the third 26-9 finishing about the same time as Jamie's final TP bringing the test to 10 matches all.

Bringing us to the final match, Skipper Samir vs Debutant Edmund. Edmund nearly took the first early doors but a missed return roquet after penult allowed Samir to take a ball round. By lunchtime Samir had taken his other ball round and pegged off Edmund's peg ball to leave the clips penult and peg plays rover and box. Samir stuck in penult with his peg ball waiting for him at rover, Edmund took the shot at the ¼ ball target in penult from c2 and hit to win the first. In the second Edmund had first break but Samir hit and equalised, Edmund hit again but with his 4b ball and decided to take it to Peg, a thrash through rover saw a 9 yard return roquet which he declined in favour of c4. An exchange of misses occurred and Samir took his hoop 1 ball to peg and pegged off Edmund to leave the clips 1 and box plays 4b and peg (the crowd were looking for 2 off). A flamboyant running of hoop 1 to the north boundary followed by hitting the peg ball in c2 saw what could have been the start of a promising 3b break for Edmund but the roll to hoop 2 was wide and long and Samir regrouped allowing for a 35 yard suicide shot which was missed and Samir finished to bring the scores on the doors to 10-10, 1-1. By this time a small crowd had gathered and the livestreaming were being paid overtime.

In the final game Samir has a supershot but missed the c2 response leaving Edmund a double for the first break which he hits, but a short rush to hoop 3 sees a difficult hoop failed and Samir takes a ball round. Edmund misses the open 11 yarder on the B spread giving Samir an opportunity for a TP to win the second test. A safe attempt at the first peel after 3 fails and Samir wisely opts for a safe ball to the peg. A defensive leave from Samir was missed and after an exciting rush and roll to 4b Samir puts together a 3 hoop break to secure the test for England bringing home another 11-10 win vs NZ. All to play for in the final test versus Australia.

[Christian Carter]


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