Scottish Open 2014

19-20 July 2014, Meadows

The entry for the Scottish Open was back up to strength this year after the rather weak turnout of eight players in 2013.  This time it had a full complement of 14 players, including three in the world's top 100, until Mark Ormerod had to withdraw with back trouble, leaving what was still quite a strong field of 13 including six minus players - Scottish residents James Hopgood, Campbell Morrison and John Surgenor and visitors David Maugham, Dave Nick and Sam Murray.  All the applicants were nevertheless accommodated, and the tail of the distribution stretched from Brian Murdoch (0) through Bryan Sykes, Jane Morrison, Martin Stephenson, Alan Wilson and Fergus McInnes to Bob Darling (4.5).

As usual the format was a seeded knockout with single games in the first round and best-of-three matches in subsequent rounds.  Three of the eight seeds - David Maugham, John Surgenor and Campbell Morrison - had byes into the second round, and all the others came through except that Jane Morrison lost to Fergus McInnes (18-22) in the only first-round game to go to time.  Thereafter there were no upsets, and at the end of the first day the finalists were identified as David Maugham and James Hopgood.  This left time on the second day for a best-of-five final, which was played to super-advanced rules by agreement of the players.

In the first game of the final, James went to 4-back, conceding a contact, from which David was able to make a leave, keep the innings, and subsequently peel and peg out James's ball and win +13tpo.  In the second game the roles were reversed, but it was David who won the three-ball endgame.  Game 3 was more one-sided, with James getting only one hoop.  Final score: Maugham +13tpo +7otp +25tp.

While the top players battled it out in the main event, there were games for the others in the consolation event.  This was played as a flexible Swiss, with results from the knockout carried over.  Martin Stephenson, having lost to a Hopgood triple peel in the first round, won most of his games in the Swiss, with a triple of his own against Jane Morrison.  By winning his last Swiss game against Sam Murray, who had been in the lead up to that point with two wins carried over and three more in the Swiss, he ended equal with Sam on 5/8, and won the Plate by virtue of the who-beat-whom tie-breaking rule.

David Maugham's performance throughout the tournament was impressive, with one sextuple peel and five triples (not counting the one performed against him in the second game of the final) and seven wins in his seven games, and he was a worthy winner of the Moffat Mallet together with the medal presented (for this year only) by WCF President Amir Ramsis to each national championship winner to mark the 25th anniversary of the World Croquet Federation.

Two players achieved handicap reductions: Martin came down from 2 to 1.5 after Saturday, and Fergus's wins over Jane, Bob and Alan (offset by only small deductions of index points for losing to David and Sam) were enough to get him back from 3.5, to which he had gone up in June, to 3 at the end of Sunday.

Conditions were drizzly and foggy on the first day and dry with some sunshine on the second, with easy-paced lawns (improved by Campbell's programme of mowing and other maintenance during the preceding week) and hoops that were set tightly but were never very difficult given the softness of the ground in which they were embedded.  The tournament dinner on Friday was held at Bar Frizzante in Lothian Road, and enlivened by the development of a new religion (with one Maugham as its High Vice Priest) founded on the revelations of mitochondrial DNA as expounded in the writings of Professor Sykes.  DIY buffet lunches were provided at the croquet club, and there was enough of Saturday's lunch left in the evening to obviate the customary ordering of Indian and Chinese carry-outs.  Harriet Macandrew's Sunday afternoon tea was much appreciated.

Fergus McInnes


Results

Round 1:
Fergus McInnes beat Jane Morrison +4T (22-18)
----
Dave Nick beat Bryan Sykes +22
Sam Murray beat Alan Wilson +19
--
Brian Murdoch beat Bob Darling +15
James Hopgood beat Martin Stephenson +26tp

Round 2:
David Maugham beat Fergus McInnes +23tp, +26sxp
Campbell Morrison beat John Surgenor -15, +17, +16
--
Dave Nick beat Sam Murray +17, -19, +9
James Hopgood beat Brian Murdoch +16, +26

Semi-finals:
David Maugham beat Campbell Morrison +26tp, +26tp
James Hopgood beat Dave Nick +24tp, +23tp

Final:
David Maugham beat James Hopgood +13tpo, +7otp, +25tp

Swiss games:
Martin Stephenson beat Bryan Sykes +25
Alan Wilson beat Bob Darling +8
Martin Stephenson beat Jane Morrison +20tp
Fergus McInnes beat Bob Darling +11
Jane Morrison beat Alan Wilson +7T (22-15)
John Surgenor beat Martin Stephenson +4
Sam Murray beat Brian Murdoch +14
Martin Stephenson beat Campbell Morrison +19
Dave Nick beat Martin Stephenson +16
Sam Murray beat John Surgenor +2T (22-20)
Fergus McInnes beat Alan Wilson +15
Brian Murdoch beat Jane Morrison +1T (19-18)
Bryan Sykes beat Bob Darling +7
Campbell Morrison beat Dave Nick +7
Martin Stephenson beat Bob Darling +25
Brian Murdoch beat Alan Wilson +9
Jane Morrison beat John Surgenor +5
Sam Murray beat Fergus McInnes +21
Campbell Morrison beat Bob Darling +19
Martin Stephenson beat Sam Murray +9
Campbell Morrison beat Alan Wilson +14

Final standings:
David Maugham 7/7
James Hopgood 5/8
Martin Stephenson 5/8
Sam Murray 5/8
Campbell Morrison 5/9
Dave Nick 4/8
Fergus McInnes 3/6
Brian Murdoch 3/6
Jane Morrison 2/5
John Surgenor 2/6
Bryan Sykes 1/3
Alan Wilson 1/6
Bob Darling 0/6

Moffat Mallet: David Maugham

Runner-up: James Hopgood

Edinburgh Plate: Martin Stephenson


David Maugham playing in the final ...

... watched by a small crowd of spectators.

Martin Stephenson plays a croquet stroke on his way to winning the Plate.