West of Scotland Championship 2006

7-8 October 2006, Glasgow

What is it about Glasgow in October that consistently attracts the SCA's biggest entry of the season?  Maybe it's the weather, which this year was aptly described by one player, looking out over the rainswept courts, as "like Glasgow in October" - a bracing change from the warm summer just past, especially for players from further south.  Maybe this year some were seduced by rumours of an upgraded pavilion; if so, they were disappointed, as the newly operational toilets, along with most of the other space in the building, had been taken over by the park wardens for their own use to the exclusion of the croquet players, dashing the hopes expressed three months ago in the Summer Weekend report*.  More likely, people just can't resist the chance to get one more tournament in before the winter.

This year's southern visitors were Elizabeth Medway from Jersey, Jim Taggart from Tyneside (a regular at the SCA's Glasgow weekends), new SCA members Melanie and Terry Foster from Southport, and Simon Jones from Oxfordshire.  They joined 10 players from across the breadth of central Scotland to make up a total entry of 15, with handicaps ranging from Fergus McInnes's 3.5 to Simon Jones's 18.

Rain before and during the first day led to slow lawns, which made big croquet strokes and rushes difficult and presumably contributed to the reduction in the number of games per player relative to last year (when one player fitted nine games into the weekend and three others completed eight each).  This time no one got more than three-and-a-bit games into a day.

At the end of Saturday only Martin Stephenson and Robert Lay were undefeated, with three wins and two wins respectively, but there were five players on two wins and one loss - Jamieson Walker, Allan Hawke, Tony Whateley, Terry Foster and last year's winner James Hopgood.  Most of the rest had one win, and Simon Jones, Joe Lennon and Fergus McInnes brought up the rear, having lost all their games.  Fergus's handicap went up to 4 at the end of the day.

Sunday was less rainy and windy than Saturday, but also had less sunshine.  Martin had his first loss, a -26 to Terry, and Robert lost two games to balance his two wins the day before.  Fergus had his first win, over Joe, and Joe then won his remaining games; Simon also recorded a win, ensuring that everyone had at least one.  As the 5.30pm cutoff approached, Terry and Tony, each with four wins from five games, were engaged in a long battle, with many changes of innings and few hoops per turn, whose outcome, if it got finished, would determine the winner of the tournament.  Martin also had only one loss, and he had five wins, but the workings of the Egyptian system were such that he was one point behind Terry (because Martin's opponents had had poorer preceding records in the tournament, relative to Martin, than Terry's, relative to Terry: losing his first game rather than a later one was a good Egyptian tactic on Terry's part).  The only other game still in progress at this point was between James - who was aiming for a 5/7 record and a handicap reduction to 4.5 - and Bill Spalding.  Neither game reached completion, and so Terry received the trophy (as depicted below), on his first croquet-playing visit to Scotland, with Tony and Martin tied for second place, while James finished his season still on a handicap of 5 (down from 14 a year ago) but poised for a further reduction in the spring.  Terry and Martin got their handicaps down, to 11 and 3.5 respectively, and so did Jamieson, to 6.

* Indeed the facilities available were now poorer than before the refurbishment, as we were not allowed to occupy the space within the railings under the eaves of the pavilion while the wardens were on duty: it had to be kept clear for access by members of the public seeking information about the park.  The pavilion and the surrounding area were admittedly sprucer and more lavishly adorned than before, but I think some of us would happily have traded one of the floral installations for a litter bin - now not to be found anywhere within the fence.

Fergus McInnes

 

Terry Foster (right) receives the West of Scotland trophy from the rather chilled tournament manager Fergus McInnes with the Kelvingrove museum in the background on the left.

 

Results
("Egyptian" scoring system)

1. Terry Foster 116 points, 4/5 wins: beat JL +3, JW +23, MS +26, BS +26.
2=. Martin Stephenson 115 points, 5/6 wins: beat SJ +12, TW +4, BS +4, FM +5, AW +4.
2=. Tony Whateley 115 points, 4/5 wins: beat AW +17, AH +14, EM +13, RL +8.
4. Jamieson Walker 112 points, 4/5 wins: beat JT +5, JH +13, MF +3, EM +5.
5=. Allan Hawke 108 points, 4/6 wins: beat TF +2, JL +11, JT +2, RL +16.
5=. James Hopgood 108 points, 4/6 wins: beat JL +1, JT +19, AH +19, SJ +9.
7. Bill Spalding 105 points, 3/5 wins: beat AW +6, JT +19, FM +15.
8. Robert Lay 98 points, 2/4 wins: beat MF +16, EM +6.
9. Melanie Foster 95 points, 2/5 wins: beat SJ +2, JH +23.
10. Joe Lennon 93 points, 2/6 wins: beat EM +22, MF +22.
11. Simon Jones 91 points, 1/4 wins: beat AW +4.
12. Alan Wilson 87 points, 1/5 wins: beat FM +4.
13=. Elizabeth Medway 86 points, 1/5 wins: beat FM +7.
13=. Jim Taggart 86 points, 1/5 wins: beat FM +3.
15. Fergus McInnes 83 points, 1/6 wins: beat JL +7.