Edinburgh Tournament 2007

12-17 August 2007, Fettes College

Edinburgh Tournament 2007The opening day of this year's Edinburgh Tournament was unusual in two ways: it was on Sunday rather than Monday, as we couldn't get our usual Monday to Saturday booking and therefore adjusted the dates by one day, and it had only 13 players competing in what was the smallest ever "big handicap".  (There were actually 15 entrants for the handicap event, but two of them were not available till Monday.)  Because of entrants' limited availability, only one player won through two rounds of the knockout on the first day; those whose first-round or second-round opponents were missing had early games in the Swiss-format consolation event instead.  The same player - Fergus McInnes - had an unusual achievement in an advanced game later in the day against Allan Hawke in the 4+ class event, performing a triple peel, which was only his second ever in tournament play, and his first in 15 years of competition on the difficult sloping courts of Fettes.

Monday was busier, with all five courts fully occupied for much of the day.  There were six players in the Open, five in the 4+ advanced event, six in the 8+ (advanced with bisques) and six in the 14+ (full bisques to a base of 12).  It was particularly good to see, in the last of these events, three local players who had only taken up Association Croquet during the past year - Brian Cosford, Jola Jurasinska and Ruth Munro, all members of the Meadows Club.  Early leaders were James Hopgood, Graham Brightwell and Martin Stephenson with two wins and one loss each in the Open, Fergus McInnes with two wins in the 4+ event, John Clark with two wins in the 8+, and Bob Cross and Morven Wardley with three and two wins respectively in the 14+.  Also played on Monday were two of the remaining first-round and second-round games in the unrestricted handicap, in which Rod Williams got into a semi-final to be played against Fergus on a later day, and Jamieson Walker gained a place in a quarter-final in which he would meet Allan Hawke.  The other quarter-final was still to be played between Martin Stephenson (absent on Sunday, but having a bye in the draw) and Joe Lennon (absent on Monday).

In accordance with the shifted schedule, doubles day was Tuesday instead of the usual Wednesday.  Ten pairs were competing, and after a rainy third round in the evening the finalists were determined as being Martin Stephenson and Brian Cosford (combined handicap 23) and the other low-high Meadows Club pairing of Allan Hawke and Jola Jurasinska (27).  Fergus's run of success came to an end with a first-round loss in the doubles by one point on time, in partnership with James Hopgood against Allan and Jola; this was, however, consistent with the first two days' games in that it was James's seventh consecutive game of more than three hours.

Wednesday's and Thursday's programmes consisted of further games in the class events and the unrestricted handicap.  The handicap final was played a day early (for logistical reasons), on Thursday, between Fergus McInnes and Allan Hawke.  With two bisques against him this time, Fergus had a much narrower win than in their previous encounter on Sunday, and his only peel was an accidental rush-peel on Allan's ball, which had stuck in rover, in the last turn of the game - after which he sent the peelee back into the jaws in the croquet stroke, also unintentionally, en route to his partner ball a few yards away, and ended up having to half-jump it to score rover with his own ball.  The deciding game of the 14+ block was also played on Thursday, between Bob Cross and his daughter Morven Wardley - Bob emerging the victor to regain the Walter B. Laing Cup, which he had won in 2005 but had not been available to defend in 2006.

Among the other class events, the 8+ (depleted to four players by the withdrawals of Robert Lay and Ian Wright) had a straight final, between John Clark and Joe Lennon, which was held back till Friday, but the Open and 4+ had larger numbers of players in contention.  In the Open, Peter McDermott had a +1 on time win against Martin Stephenson on Thursday afternoon to put Martin out of the running, but as Peter had lost to Graham Brightwell, whose only loss so far was to Martin, it remained to be seen whether Peter would be the outright winner or whether a tie-breaker would be required between him and Graham.  Thursday's last Open game determined this - Campbell Morrison achieving his only win in the block against Graham, to ensure that Peter had only to call in briefly on Friday to collect the trophy.  In the 4+ event, Fergus McInnes remained the leader at the end of Thursday, with two wins and no losses, but he could still be overtaken by Richard Stevens, who also had two wins and had lost only to Jamieson Walker.

Friday morning included two games in the 4+ block.  Allan Hawke beat John Seddon, and got into second place in the block, while Fergus beat Richard to ensure that he came first.  The game between Fergus and Jamieson in the afternoon just increased Fergus's lead and confirmed Allan's position as runner-up.

The remaining finals on Friday afternoon were very close.  In the 8+ final John Clark triumphed by one point on time over Joe Lennon; in the doubles final the score was +2 on time to Martin and Brian against Allan and Jola; and another +2 on time for Richard Stevens in his handicap game against John Seddon put Richard just ahead of Joe in the Swiss.  Allan Hawke, being a runner-up in all three events he had entered, was awarded the Lauder Bowl, which goes to the player getting furthest without winning anything.

A curiosity of the scores in the Open was that the winner, Peter McDermott, had a lower net points score (-9) than the last-placed player, Campbell Morrison (net points -5) - largely because Peter's one loss was a heavy one (-25) whereas Campbell's losing margins ranged only from -1 to -6.

The Edinburgh Club's Chairman, Sheila Tibbels, presided at the closing formalities on Friday afternoon, and the Club President, Ian Wright, presented the trophies.  The tournament manager, Fergus McInnes, added a new award, the Manager's Triple, for a Competition Competition, in which entries were to be suggestions for extra competitions at the tournament; this was split three ways, to Charlotte Townsend for her suggestion of a competition for the best legal artificial aid (see the photographs for her demonstration of one such device), to Alan Wilson for his "Night Owl Award" (for the player with most late-finishing games) and to Allan Hawke for his suggestion of a competition to nickname the courts and players.

Here are a few statistics to conclude the report.  The number of games played, at 98, was the lowest on record - a result of the small entry, two withdrawals, and several players taking whole days off.  The proportion of games going to time was 29.6%, well below the record of 43.6% attained in 2004.  Two players achieved handicap reductions: Fergus McInnes from 6 to 5, and Bob Cross from 16 to 14.  Going the other way were Campbell Thomson, up from 12 to 14, and John Seddon, from 8 to 9.  Alan Wilson, Graham Brightwell and Fergus McInnes played the most games in the tournament (15 each), and Alan's total rises to 16 if his game in a club competition against Ruth Goudie on Sunday is included.  There were 58 entries in all for the specific events, from 28 distinct players - up a little from last year, but still well short of what could have been accommodated.  I hope we'll see more at next year's tournament, which is already booked for Monday 11 to Saturday 16 August 2008.

Fergus McInnes

Results

Event 1 (Open Singles): Peter McDermott
Event 2 (Advanced Singles for players of handicap 4 and over): Fergus McInnes
Event 3 (Advanced with Bisques, handicaps 8 and over): John Clark
Event 4 (Handicap Singles, handicaps 14 and over): Bob Cross
Event 5 (Handicap Doubles): Brian Cosford and Martin Stephenson
Event 6X (Unrestricted Handicap): Fergus McInnes
Event 6 Swiss: Richard Stevens
The Lauder Bowl (player getting furthest without winning any event): Allan Hawke

Edinburgh Tournament 2007 - Results

Edinburgh Tournament 2007 - Photos