Wilkinson Sword 2008

13 July 2008, Meadows and Glasgow

The Wilkinson Sword (interclub handicap doubles) was scheduled to be played in Glasgow, but with only three clubs entered, and hence one game on at a time, the Glasgow players suggested that the two Edinburgh-based teams should play their game in Edinburgh and then travel west (together or separately) to play Glasgow.  This left the morning free for the Glasgow team, and meant that one of the other teams could have some time off after the first game and then travel mid-afternoon if they so desired.

So the Edinburgh and Meadows teams met at 9am at the Meadows Club for the first game.  Campbell Morrison and Allan Hawke had won the Sword for Edinburgh last year, and Allan (handicap 6) was defending it this time in partnership with Fergus McInnes (3.5), while Jamieson Walker (9) and Jola Jurasinska (20) represented the Meadows Club.

The Meadows team made good use of its 10 bisques to advance Jola's clip to rover, and Jamieson's to the peg, while Fergus and Allan both failed to rush to hoop 1 on their first opportunities and took a long time to start scoring.  But eventually Fergus got a ball round and pegged out Jamieson's ball.  From there it was slow but steady progress on Allan's part, giving Jola no easy opportunities, until after running rover Allan missed a roquet on Fergus's ball between rover and the peg.  Jola missed the crucial shot of perhaps 10 yards at Allan's ball for a chance to finish; Fergus roqueted and laid up wired (south of hoop 4) with a rush towards the peg; Jola narrowly failed to run rover from a great distance; and after about three hours and three quarters of play Fergus pegged out to make it +2 to Edinburgh.

After this marathon game it was 2pm (an hour later than originally estimated) when the Meadows and Edinburgh teams arrived at Kelvingrove - having opted to travel together and spend their non-playing time there rather than at home.  Waiting to do battle on Glasgow's behalf were Bill Spalding (4.5) and Robert Lay (16), with canine companion Sandy (whom Robert was looking after while her owner was on holiday).

Jamieson and Jola were first up against the Glasgow side - a schedule designed to maintain interest in the final game by ensuring that the winner wasn't determined before it began.  They had only 4.5 bisques this time, and took them sparingly, giving more opportunities to their opponents in the first hour than in the previous game.  With one bisque standing, Jola's and Robert's clips were on rover, with Jamieson and Bill still in the early stages.  The Meadows team declined to take the bisque, and Bill went round with a rover peel to finish, +12.

So the last game was a true final, with Meadows out of contention and Glasgow and Edinburgh on one win each.  Bill and Robert had 5.5 bisques, and they used them all, but too many things went wrong for them to finish quickly.  Fergus had opened the scoring in turn 4 by hitting Allan's duffer tice and starting a break, but stuck in hoop 4; he got in again soon after and should have gone round, but had trouble with slopes by hoop 6 and failed to make a roquet after running the hoop.  Allan, in contrast, had a nice break to rover, leaving the balls set up by 1-back for his partner, and prompting a bisque after the opponents missed a shot at them.  Robert was on rover, and Bill on hoop 4, with all the bisques gone, when Allan got in again; he didn't manage to cross-wire them at hoop 4 at the first attempt, but was able to run rover and try the wiring again, this time successfully, before joining his partner near 1-back.  Fergus might have finished from there, but was wired from his reception ball after 3-back and had to run away to north of 4-back.  Two turns later Bill had a shot at the Edinburgh balls near 4-back (still Fergus's hoop) and was unfortunate to hit penult and leave a perfect pioneer there; Fergus finished, +12, a little after 7pm.

So the Edinburgh Club retains the Sword for another year.

Fergus McInnes

Results

Fergus McInnes (3.5) and Allan Hawke (6) (Edinburgh) 2 wins: beat Meadows +2, Glasgow +12.
Bill Spalding (4.5) and Robert Lay (16) (Glasgow) 1 win: beat Meadows +12.
Jamieson Walker (9) and Jola Jurasinska (20) (Meadows) 0 wins.