IT'S MULLINER FOR SURE IN THE MEDALIST ROUND, WITH CORNELIUS AND DAWSON LIKELY TO FOLLOWby Bob Alman
England's Stephen Mulliner, with five triple peels in six block wins, has confirmed his status as the favorite to win it all for the fourth time. Fellow Britons Debbie Cornelius and Jeff Dawson are playing well and will likely also win their blocks..
Other highly touted Brits are having some difficulty in this qualifying round, including current world champion Chris Clarke and Steve Comish, a star performer at the recent Solomon matches between the United States and Britain. Chris Clarke will probably qualify to continue into the elimination round on Friday, while Comish will have a difficult time making the cut. European champion Simon Williams of Ireland has failed to find his game, having won only one of his first four games, and faces the likelihood of not being one of the 16 players who continue past Thursday.
The block winners gain a favored position at the end of a single-elimination ladder played by the other 12 qualifiers - the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th positions in each of the four blocks of seven. With three of the four medalist positions still undecided, many critical games are to be played on Thursday, the final day of qualifying block play.
On Friday, the four block winners (the medalists) will play a round-robin, with the winner advancing to the "holder" position, guaranteed second place and needing only to play off against the sole survivor of the elimination ladder to decide the 1997 championship on Saturday.
BLUE BLOCK - RESULTS AFTER FOUR DAYS
Jeff Dawson alone is undefeated in his block and probably needs to win only one of his two remaining games to qualify for the Medalist Round as block winner. It is still possible, however, for number two Lewis Palmer of Wales to catch up if he wins his two remaining games.
RED BLOCK - RESULTS AFTER FOUR DAYS
Debbie Cornelius is undefeated in her block and needs to win only one of her final two games (against American Phil Arnold and Aussie Jeff Newcombe) to take the medalist spot from Steve Jones of New Zealand. She has already won her game against Jones by a one-point margin.
BLACK BLOCK - RESULTS AFTER FOUR DAYS
Harley Watts of Australia could knock block leader Tony Stephens of New Zealand with wins over both Steve Comish and Toby Garrison This is the only block the British cannot win.
YELLOW BLOCK - RESULTS AFTER FOUR DAYS
Undefeated Stephen Mulliner of England has a lock on the medalist position, having made five of his six wins with triples. He beat his closest rival in the block, American Wayne Rodoni, by a margin of three points.
Thanks to John Taylor and Mike Orgill for making possible these daily report in CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE.
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