USA Wins Solomon Trophy
The Solomon Trophy, the mostly annual test match between the United States and Great Britain, has been won by the US for the first time. The match was held December 4–7 at the Mission Hills Croquet Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
This was the sixteenth time the Trophy has been contested. Including two earlier test matches (before the Solomon Trophy was donated by John Solomon) and five meetings in the MacRobertson Shield, the US had never beaten GB in twenty-two Association Croquet test matches since 1985, coming no closer than an 8–13 loss in 2002.
Team USA led after each of the first two days, winning three of the five doubles matches completed on day 1, then winning three of six matches the following day, for a two-day total of 6–5 with one unfinished match. This is not the first time the US team has built an early lead against GB, but in the past the British players were always able to elevate their game to take control. Indeed, on day 3 GB won two of the three doubles matches plus the remaining singles match to take an 8–7 overnight lead.
The situation closely paralled the 2005 match, also held at Mission Hills, where the score was tied seven-all at the start of the final day of play. That year GB swept the remaining matches to win 14–7.
But on Monday, December 7th, 2009, Team USA won four of five completed matches to win the Solomon Trophy 11–9. The sixth of the day’s matches, tied at one-all, was left unfinished. Each of the four winning matches went to a third game, and the results largely came down to which side hit the most long shots — all sixteen games played that day ended in a triple (and in one case, sextuple) peel.
Standout performances for Team USA came from Danny Huneycutt, Ben Rothman, and Doug Grimsley, each of whom contributed two and a half points (of a possible three and a half) to the team total. Grimsley was involved in the one unfinished match, hence was undefeated for the week. Huneycutt’s two singles wins at the top of the order were especially impressive.
Additionally, Jerry Stark added one and a half points, and Jim Bast and Jeff Soo each added one point, to get to the winning total of eleven.
Reported by Jeff Soo