Solomon Cup Challenge

30 Jun - 3 Jul 2004

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

Preview by Phil Cordingley -- Bob Alman
by Phil Cordingley
(from the Croquet Association Website news)

The 2004 Solomon Trophy competition will take place
from Wednesday 30th June to Saturday 3rd July inclusive
at Heaton Park, Manchester, with play commencing at
09:30 each day.

The Solomon Trophy was inaugurated in 1985 and is
competed for annually, with the right to host
alternating between the US and Great Britain. GB has
won each of the 14 encounters to date, their best wins
being 20 matches to nil at Surbiton in 2001, and 20 - 1
at Cheltenham in 1988.

The (British) Croquet Association Selection Committee
has chosen Matthew Burrow, Chris Clarke, Robert
Fulford, John Gibbons, Jonathan Kirby and David Maugham
to represent Great Britain. Robert Fulford will captain
the side. This is an extremely strong team, containing
as it does-five time World Singles Champion Robert
Fulford, former World Singles Champion Chris Clarke,
and two other members of the team that retained the
World Team Championship (MacRobertson Shield) in
Florida last November - Matthew Burrow and David "The
Beast" Maugham. In contrast to these four, John Gibbons
and Jonathon Kirby are making their first appearance
for GB, and have an early opportunity to impress, with
a view to selection for the next World Team
Championship to be held in 2006.

The USCA Selection Committee has selected Bob Cherry,
Doug Grimsley, Rich Lamm, Mik Mehas, Kenster Rosenberry
and Jeff Soo to represent the United States. Jeff Soo
will captain the American team. Whilst Kenster
Rosenberry is the only player who played in the last
World Team Championship, Jeff Soo and Doug Grimsley
were reserves, and Mik Mehas and Jeff Soo have previous
World Team Championship experience.

Heaton Park is being used for the first time as a major
Croquet Championship venue. Its international pedigree
is not in doubt, however, as it hosted the lawn bowls
competitions at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.
It is the home of Bury Croquet Club.


Team rankings, playing order -- Bob Alman

The order of the teams was determined on Tuesday
afternoon preceding the beginning of competition on
Wednesday morning. The traditional test match protocol
requires that the team captains record the ranking of
each team, from strongest to weakest, and that those
rankings be exhanged immediately prior to the games.

The rankings are signficant, as the singles competition
is NOT an all-play-all format. Instead, the top two
from each teams play against the top two of the other
team; and likewise the third and fourth on each team;
and the fifth and sixth. For example, the team
rankings below show that Fulford and Clarke, ranked one
and two respectively for Great Britain, will play
singles against the Americans Mehas and Soo. Maugham
and Burrow (UK) will play against Cherry and
Rosenberry; and Gibbons and Kirby (UK) will compete
against Grimsley and Lamm.

Doubles, on the other hand are an all-play-all

Generally there is an alternation of singles and
doubles. The event starts with doubles on the first
day, and if there is time, some singles scheduled for
the second day may be started on the first day.



Wednesday play started at 9:30 AM with these doubles

Burrow & Fulford v Cherry & Rosenberry
Clarke & Kirby v Grimsley & Mehas
Gibbons & Maugham v Lamm & Soo

[Thanks to Robert Fulford for this information]

Day One Results -- Bob Alman



Great Britain won all three doubles matches on the
first day in good time, allowing a start on the singles
matches scheduled for Day Two.

All the matches in the Solomon are best-of-three in
both singles and doubles. Victory in the overall test
match goes to the team that wins 11 of the 21 scheduled
matches (nine doubles and 12 singles).

The US has started out with a much better performance
in singles than in doubles. Jeff Soo posted the first
US win by defeating the GB team captain and world
champion Robert Fulford in the third game of the match
with a triple peel - his first victory over Fulford in
at least several encounters.

Robert Fulford reports that in the unfinished singles
matches, Cherry (US) and Burrow (GB) are split and Lamm
(US) holds a one-zip advantage over Gibbons. Here are
the scores after Day One as reported by Robert Fulford:

Burrow & Fulford beat Cherry & Rosenberry
Clarke & Kirby beat Grimsley & Mehas
Gibbons & Maugham beat Lamm & Soo

Fulford lost to Soo +24SXP-20-26TP
Maugham beat Rosenberry +17+6
Burrow versus Cherry +23-8
Gibbons trails Lamm -12TPO


Hawkins Commentary, Day One -- Bob Alman

by James Hawkins
(from the Nottingham Board)

US players in the Solomon Trophy must have finally
understood the British obsession with the weather,
which was - to say the least - changeable, even by
Manchester standards. With flooding followed by light
drizzle, blazing sunshine, stormy winds and heavy
downpours, this was surely a supreme test of the
players' ability to adjust to variances in pace.

I was unable to watch all of today's play, Day One of
the event, and understand that results will be posted
here by someone who stayed right to the bitter end. I
did see a couple of games which provided much

Fulford vs Soo started typically, with Fulford taking
the first break to 1-back. He peeled both R & Y (Soo)
to 2, leaving a wide join - in Corner III and a few
yards down the East Boundary. Soo shot and missed, and
RF started the delayed SXP. At 2, black (peelee)
became lodged on the wire on the playing side. Rob
cannoned it off with yellow anyway, and peeled 1-back
after. With his remote hoop 4 pioneer (yellow) at 2-
back, he rushed black full-face into it, leaving peelee
and pioneer in contact mid-lawn. The break became more
and more delayed, and the roquets on escape balls
longer and longer. Eventually, he succeeded in peeling
4-back on the way to 3-back, straight peeled penult
from 6 inches, and went out with a standard rover peel.

Even with an almost total lack of luck Robert ground
out the sextuple from nothing. The break never looked
controlled, but then again it never looked like failing.

Game 2, when I left it, had Soo on 4-back with the
first ball. Jeff stuck in 3 with the makings of a laid
triple in front of him. I didn't wait to see the
outcome, but it looked poised to swing either way.
[Soo won the match 2-1 - editor]

On the neighbouring lawn was the most drawn-out endgame
I believe I've ever seen in 20 years. I only saw the
last 3.5 hours of play, so can't comment on how they'd
got there. Jonathan Kirby (Red) was for penult. Doug
Grimsley's Blue was on Peg, with Mik Mehas on 5 with
Black. Chris Clarke's yellow had been pegged out some
time just after lunch.

Mehas seemed intent on ultra-defensive play, and played
to wire Kirby at every opportunity. Even when open
Kirby's shooting failed to come good, but the American
pair made little progress. Eventually Mehas laid up on
the west boundary level with 6 (his hoop). Kirby took
the east boundary by 4-back. Mehas finally played a
decent rush, made 6, made 1-back and played the wrong
ball. Kirby took on the 12-yarder at balls in contact,
hit, took an easy rush which failed, underapproached
and clanged penult.

Mehas clambered round to penult one hoop at a time, and
laid up with balls on boundaries by hoops 2 and 4.
Kirby used the lift to take good position at penult.
Mehas hit him and joined up. More cat and mouse play

Some time later, Black made penult and laid up on the
south boundary with a fully wired rush to rover.
Kirby, just off the end of B-baulk, saw this as his
last shot, and, having nothing else to do, ran penult
hard. Stopping at the peg, he shot at the double, hit
and finished. All over by 5:15pm.

On paper, the GB side is as strong as it could be: four
of the winning test team, with Gibbons and Kirby nearly
but not quite on form. As expected, the visitors are
underdogs, but they seem not to be as outclassed as
they would have been a few years ago. Everything so
far seems to have been going the way of the home side,
but only just. The smart money is still on GB
retaining the trophy, but success here depends on
players' adaptability to the vagaries of the British

Alas, I shan't be around for the next few days, but I'm
assured that scores at least will be making their way
here somehow or other.


Day Two Results -- Robert Fulford

GREAT BRITAIN LEADS 8-2 at the end of DAY TWO. The US
is putting up a very creditable fight given how out-
manned they appear on ranking.

Bob Cherry had an excellent win over Matt Burrow in
their game carried over from Wednesday; in the third
game Matt went around first but Bob hit the lift and
finished in two turns with a delayed triple. John
Gibbons had a good recovery over Rich Lamm to come from
game down with two delayed triples.


Clarke and Kirby lost to Lamm and Soo -2, -10
Gibbons and Maugham beat Cherry and Rosenberry +12TPO
(M), +9
Burrow and Fulford beat Grimsley and Mehas +26, +26TP(F)

Burrow lost to Cherry +23, -8, -17TP
Gibbons beat Lamm -12TPO, +26TP, +17TP
Kirby beat Grimsley +17TP, +17

Clarke versus Mehas +3TP, -26TP (to finish)

- Robert Fulford

[Editor's note: Eleven match wins are required to win
the Solomon Trophy.]

Day Three Results -- Robert Fulford


Great Britain
clinched the Solomon Trophy today by winning all seven
remaining singles matches.

The United States came very close in two of the
matches. Mik Mehas and Chris Clarke got into a pegged
out ending with Mik for 1-back and Chris for 1-back and
peg. Mik developed a great opportunity by rolling up
to 1-b from corner 3 and then running it from 5 yards
angled, but ended the turn by sticking in 4-b off
Chris's 1-b ball with the peg ball nearer 1-b than
penult. Doug had an even better chance but peeling
rover going to 3-back peeled partner off the lawn.

Play was heavily interupted by rain/hail and many
thanks go to the Bury members who set to work with
squegy gear. Waterlogged conditions early in the turn
were my excuse for a sextuple ending with a crowd-
pleasing straight quad.


Maugham beat Cherry +23-17+26TP
Burrow beat Rosenberry +26TP+17
Gibbons beat Grimsley -8+26TP+6TP
Kirby beat Lamm +2+21TP
Fulford beat Mehas +6+26SXP
Clarke beat Soo +24TP+26TP

Finished from DAY TWO: Clarke beat Mehas +3TP-26TP+4

Great Britain leads US 15-3 after the third day of the
four-day test match series.

[This posting was very slightly edited from Robert
Fulford's report on the Nottingham Board]

Complete Final Results -- Bob Alman


Great Britain won the final day 2-1, with Soo & Lamm
picking up the final win for the US against Burrow &
Fulford. Soo finished MVP [most valuable player] for
the States with three wins in five games.

Maugham and Gibbons scored five in five for Great


Gibbons & Maugham beat Grimsley & Mehas +16-17+26
Burrow & Fulford lost to Lamm & Soo -10-26
Clarke & Kirby beat Cherry and Rosenberry +23+4

Burrow & Fulford
beat Cherry & Rosenberry +26TP(F)+26TP(F)
Clarke & Kirby
beat Grimsley & Mehas +17+3
Gibbons & Maugham
beat Lamm & Soo -4+24TP(M)+26TP(M)

Fulford lost to Soo +24SXP-20-26TP
Maugham beat Rosenberry +17+6
Clarke and Kirby
lost to Lamm and Soo -2, -10
Gibbons and Maugham
beat Cherry and Rosenberry +12TPO(M), +9
Burrow and Fulford
beat Grimsley and Mehas +26, +26TP(F)
Burrow lost to Cherry +23, -8, -17TP
Clarke beat Mehas +3TP, -26TP, +4
Maugham beat Cherry +23-17+26TP
Burrow beat Rosenberry +26TP+17
Gibbons beat Grimsley -8+26TP+6TP
Kirby beat Lamm +2+21TP
Fulford beat Mehas +6+26SXP
Clarke beat Soo +24TP+26TP
Gibbons beat Lamm -12TPO, +26TP, +17TP

Kirby beat Grimsley +17TP, +17
Gibbons & Maugham
beat Grimsley & Mehas +16-17+26
Burrow & Fulford
lost to Lamm & Soo -10-26
Clarke & Kirby
beat Cherry and Rosenberry +23+4

[Croquet World Online Magazine thanks Great Britain
team captain Robert Fulford for the timely reporting of
daily scores throughout the event.]


last updated 9 July 2004 PTB
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