Wilkinson Sword 2014

13 July 2014, Glasgow

This year's Wilkinson Sword interclub doubles competition attracted an unprecedented and very welcome entry of six teams - twice the number of recent years - representing the Auchincruive, Crathes, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kinross and Meadows Clubs.  To allow them all to play one another while keeping the event within a single day, it was run as five rounds of 14-point games, with time limits set at an hour and a quarter so as not to require too early a start or too late a finish for those with a long distance to travel.

As it happened, the two teams with the most wins (three each) in the first four rounds had their last game against each other, and so this was effectively a final.  The game was very close, but it was the Auchincruive team of David Arnot and Malcolm Smith who edged a narrow victory in extra time over Brian Clark and Charles Henderson of Crathes to take away the Sword.

Crathes actually had three players taking part - an innovation proposed so as to share the load of a long day's travelling and playing, and approved after discussion by the SCA Officers.  The other clubs declined to enter extra players, or didn't have them available, and so there were 13 participants in all.  The aggregate handicaps of the pairs ranged from Glasgow's 4 (John Surgenor at -0.5 and Brian Durward at 4.5) through Auchincruive's 14 (David Arnot 2, Malcolm Smith 12), Edinburgh's 23.5 (Fergus McInnes 3.5, Alex Lamley 20) and Meadows' 24 (Robert Inder 4, Vivien Wightman 20) up to 34 or 36 for Crathes (Brian Clark 16, Charles Henderson 18, Bill Strachan 18) and 36 for Kinross (Alistair Malcolm 14, David Young 22).

Three games reached peg-outs despite the tight time limit - Glasgow beating Kinross +12 in the first round, Kinross dramatically reversing their fortunes with a +14 win over Auchincruive in the second round, and Meadows beating Glasgow +14 in the fourth round.

Other notable events included a long roquet made by David Arnot on his hoop 2 pioneer in the Auchincruive-Meadows game by jumping over the intended target after hoop 1, after which he came back to the leapfrogged ball and rushed it up the lawn to continue his break; and an unusual fault committed by Alex in Edinburgh's game against Auchincruive, in which he was trying to play a little croquet stroke to approach hoop 2 and succeeded in moving the balls but only by hitting the ground in front of them with his mallet - a rare case for invoking Law 28(a)(4) to determine that he had indeed committed a fault and hence didn't have a continuation.  ("Subject to Law 28(d) [which doesn't apply here], a fault is committed if, during the striking period, the striker ... moves the striker's ball other than by striking it with the mallet audibly and distinctly".)  The Auchincruive team could perhaps count themselves lucky to be the beneficiaries of both these occurrences, which were followed by wins in both games (7-5 and 7-6 respectively).  Their win in the final was similarly narrow, with David running hoop 6 (from the jaws) in the first stroke of extra play for an 8-7 victory.

The game between Edinburgh and Glasgow in the last round is also worthy of a mention.  Fergus played a supershot opening, missed Brian's ball near corner 2 in turn 3 and declined to take a bisque or half-bisque; John hit in and went to hoop 6 in turn 4, cross-wiring the opponents at hoop 1; Fergus used a bisque to hit in, went round and used a second bisque to complete the peel on John's ball so as to peg it out; and the Edinburgh team survived a succession of shots by Brian in the three-ball ending and nearly finished (pegging out one ball to go to 13-7 after time was called) with the aid of three of their remaining 3.5 bisques.

A curious consequence of the narrowness of Auchincruive's wins, combined with their heavy loss to Kinross, was that despite winning the tournament outright, with four wins from five games, they ended up with a negative net points score (-3).  Kinross had the distinction of beating both the finalists; and Edinburgh, having lost narrowly to both finalists but beaten all their other opponents, came out with the highest scores on both net and gross points.

Thanks are due to Brian and John for turning out early to set three lawns so that the tournament could be played without double banking.  The lawns all had differing characteristics (the lower one rather hilly, the west lawn on the slow side after overnight rain, and the one nearest the pavilion relatively fast and smooth) and it was therefore a good thing that the teams were made to move between rounds so that none of them ever gained an advantage by playing two games in succession on the same lawn.

Fergus McInnes


Results

      A        E         C         K         M         G     Wins Points Net
Auchincruive   +1T
(7)
+1T
(8)
-14
(0)
+2T
(7)
+7T
(10)
4 32 -3
Edinburgh -1T
(6)
  -3T
(4)
+8T
(9)
+4T
(10)
+6T
(13)
3 42 +14
Crathes -1T
(7)
+3T
(7)
  -4T
(3)
+2T
(10)
+5T
(11)
3 38 +5
Kinross +14
(14)
-8T
(1)
+4T
(7)
  +4T
(8)
-12
(2)
3 32 +2
Meadows -2T
(5)
-4T
(6)
-2T
(8)
-4T
(4)
  +14
(14)
1 37 +2
Glasgow -7T
(3)
-6T
(7)
-5T
(6)
+12
(14)
-14
(0)
  1 30 -20

 

Eventual winners David Arnot and Malcolm Smith (Auchincruive) stand by the lawn during their second-round game ...

... while their opponents David Young and Alistair Malcolm consider their next stroke.