• MacRobertson Shield - NZ Win

    The third and final pair of test matches for the MacRobertson Shield are about to start in Mt. Maunganui, on the East coast of New Zealand's North Island.  The venue is a multi-sports and social club, with six lawns and a magnificant clubhouse (pavilion would be nowhere near doing it justice!).  The weather is forecast fine and about 24 degrees for duration, except for a front coming over on the third day.

    England play New Zealand to decide the series.  The England team order is unchanged, as is the top of the New Zealand one, which means that James and Paddy will play on the final day, as will Robert Fulford and Chris Clarke, who used to be doubles partners for Great Britain before Chris moved out to New Zealand.  Australia play the USA for 3rd place.

    Chris Clarke (left) and Robert Fulford at the opening ceremony of the final tests.

    Day One

    Despite a couple of early wins, England lost all three of the opening doubles matches. James Death went round quickly on the third turn and finished after Stephen Mulliner went round to take the first game against Jenny Clarke and Greg Brant, but failed to hit in the second game. Stephen went to 1-back in the decider, after Jenny had gone to 4-back, but James stuck in hoop 1 with a sextuple or tpo ahead of him.

    On the other front lawn, David Maugham and Jamie Burch made little impact on Aaron Westerby and Tony Garrison. At the far end, Robert Fulford and Samir Patel won the first against Robert's former doubles partner, Chris Clarke, and Paddy Chapman, lost the second and got to 4-back and peg in the decider, but Paddy hit the lift and Chris finished with a triple.

    Australia lead the USA 2-1.

    Day Two

    On the second day, New Zealand went 5-0 ahead before England finally won a rubber. Burch and Maugham lost in two games after Burch was pegged out in the first, after an interrupted TPO by Chris Clarke and Paddy Chapman, and had no play in the second. Stephen Mulliner, with both Aaron Westerby and James Death's balls at 4-bak also elected to do a TPO after roqueting the opponent's ball instead of partner, leaving a 2-ball ending, but this proved fatal when Topy Garrison won from hoop 1 against 4-back. They again got no play in the second. Robert Fulford finished the first of his games with Samir Patel against Jenny Clarke and Greg Brant with a quadruole, but lost the second after sticking in 3-Back to leave a TP for Greg. Samir did a TPO in the decider, and Robert won the nervous end-game, which included a replay after a misplaced clip. There are 6 singles games tomorrow.

    Day Three

    The third day's weather forecast reduced the rain predicted earlier to the chance of an afternoon shower, and I woke to a mixture of blue sky and cloud.  However, a Westerly wind got up in the middle of the day.

    The reverse singles, of which England needed at least one rubber to keep the test alive, were:

    Samir Patel v Jenny Clarke: Jenny took the first +17tp and also the second to give NZ a 6-1 lead.

    David Maugham v Aaron Westby: Aaron won the first +19, and the second to give NZ a 7-1 lead.

    Jamie Burch v Toby Garrison: Toby took the first +15tp, Jamie won the second, but Toby took the third with a tp. NZ lead 8-1.

    James Death v Chris Clarke: James won the first 12 tpo and the second, to take the test into a fourth day. NZ lead 8-2.

    Robert Fulford v Paddy Chapman: Rob won the first +13tp and the second +26tp. NZ lead 8-3.

    Stephen Mulliner v Greg Bryant: Stephen won the first +26, but lost the three ball ending in the second -2.  However, he won the final game +17 to leave the teams sharing the honours on the day, but NZ 8-4 ahead.

    Three of them were late starts, as there are only six lawns available for the 9 matches (Australia and USA are playing doubles), but games here have been much quicker than at the other venues.  Australia ended the day leading the USA 9-3.

    The fourth day will have three doubles matches, of which England must win at least one to take the match into the final day:

    Stephen Mulliner & James Death v Chris Clarke & Paddy Chapman

    David Maugham & Jamie Burch v Greg Bryant & Jenny Clarke

    Robert Fulford & Samir Patel v Aaron Westerby & Toby Garrison

    Day Four

    The fourth day will have three doubles matches, of which England must win at least one to take the match into the final day. It is sunny, but still with a strong Westerly wind. The courts are drying out.

    Stephen Mulliner & James Death v Chris Clarke & Paddy Chapman: Chris and Paddy won the first +15, after James seemed to have trouble getting the speed of the court. Stephen played a fine break and James finished from 4-Back to win the second +17. Chris and Paddy each played good breaks to take the decider +24. NZ lead 9-4.

    David Maugham & Jamie Burch v Greg Bryant & Jenny Clarke: Greg and Jenny won the first +4, after 3.5 hours and a pegged out ending in which Jamie hit several times but could not get a break. David and Jamie are also well behind in the second, but got back in to take the game +6 to level the match at 17:00. They won the third about 8pm to leave NZ with a 9-5 lead, our first doubles victory.

    Robert Fulford & Samir Patel v Aaron Westerby & Toby Garrison: Robert and Samir won the first +6, after good 3-ball break from Samir after Robert had TPO'd. However, it didn't finish until after lunch and, by 4pm, no-one had made a break of more than three hoops in the second. A 2-ball ending, which started with Rob on 4 and Toby on 4-Back, reached a position with both balls for rover and the balls on opposite sides of the court. An impasse was declared, but the first attempt to resolve it ended with the same position. (After a toss, the balls are played from baulk, and no roquet can be made until ten turns have been played or the turn after a ball has run a hoop for itself). In the second attempt, Rob lagged from baulk to in front of rover; Toby tried to clear but missed into 3rd corner; Rob ran the hoop and lagged to a position between hoops one and two; Toby missed and Rob hit the peg, to leave NZ 9-6 ahead, with six singles remaining.

    Meanwhile, Australia have got over the line to take the test against the USA and hence 3rd place in the series.

    Final Day

    New Zealand wrapped up the test by winning the first two rubbers to finish.  Aaron Westerby, the NZ captain, beat Stephen Mulliner in two games, and Toby Garrison took them over the line by beating Samir Patel, the England captain, also in two games.  Jamie Burch won in three against Jenny Clark.  The match between James Death and Paddy CHapman took on the nature of an exhibition, with Paddy winning in two games after James twice started on a septuple. 

    Congratulations to New Zealand for breaking the long run of England victories.

    Detailed results and commentary are on the croquetscores eebsite.


  • MacRobertson Shield - 2nd tests - England and NZ win

    The second tests started on a very windy day at two venues in Hawkes Bay, which is on the East Coast of New Zealand's North Island. Two clubs are hosting the matches: England is playing the USA at Te Mata in Havelock North, and Australia is playing New Zealand at Marewa in Napier. Like Christchurch, the venue for the first tests, Napier has been devastated by an earthquake, but rather longer ago: it was destroyed in 1931 and rebuilt in the then current Art Deco style.

    New Zealand continued their success, but only won two of the three opening doubles matches, with one adjourned at one game all after 12 hours of play (sorry for the misinformation in the first version of this message). England ended a long day with a 2-1 lead over the USA, James Death and Stephen Mulliner narrowly winning against Jeff Soo and Richard Lamm, a changed USA pairing since the first test. England's team order was unchanged. In the other matches, Jamie Burch and David Maugham beat Jim Bast and Danny Hunnycutt in two games, but Rob Fulford and Samir Patel were beaten by Ben Rothman and David Maloof, also in straight games.

    On day two, the wind having dropped, England won all three doubles matches 2-0, but not without plenty of alarms on the way. Rob Fulford completed the only triple of the test so far to win the first game +26tp after his partner Samir Patel had gone round, but they took the second by a smaller margin. David Maugham and Jamie Burch had two close endings, winning both games +3. James Death and Stephen Mulliner were last to finish at about 17.20. New Zealand won a further two doubles matches, again leaving one unfinished.

    England won all six singles on the third day to gain a winning 11-1 lead against the USA. James Death was first to finish, with two TPs against the American no 1, Ben Rothman. Jamie Burch's match against Rich Lamm was the only one to go to three games, with the first ending +2 to Jamie. At Marewa, conditions were easier because of an accident with the watering system. Robert Fletcher beat Paddy Chapman in two games, in a re-run of the World Championship final, and Ian Dumergue beat Toby Garrison to give the Australians two wins to NZ's four. New Zealand also won Monday's unfinished doubles, to take a 9-2 lead, leaving them needing two further wins to take the test and set up a decider against England.

    The fourth day had the remaining doubles in both tests. New Zealand gained the two wins needed to win the test against Australia, but they still have two matches to complete, both involving Steve Forster and Robert Fletcher. England won three close matches to extend their lead against the USA. James Death accidentally pegged out his own ball at the end of a TPO, to leave both the other balls for hoop 1. Stephen Mulliner eventually won the two-ball ending +3. The second game was even closer: +2 to the English pair. The USA took the second game in both the other two doubles, but England came back to win the deciders.

    On the final day in Hawkes Bay, the USA took the top singles match, Ben Rothman (who is to be married tomorrow) against Robert Fulford, and David Maloof beat Stephen Mulliner, both in 3 games.  England won the other four singles to end 18-3 up, James having three valiant attempts at sextuples.   The Australia v New Zealand match is still incomplete, with two doubles outstanding, but New Zealand have a 15-4 lead.  They took 4 of the days 6 singles, including the match between Chris Clarke and Robert Fletcher, to leave Chris undefeated in singles so far.  Paddy Chapman also won.

    Results and commentary are being uploaded to

  • MacRobertson Shield - 1st tests

    The first round of matches of Tier 1 of the AC World Team Championship, for the MacRobertson Shield, was played at Christchurch, capital of the South Island of New Zealand.  England played Australia and New Zealand the USA.  Club members James Death (England)  and Paddy Chapman (New Zealand) are playing at number two for their respective teams, so are scheduled to meet on the final day of the series.


    Each team has six players, and a test match is the best of 21 rubbers, each consisting of a best of 3 match played under the standard (not super-advanced) laws of advanced play.  The teams can choose who partners each other in the doubles, and each pair plays the opposing ones to give 9 rubbers.  The other 12 are singles: 1v2, 2v1, 3v4, 4v3, 5v6 and 6v5, then 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, 5v5 and 6v6.

    Results and some commentary are available at

    Both matches are now decided: England beat Australia 16-5 and NZ beat USA 20-1.  Paddy beat the USA no 1 Ben Rothman, and James notched up his first singles win by beating Stephen Forster.


  • Mary Rose and Longman Finals

    At lunch, Nottingham led Hurlingham 3-0 in the Mary-Rose, but trailed 1-2 against Southport in the Longman.

    After an excellent beef casserole, Ian lost to Tom Coles, but Omied pegged out moments later to take a winning lead in the Mary Rose.  Peter Death also won to give us a 5-2 victory.

    In the Longman Ian Dovey won to level the match at 2-2, but Southport won the remaining games. 

    On Sunday, in the 3rd place play-off, Enfield beat Nottingham 4-3, with one win on each side by +1.


    Peter Death waits while Omied Hallam pegs out to win the Mary Rose.

    Mary Rose Results:

    Ian Vincent & Richard Huxley bt Tom Coles and Alan Chance +10
    Peter Death bt Richard Hoskyns +19
    Omied Hallam bt Veronica Carlisle +20

    Ian Vincent lost to Tom Coles -23
    Richard Huxley lost to Alan Chance -16
    Omied Hallam bt Richard Hoskyns +23
    Peter Death bt Veronica Carlisle +23

    Longman Cup Semi-final Results:

    Carol Lewis & Brian Lewis lost to Bob Thompson & Sue Wileman -3
    Tony Thomas bt Ian Dovey +1(t)
    Alan Farrell bt Nigel Hames-Keward +20

    Carol Lewis bt Bob Thompson +2
    Brian Lewis lost to Ian Dovey -24
    Tony Thomas bt Nigel Hames-Keward +14
    Alan Farrell bt Sue Wileman +4(t)

    Longman Cup 3rd place play-off against Enfield:

    Brian Havill & John Street bt Nigel Hames-Keward & Sue Wileman +4(t)
    Tony Elliott bt Bob Thompson +13
    David Frost lost to Ian Dovey -3(t)

    David Frost bt Nigel Hames-Keward +16
    Brian Havill bt Bob Thompson +1
    Tony Elliott lost to Ian Dovey -8
    John Street lost to Sue Wileman -1(t)

  • Watford beat Nottingham 4-3 in Murphy Shield Final

    The Northampton club kindly hosted the final of the Murphy Shield on their lawns in front of St Andrew's hospital. They had a good surface, with firm hoops, and the pronounced slope down from the East to the West boundaries added an extra dimension to the game.

    On paper, the two teams looked evenly matched, and so it proved. The two morning singles were shared, both finishing before the second game of the doubles had got under-way, the first having taken well over an hour with some closely contested hoops. The Nottingham pair eventually took the second as well. Lunch was taken on the hoof, in view of the forecast for heavy rain, which thankfully did not materialise.

    John Bee beat Eileen Buxton comfortably to level the match, then John Smallbone beat Kath Wright 7-6 in the third to give Watford the lead. Ian Vincent looked to be going down to his more experienced (at GC at least) opponent Steve Dennis, but clawed back to take the second at the 13th hoop and won the third to level the match again. That left Geoff Johnson and Patricia Duke-Cox on the lawn, with the rest of us nervously watching. As with the senior Inter-Club event, it all went down to the 13th hoop of the final game. Patricia got into the jaws, but Geoff cleared her from behind the hoop, leaving the way clear for his other ball to score it.

    Sadly, John Handy, who has been managing the inter-club events for the last few years, and had given the trophy, was unable to come, so the Nottingham Secretary switched to his CA role to present the Murphy Shield to the Watford captain.

    Results with Watford names first:

    Steve Dennis & Geoff Johnson lost to Ian Vincent & Patricia Duke-Cox 3-7 5-7
    John Smallbone bt Eileen Buxton 7-6 7-4
    John Bee lost to Kath Wright 1-7 5-7

    Steve Dennis lost to Ian Vincent 7-5 6-7 4-7
    Geoff Johnson bt Patricia Duke-Cox 2-7 7-3 7-6
    John Smallbone bt Kath Wright 7-5 4-7 7-6
    John Bee bt Eileen Buxton 7-3 7-3


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