Spring Weekend 2006

29-30 April 2006, Meadows

This was the first SCA Spring Weekend to be held at the Meadows Club in Edinburgh rather than in Glasgow.  The Meadows venue has the drawback that only three lawns are available, which with this year's large entry (15 on Saturday and 14 on Sunday) meant two or three players sitting out at a time.  But it has the compensating advantage of the Meadows Club's spacious pavilion (now with a fully equipped kitchen, heating and comfortable chairs) - in which those sitting out could do so in comfort when the weather was cold, and in which Jamieson Walker provided delicious three-course lunches on both days.  The pavilion also hosted an enjoyable impromptu tournament dinner on Saturday evening.

As for the croquet - the lawns were playing well (faster than at this time in previous years), the players came from as far south as Hull and as far west as Clydebank, their handicaps ranged from 1 to 20, and 37 games were completed in the course of the weekend, with two more started on Sunday afternoon but not finished by the 5.30pm cut-off.

Saturday was sunny and perhaps the warmest day of the year so far.  Everyone got at least two games in, most people got three, and a few speedy players completed four.  Play continued until about 8.30pm, when the carry-out food arrived and the two games in progress were adjourned.  At the end of the day Charlotte Townsend (handicap 4.5) was the only one unbeaten, having defeated three higher-handicapped players by double-figure margins - Joe Henderson (20), Alice Fleck (9) and Derek Knight (7).  Alice had won three games out of four, as had Fergus McInnes (3), while Alan Wilson (6), Jamieson Walker (8) and Tony Whateley (16) had each won two out of three.  Highlights of the day included Martin Stephenson's nearly-successful double peel attempt against Rod Williams, and Fergus's win over Jamieson (+5, though it could have been +6 if he hadn't gratuitously pegged out one of Jamieson's balls) with two six-hoop three-ball breaks after Jamieson had peeled and pegged out Fergus's forward ball.

Sunday was colder and the sun took some time to break through; still it remained dry throughout.  In the pegged-down games, James Hopgood (14) achieved his first win of the weekend against Martin Stephenson (6), and Robert Lay (11) beat Rod Williams (1) to take his tally to two out of three.  Rod's handicap increase to 1.5, following three losses on Saturday, took effect in his next game, but the lack of a half-bisque didn't prevent David Appleton (3.5) from inflicting Rod's fifth consecutive defeat.  Charlotte continued her winning streak with a +4 against Fergus (now at handicap 2.5) - who again had one of his balls pegged out, but this time made only four more hoops with the remaining one.  By lunch time Alice was on four games out of five, and Alan was on three out of four.  So the game in the afternoon between Alan and Charlotte was an important one, and Alan won it to move into the lead.  He then had to hope that Alice would not beat Fergus in their long and scrappy game.  Fergus nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by failing his peg-out from about three yards, with Alice on 4-back and peg, but to his and Alan's relief Alice missed her shot, and Fergus finished with a few minutes to spare before the 5.30 deadline.  Not so lucky was Martin, who ran rover and did a posthumous peel in his game against Robert as the deadline approached, but didn't get the chance to peg out.

So Alan was the winner, with four wins in his five games and an Egyptian points score of 116; Charlotte came second, with four out of five and 113.  Alan thus kept up his record, for this millennium so far, of winning the Spring Weekend in one out of every two consecutive years.  (But I don't expect he will keep it up throughout the millennium.)  His achievement was particularly impressive this time because he had been out of play with a broken leg for the last three months of the 2005 season.

Some photographs can be seen below.

Fergus McInnes



1. Alan Wilson 116 points, 4/5 wins: beat DA +20, RL +6, TW +13, CT +10.
2. Charlotte Townsend 113 points, 4/5 wins: beat JHen +16, AF +15, DK +11, FM +4.
3. Fergus McInnes 111 points, 4/6 wins: beat JHop +19, JHen +5, JW +5, AF +5.
4=. Alice Fleck 108 points, 4/6 wins: beat MS +17, AW +20, RW +26, JW +8.
4=. Derek Knight 108 points, 4/6 wins: beat JT +17, FM +26, JL +6, JHop +8.
4=. Robert Lay 108 points, 3/4 wins: beat TW +11, RW +12, JT +10.
7=. Jamieson Walker 105 points, 3/5 wins: beat JL +7, MS +5, TW +13.
7=. David Appleton 105 points, 3/5 wins: beat DK +12, RW +15, JL +6.
9=. Martin Stephenson 95 points, 2/5 wins: beat RW +25, JL +13.
9=. Tony Whateley 95 points, 2/5 wins: beat RW +25, JT +9.
11. James Hopgood 91 points, 1/4 wins: beat MS +9.
12. Joe Henderson 90 points, 0/2 wins.
13. Joe Lennon 86 points, 1/5 wins: beat JHop +12.
14. Jim Taggart 85 points, 1/5 wins: beat DA +13.
15. Rod Williams 84 points, 1/6 wins: beat JT +3.



James Hopgood casting over his ball, with Arthur's Seat through the trees in the background

Martin Stephenson lines up the penult peel in his game against Rod Williams.

A scene reminiscent of Lowry or Breughel: players, referee, spectators, and families enjoying a fine Saturday on Bruntsfield Links.

Joe Henderson and an array of balls (seen from a recumbent position on the bank by the south boundary).

Charlotte Townsend plays a long peg-out against Fergus McInnes.  (Yellow hit the peg, and was in the air at the moment of the photograph.  Red missed in the next stroke, allowing Fergus to get two more hoops before Charlotte finished.)

"Old Six-Eyes is back!" - Alan Wilson in his decisive game against Charlotte.

"Your feet's too big" [after Fats Waller and Alice Fleck] - David Appleton giving scale to the picture.

Alice during her long game against Fergus.