Croquet North v SCA 2006

6-7 May 2006, Tyneside

This year's version of the annual contest for the porcelain beer-pump handle (the Newcastle Breweries' trophy) took place in generally fine weather on Tyneside's more than adequate lawns in Exhibition Park, Newcastle.  It was therefore disappointing, and rather indicative of the overall standard of play, that half of the twenty matches went to the time limit of 2½ hours.  Only Derek Watts (at 3 the lowest handicapped player involved) played consistently well in winning – and pegging out in – all his singles matches, though Phil Errington in winning three of his four singles and both his doubles also showed his quality from time to time.

The teams were made up of four players per side (though Derek Old replaced David Turner for Croquet North on the Sunday) and the format was four doubles matches and all-play-all in sixteen singles.  On handicap the most likely result was a win for Croquet North by a margin of 11-9 or 12-8 and the latter indeed transpired.  The SCA wins, however, did not come from the expected sources as highest handicapped Jamieson Walker won two of his matches and next highest Martin Stephenson three, while the two lowest, David Appleton and Jim Taggart, could only contribute one each.  Jim and Martin also won one of their doubles.

There was much muttering in evidence: at the side of one lawn David Turner was trying to learn the lines of a play, while during his frequent but short expeditions to the lawn the SCA captain could be heard telling himself he was playing "rubbish" or "nonsense" or shorter descriptions along the same lines.  It will be interesting to see whether next week's visit from Keith Aiton will be able to transform David's attitude; it could be Keith's greatest ever challenge.

Thanks are due to Croquet North not only for providing the venue but also for their generous hospitality.  The lunches and teas provided by Sheila Watts (and her team of helpers, necessary since she was playing) were excellent, and the SCA players were also treated to a splendid pub meal on the Saturday night.

David Appleton


(Croquet North names first)

Day 1, Saturday 6 May 2006:

Derek Watts & David Turner beat David Appleton & Jamieson Walker +9t (22-13)
Phil Errington & Sheila Watts beat Martin Stephenson & Jim Taggart +14

Derek Watts beat Jamieson Walker +23
Phil Errington lost to Martin Stephenson -3t (19-22)
Sheila Watts lost to Jim Taggart -4t (12-16)
David Turner beat David Appleton +8

Derek Watts beat Martin Stephenson +7
Phil Errington beat Jamieson Walker +8t (24-16)
Sheila Watts lost to David Appleton -4t (20-24)
David Turner beat Jim Taggart +22

Day 2, Sunday 7 May:

D Watts & Derek Old lost to Stephenson & Taggart -4t (14-18)
Errington & S Watts beat Appleton & Walker +1t (18-17)

Derek Watts beat Jim Taggart +16
Phil Errington beat David Appleton +6
Sheila Watts lost to Jamieson Walker -3t (13-16)
Derek Old lost to Martin Stephenson -6t (19-25)

Derek Watts beat David Appleton +17
Phil Errington beat Jim Taggart +17
Sheila Watts lost to Martin Stephenson -26
Derek Old lost to Jamieson Walker -10t (14-24)

Match result: CN 12, SCA 8