Playing doubles on the opening day of the 5-day Solomon Trophy test matches,
the British lived up to expectations by rolling over the Yanks in two out of
three matches. But Rodoni and Mehas kept American hopes alive by achieving a
2/2 tie in a marathon match before calling it quits for the day. The tie
will be broken on Wednesday, the next doubles day.
THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA. Bullishly charging from the gate, the heavily
favored croquet team from Great Britain assumed an early lead over the
United States in the 1997 Solomon Trophy. The Brits jumped ahead, 2-0, in
this test match with first-day victories in doubles play.
Inspired by excellent lawn conditions, both teams agreed to expand the test
to best-of-five games in singles and doubles for all 21 matches. The test
is customarily best-of-three matches.
The top GB pairing of Robert Fulford and team captain Chris Clarke crushed
the US #3 team of John Taves and Don Fournier, Jr., +21TP, +26TP, +17TP.
None showed mid-season form in this early match, but Fulford and Clarke
prevailed when Taves and Fournier could not capitalize on British errors.
The second-ranked team of Steve Comish and Mark Avery struggled to win their
match against Jerry Stark and Phil Arnold, +18, +10, +15.
The third match on opening day was for the spectators. Wayne Rodoni and Mik
Mehas, arguably the best doubles team in America, managed a tie versus Ian
Burridge and David Openshaw before the match was suspended in the twilight.
After eight hours of play, the match stands two-all, GB+16, US+15, GB+22,
US+25TP. To get the tie, Rodoni completed an arduous triple-peel, leaving
himself numerous hampered strokes along the way. The match will resume with
other Doubles play on Wednesday.
Mik and Wayne planning their next move.
The Solomon Trophy is being held at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand
Oaks, CA. Presiding at the official opening ceremony was the Honorable Judy
Lazar, mayor of Thousand Oaks. Prior to the kickoff, Sherwood founder David
H. Murdock made a rare appearance to welcome the US and British teams to the
What are the betting odds of this underdog Yankee team beating formidable
Britannia? According to the on-site tout, it's 16-1. Sounds high, but all
agree this is the best team ever fielded by the Americans.
The next story in this series will report on the games and results for
Tuesday and Wednesday.