SCA v CA 2009

5-6 September 2009, Meadows

The 33rd match between the Scottish Croquet Association and the Croquet Association was played at the Meadows Club in Edinburgh during the first weekend in September.  The result was a 20-10 win for the CA - the third consecutive away win in the series, sending the Glasgow Quaich south of the border again after last year's SCA victory at Crake Valley.

The players on the two sides, with their handicaps and world rankings a few days before the match, were:

James Hopgood (-0.5, 126)
Campbell Morrison (1.5, 302)
Fergus McInnes (3.5, 440)
Alan Wilson (3.5, 490)
Bill Spalding (3.5, 504)
Allan Hawke (6, 680) (playing Sunday only)
Jamieson Walker (8, 722) (playing Saturday only)

Dave Nick (-1, 102)
Gail Curry (0, 192)
Ray Lowe (1, 428)
Mark Miller (2.5, 369)
Keith Roberts (5, 548)
Phil Scarr (6, not in rankings)

As in the previous two years, the match consisted of doubles in the mornings and singles in the afternoons, with a reshuffling of opponents from the first day to the second.  In Saturday's singles, the player ranked 1 on each side played no.2 from the other side, 3 played 4, and 5 played 6, and on Sunday all were up against their opposite numbers - with each encounter consisting of two games.

The opening round of doubles yielded one win for the home side (Campbell and Jamieson winning +23 against Ray and Keith), and two close results in the other direction: +5 for Gail and Mark against Fergus and Alan, and +3 for Dave and Phill against James and Bill.  In Saturday's singles the top two in the Scottish team did well - Campbell beating Dave twice contrary to handicap, and James doing his first ranking TPO on the way to a 2-0 win over Gail - but the visitors prevailed in the lower two thirds of the ranking.  Score after day 1: SCA 5, CA 10.

Phill had brought three generations of his family along, and they were on hand to watch some of the games, but as the youngest was only four months old they opted out of the dinner on Saturday evening.  Even without the extended Scarr family there were 17 players and supporters in the party for an entertaining evening at Bar Italia.

Sunday's doubles extended the CA's lead to 13-5, leaving the home side with a tough challenge in the head-to-head singles where they needed 10 out of 12 to tie the match.  James did his bit with two wins against Dave (the second by the narrowest of margins), but none of his team-mates achieved more than one win, and 2-0 results for Gail and Phill ensured that the CA again took two thirds of the day's points.

Phill Scarr, in his first appearance for the CA, had an excellent weekend, winning all his games and reducing his handicap from 6 to 5.  In recognition of this, and of his potential for the future as a rapidly improving player, he was delegated to receive the Glasgow Quaich on behalf of the CA at the end of the match.

Other handicap reductions occurred for Ray Lowe (from 1 to 0.5) and for Keith Roberts (from 5 to 4.5), and on the SCA side for James Hopgood (from -0.5 to -1) and Campbell Morrison (from 1.5 to 1).  Fergus McInnes narrowly avoided an increase from 3.5 to 4 by winning his last game.

The overall result was roughly as expected given the relative handicaps, which favoured the CA throughout the ranking order except at position 5.  The SCA has sometimes pulled off an upset against a nominally superior CA team in recent years, but not this time!

Fergus McInnes

(SCA names first)

Saturday 5 September:

James Hopgood & Bill Spalding lost to Dave Nick & Phill Scarr -3
Fergus McInnes & Alan Wilson lost to Gail Curry & Mark Miller -5
Campbell Morrison & Jamieson Walker beat Ray Lowe & Keith Roberts +23

Hopgood beat Curry +13 TPO, +14
Morrison beat Nick +14, +26
McInnes lost to Miller -5T (17-22), -6
Wilson lost to Lowe -13, -17
Spalding lost to Scarr -10, -26
Walker lost to Roberts -12, -14

Sunday 6 September:

James Hopgood & Bill Spalding lost to Gail Curry & Mark Miller -16 TP(C)
Fergus McInnes & Alan Wilson lost to Ray Lowe & Keith Roberts -10
Campbell Morrison & Allan Hawke lost to Dave Nick & Phill Scarr -10

Hopgood beat Nick +11 TP, +1
Morrison lost to Curry -15, -26
McInnes drew with Lowe -20, +5
Wilson drew with Miller +1T (12-11), -10
Spalding drew with Roberts +8T (22-14), -18
Hawke lost to Scarr -22, -19

Match result: SCA 10, CA 20