2012 Solomon Trophy
Day 2 report
Captain Huneycutt and his crew right the ship.
Starting from a 4-0 overnight lead, the Great Britain team added two more points with a quick win from Marcus Evans over Jim Bast (+26, +25tp), and a more interactive win from Jamie Burch over Rich Lamm (+5tp, +25tp). The applause following Burch’s pegout came just as Danny Huneycutt was attempting to rush-peel 4-back in his second game against Keith Aiton. Distracted in the middle of his backswing, he nearly missed the shot entirely, and failed the peel. But he regrouped and finished the triple to win the match of team captains, +26, +2tp, an impressive game 2 comeback from 0-24 down. Team USA was finally on the board, trailing 1-6.
But Stephen Mulliner soon gave GB their third point of the day, overcoming a slow start to beat Doug Grimsley -17, +13tpo, +26tp. This was on the isolated Lawn 4. Most spectators had their eyes on the Ben Rothman vs. David Maugham match on Lawn 2. The error-free match needed just 17 turns, Rothman with a fifth-turn +26tp in game 1, Maugham matching that feat in game 2, and Rothman finishing with another +26tp.
Meanwhile the Bast/Huneycutt vs. Aiton/Burch match from round 2 resumed on Lawn 3. Bast/Huneycutt had won the first game on Wednesday. Aiton and Burch had all the early play in game 2, Burch with a chance to level the match. But he broke down with two peels done, and despite some less-than-precise break pickups, Bast and Huneycutt never lost control. Huneycutt finished the three peels of the triple on the way to 3-back, leaving a comfortable finish to bring Team USA to 3-7.
With USA 3-3 on the day, it was up to Chris Patmore to make it a winning day. He had a tall order, playing GB #1 James Death, who won game 1 with a straight triple peel — a highly difficult sequence that Death made look like child’s play. In contrast, Patmore at times made straightforward plays look difficult, as he struggled with his hoop stroke and with power ratios on croquet strokes. But he gritted out a win to level the match, and had the first break in the deciding game. After some back-and-forth play, Death took control and triple-peeled Patmore’s forward ball out of the game, again making this risky feat look easy. But he got a little bit careless in his leave, and this gave Patmore just enough of an opening. Again the turn was never pretty, but Patmore finished his tension-filled three-ball break to put the Americans solidly back in the match at 4-7.
Reported by Jeff Soo