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« Jeff Soo Chasing Number Six | Main | Morning Coffee: USCA 9W Nationals Primer »
Friday
Sep192014

Miller is the New US Nine Wicket Champion

Paul Miller on his way to a national titlePaul Miller defeated Matt Griffith 24-15 to claim the 2014 USCA Nine Wicket Singles National Championship on day one of the event. Miller beat former champ George Cochran 27-20 in the semifinals while Griffith took down Doug Moore 32-26 to advance.

PHOTO GALLERY

The final featured a Chernobyl opening by Griffith which is particulary powerful in nine wicket due to the ease of scoring two wickets for two bonus shots. After a number of passes, the action did get started and Miller established control of the game. The game will likely be remembered for Miller's decision to run the clearing wicket in last turns with the lead and Griffith partner dead. The gallery gasped in amazment and after Griffith missed a line ball with in newly cleaned red ball, several players rushed across the court to plead with Miller to never do that again.

And later, George Cochran gave Miller a demonstration on how to cannon a Chernobyl ball into the game (which is also easier in nine wicket versus six wicket). So, in the end, yes, Miller pretty much decimated a field of veterans while playing in only his second USCA event. That says quite a bit about the raw talent.

In First Flight, Greg Adams beat Michael Kearns in the championship game that ran late on Friday evening.

George Cochran and John Warlick were able to get the three-peat on the Doubles National Championship as they were able to slow down the high-flying duo of Paul Miller and Doug Moore.

Ed Mondt and Nathan Oberg took the First Flight Doubles Championship with a win over Greg Adams and Ron Millican. 

NOTES

  • Local channels KSHB 41 and  FOX 4 were on hand Friday and two spots made the local TV News (SPOT #1) (SPOT #2)
  • The final was a re-match of the MCA's KC Open final held August 2-3 at Kactus Creek in Parkville, Missouri. Griffith won that one 22-21.
  • Players seemed to enjoy the very public and scenic location at Liberty Memorial. The WWI Museum draws a lot of traffic, so the exposure was outstanding for the USCA and croquet. And while court six-wicket championships will likely always be hidden in club settings, nine wicket offers the advantage of being flexible on location. So, it certainly looks like a opportunity the USCA can leverage.
  • The event is slated to head to California at some point, but many of the Northeastern players were pitching the concept of going to Washington D.C. and replicating the same public concept at the National Mall.
  • This was the seventh edition of the USCA Nine Wicket National Championship since the re-introduction of the event in 2008. It has visited Kansas City (2008-2011, 2014), Philadelphia (2012 and West Palm Beach (2013).
  • Entries for each 9W Nationals: 2008 - 40, 2009 - 26, 2010 - 23, 2011 - 24, 2012 - 13, 2013 - 14, 2014 - 26.
  • The turf was certainly challenging. George Cochran rated as it as better than Pennsylvania in 2012, but not as good as the NCC in West Palm Beach in 2013.

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