MacRobertson Shield – Australia wins for first time since 1935

In the opening Tests of the 2017 MacRobertson Shield contest at Mission Hills Country Club, California, Australia beat England 12-9 and New Zealand inched past USA by 11-10.

Australia led England by 2-1, 5-4 and 7-5 after each of the first three days but, by mid-afternoon on Friday, the scoreline was 8-7 to them but England led in two of the remaining three singles and were 1-1 in the third.  However, the Australians came through all three as winners and recorded their first full victory over England in 82 years – since 1935!

USA made an excellent start against New Zealand but were gradually pegged back so that, on Friday evening, New Zealand led 8-7.  However, with four of the last six singles played, USA had won three and taken a 10-9 lead in temperatures of 100 degrees F.  Fortunes swayed one way and then the other in both of the remaining matches but, eventually, New Zealand clinched both to record a very tense victory.

The second Tests pitched Australia against New Zealand and England against USA.  Australia and England both recorded 14-7 wins.  USA led England 7-6 early on day 9 but then conceded five singles and three doubles matches.

The final Tests saw Australia facing USA and England against the current holders, New Zealand.  England enjoyed a decisive 15-4 victory with two matches on day 15 abandoned because of the heat which had reached over 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) on occasion during the final week.  This gave England a mathematical hope of victory based on the possibility of USA overturning the form book and defeating Australia.  In fact, Australia led 2-1, 6-3 and 8-4 after day 13 and the honour fell to 24-year old Malcolm Fletcher, the youngest member of the Australian team, to score the decisive eleventh point on day 14 and hence ensure that the MacRobertson Shield trophy would return after a gap of 82 years to the homeland of its original donor.