Secretary Trophy 2005

14 May 2005, Meadows

Fergus instructed Rod and David that one of them should manage the Secretary Trophy competition – 14 point advanced games with bisques.  Their first act was to delegate to Charlotte, who spent an evening trying and failing to work out how to get five people to play each other in five rounds – Rod eventually gave in and told her.

So Charlotte gave herself a bye in the first round, allowing her to provide some players with sustenance in the form of bacon rolls.  This greatly improved Rod’s performance, who whizzed round in 1½ hours with at least one two-hoop break, to an impressive victory of 9-8T against George, who had declined the bacon rolls.  (Though he too managed at least one break of two hoops.)  David’s bacon roll had a more delayed effect, but allowed him to beat Ian Wright 14-10, before (but not much before) time.

Rod’s bacon roll had worn thin by the second round, and Ian beat him 14-7.  But David’s was still working well, and Charlotte generously allowed him a 14-10 victory. This was the only game of the weekend to involve a peel – albeit a slightly unfortunate one by David, of Charlotte’s ball, through hoop 3 (a lift hoop) to rush it down to his hoop 4, only to miss it, leaving Charlotte an easy break.  Oops.  Never mind – Charlotte showed her usual ability to create havoc, and David cruised round to victory.

Round 3 saw David disappear to find his lunch.  Ian and George struggled, but Ian finally scored hoop 1 on his own ball.  Then, completely missing a ridiculously short roquet, his ball sailed cleanly through hoop 2 to land on the north boundary beside George's yellow.  Eventually Ian won 11-6.  Charlotte quickly beat Rod, with one bisque (her own) standing, 14-2 – this was surprising given the fact that none of her balls ever went remotely near their intended destination.  It was, however, one of a large number of examples of games where players conceded contact, and the opponent made absolutely nothing from it.  In fact, no-one I spoke to remembered anyone getting more than about one hoop from a contact.

At some stage during this round, Ian explained to some golfers that the area around the main gate was not, despite the smell, a urinal.  They seemed reluctant to understand this.  Charlotte mentioned that a hose pipe might be applied if they returned.  Hose pipe was duly put in place.  Charlotte, trying to position it correctly, was the only person to get wet.

In round 4, Ian took his red ball to six, and broke down, leaving most balls in the lawn. He told me that his planned leave had been a bit more sophisticated than that.  Charlotte took her contact, and either in this turn, or a later one (something like that) spent her turn trying to get Ian’s red ball to a position where she could peel it.  She got to five, giving Ian a contact, from which, inevitably by the standards of the day, he failed to do anything much.  She then got in again, and at some stage took ball 2 to peg as well, but gave herself a longish rush to the peg, missed, and joined up with Ian’s ball.  Sigh…  Something else went wrong (I can’t remember) and Charlotte eventually finished.  One interesting point was when Ian declared a fault, having run hoop 3 but double tapping the ball.  He had a half bisque left –

  • question one was, did he decide whether to take it before or after Charlotte decided whether the balls went back or not?
  • question two was, would the reply have been the same if he had had a full bisque?
  • question three was, had the hoop been scored?

Answer one was, no.  Answer two, no – whatever Charlotte’s decision, the balls would have had to go back.  Answer three – no.  So Charlotte opted to put Ian’s ball back in front of the hoop, where, running the hoop backwards, it was easily roquetable.  Some of this was during the bit of the game I said above I couldn’t remember.

Despite the sound of all this, Ian played well.  Charlotte didn’t, but won.

On the other lawn, David beat George, but I don’t know why or how, but it gave him his third and decisive win.

In the final round, David decided not to use his bisques.  (This happened rather late on, when Rod was in his winning turn.  The best time to make such decisions.)  Rod went for precision play, taking off from partner ball north of hoop two to get hoop position at one.  A vigorous (but controlled?!) hoop 1 left him jawsed in two, so that he was able to get good position on partner ball after hoop 2 for his rush to 3.  If he knows what happened after this he can explain, but he went to peg, giving a contact, from which David, inevitably, failed to score a hoop.  He laid up near corner 3 with a rush to his hoop 2, and Rod rushed the ball near the peg, from the middle of A baulk, to his hoop 2.  Game over (five hoops later), but David did wonder whether the bisque decision had, in retrospect, been the right one.

Meanwhile, the visitors had returned to the gateway.  Charlotte applied the hose.  Indignant noises from visitors, but they did not (unless they were very surreptitious) return.  Must seek legal advice about whether applying water to sprinklers is a criminal offence.  (Rod pointed out that a better approach might have been to accuse them of exposing themselves…)

George and Charlotte were, meanwhile, trying to find a way of finishing their game in less than 1½ hours.  Impressive efforts by them both to give the other the innings were consistently unsuccessful – once again, contacts led to zero hoops.  George, however, clearly felt that, given the standard of play, it would be undignified to use his half bisque, and won, +1T, with it still in pristine condition.  It would be interesting to know what would have happened had he gone by his own view of the state of the game when time was called, in his turn.  He turned to Charlotte and said something like “I think we’re level”, to which she replied “mmm”.  He explained that he was asking about the state of the game – Charlotte, pedant that she is, pointed out that no question had been asked but that, if asked, she would express a view.  On closer examination, she revealed that she thought his comparison of seven hoops (George) to six (hers) as being level, was mathematically incorrect.  Charlotte failed to hit in after George did the sensible thing of making life impossible for her, meaning that David won the tournament, despite Charlotte having scored far more points than him.  Huh.  And he didn’t sprinkle any visitors.

A very enjoyable day, with the results really not showing how well people had played.  Everyone had good moments, although everyone had more bad ones.  But George and Ian were probably the people who (in my games at least) were tending to get most breaks.

Charlotte Townsend
(with additional details from Ian Wright)



David Appleton, 3 wins: beat Charlotte Townsend +4, Ian Wright +4, George Anderson +9.
Charlotte Townsend, 2 wins: beat Ian Wright +7, Rod Williams +12.
Ian Wright, 2 wins: beat Rod Williams +7, George Anderson +5T.
Rod Williams, 2 wins: beat David Appleton +13, George Anderson +1T.
George Anderson 1 win: beat Charlotte Townsend +1T