SCA v CA 2005

3-4 September 2005, Meadows

This annual match is held in Scotland in odd years and in England in even years.  The Scots had won their last home match at Meadows West in 2003, but the English team had won at Crake Valley in 2004.  This year's visitors were four members of the victorious 2004 side - Bob Burnett, Peter Wardle, Mark Miller and Graham Whitehouse - plus newcomers Keith Roberts and Ray Lowe.  The SCA was fielding a mostly Edinburgh-based team, with some substitutions because of players' limited availability: Chris Dent, Rod Williams on Saturday and Tony Foster on Sunday, Brian Murdoch, Fergus McInnes, Charlotte Townsend on Saturday and Bill Spalding on Sunday, and Jamieson Walker.  As usual the match consisted of best-of-three doubles on Saturday and best-of-three singles on Sunday.

The CA's no.1 doubles partnership of Burnett and Miller made fairly short work of defeating an off-form SCA pairing of Murdoch and McInnes in straight games, +15 and +14 - though all did not go quite to plan at the end of the first game, where Mark pegged out his ball by accident on a croquet stroke approaching an opponent ball, leaving his partner on 4-back and a short shot for the Scots in the middle of the lawn.  Fergus hit and laid up at hoop 2; Bob went to corner 3; Fergus approached hoop 2 and failed it; Bob hit in and tried to bombard Fergus's ball clear of the hoop to get a rush on it, but ended up wired from it; Fergus eventually ran hoop 2 but was hampered after it, and Bob hit in again and finished - with another accidental croquet-stroke peg-out, though this time the accident was harmless.

The other doubles matches both went to three games, and most of the games went to time.  This allowed Fergus to go home and come back with the Scottish flag, which he had forgotten in the morning, in time for the close of play.  The sight of the saltire may have encouraged the Scottish players, but only Chris and Jamieson managed to win the deciding game of their match, against Graham and Ray, while Rod and Charlotte followed a very narrow loss in their second game against Peter and Keith (-1 on time) by a more clear-cut -13 on time in the third.  So the first day finished with the CA ahead by two matches to one.

Saturday evening's entertainment, for the CA players plus Rod, Charlotte and Fergus, comprised a Scottish-French-Scottish sandwich of beer at Cloisters, dinner at La Bagatelle, and beer and whisky at Cloisters - both establishments being conveniently within a short walk or stagger of the Meadows West lawns and of the B&Bs where most of the CA team were staying.

The battle of the minus players on Sunday was over by lunch time - Bob defeating Chris in straight games, with a triple peel in the first one.  The remaining matches took longer, but by late afternoon Keith had won two games against Bill to make the match score 4-1 to the English side.  This left the Scots needing to win the deciding games of all the remaining matches - and as it turned out they won none of them, though three of the four were close.  Tony and Fergus had won their respective first games against Peter and Graham, but Peter and Graham had won the second games by large margins, and went on to win the final games though much more narrowly.  (The match between Fergus and Graham was a rerun of last year's, with Graham again turning it around after the first game to achieve a result against their relative handicaps.  Fergus's handicap went up from 2.5 to 3 at the end of the day in consequence of this and other recent losses.)  Brian had equalised in his second game against Mark, as had Jamieson in his second against Ray, but Mark and Ray won the deciders.  Hence the final result was an 8-1 victory for the CA team.

Last year the SCA players had failed to take the trophy with them and so it had never got to the winners, but the error was rectified this time round when the Glasgow Quaich, found after a short search in Brian's house on Sunday afternoon, was handed over to its rightful holders.  Of course we hope that our raiding party will succeed in retrieving it next year!

Aside from the results, it was generally agreed to have been a successful weekend, with warm sunshine, no rain, enjoyable company, and the excellent lunches provided by Jamieson with assistance from Charlotte.

Fergus McInnes



Chris Dent (-0.5)
Rod Williams (1) / Tony Foster (3)
Brian Murdoch (2)
Fergus McInnes (2.5)
Charlotte Townsend (4.5) / Bill Spalding (6)
Jamieson Walker (9)
(all Edinburgh resident and Meadows Club members except Bill Spalding and Rod Williams - both Glasgow)

Bob Burnett (-1)
Peter Wardle (1)
Mark Miller (2)
Graham Whitehouse (4)
Keith Roberts (5)
Ray Lowe (5)
(all from Cumbria and Merseyside)

(SCA names first)

Day 1
Murdoch & McInnes lost to Burnett & Miller -15 -14
Williams & Townsend lost to Roberts & Wardle +4T -1T -13T
Dent & Walker beat Whitehouse & Lowe -3 +4T +2T

Day 2
Chris Dent lost to Bob Burnett -11tp -25
Tony Foster lost to Peter Wardle +15 -20 -6
Brian Murdoch lost to Mark Miller -15 +12 -6T
Fergus McInnes lost to Graham Whitehouse +13 -25 -3T
Bill Spalding lost to Keith Roberts -24 -10T
Jamieson Walker lost to Ray Lowe -9T +3T -15

Overall result
SCA 1, CA 8