Scottish Masters 2009

23-24 May 2009

Thanks to late entries, late withdrawals, and the clash with the English Inter-Counties which prevented the appearance of two regulars and any of our friends from Northumberland or Lancashire who might have entered now that the event is open to non-SCA members, we ended up with eight entrants for the Masters.  An American block was the obvious choice, and the manager designed it, as in the Handbook, in such a way as to make the last round potentially bring together the two strongest players in terms of WCF grade.

There were two problems with this: James Hopgood was by far the best player and he had the tournament won before the last round was played, and his designated opponent was John Surgenor who has hardly played in the last four years and could not find any form at all.  In the event Bryan Sykes played better than we have seen him in Scotland, even managing his first triple since (I believe) playing in the English Chairman’s Salver in 1980.

But it was James, finding the fast lawns to his liking after his trip to Florida for the World Championships, and relishing the much easier hoops than he encountered there, who was the star.  Had he not tried to lay up for a couple of sextuple attempts he would probably have had more than the four triples he managed.

The lawns, as I have said, were fast, running at about 11 seconds; this is apparently due to the use of a new machine – a verticutter – which seems to be having a beneficial effect.  The weather was mostly very pleasant and, though a persistent wind whirled elm seeds everywhere, I heard no complaints that they caused the balls to change course.

David Appleton

(players ordered by games won, then who beat whom)

James Hopgood 7/7:  beat Lennon +25TP, Walker +12, Sykes +16TP, O'Connell +19TP, Wilson +24TP, Spalding +15T, Surgenor +25
Bryan Sykes 6/7:  beat Spalding +8, Wilson +1T, Walker +5, Surgenor +19TP, Lennon +7, O'Connell +16
Alan Wilson 4/7:  beat Surgenor +13, Lennon +15, Walker +26, Spalding +5T
Bill Spalding 4/7:  beat O'Connell +14, Lennon +19, Surgenor +14T, Walker +11
Malcolm O'Connell 3/7:  beat Wilson +14, Lennon +26, Surgenor +6T
Jamieson Walker 2/7:  beat Surgenor +14, O'Connell +15
John Surgenor 1/7:  beat Lennon +22
Joe Lennon 1/7:  beat Walker +5T