CA of Ireland v SCA 2009

25-26 April 2009, Carrickmines

Six Scottish croquet players, five mallets, one Scottish flag and one trophy arrived in Dublin on Friday evening on the 16:50 flight from Edinburgh.  The players were James Hopgood (handicap 0), Campbell Morrison (3), Fergus McInnes (3.5), Bill Spalding (4.5), Alan Wilson (4.5) and Jamieson Walker (8).  Campbell was the one who didn't bring his mallet, having invested in a second one to keep in Ireland so as to avoid baggage charges on his frequent visits there.

The Irish side consisted of Evan Newell (-0.5), Nathaniel Healy (-0.5; Saturday only), Conor Broderick (0; Sunday only), Jane Shorten (0.5), Kieran Murphy (5), Ben Harris (6) and Paddy Furey (8).  David McGrath (14) played one game after Paddy had to withdraw with a wrist injury.

Saturday morning was cold, and there was rain in the middle of the day, with puddles forming on the lawns by lunch time.  James played in shorts through it all, while those with less effective "central heating" shivered in several layers of clothing.  Two of the morning's three doubles games went to the Irish, but James and Jamieson had a win over Jane and Kieran.  The afternoon provided a welcome contrast as the clouds cleared and we enjoyed a good deal of sunshine.  Two rounds of singles were split evenly, and so it was 8-7 for the home side at the end of the day.

On Saturday evening we were all invited to the Carrickmines Club President's drinks party for members of the club, after which we went on to Mr Lam's Chinese restaurant in Cabinteely for dinner and of course more drinks - leading Jane to coin the word "stemious" as the opposite of "abstemious".

Sunday's order of play began with another round of doubles, in which it was the turn of Fergus and Bill to secure the Scots' only win.  The plan for the afternoon was for us all to play our opposite numbers twice, but as Paddy had to retire injured and David didn't arrive to replace him till mid-afternoon he and Jamieson had time for only one game.  The total number of games in the weekend was therefore 29 rather than 30, ruling out a draw.  But who would win the decisive 15th point?  With the match score at 14-13 to the home side, Fergus and Jane each seemed intent on giving away their game in the last round, but it was Jane's play that came good in the end, and so the match was decided in favour of the Irish.

Consolation for the Scots included James's handicap reduction to -0.5 after two wins over Evan, and Alan's first competitive TP in his final game against Ben.

Thanks go to all involved from the CA of Ireland for their great hospitality, and to Jane for her management of the match.

Fergus McInnes

(Irish names first)

Day 1, Saturday 25 April 2009:

Evan Newell & Paddy Furey bt Campbell Morrison & Alan Wilson +7T (18-11)
Nathaniel Healy & Ben Harris bt Fergus McInnes & Bill Spalding +23
Jane Shorten & Kieran Murphy lost to James Hopgood & Jamieson Walker -11T (12-23)

Evan Newell bt Fergus McInnes +26
Nathaniel Healy bt James Hopgood +4T (21-17)
Jane Shorten bt Campbell Morrison +23
Kieran Murphy lost to Alan Wilson -4
Ben Harris lost to Jamieson Walker -3T (17-20)
Paddy Furey lost to Bill Spalding -17

Evan Newell lost to Campbell Morrison -14
Nathaniel Healy bt Fergus McInnes +16
Jane Shorten lost to James Hopgood -7
Kieran Murphy bt Jamieson Walker +23
Ben Harris bt Bill Spalding +1T (21-20)
Paddy Furey lost to Alan Wilson -13

Day 2, Sunday 26 April 2009:

Evan Newell & Paddy Furey lost to Fergus McInnes & Bill Spalding -14
Conor Broderick & Ben Harris bt James Hopgood & Jamieson Walker +17
Jane Shorten & Kieran Murphy bt Campbell Morrison & Alan Wilson +9T (23-14)

Evan Newell lost to James Hopgood -19 -3
Conor Broderick bt Campbell Morrison +23 +14
Jane Shorten drew with Fergus McInnes -2T (20-22) +11T (24-13)
Kieran Murphy drew with Bill Spalding -6 +26
Ben Harris drew with Alan Wilson +5 -19TP
David McGrath lost to Jamieson Walker -14

Match result: CAI 15, SCA 14