Teams of top ranking players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, launched themselves upon Victoria Park at the weekend to play in the Home Internationals, each team selected by their national croquet association. In a series of singles games a protracted battle was fought to find the winning national team. Southport members watched fascinated as these skilled players sped through game after game, hammering out their matches in spite of flooding in many parts of the lawns. Torrential rain (in common with the rest of the country) caused problems on Saturday as three lawns became unplayable. With only two courts left on the South Lawns another court was urgently marked out on the infamous North Lawns (currently being prepared for the Federation Festival) and these players demonstrated how the game can still be played at a very high level on slightly imperfect grass. In an attempt to catch up, games were played until 9.30pm
Sunday dawned fair, four courts being immediately available on the South Lawns and play continued at a fast pace, eventually a fifth court dried out sufficiently to enable more matches to reach a conclusion. The last three matches proved to be England v Wales, with Wales needing only one win to take the trophy. David Maugham, came through for England beating Ian Burridge, followed shortly afterwards by North West hero Ian Lines beating Gary McElwain, leaving only one match to be the deciding factor. Ireland were forced to fly home not knowing the final result, but in a tense best of three game match between Richard Smith of England and Dave Richards of Wales. With dusk approaching, the trophy was finally decided in the last game by two points as Richard Smith pegged his front ball out to leave two balls on 4-back and one on rover. England won!
England win the Home Internationals with three match wins. As a consequence of the unstarted rubber between Healy (Ireland) and Spalding (Scotland), the positions of Ireland and Wales cannot be determined. Scotland are finish last regardless of unfinished games.
England 3 Scotland 0
1 David Maugham beat James Hopgood +26tp +25stp; 2 Marcus Evans beat Martin Murray +24tp +11tp; 3 Samir Patel beat David Magee +5 +17tp; 4 Ian Lines unfinished Campbell Morrison +26tp; 5 RichardM Smith unfinished Bill Spalding +9.
Ireland 3 Wales 2
1 Andrew Johnston beat Ian Burridge -26tp +16 +6; 2 Simon Williams beat David Walters +10, -17, +26p; 3 Ed Cunningham lost to Chris Williams -1 -17tp; 4 Kieran Murphy lost to Garry McElwain -19 -6; 5 Nathaniel Healy beat David Richards -4, +, +23.
England 3 Wales 2
1 David Maugham beat Ian Burridge -17, +12tp, +25tp; 2 Marcus Evans lost to David Walters -18tp, +17tp, -4otp; 3 Samir Patel lost to Chris Williams +17 -26tp -18; 4 Ian Lines beat Garry McElwain +11, +25; 5 RichardM Smith beat David Richards +24, +2T.
Ireland 2 Scotland 2
1 Andrew Johnston lost to James Hopgood +17tp, -26tp, -12tpo; 2 Simon Williams beat Martin Murray +24tp +24tp; 3 Ed Cunningham beat David Magee +26tp +24tp; 4 Kieran Murphy lost to Campbell Morrison -26; 5 Nathaniel Healy not started Bill Spalding.
England 3 Ireland 2
1 David Maugham beat Andrew Johnston +17tp, +24; 2 Marcus Evans lost to Simon Williams -17 -4; 3 Samir Patel lost to Ed Cunningham -26tp -25tp; 4 Ian Lines beat Kieran Murphy +26tp, +24; 5 RichardM Smith beat Nathaniel Healy +4, +11.
Wales 4 Scotland 1
1 Ian Burridge lost to James Hopgood -15tp, -10tp; 2 David Walters beat Martin Murray +20, +5tp; 3 Chris Williams beat David Magee +24, +25; 4 Garry McElwain beat Campbell Morrison +6, +17; 5 David Richards beat Bill Spalding +26, +11.
|David Maugham (C)
Ed Cunningham (C)
Martin Murray (C)
|Ian Burridge (C)