This years team for the Home Internationals consisted of Ed Cunningham, Andy Johnston, Simon Williams, Patsy Fitzgerald and Gerard Healy playing in that order.
The opposition is never easy at this event, especially at positions 1 and 2. Ed and Andy were a little disappointed to both finish on 0/3. They had chances against their higher-ranked opponents but weren't able to capitalise.
Ed thought he got off to a good start against Burridge, hitting his lift in the first game and doing a delayed tpo, however this was turned into an otp after the Welshman hit-in with a 30 yarder. Game 2 was a -26tp loss. Against Maugham he set up for a sextuple and ended on peg and penult (despite failing 6 peels). Maugham pegged out Ed's ball but the last 2 hoops proved elusive, losing -3 and the second game -26. Against Aiton Ed won the first game after being tpo'd but lost games 2 and 3 convincingly.
Andy's opponents played well with 6 triple peels against him. He took Wales and England to a third game and lost to Kirby in two. All much higher in the rankings.
Simon and Patsy put in credible performances with both on 2/3 wins (against Wales and Scotland). Simon took Patel to a third game but went down -17 while Patsy very nearly won 3/3 when he tpo'd Patmore in the third but tactical superiority in the 3-ball ending let the Englishman win. An interesting statistic from the weekend was that all 6 tpo's were won by the player with the single ball - perhaps it's days are numbered and an alternative tactic needs to be developed.
Gerard Healy finished on 1/3 (beating his Scottish opponent). He had good chances against Wales and also took Farthing to a third game but a triple sealed the match for England.
So England beat the other 3 countries and Wales beat Ireland, who beat Scotland, who beat Wales.
England finished with 3 wins and Wales, Scotland, Ireland 1 win each.
Despite losing 5-0 to England, we took them to a deciding game in 4 of those matches - something to provide encouragement moving forward. I think the whole team let chances slip by but there is a lot of pressure on us when we play these guys just once a year. We're looking forward to next years match when it will be held in Carrickmines.
Thanks to Surbiton croquet club and George Noble for great lawns, lunches, beer and the barbeque on Saturday.