East v West of Scotland 2007

26-27 May 2007, Meadows

This most flexible, informal and inclusive of Scottish croquet events, now in its fifth year, continued its evolution by drawing in a new group of participants, from the Glasgow Golf Croquet community, and diversifying into literary competition, as David Appleton offered a prize for the best 26-word story whose words began with the letters of the alphabet in order.  Some of Sunday's players on the East side also took part in the Edinburgh Marathon in the morning (but as marshals, not as runners).

Saturday's games had been planned to involve seven players from the East and four from the West, but a case was made for allowing Jackie Shannon to play for the West instead of the East so as to make the numbers less unequal.  (The exact nature of her qualification to represent the West was unclear, but it was alleged that she had once gone shopping in Glasgow.)  With this change of allegiance there were six East players and five West, and by the inclusion of some two-against-one games they were all kept occupied throughout the morning.  One lawn was devoted to Association Croquet, involving four players in double-banked singles games, and the other seven players had a succession of Golf Croquet games with various permutations of partners and opponents on the other two lawns.  In view of the disparate handicaps of the players, all the games throughout the weekend were played to handicap rules.

In the AC games, Duncan Reeves (West) played better than his handicap of 16 would suggest to beat George Anderson (East, handicap 6) 26-0, and David Appleton (West, 3.5) had a much narrower win over Tony Brightman (East, 5).  The six GC games also went to the West, with scores ranging from 7-1, for Jamieson Walker and Jackie Shannon against Fergus McInnes and Ruth Munro, to the 7-5 that occurred in three of the games.  In one of these, Rod Williams, partnering Jackie against the same East pair, gave an impressive display of accuracy when, with Fergus's ball in good position at hoop 2 and the rest still near hoop 1, he nominated his next shot as a fine cut on the left of the distant ball and achieved exactly that.  The others making unavailing efforts for the East in these games were Jola Jurasinska and Matthew Woodward.  Each Association game contributed two points to the match score, and each Golf game counted for one point, and so the score was 10-0 in favour of the West when we paused for lunch.  This was prepared by Jamieson, with assistance from other Meadows members, and featured chili con carne and its vegetarian counterpart chili con Quorn, accompanied by rice and followed by oatcakes and "mousetrap" cheese (which occasioned some discussion as to what mice actually preferred to eat).

In the afternoon the balance of the programme shifted from Golf to Association Croquet, but the balance of the scores remained firmly to the West.  Duncan kept up his good form and beat Tony by an 18-point margin.  Two games were played with East pairs including novice AC players (Jola partnered by George, and Ruth by Fergus) against singleton Westerners (respectively David and Rod).  In the first of these David performed a triple peel to win 26-11, while Rod had a much closer game against Fergus and Ruth but emerged the winner by three points on time (18-15).  In the Golf Croquet Matthew achieved the East's only win of the match so far against Jackie.  Most players declined the games proposed for the last round of the day, but David took on George at Association Croquet and won with another TP.  The score at the end of the day was East 1, West 20 - with 23 points at stake in Sunday's games, so that the East could theoretically still win.

Sunday morning started inauspiciously with standing water on parts of the lawns after heavy rain overnight.  After a wait for the water in the hoop holes to drain away, and the application of squeegees to remove the remaining puddles, four Association games got going.  Allan Hawke joined the squad for the East, and Ian Wright came in for the West.  The East's Golf Croquet players were on marathon duty from early morning, but they got back about 10.30, along with Jamieson and Jackie of the West team, who then took on the East's Alistair Ewing and Campbell Morrison.  The first results of the day provided much-needed encouragement to the East: Alistair and Campbell won their GC 7-6 to double the East's match score to 2, and Fergus then completed a 26-17 AC victory over David to double it again.  The other three Association games, however, all went to the West, dashing any hopes the East might have had of turning the match around.

Before those games were finished, the Glasgow Golf Croquet contingent arrived: Margaret Alcorn, Anne Docherty, Cathy Ferguson, Stewart Mill, Liz Urquhart and Stewart Urquhart.  Four of them took part in GC doubles games before lunch (when the number of games was limited because two lawns still had Association games on), and all played in the afternoon.  Wins for the East in the pre-lunch games, by Jola Jurasinska and Brian Cosford over Margaret and Stewart Mill and by Fiona Dow and Joe Henderson over Cathy and Stewart Urquhart, brought the cumulative scores to 6 points for the East and 26 for the West.

Lunch this time was provided by Charlotte Townsend and Ruth Munro, and included spaghetti Bolognese (with a vegetarian alternative sauce as green as pond weed but much more appetising, which Charlotte assured us did not contain any frogs to the best of her knowledge) and salad and profiteroles.  Well fed and watered (or wined), and cheered by a renewed outbreak of sunshine, the players set to again for the afternoon, with Association Croquet on one lawn and Golf Croquet on two lawns - all double-banked doubles, so that 24 players in total had games simultaneously.

This time the East won five out of eight GC games, but in the AC games Duncan and Charlotte, for the West, beat Tony and Campbell 26-8, and the other West pair of David and Ian just held off Allan and Robert Inder for a 26-24 win, giving a final score of 33 points to the West and 11 to the East.  The trophy (won by the West in 2006) had not been located for presentation, but the West of Scotland players departed happily enough, after a sumptuous afternoon tea laid on by Vivien Wightman with help from Alison Ross.  What was presented was David's prize for the alphabetic story competition - a bottle of wine, which would have been an alphabetically appropriate American Zinfandel if he had managed to find any in the shop.  This went to the manager and East captain Fergus McInnes, for his account of the first day of the match:

A braw croquet day!  East fought gallantly, however it just kept losing, meeting numerous on-form players, quick, ruthless, succumbing to unrelentingly victorious West's X-factor.  Yield: zero!

[The author pointed out in a footnote that the exclamation mark at the end was mathematical notation for "factorial" and therefore made the statement accurate since 0 factorial is equal to 1.  The prizegiver commented that he could have had another exclamation mark after it as punctuation.]

There was also a reverse alphabetical entry from Duncan Reeves, but no one rose to David's challenge of submitting an entry in verse.

Fergus McInnes


(East names first)

Day One:

Association Croquet:
George Anderson (6) lost to Duncan Reeves (16)  0-26
Tony Brightman (5) lost to David Appleton (3.5)  24-26
Tony lost to Duncan  8-26
George & Jola Jurasinska (20) lost to David  11-26TP
Fergus McInnes (4.5) & Ruth Munro (20) lost to Rod Williams (2.5)  15-18
George lost to David  12-26TP

Golf Croquet:
Jola (2) & Ruth Munro (3) lost to Rod (1)  5-7
Fergus (1) & Matthew Woodward (3) lost to Jamieson Walker (1) & Jackie Shannon (4)  4-7
Jola & Matthew lost to Rod  4-7
Fergus & Ruth lost to Jamieson & Jackie  1-7
Jola & Matthew lost to Jamieson  5-7
Fergus & Ruth lost to Rod & Jackie  5-7
Matthew beat Jackie  7-5
Matthew lost to Jamieson  5-7
Jola lost to Jackie  3-7

Day Two:
Association Croquet:
George lost to Rod  12-26
Tony lost to Ian Wright (9)  21-26
Allan Hawke (7) lost to Duncan  17-26
Fergus beat David  26-17
Tony & Campbell Morrison (6) lost to Duncan & Charlotte Townsend (4.5)  8-26
Allan & Robert Inder (20) lost to David & Ian  24-26

Golf Croquet:
Alistair Ewing & Campbell (1) beat Jamieson & Jackie  7-6
Brian Cosford (1) & Jola beat Margaret Alcorn & Stewart Mill  7-2
Fiona & Joe Henderson beat Cathy Ferguson (4) & Stewart Urquhart  7-2
George & Fiona beat Anne Docherty (4) & Rod  7-6
Alistair & Ruth beat Margaret & Stewart Urquhart  7-5
Brian & Fergus lost to Cathy & Jamieson  4-7
Joe & Jola beat Liz Urquhart (4) & Stewart Mill  7-4
George & Ruth lost to Margaret & Jackie  4-7
Brian & Fergus beat Anne & Liz  7-1
Fiona & Alistair beat Cathy & Stewart Mill  7-5
Joe & Jola lost to Rod & Stewart Urquhart  0-7

Final scores:
East 11 (AC 2 + GC 9), West 33 (AC 22 + GC 11)