Scotland v Canada 2006

23-25 June 2006, Meadows

The series of matches between Canada and Scotland for the Maple Shield, played in even-numbered years, began in 1998, and Scotland has yet to win one, although we did achieve a draw in Edinburgh in 2002.

This year's line-up did not bode well for an improvement in the Scots' record.  Canada was fielding Leo McBride (handicap -1.5) at no.1 and Dave Lewis (0) at no.2, while the only available Scottish player at a similar level was Chris Dent (-0.5), and he could play only on the second day of the match.  Completing the Canadian team were Pat Little (estimated handicap 4) and Chris Loat (5) - both veterans of the previous two matches, having played in 2002 alongside Leo and Paul Emmet, and in 2004 with Dave and Ken Shipley.  The other Scots involved were Brian Murdoch (2), Fergus McInnes (3), Bill Spalding (6), Alan Wilson (6, Sunday only) and Jamieson Walker (7).

Sure enough, the first day (Friday 23 June) went in the Canadians' favour: they won seven games, by margins ranging from 2 to 22, while the Scots' only point was obtained by Brian in his game against Pat.

The Scots had a better day on Saturday, winning both doubles games and four out of nine singles games (eight were scheduled, but we fitted in an extra one) to bring the score to Scotland 7, Canada 12.  The highlight of the doubles was Leo's impressive quadruple peel on opponent Chris Dent - done at the rate of one peel per hoop, or nearly so, between hoop 4 and 3-back.  This left Chris's partner Fergus on his own, except for Chris's expert advice, against Leo and Pat.  A few misses by Pat and some successful positional and break play by Fergus led to a win for the Scots, +11 OQP.  To add insult to injury, Chris TPOed Leo (in the fourth turn) in their ensuing singles game and went on to win after Leo broke down at 1-back.  (Leo got his revenge in their next two games.)  The Scots now needed to win eight out of 10 games on Sunday to win the match.

Sunday saw a return to Friday's Scottish team of Murdoch, McInnes, Spalding and Walker, followed by another substitution in the later rounds, where Bill Spalding gave place to Alan Wilson.  By mid-afternoon the scores also resembled those of Friday, with the Scots having won only one game to the Canadians' seven - but Alan and Jamieson improved the balance by winning their last games of the day to make it 3-7 on the day and 10-19 over the three days.

So Canada will hold the Maple Shield again for the next two years ... if they can find it!  (At the last enquiry none of the 2004 Canada team knew where it was.)  Failing that, there will be yet another substitution, this time of a trophy rather than a player.

These matches are always enjoyable events, win or lose.  (I've been part of one draw and two losses so far, and am still keen to play more, though of course it would be nice to win one for a change.)  This time the off-court highlights included dinner at Jamieson's house on Saturday, with good food and wine, entertaining conversation, and spectacular views from the windows as the sun set just after 10pm and a pink rainbow faded away a few minutes later.

Some photographs of the teams and of Leo's QPO can be found below.

Fergus McInnes



Scotland: Chris Dent (24 June), Brian Murdoch, Fergus McInnes, Bill Spalding, Alan Wilson (25 June), Jamieson Walker (23 and 25 June).
Canada: Leo McBride, Dave Lewis, Pat Little, Chris Loat.

Day 1, 23 June:
Murdoch & Walker lost to McBride & Loat -20
McInnes & Spalding lost to Lewis & Little -14
Murdoch & Spalding lost to McBride & Little -20
McInnes & Walker lost to Lewis & Loat -2T (21-23)
Murdoch bt Little +10
McInnes lost to Lewis -17
Spalding lost to McBride -22
Walker lost to Loat -4

Day 2, 24 June:
Dent & McInnes bt McBride & Little +11 OQP (McBride)
Murdoch & Spalding bt Lewis & Loat +1T (18-17)
Dent bt McBride +7 TPO
Murdoch lost to Lewis -14
McInnes bt Loat +9T (24-15)
Spalding lost to Little -17
Dent lost to McBride -16
Murdoch bt Loat +15
McInnes bt Little +13T (23-10)
Spalding lost to Lewis -13
Dent lost to McBride -26 TP

Day 3, 25 June:
Murdoch & McInnes lost to McBride & Lewis -20
Spalding & Walker bt Little & Loat +1T (22-21)
Murdoch lost to Lewis -12
McInnes lost to McBride -25
Wilson lost to Loat -7T (13-20)
Walker lost to Little -6T (12-18)
Murdoch lost to McBride -18
McInnes lost to Lewis -10T (15-25)
Wilson bt Little +16
Walker bt Loat +14

Match score: Scotland 10, Canada 19