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DEFENDING CHAMPS DOWNED BY
THOMAS / MAYER IN DOUBLES;
OSBORN / GRIMSLEY SHINE
IN BRAVURA TRIPLE-PEEL DISPLAY
special report by Nate Weimerskirch


Defending doubles champs Wayne Rodoni and Mik Mehas were upset by the hometown team of Dwight Mayer and Byron Thomas 17-16 in the opening day of the 1996 National Championships, headquartered at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club in Wellington,. Florida.

Mehas and Rodoni didn't go down easily. In last turn, Mehas hit a boundary ball in the #2 corner from 60 feet, took off to rover, cleared and staked out to tie the score at 16. Rodoni was then left to try for #4 on a take-off from 60 feet, came up well short, and elected to go for position. On the second rotation, Mayer then cleared 1-back, destroyed Rodoni's position, and left the court. Rodoni then failed to hit from 70 feet, ending the match.

The loss was quickly followed by the defeat of other top seeds. John Osborn and Doug Grimsley lost to Alabamian Richard Powell and Gar Beckstead 26-8. John Phaneuf and former national champion Carl Mabee of Maine were defeated by the Arizona team of John Fournier and Pat Roach 26-12.

John Osborn turned in the flashiest performance of the day with a rare America Rules triple peel, staking out for a fastidiously perfect 26-2 win.

LOW SEEDED FUSZ/SHEELY ONE OF THREE UNDEFEATED PARTNERSHIPS
Fusz and Sheely cinched the battle for the lead in Block 1 at the halfway point in the preliminary block play by beating Curington and Cherry with a routing play. Phil Fusz first scored 2 points, routed partner Rick Sheely out of bounds by the spent ball, then watched Sheely run a break from 2-back to rover for a 20-19 win. The Sheely/Fusz performance so far is especially noteworthy, as they were seeded fifth in their block (or approximately 17th in the field.)

In addition to Sheely/Fusz, two other teams are also undefeated after Day One: the top-seeded team of Kroeger/Hughes and the second-seeded team of Brown/Wolman.

Doubles block play will be completed by day's end on Monday , with 12 of the completing 24 doubles teams advancing to the elimination-round playoffs, scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday at Palm Beach Polo Club. Final qualifying placement is very important, as only the top two teams in each block are guaranteed a double life in the elimination round; teams qualifying in third place will be eliminated by only one loss.

DOUBLES BLOCK WIN/LOSS STANDINGS AFTER DAY ONE
BLOCK ONE
Sheely / Fusz 3-0
Curington / Cherry 2-1
Rodoni / Mehas 2-1
Mayer / Thomas 1-1
Dill / Ruby 0-2
Houghton / Houser 0-3
BLOCK TWO
Brown / Wolman 3-0
Beckstead / Powell 2-0
Osborn / Grimsley 2-1 (including 26-2 TP by Osborn)
Brackett / Passarelli 1-2
Burchfield / Parker 0-2
Barr / JJones 0-3
BLOCK THREE
Fournier / Roach 2-0
Mabee / Phaneuf 2-1
Mead / Najarian 2-1
THughes / Martin 1-1
BGrimsley / Oehrle 1-2
Hall / FJones 0-3
BLOCK FOUR
JHughes / Kroeger 3-0
Curtis / Shaffer 3-0
Berne / Berne 2-1
Degnan / Larkin 1-2
Young / Hoy 0-3
Cumming / Robinson 0-3


Final results of doubles block play and other continuing timely coverage of the USCA National Championships will be reported in this space by CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE.


 
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