Chairman's Rosebowl and Malmet Trophy 2005

17-19 September 2005, Meadows

The Chairman's Rosebowl is contested by the six best available Scottish players.  This year several of the usual contestants, including last year's winner Rod Williams, were unavailable for various reasons.  (Rod was resting his wrist in the hope of being fully fit to play next year.  He nevertheless turned up on all three days and acted as a referee and a spectator as well as joining in the social side of the weekend.)  Brian Murdoch's withdrawal left the field further weakened, with no one's handicap below 3.  It also led to the promotion of Jamieson Walker from the Malmet Trophy (for the next six players, or as many as are available), which was left with only four players and hence reduced to two days.

Last year's innovation of holding both events together at the Meadows was retained, and the lunches laid on by Jamieson in the pavilion this time added to the convivial atmosphere.

Each event produced a first-time winner - Fergus McInnes winning the Chairman's, with David Appleton close behind, and Ian Wright being well ahead of the rest in the Malmet.

Aside from the croquet, this was notable as the year of the daddy-long-legs: not one giant daddy-long-legs (which would have been even more of a nightmare for Charlotte), but hundreds of the things, swarming on the front of the pavilion and crawling on the lawns, and occasioning discussion among the players as to the plural - which your reporter has carefully avoided using in this sentence.

In the Chairman's Fergus McInnes - back on form after a poor spell in recent weeks which had seen his handicap go up from 2½ to 3 - took a lead on the first day, winning all his four games.  He made it a clean sweep of the first half of the tournament by beating Malcolm O'Connell on Sunday morning.  Malcolm had also started the weekend on handicap 3, but had won only one game so far and had gone up to 3½ at the end of Saturday.  Meanwhile Martin Stephenson was doing better than his handicap predicted and was down from 7 to 6 after the first day - while David Appleton remained at 3½, Charlotte Townsend at 4½ and Jamieson Walker at 9.

Malcolm continued losing throughout Sunday, and had a further handicap increase at the end of the day.  Fergus's winning streak was interrupted by a loss to David in the sixth round.  Fergus had got the first break in this game, and had attempted a triple peel but broken down, with one peel done, by failing to get position at hoop 6 with a roll on the peelee following a poor cut rush from the north boundary.  He got in again, with David now on 1 and 4-back, but failed to reach position at 3-back, took on a risky shot at David's backward ball on the east boundary, and missed; David went round from this, with a straight peel at 4-back, and eventually finished after hitting a long shot and scoring his last two hoops in the turn after time was called.  Fergus resumed winning his games after this, scoring his third +26 of the tournament against Charlotte, but David was close behind at the end of Sunday on 5/7 to Fergus's 7/8, with Martin also in contention on 4/7.

David and Martin were to play on Monday morning, and it was David's turn to have a +26, taking less than an hour, and finishing before the other remaining eighth-round game (Charlotte v. Malcolm), which had been pegged down overnight after an hour's play.  Now Martin couldn't win, but David could overtake if he won his two remaining games and Fergus lost his two.  Fergus came from behind in his ninth-round game to beat Martin +10, while David had a win against Malcolm - so now David couldn't win outright, but he could force a tie-breaker (for which there should be time, thanks to the speed of his morning game) if he beat Charlotte and Fergus lost to Malcolm.  So the final round began with the contest still open.

After an hour or so in the final games, Fergus was a long way ahead of Malcolm, who had only reached hoop 2 with each ball, while the game between David and Charlotte was close, each of them having a clip on 4-back.  Then Fergus failed to finish from 4-back and peg, and retired to corner 2 with his clips on rover and peg.  Malcolm then started making breaks: he got to 2-back but broke down leaving Fergus a short lift shot, Fergus again failed to finish by clunking rover from a few feet straight in front, and Malcolm went to the peg, peeling Fergus through rover in the process but also doing a straight peel on his backward ball to take it to 3-back.  Only Malcolm's miss on a two-yard rush after time was called saved Fergus from a -2 defeat.  So, though David beat Charlotte +14, Fergus retained his one-game lead to take the Rosebowl without a tie-breaker.

Timed endings added some interest to two of the last-round games.  In his game with Malcolm, Fergus was cross-wired at 4-back, with Malcolm's balls for 4-back and peg and joined up near corner 1, and was deliberating his shot, when Malcolm noticed that the timer was beeping and flashing and showing a time of about 45 seconds.  Fergus, thinking this meant 45 seconds to go, shot into corner 3 to give himself the chance of an easy lift shot if he got another turn; Malcolm played a quick shot to shorten his rush.  Then they realised that the timer was actually counting up, and time had expired in Fergus's turn.  After some discussion involving a watching referee, Fergus was allowed a replay of his last shot, now in the knowledge that time had been called, and this time went to the south boundary near corner 4; then Malcolm missed his rush, and Fergus felt lucky to have salvaged a +3T win.  The other game was between Jamieson and Martin, and Jamieson was in play, with time just called, and had got long position at 1-back, which he needed to run to level the scores.  He did run it, but he was hampered after it, with a risk of leaving Martin a short shot at Jamieson's other ball from near hoop 6.  Jamieson rescued the situation by hitting the ball near hoop 6, and laid up by the east boundary north of hoop 4.  Martin missed his partner ball south of 1-back.  Jamieson had left his rush the wrong way round (his 4-back rather than 2-back ball having the westward rush), and he now rushed to 2-back and ran it with the wrong ball!  Martin forestalled, hit the four-yard roquet left by his previous shot, and with Jamieson's two balls by his hoop had an easy win, +1 on time.

The event featured no triple peels, but several attempts, the nearest approach being Malcolm's three peels (but no peg-out in the same turn) in the one game he won, against Martin on the first day.  There were at least two games (Charlotte v. Martin in round 1, and Fergus v. David in round 6 as already described) in which each player achieved a 4-back peel.  With 2½-hour time limits, six out of 30 games went to time, though in most of them the winner lacked no more than four points to finish; three more games finished with peg-outs after time was called.

In the Malmet the contestants were Ian Wright (handicap 10), Allan Hawke (10), Robert Lay (11) and Joe Lennon (12).  Here also there were 2½-hour time limits, and nine of the 12 games went to time.  Ian was the only player to peg out, and he did so once against each of his opponents.  He also won his other game against each of them, and so finished a clear winner, with Robert a distant second on 3/6.  Ian's handicap came down to 9 at the end of the tournament.

By way of compensation for the brevity of its report, the Malmet has a photograph of the winner with the trophy, since Ian had lent his camera to a spectator for the purpose, whereas when the Rosebowl was presented neither Rod (presenting) nor Fergus (receiving) had the forethought to do so.  Mainly cloudy weather, with some rain on Saturday and Monday, accounts for the general lack of photographs of the play.

Fergus McInnes

 

Ian Wright (centre) receives the Malmet Trophy from manager Fergus McInnes (left).  Other contestants left-right: Joe Lennon, Robert Lay, Allan Hawke (Jamieson Walker in the background).

 

Results

Chairman's Rosebowl:

FRM DRA MAS CMT JW MOC Wins
Fergus McInnes -- +12
−7
+21
+10
+11T
+26
+26
+17
+26
+3T
9
David Appleton −12
+7
-- −15
+26
+18
+14
+23
+14
+16
+13
8
Martin Stephenson −21
−10
+15
−26
-- +16
+15
−9
+1T
−11
+15
5
Charlotte Townsend −11T
−26
−18
−14
−16
−15
-- +25
+12T
+12
+10
4
Jamieson Walker −26
−17
−23
−14
+9
−1T
−25
−12T
-- +11T
+4T
3
Malcolm O'Connell −26
−3T
−16
−13
+11
−15
−12
−10
−11T
−4T
-- 1



Malmet Trophy:

IHW RGL RAH JL Wins
Ian Wright -- +16
+7T
+9T
+5
+4T
+4
6
Robert Lay −16
−7T
-- +2T
+4T
+6T
−5T
3
Allan Hawke −9T
−5
−2T
−4T
-- +2T
+6T
2
Joe Lennon −4T
−4
−6T
+5T
−2T
−6T
-- 1