Golf Croquet Handicap 2009

16 May 2009, Meadows

The SCA Golf Croquet Handicap Tournament was planned as an American block (all-play-all) with eight players and seven rounds of games, starting at 9.30am.  At 9.45am only six players were present, and the manager acceded to a request from the two who were awaiting opponents to let them play each other in the first round.  At 9.50am the seventh player arrived, bearing the news that the eighth had withdrawn.

All this should have caused no problem (a swap being applied to account for the change in the first round, and the missing player being replaced by that ever-reliable reserve "Bye"), except that the manager, distracted by the game he was playing, failed to finish updating the table showing the order of play before the second round began.  As a result, two second-round games and one third-round game were played between the wrong pairs of opponents.

The manager, knowing the disruption that such a breach of order could cause (whereby, for example, three players might be left all having to play each other in the last two rounds), decided to pair himself with Bye - the least distracting of opponents - in the next round, so as to concentrate on revising the schedule for the rest of the day to cope with the errors.  This he eventually achieved, after much scoring out of numbers and drawing of diagrams, and the tournament was back on an even keel.

By this time, returning to the croquet (which probably interests some readers more than the scheduling), two players had established themselves as leading contenders, with three games won: Jamieson Walker had beaten Brian Cosford, George Geis and Joan Marshall, and Ruth Munro had beaten Joan, Brian and Jola Jurasinska.  Fergus McInnes was also undefeated, with wins against Jola and George.  (The latter game featured one of Fergus's better shots, in which he jumped his ball from the north boundary, with one bounce after the first six yards, over George's ball in hoop 3.  Alas, no spectators were at hand, and although George was watching he didn't realise at the time that Fergus had actually scored the hoop - which led to a temporary disagreement about the score in the ensuing stages of the game.  If the jump shot had not gone through, George would have taken the lead, since he rushed his ball out of the hoop and then ran hoop 4 with it from about 20 yards in his next turn.)

Ruth and Jamieson met in the next round, and Ruth was the winner, while Fergus notched up another win against Joan.  In the following round both Ruth's and Fergus's winning streaks were ended, as Ruth lost to George and Fergus lost to Brian.  So now Ruth and Jamieson were joint leaders again, on 4 wins from 5 games, with Fergus close behind on 3/4, and Brian on 2/4.  All the others had lost at least 3 games and were out of the running.

The second-last round was depleted because Jamieson and George had fitted in an extra game in the morning before the order of play was corrected.  Brian and Joan had a 6-6 draw, in the only game in the day that reached the one-hour time limit, and Fergus had a 7-1 win over Ruth, aided by several successful jump shots.  So the game between Fergus and Jamieson - the two lowest-handicapped players - in the final round would be the decider.  It turned out to be another win for Fergus, by 7 hoops to 2 - again featuring jumps through some of the hoops.

So Fergus was the winner, and had his handicap reduced from 3 to 2.  Jola, the winner in 2008, had a much less successful day this time, and her handicap went up from 5 to 6.  The last games got finished just as the heaviest of the showers came on, and the presentation took place in the pavilion, as seen in the photograph below.

Fergus McInnes
(maker and correcter of managerial errors, and supplier of satsumas to all and sundry)

The players (minus photographer Joan Marshall): George Geis, Brian Cosford, Ruth Munro, Fergus McInnes, Jamieson Walker and Jola Jurasinska.


(players ordered by games won, then hoops won)

Fergus McInnes (3)  5/6: beat J. Jurasinska 7-4, G. Geis 7-4, J. Marshall 7-2, R. Munro 7-1, J. Walker 7-2
Jamieson Walker (3)  4/6: beat B. Cosford 7-2, G. Geis 7-2, J. Marshall 7-3, J. Jurasinska 7-5
Ruth Munro (6)  4/6: beat J. Marshall 7-5, B. Cosford 7-6, J. Jurasinska 7-2, J. Walker 7-5
Brian Cosford (5)  3.5/6: beat G. Geis 7-4, F. McInnes 7-4, J. Jurasinska 7-3, and drew with J. Marshall 6-6
Joan Marshall (6)  2.5/6: beat J. Jurasinska 7-6, G. Geis 7-4, and drew with B. Cosford 6-6
George Geis (6)  2/6: beat J. Jurasinska 7-5, R. Munro 7-4
Jola Jurasinska (5)  0/6