SCA v Croquet North 2007

5-6 May 2007, Meadows

Another enjoyable match against Croquet North took place at Meadows West on Saturday and Sunday 5th and 6th May 2007.  The visitors were Derek Watts, Phil Errington, Sheila Watts and Alice Fleck while the SCA had chosen David Appleton, James Hopgood, Alan Wilson and Joe Lennon.  On handicap this gave Croquet North a slight edge.

After much discussion before the event it was decided that everyone would play three doubles matches, each member of each team partnering every other member, and three singles matches, two against one’s opposite number.  In this way it was hoped that the games would be close and everyone would have a chance to be involved with everyone else.

The match started well for the home team as David & Joe beat Phil & Sheila +4t and this was soon followed by a +1t win for James & Alan against Derek & Alice when James made some late hoops to steal a game in which his side had never been ahead.

After an interval for sandwiches David & Alan made the score 3-0 by beating Phil & Alice +13 but James and Joe could not get going against Derek & Sheila and lost -6t in a very low-scoring game.  (The doubles were played to time limits of 2 hours 45 minutes.)

Into the singles we went, and David was first to finish with a +19TP win against Phil just ahead of Derek who beat James +25.  Alan wrapped up his third win of the day by beating Alice +11 before Sheila hit back for Croquet North with a narrow +3t win over Joe.  (These games, double-banked, were limited to 3 hours.)

In spite of a number of games going to time we all got to Jamieson’s shortly after 7.30 for a splendid dinner (smoked haddock or mackerel pie, beef and all the trimmings, fruit salad, wine and much amusing conversation) and only James, at rather less than half the average age of his fellow players, found it necessary to proceed to further late-night entertainment.

It didn’t seem to affect him too much as he and David had a +12t win the next morning over Derek & Phil.  It shouldn’t have gone to time, but after James had gone round to 4-back David went to the peg with one peel and James then got to the peg but with a long peg-out attempt which missed with the forward ball.  Since the opponents only had a relatively long shot David said “Oh, just peg out your ball,” and then spent ages not hitting anything after Derek, predictably, hit in.  However Derek & Phil never got the balls together and the game petered out.

Alan & Joe managed to complete their game with a +18 against the two ladies, so going into the final session after lunch the home team had a healthy 7-3 lead though they still needed to win three of the last eight games and only Alan (handicap 6) against Sheila (handicap 7) had an advantage.

In the event, though Derek went round to 4-back on the fourth turn of their first game, David played almost faultlessly to beat him +17, +26, thus completing an excellent weekend in which, whenever he ran hoop 1, he hardly ever left the lawn without making a proper leave.  When James took the second game against Phil, each winning +16 quite quickly, the fate of the trophy was decided and the other players decided they wouldn’t play their second games.  In fact Alan had beaten Sheila +16 and Alice had got home +1t against Joe and the final score was SCA 11 Croquet North 5.

David accepted the porcelain beer pump from Derek as graciously as he could and immediately gave it to Joe to get it engraved.

David Appleton