The Test Match : Ireland V Great Britain,
Venue: Carrickmines Croquet & Lawn Tennis Club.
22 & 23 Sep-07
|The Great Britain Test is always the challenging
event of the year for the Irish team and this year was no exception with 5 of the
6 players of the visitors being in the top 25 of the World Rankings.
All matches are the best of three and the tradition is to open with three opposing pairs in a round of doubles. Ed Cunningham (the Irish Captain) + Nathaniel Healy never managed to make much progress against Tony Le Moignan + Robin Brown despite various attempts to progress beyond hoop 6. The other two matches however were a much closer affair and Simon Williams + Gerard Healy only capitulated against Ian Burridge + Tony Le Moignan after Simon, having run Rover and achieved a brilliant continuation by rebounding off the wire onto an opponent ball, was unfortunate to run a ball off the lawn while organising his leave: he got no further shot! Meanwhile Patsy Fitzgerald + Andrew Johnston fared better against Robert Fulford + Keith Aiton winning 2 games to 1 that concluded with an unlikely but brilliant straight double peel following an opposition break down. So the Match stood 2 to 1 after the first doubles.
So on to the first round of singles after Saturday lunch. The number one seeds soon concluded their game with an authoritative pair of sextuples for Robert over Andrew despite Andrew managing to hit the “tea Lady” in game two. In the remaining five contests Ireland reached game all, but with the exception of Ed who beat Ian Burridge with an interesting technique of uncompleted sextuples, were unable to capitalize.
For the Saturday evening entertainment and the conclusion of a magnificently sunny day, we all proceeded to the Gables Restaurant in Foxrock for a most excellent dinner that was definitely beyond standard restaurant fare. No food left on any of the 14 or so plates!
Sunday proved another fine day and we proceeded to the second round of the singles after the conclusion of the outstanding match where Tony quickly dispatched Patsy leaving the match score 7 to 2.
In this final round of singles Ireland at last began to feel the strain and, despite an exciting single ball finish between Robert and Simon for game two, could make no further progress. All of the round two singles were lost other than Ed against Tony that was tied at the conclusion of play. The final result stood at 12 to 2 with one game drawn.
In conclusion, the match was much closer than the score line might suggest. The Great Britain Team (with impressive representation from England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey) were much more focused in their objective This (with the notable exception of Robert’s sextuples) is to win through attempting nothing any fancier than necessary and the efficient completions of “relatively” straight forward triples.
Report provided by Evan Newell