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AMERICANS TAKE 4-2 LEAD IN
CARTER CHALLENGE IN PALM BEACH
by Nate Weimerskirch


Althhough the Carter Challenge between 6-person teams from Ireland and the United States has been played for a number of years, this is only the second annual event under the new format, which mixes International Rules and American Rules play in five days of play. The Americans won the challenge last year in Ireland.

On a day cold and dreary (by Florida standards), on lawns slowed by overnight rain the U.S. team gained a 4-2 lead in the Carter Challenge Tuesday.

After dropping the first two matches, the U.S. team rallied on the strength of some players inexperienced in the International Rules ("Association") game.

Most notably, Alabaman Richard Powell outlasted Irish team captain Alan McInerney in a 7-hour match. McInerney grabbed the lead quickly with a +26 win, but finally succumbed to a cautious and understandably nervous Powell, who was playing International Rules for the first time. His inexperince almost cost him the final match after he gained the upper hand by staking out McInerney's yellow. With red for 2-back and in the #2 corner, Powell rushed blue, for penult, to the #4 corner, then in an American-style leave, passed his turn with the balls in contact headed to penult.

Unfamiliar with the rule in "Association" croquet that he must start his next turn ball-in-hand, Powell "rushed" black to penult before learning he had just played his croquet stroke. Powell then struggled to get back together until McInerney left a 7-yarder which Powell capitalized on to finish.

Britt Ruby also earned an unexpected victory by defeating Michael O'Shaughnessy in straight games. The first had O'Shaughnessy stake out two, leaving himself ahead, 4-back against 5. Ruby used the lift to gain long position at 5, O'Shaughnessy did the same at 4-back. In the next go-round, Ruby hit solid iron and glanced to the side, and Michael jawed. Ruby reset, then O'Shaughnessy scored what was to be his final point and took long position at penult.

AMERICAN WIN SURPRISE VICTORIES UNDER UNFAMILIAR RULES

Ruby got through 5, hit in, took off to six, then wired. After the missed lift, Ruby got position at 1-back, then received a gift. He missed the one-foot hoop shot trying to go through strong, but O'Shaughnessy's attempted hit-in from 9 yards hit the 1-back hoop and stayed. Ruby got two more, then finished three turns later when he cleared 3-back, but not far upcourt, made the long hit-in on black at penult, and two-balled to the stake. Ruby won the next game +4, and thus the best-of-three match.

As much as the afternoon belonged to the Americans, the morning was Irish. Alan McInerney's +26 win was followed quickly by his brother Ronan's +5TP victory over Bill Berne, then Simon Williams' +23TP over Jacques Fournier. Ronan then finished off Berne +16, and Charlie von Schmieder beat Alan Wolman +10, +24 before lunch.

Play resumes Wednesday with American Rules doubles play, under a 90-minute time limit.

RESULTS FOR TUESDAY, APRIL 15

Ronan McInerney (Ire) def. Bill Berne (US) +5TP, +16 (3 hours, 23 minutes)
Charlie von Schmieder (Ire) def. Alan Wolman (US) +10, +24 (3:51)
Jacques Fournier (US) def. Simon Williams (Ire) -23TP,+12, +11 (6:00)
Britt Ruby (US) def. Michael O'Shaughnessy (Ire) +3, +4 (6:03)
Rory Kelley (US) def. Ed Cunningham (Ire) +16, -21, +8 (6:10)
Richard Powell (US) def. Alan McInerney (Ire) -26, +12, +6 (6:54)

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE - AMERICAN RULES DOUBLES

Round 1
Berne/Powell
Kelley/Wolman
Fournier/Ruby
vs.
vs.
vs.
A. McInerney/von Schmieder
R. McInerney/Cunningham
Williams/O'Shaughnessy
Round 2
Fournier/Ruby
Berne/Powell
Kelley/Wolman
vs.
vs.
vs.
R.McInerney/Cunningham
Williams/O'Shaughnessy
A. McInerney/von Schmieder


CROQUET WORLD will publish several special reports from Palm Beach by USCA Director of Croquet Nate Weimerskirch, including a wrap-up story several days after the Carter Challenge ends on Saturday.


 
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