Chairman's Rosebowl and Malmet Trophy 2006

16-18 September 2006, Meadows

The two Scottish invitation events had their full complement of 12 players this year for the first time since 1999.

The Chairman's Rosebowl contestants comprised veterans Rod Williams and David Appleton, with 23 and 13 previous appearances respectively; last year's winner Fergus McInnes; Meadows Club improvers Martin Stephenson and James Hopgood; and new part-time Edinburgh resident Bryan Sykes, who, like James, was competing in this event for the first time.  The field for the Malmet consisted of Jamieson Walker (on the same handicap as James, but allocated to the second group of six because of his lower place in the world rankings), Allan Hawke, Robert Lay, Tony Whateley, Duncan Reeves and Joe Lennon; here Tony was the only first-timer.  Half of the 12, counting Bryan, were local to Edinburgh, while Rod, Robert, Tony, Duncan and Joe were visiting from the west of Scotland and David was up from Tyneside.

The schedule was constructed - on Fergus's laptop computer on Friday evening during a train journey back from a week's work in Nottingham - by a process of copying and search and replacement on last year's order of play for the Chairman's.  One consequence was that correspondingly ranked players in the two events were always double-banked with each other (except for one round in which two games in the Chairman's ended up swapping places) - Rod on the same lawn as Jamieson, Bryan with Allan, Fergus with Robert, David with Tony, Martin with Duncan, and James with Joe.  (So, if any of the players were wondering why the same person was always getting in their way, this is the explanation.  Permuting the lawn allocations might have been an improvement.)

The first round on Saturday saw three results contrary to handicap in the Chairman's - James (7) having a notable victory over Rod (2), Fergus (3.5) beating Bryan (3), and Martin (4.5) beating David (4).  The Malmet players were better behaved in this respect, with all their first-round results conforming to handicap: Jamieson (7) defeated Joe (14), Allan (8) had the only peg-out in this Malmet round against Robert (11), and Tony (12) beat Duncan (14).  A pause ensued while the contestants enjoyed the sumptuous lunch laid on by our volunteer caterer Charlotte Townsend, and then battle resumed, with two more rounds completed in the afternoon and evening and a further round begun.  Two fourth-round games were finished that day: David had a quick win over James, and Jamieson and Robert played on into the gloaming while the rest of us started on the Indian and Chinese carry-outs in the pavilion, Jamieson eventually appearing from the darkness with a +1 win on time.  The other four games were pegged down overnight.  The day ended with Jamieson undefeated in the Malmet, but with everyone in the Chairman's having a mixed record except that Bryan was yet to record a win.  Some of the less corrigible participants repaired to Cloisters following the meal, but not for very long.

After a mostly fair Saturday, Sunday dawned misty.  (The manager couldn't see the spire of the Barclay Church on his way across the Meadows and consequently took a slight deviation from his usual straight-line route.  Having got there he programmed the location of the croquet club into his GPS receiver so as to be able to avoid a recurrence of this suboptimality on any future occasion.)  The first hour or so was spent in finishing off the pegged-down games, and then the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds were played, with lunch after the fifth round.  At that point the tournaments were half-way through, with all those in each event having played each other once; the Chairman's still had no clear leader, while in the Malmet Jamieson remained undefeated, with Allan, Robert and Joe trailing him on three wins out of five.  At the end of the day, David was just ahead in the Chairman's with five wins, but Fergus, Martin and James were close behind with four each; the lowest-handicapped players had the fewest wins, but Rod with three wins was still in contention for the trophy.  In the Malmet Jamieson had now had one loss (to Joe) but was still two games ahead of the nearest contenders.

So to the last day.  The start had been brought forward from the usual 9.30 to 9am so that three rounds of 2.5-hour games (plus lunch) could be fitted in before the Meadows Club's regular Monday evening session.  In fact at 9am the courts were still being set out, following grass cutting by SCA Chairman and Meadows Club handyman Brian Murdoch, and the manager was arriving breathless at the gate after a sprint across the Meadows (his navigation fortunately not affected by fog this time), having been up early but doing other things and left himself only seven and a half minutes for the one-mile journey.  However all was soon in readiness and play began just a few minutes behind schedule.

In the Chairman's, Rod beat David to remain in contention, and James and Fergus joined David on five wins out of eight.  (Fergus was behind in his game against Martin until about twenty minutes after time was called, but finished his break from hoop 4 in the time turn and pegged out one ball to go one point ahead; Martin missed his remaining shot, and Fergus had his revenge for the game that Martin had taken from him by similar means at Pendle three months before.)  Martin and Rod were the repeated winners in the last two rounds, while James and David each won once more, and hence these four were tied for first place with six wins each.  The manager proposed to resolve this, the first four-way tie in the history of the event, with two rounds of 14-point advanced games seeded by net points.  But the players rebelled and refused to play any more, and so the tie-breaking fell back to a direct use of net points - by which David was declared the winner, with a net score of +71.

The ending of the Malmet was more predictable.  Jamieson retained his lead, and after the ninth round he could not be overtaken.  He lost to Allan in the last round, and ended up on eight wins, Allan and Joe being joint runners-up with seven.

The Rosebowl - complete with a rose, picked by Charlotte on Saturday or Sunday and kept fresh in water by Fergus over Sunday night - was presented by the Chairman to David, as was the Malmet Trophy to Jamieson, in front of an unusually large crowd of Meadows Club members and visiting players, seen in the photograph below.

So, for a second year in succession, both events had first-time winners - David's win coming by virtue of long perseverance, in his 14th attempt at the Rosebowl.  The quality of the croquet was not outstanding, with no triple peels (though there were some attempts, and even some in which the 4-back peel was achieved), but it was certainly an enjoyable weekend.  Charlotte made a major contribution to this with her preparation of excellent lunches and assiduous purchasing of drinks to keep the players supplied.  Jamieson also contributed to the catering, providing Monday's lunch in amongst playing his last three rounds of games, and so did other Meadows Club members, especially Ruth Munro who was on tea duty on Sunday.  And Charlotte, Rod, Duncan and I had a very pleasant evening with chip suppers and wine under the stars at Bryan's New Town residence on Sunday - even if the wine intake required some recovery measures in the ensuing hours before the final day's play.  Thanks to all concerned!

Fergus McInnes

David Appleton adds:

The Winner's Tale

As Fergus says in his report, I was playing this year in my fourteenth Chairman's.  It has taken me nineteen years to win it.  My first attempt was in 1988 when I came within one game of success, a feat I repeated in each of the following two years and I was then joint runner-up in 1991 as well.  The next thirteen very lean years saw 8 further attempts in which I won only 22 games out of 78 and it looked extremely unlikely that I would ever bother the engraver, especially when I once again came second last year, equalling the highest number of games won without actually securing the trophy. However, all was transformed this year when I got there with the smallest number of games won.

I am grateful to Rod for leading the revolt against the proposed play-offs and to Martin and James for agreeing.  The last of the block matches finished at 5.30 and sunset in Edinburgh was scheduled for 7.20 so the two rounds required would have had to be played very quickly or partly in the dark, and - as it transpired - in the pouring rain.  Anyway, Rod has won the Chairman's often enough and if I am any judge Martin and James will both win many times in the future!

A special word of thanks to Keith Aiton for the squad-coaching session earlier in the year where he helped silence the voice in my head and greatly improved my hoop-running.

Fergus McInnes admits:

Yes, I was overdoing it a bit by trying to make them play two more rounds.  (Not only for anagrammatic reasons do I call myself "Grim Fun Scenes".)  It probably was better that we omitted the play-offs, made both presentations before dark and had time for a drink or two afterwards.

 

The crowd at the end.  On the bench from left to right: Fergus McInnes (manager), David Appleton with the Chairman's Rosebowl, Charlotte Townsend (caterer extraordinaire), Jamieson Walker with the Malmet Trophy, and Martin Stephenson (runner-up for the Rosebowl).

 

Results

Chairman's Rosebowl:

DRA MAS RW JRH FRM BCS Wins Points
David Appleton -- −16
+18
−4
−17
+24
−5
+26
+20
+10
+15
6 +71
Martin Stephenson +16
−18
-- −4T
+14
+5T
+19
+10
−1T
−6
+3T
6 +38
Rod Williams +4
+17
+4T
−14
-- −10T
−1T
−4T
+9
+16
+12
6 +33
James Hopgood −24
+5
−5T
−19
+10T
+1T
-- −7
+17
+22
+11
6 +11
Fergus McInnes −26
−20
−10
+1T
+4T
−9
+7
−17
-- +19
+16
5 −35
Bryan Sykes −10
−15
+6
−3T
−16
−12
−22
−11
−19
−16
-- 1 −118

 

Malmet Trophy:

JW RAH JL RGL TLW DR Wins Points
Jamieson Walker -- +23
−7
+4T
−7
+1T
+13T
+20
+24
+5T
+18
8 +94
Allan Hawke −23
+7
-- −2T
+15
+22
−8T
+25
+1
+7
+9T
7 +53
Joe Lennon −4T
+7
+2T
−15
-- −5T
+15T
+1T
+3T
+3T
+8T
7 +15
Robert Lay −1T
−13T
−22
+8T
+5T
−15T
-- +7T
−7T
+20
+2T
5 −16
Tony Whateley −20
−24
−25
−1
−1T
−3T
−7T
+7T
-- +11T
+9T
3 −54
Duncan Reeves −5T
−18
−7
−9T
−3T
−8T
−20
−2T
−11T
−9T
-- 0 −92