Solomon Cup Challenge

6 Jul - 10 Jul 1998

The following reports are extracted from Croquet World Online Magazine and the Nottingham Board.

Day 1 Results Story -- Chris Clarke


The Presidents match was held on 5th July at
Bowdon. As usual, the match was played by
American rules between the US team and a team
selected by John Solomon. In past year, this
match has been a close encounter, except for in 1997,
when the full GB team won 9-0.

In overcast conditions the Americans got off to a
flying start, winning the doubles 3-0. It soon became
clear that the Americans were too strong as all six
singles also went their way to give them a
9-0 whitewash and revenge for last year. Chris
Irwin came close to beating Jim Audas, and Don
Gaunt almost beat Mick Mehas before a good
comeback ensured the most convincing of scorelines.

Presidents Match Results

Mehas&Osborn bt Cordingley&Gaunt 26-15
Smith&Fournier bt Irwin&Irwin 25-6
Ruby&Audas bt Murray&Solomon 23-12

Ruby bt Cordingley 26-16
Osborne bt Colin Irwin 26-8
Mehas bt Gaunt 26-23
Fournier bt Solomon 26-11
Smith bt Murray 26-5
Audas bt Chris Irwin 21-17

USA win Presidents Cup 9-0


The first day of the 1998 Solomon trophy comprised
three best-of-three doubles. The first match to
finish was between the GB number 2 pair
Aiton&Cordingley and the US number one pair
Mehas&Osborn. Despite a good start by Aiton, the
US pair were soon in command.

The second match was between the GB number 3
pair Gaunt&Irwin and the US number 3 pair
Audas&Ruby. Nerves were very much in evidence
throughout this match, and it was the experienced
hand of Colin Irwin that guided the GB pair
to a straight games win to level at 1-1.

The final match saw the GB number 1 pair
Comish&Dawson quickly take the first against the
US number 2 pair Fournier&Smith. However, some
uncharacteristic errors from Comish allowed
the Americans to take the match into the
third game. Fournier soon had a clip on 4-back,
but the lift was hit by Comish, only for him to fail
hoop 2. The Americans made a good leave but
Comish hit a 30 yard double and went to 4-back.
After a missed lift, Dawson failed hoop 1, allowing
Jacques to make another leave for Charlie. Jeff missed
and Charlie embarked a triple peel. Despite obvious
nerves, the triple went smoothly and by the time
he reached hoop 6 Charlie had begun to look
confident. The rover peel was made before 3-back,
and Charlie completed the first triple of the day
to give the US the overnight lead at 2-1.

An excellent day for the Americans, with good
performances from Osborn, Mehas and Fournier
complemented by an fine turn when it mattered by
Smith. Only Irwin showed his true form on the GB side,
and it will be interesting to see if Tuesday's
singles bring some improved performances.

Day One Scores (Great Britain names first)

Aiton&Cordingley lost to Mehas&Osborn -15, -24
Gaunt&Irwin beat Audas&Ruby 15, 13
Comish&Dawson lost to Fournier&Smith 25, -8, -17tp

USA lead GB 2-1 (best of 21).

--as reported by Chris Clarke on the Nottingham Board

GB  Fight  Back on Day Two

Great Britain have found some form to take the
lead after two days of the Solomon. Steve Comish
had a good win over Mick Mehas to rally his
troops, but Jim Audas kept the Americans in contention
with a straight games victory over Jeff Dawson.

Day Two Results, Great Britain names first:

Comish bt Mehas 26-3, 26tp-0
Irwin bt Smith 26-15, 26-1
Dawson lost to Audas 21-26, 6-26
Aiton bt Fournier 26tpo-13, 26-11
Cordingley bt Osborn 26tp-20, 26-18
Gaunt unfinished vs Ruby 3-26, 26-12

GB lead US 5-3 aftertwo days of play, with one singles
game unfinished.

Day Three - Wednesday

The third day started with the sad news of the death
of Keith Aiton's mother. Keith's departure meant that
a replacement was needed, and Alan Linton bravely
volunteered to play. Alan has an unbeaten record playing
for Great Britain, having won all his matches against
South Africa a couple of years ago. However, having
left his mallet at Southwick last weekend, he was being
thrown in at the deep end.

Don Gaunt completed a good triple to win his doubles
after Mick Mehas had missed the peg-out of his own tp.
However, Jim Audas and Britt Ruby were giving the GB
number one pair of Comish and Dawson a hard time.
In past years, one of the differences between GB and
the USA has been that GB has always had the edge
in close endings. This advantage seems to be diminishing,
and the Americans duly won in two very close games.
In the third doubles, Alan Linton maintained his
unbeaten record with a straight games win.

The US, however, had the last say as Britt beat Don in
the unfinished singles from yesterday. So, if the US
can draw the singles 3-3 tomorrow, they will go into
the final day with a chance of victory for the first
ever time against GB.

Results from Day Three, Great Britain names first:

Gaunt&Irwin bt Mehas&Osborn 17, 2tp
Comish&Dawson lost to Audas&Ruby -2, -4
Linton&Cordingley bt Fournier&Smith 11, 5
Gaunt lost to Ruby -23, 14, -17

Great Britain leads the US 7-5 after three days of play.

--Chris Clarke

Days 4 & 5 Results & Story -- Chris Clarke


U.S. Hopes Barely Alive at End of Day Four

A disastrous first session for the Americans saw

Great Britain win all three matches in straight games
to move to 10-5, one away from victory. Colin Irwin
maintained his unbeaten record, and Jeff Dawson
posted his first win.

Surely the afternoon games would see Great Britain
over the winning line? Steve Comish was soon
game up with a 17tp win against Jaques
Fournier. In the second game, Steve pegged out
Jaques, giving contact 1-back and peg vs 1-back.
The balls were left in third and fourth corners, but
Steve did not have another stroke as Jaques
finished from the contact. Jaques continued his
good form to win the third game on the eighth
turn and keep the Test Match alive.

The other two matches were progressing at a
more leisurely pace. Cordingley looked sure to
take the first against Smith, taking croquet on
the south boundary with partner in rover when
for rover and peg, but failed to make his hoop,
which proved costly as Charlie went on to take
the first game of the match.

Alan Linton continued his excellent record;
taking the first game 3 against Mick Mehas in
an unfinished match.

Day Four Results, Great Britain names first:

Irwin bt Osborn 26tp, 8
Dawson bt Ruby 3tp, 26
Gaunt bt Audas 26, 2
Comish lost to Fournier 17tp, -8, -26
Linton leading Mehas 3
Cordingley trailing Smith -3

At end of Day Four:
GB leads USA 10 - 6 (2 unfinished)

Day Five - GB Retain Trophy with 14-7 Match Score

Great Britain retained the Solomon with what
turned out to be a respectable winning margin.
Comish and Dawson at last justified their
number one status with a straight games win
over their opposite numbers. Gaunt and Irwin,
however, lost their unbeaten record to Fournier
and Smith, who won the first game 1.
Cordingley and Linton also won in straight
games. This left plenty of time to complete
the two unfinished singles.

Cordingley beat Smith with a triple in the .
third meaning that all eyes were on the Linton
vs Mehas match. If Alan won he would
maintain his unbeaten record; if Mick won,
the US would have achieved their best ever
score against GB. An exciting deciding game
saw half an hour's play with Linton on rover and
peg and Mehas on 4-back and penult before
the Bowdon local triumphed.

The match had been competitive throughout,
and no player finished without a win.
The British team produced little sparkle
throughout but stuck to the task well to
become stronger every day. Congratulations
must go to Alan Linton for maintaining the
only unbeaten record after Keith's departure.

The key to the relative success of the American
team was that every team member contributed.
It has often been the case in the past that
one team member would be badly off form
and an almost guaranteed loss. This team had
six players, who, whilst not always playing well
at least played well enough to compete in
all matches.

The performance of Jaques Fournier will be
a welcome boost to American hopes in the next
MacRobertson. The US are beginning to show
strength in depth. Despite missing arguably
their top three players (Taves, Stark, Rodoni),
they were able to give a solid British team a
run for their money.

We looked forward to next year's match on the
other side of the pond.

Day Five Results - Great Britain names first:

Comish&Dawson bt Osborn&Mehas 17, 25tp
Cordingley&Linton bt Audas&Ruby 10, 8
Gaunt&Irwin lost to Fournier&Smith -1, -14
Cordingley bt Smith -3, 9, 18tp
Linton bt Mehas 3, -21, 7


--Chris Clarke

last updated 5 July 2004 PTB
return to Soloman Cup Challenges
return to Arizona Croquet Club Webpage