Chairman's Rosebowl and Malmet Trophy 2004

18-20 September 2004, Meadows

The key decision about this year's competition for the Chairman's Rosebowl was taken on the Wednesday evening before play started.  Rod Williams rang the manager to say that his wrist was giving him problems and perhaps he should pull out.  The manager told him to rub Tiger Balm on it and if that didn't work he could always protect his wrist by not playing any big croquet strokes.  He advised him that the easy way to guarantee this was by not hitting too many roquets.  (The manager has been using this technique for many years.)

You could tell from the spicy scent in the clubhouse that Rod took the advice about Tiger Balm.  You could tell from the results that he heeded not a whit the advice about missing roquets.  Rod has now played in 23 of these tournaments and has equalled John Surgenor's record of having won 7 of them.  John has only played in 16 so his success rate is a bit higher but Rod's longevity is amazing: he won his first Rosebowl 20 years ago.  (Forty-two players have participated altogether; the person who has played next most (12) is your reporter, but he hasn't won any!  [Yet.]

Read more: Chairman's Rosebowl and Malmet Trophy 2004

European Championship 2004

17-19 September 2004, Jersey

Take 20 players representing 13 countries across Western Europe; bring them together on four beautifully tended lawns for three days; and with a lot of hard work by hosts and management you have one of the most intensive and enjoyable celebrations of croquet in which I have been privileged to take part - the 12th European Championships, held like seven of the previous 11 in the well-appointed premises of the Jersey Croquet Club.

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CA v SCA 2004

4-5 September 2004, Crake Valley

At what must be one of the most picturesque venues anywhere in England, battle was joined.  On a grey misty Saturday morning, early start, the three doubles games got underway.  By 11.30 with blue sky breaking through and the lawns drying out, Scotland's 1st pair Surgenor & Williams were one up on Burnett & Wardle and England's Nick & Whitehouse one up on Murdoch & McInnes at 3rd pair.  At 2nd pair Rannie & Foster (S) and Haslam & Miller (E) had a rare old ding-dong, with the Scots hitting in from almost anywhere and snatching victory at the death in both games to win 2-0.  The English 3rd pair then levelled also winning 2-0.  As teatime approached the English 1st pair fought back to level and then went on to win by 2 games to 1.

Read more: CA v SCA 2004

Walker Cup 2004

11 September 2004, Meadows

There were five contestants for the Walker Cup – James Hopgood (20), Robert Lay (12), Joe Lennon (16), Martin Stephenson (12) and Tony Whateley (20).  Robert, Joe and Tony had come through from Glasgow, while Martin and James are Meadows players.

Each of the players played all the others, with one having a bye in each round.  Eighteen-point games were played, with a time limit of one and three quarter hours.

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Scottish Short Croquet Championship 2004

29 August 2004, Ballathie House Hotel

[Editor's note: This event was scheduled to take place at Dunkeld, as in previous years, but the hotel there had a double booking and found us an alternative venue further down the Tay.]

We had a fairly enjoyable day at Ballathie apart from the regular showers and the length of the grass.  The grass not having been cut to an acceptable level for a croquet competition meant that play was difficult and bisques, if used properly, could assist greatly in getting round.

There were six entrants - Maria Limonci, Joe Lennon, Martin Stephenson, Brian Smith, Alan Wilson and myself.  Maria came third with two wins and hoops differential of +7.  First and second place were closely contested by Joe and Alan, both with four wins but Joe coming out top with a positive hoops differential of 23, 3 more than Alan.

Geoff Caldwell