Meadows Open 2005

25-26 June 2005, Meadows

The original plan for the Meadows Open was a complete block with all the eight entrants playing each other in seven rounds of games.  Then it was discovered, fortunately before the event, that Joe Lennon had entered but had been omitted from the list by mistake - so the format changed to a modified block, still with seven rounds but with each of the nine players having one bye and playing against six of the eight possible opponents.  (This entails one round containing only three games instead of four.  See David Appleton's article Some designs for tournaments in the 2004 SCA Handbook.)  Then on Saturday morning Martin Stephenson did not appear and we were back to a complete block of eight - but with one game, between Bruce Rannie and Brian Murdoch, left till after the seventh round instead of being played in the first round, since by the time the reorganising was done it was too late to play it immediately.

The lawns, freshly cut by Brian on Saturday morning (which was why he'd been given the first bye in the nine-player design), were playing nicely - fast but not too fast.  Four rounds of games were completed on Saturday, none of them reaching the 2.5-hour time limit.  The players ranged from John Surgenor (handicap 0) and Bruce Rannie (0.5) to Jamieson Walker (8) and Joe Lennon (14), with all those in between at 2 or 3, and the first day's results mostly followed the ranking order - the only upset being Jane Shorten's win over Bruce.  John was the only one unbeaten, with wins over Jane, Brian, Jamieson and Joe, but Tony Foster and Fergus McInnes were on three wins out of four games (admittedly against the three lowest-ranked players), and Bruce had won two out of three.  No triple peels were completed, though Fergus did two peels of a straight triple against Jane before running into the peelee with a slightly overplayed hoop shot at penult.

John and Joe headed back west after Saturday's play, and Tony had a family barbecue to go to, but the other five players plus Campbell Morrison, Rod Williams and Charlotte Townsend gathered for dinner in the Lai Thai restaurant, and most of the party adjourned to the Meadows Club's usual haunt, Cloisters Bar, to round off the evening.  All were back on the lawns at 0930 on Sunday for the remaining rounds of play.

With continuing warm sunny weather on Sunday, the lawns became faster, and the middle strip of lawn 2 was distinctly challenging in the afternoon, with balls skating past hoop 6 to non-running positions on sideways approaches.  Perhaps because of this, and perhaps because more of the games were between players of similar standards, four of Sunday's 13 games went to time - only John and Bruce managing to keep the "T" out of their scores throughout.  Both of them had failed triples, achieving two peels before coming to grief in different ways.  John's TPF left Fergus with four balls close together in the SW quarter of the lawn, but he still failed to make hoop 1 - defeated by the speed of that tricky central strip and the relative slowness of the ground to the west.  Bruce beat Jamieson, Joe and John to put in a strong challenge for first place: if he won his delayed game against Brian he would equal John on six wins and would come out ahead of him under the who-beat-whom deciding rule.

Only the two players and the manager were present for the end of that deciding game, which began about 5pm and took just under two hours.  Bruce got a ball round to 4-back, and then progress was slow for a while; Brian started a break but stuck in hoop 6; Bruce shot at it and bounced off the wire to corner IV ... but eventually Bruce took his second ball round and finished off a +18 victory to take possession of the Muffin Dish.  John as runner-up would hold the Biscuit Plate for the sixth time, once Fergus found an opportunity to pass it on to him.

See below for a few photographs.

Fergus McInnes


Bruce Rannie adds:

I was one who achieved a "Triple in bits", cannot remember who against.  I did the first two peels by 6 OK, and had the rover ball in place, before blobbing 4-back!  I did the rover peel and pegout in a later turn, which did start from 4-back.  Whether my commandeering Lawn 2 for all of Sunday made a difference we'll never know ...

The interesting finish was in the timed game between Tony and Brian.  Tony had had a "grievous" when trying to slip past the peg to tighten a leave on his forward ball, so Brian was 2 vs 1 for quite some time.  However, when time was due, Tony was in play, having run 1-back, with Brian's pair first as an exit ball from there, and second between six and 4-back.  Time was called with Tony having his final stroke to play, having approached to a mere twelve feet of 2-back, angled, and two points up.  Those finding the game easy (i.e. sitting on the sidelines) muttered "get out of here, Brian's got a lift", but Tony thrashed at 2-back, and bounced off towards the west boundary.  Brian, also on 1-back (and peg), hit the lift hard, took off from midway to the other ball between six and 4-back, got in front of 1-back, made it with no rush, and considered the next stroke.  Those finding the game easy (i.e. sitting on the sidelines) muttered "guarantee the rush to 2-back, lay up with scores level, peg-ball near the peg, the other two balls miles away, and peg out to win after Tony misses", but Brian went for the winning break putting a tight pioneer into 3-back but approaching level with Tony's ball ten yards short of 2-back.  The approach went awry and that was that - Tony +1T.

I don't remember any other incidents where the commentator would have been so wrong in his prediction of the shot selections.  Does that mean we're getting the hang of this game?!



Bruce Rannie 6 wins: beat John Surgenor +24, Tony Foster +19, Brian Murdoch +18, Fergus McInnes +25, Jamieson Walker +8, Joe Lennon +24.
John Surgenor 6 wins: beat Tony Foster +18, Brian Murdoch +12, Fergus McInnes +26, Jamieson Walker +16, Joe Lennon +25, Jane Shorten +26.
Tony Foster 5 wins: beat Brian Murdoch +1t (20-19), Fergus McInnes +2t (17-15), Jamieson Walker +11, Joe Lennon +16, Jane Shorten +17.
Brian Murdoch 4 wins: beat Fergus McInnes +8, Jamieson Walker +16, Joe Lennon +25, Jane Shorten +13.
Fergus McInnes 3 wins: beat Jamieson Walker +13, Joe Lennon +24, Jane Shorten +19.
Jamieson Walker 2 wins: beat Joe Lennon +11t (23-12), Jane Shorten +6t (22-16).
Joe Lennon 1 win: beat Jane Shorten +10.
Jane Shorten 1 win: beat Bruce Rannie +15.



Not the usual sort of double-bankers ... Brian (in white) and George (green and black) do some emergency removal of fertiliser - put down by mistake to fill in the old peg hole, and now burning the grass - on lawn 1.

The final game: Bruce calls for an umpire before shooting with blue at Brian's red ball in hoop 6 (he missed the ball and glanced off the wire to corner IV) ...

... and (some turns later) gets the blue ball round and finishes.