Kinross 11+ Tournament 2015

1 June 2015, Kinross

There were five entrants to this year’s tournament: Brian Clark, Simon Robins, George Geis, Andrew Harvey and David Young. Unfortunately Brian Clark, last year’s winner, was unable to play due to a hand injury. His place was filled by one of Kinross’s new members, John Bryson, who found the experience instructive, but was, understandably,  unable to win any games.

The weather, as forecast, left a lot to be desired, although we did not get rained off at any time. The tournament was played in short croquet 14-point format with a time limit of one hour per game. Only three of the four planned rounds were played due to the black clouds approaching. So, with Simon Robins in an unassailable lead, he was declared the winner by mutual consent.

David Young

Edinburgh Tournament 2015 - day 2

The wind couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be consistently strong or just strong and squally on the second day of the Edinburgh Tournament. As well as stealing ill-fitting hats and camp chairs unsecured by spare bisques,  Alan’s sheaf of notes was taken by a gust and had to be fielded by competitions and spectators at lawn 2.

The day was devoted to events 1 to 4 - the various different singles competitions aimed at competitors in different handicap ranges.

Event 1, the open singles, had four competitors. These were double-banked on the show lawn, the lawn nearest to the building works (that haven’t been finished since last year). Campbell Morrison and John Surgenor both won their first games convincingly against Peter Thompson and Alan Wilson respectively, and then beat Alan and Peter respectively in their second games. That only left them to play each other, with Campbell defeating John +19 by way of a triple peel. Alan Wilson beat Peter Thompson in their tie, a game that got progressively scrappy as time went on. (All ties to be repeated on Thursday.) Alan then played a Swiss game against Bob Cross winning a very close and entertaining game by a couple of hoops.

Event 2, the 4+ handicap, also had four competitors but only saw one game played today – Allan Hawke prevailing against Bob Darling by seven hoops. This event will resume on Thursday.

In Event 3, the 8+ handicap, there are seven competitors.  Alastair Malcolm was the only player to notch up three victories in the day. He started with a very narrow victory against Alastair Burn-Murdoch, +1 on time, and followed this up with solid wins against Hamish Duguid and Chris Martin. In the latter game, he came back with some tidy break building and prudent bisque use and finished in style, pegging-out across the hill from corner 2 at first asking. Alastair M’s handicap drops from 14 to 12 and Chris’s from 8 to 7. Still all to play for with the second half of matches to be completed on Thursday.

Event 4 was the only event to attract competitions from the remoter parts of Scotland* with Michelle and Kevin Wright making an early start to come from Auchincruive and Charles Henderson from Aberdeen. They joined the Edinburgh-based competitors of Rachel Frith, Brian Cosford, George Geis (suffering from an ankle injury), Rosemary Saunders Robertson and Lyn Gilpin. A number of these ties - Lyn v Michelle, Rosemary v Rachel, and Charles v Kevin - went on into the late drizzle. Lyn had three strong wins in her half of the draw against Brian, Michelle and George (who was not helped by an ankle injury). In the other half, Kevin made it three out of three, following a tense one hoop victory against Charles in the last match – a margin of victory he had also enjoyed against Rosemary earlier. So Kevin and Lyn will play out the final, probably on Saturday morning.

Tomorrow, the croquet turns away from tense competitive singles play, towards tense competitive doubles.

* Though not as remote as Strathpeffer.

Chris Martin


Edinburgh Tournament 2015 - day 1

The Edinburgh tournament at Fettes started with event 6, the Handicap singles event. The fourteen entrants were cheered on by a good smattering of spectators. There were sunny skies and a strong breeze blew. As the day wore on, foreheads and forearms reddened and the lawns became appreciably faster.

In the morning, almost all games went in favour of the lower handicap player. Chris Martin beat Brian Cosford, Bob Cross beat Alistair Burn-Murdoch, James Hopgood beat Rosemary Saunders Robertson, Peter Thompson beat Lyn Gilpin, and John Surgenor beat Roger Binks (having pegged out Roger’s forward ball to set up a three-ball finish).  The one exception was the tie between Charles Henderson and Alan Wilson that Charles won.

In the next tranche of matches, the closest tie was between John and Charles. It could have gone either way, but John came out the winner by just two hoops.  Allan Hawke beat James, Chris beat Rachel, and Peter beat Bob to complete the set up for the two semi-finals. These were double-banked together. Chris had a relatively comfortable win against Peter - bar a nasty insect bite in the area of 3-back, second ball - while the match between John and Allan was a more closely contested affair. In the end, Allan prevailed - partly with the aid of some consistent break building and partly with a gift or two from John. (A easy set up for a rush out of corner 1 became a ball in the corner 1 and partner ball resting neatly on the wrong side of hoop 1.)

As the day wore on and the shadows lengthened, a number of games were played in the consolation Swiss event. Alastair and Rosemary both had a couple of good victories. One other notable game was between Lyn and Alan Wilson. Lyn, behind on hoops but with bisques standing, peeled Alan’s forward ball through rover before pegging him out, leaving a three-ball game. This left her second ball a number of hoops behind Alan’s but with bisques remaining - sound tactics, much admired by her opponent. But in the end, Alan’s accurate hoop approaches and running meant that he managed to sneak home ahead. 

Tomorrow sees the start of events 1 to 4. The forecast is set fair. And dry weather with a continuing strong breeze should see the lawns continue to gain speed.

Chris Martin


Edinburgh Tournament 2015 - day 3

The wind abated on the third day of the Edinburgh Tournament and the rain that had threatened all day did not materialize until the early evening.  Most of the day’s play centred around the Doubles Competition with several games going to time. Six pairings entered and five games were played in the morning slot, each single banked.

On the lawn nearest the building work, 2013 victors, Robert Inder and Vivien Wightman narrowly lost to the rising stars from Edinburgh, Rosemary Saunders Robertson and Alastair Burn-Murdoch (the workmen from over the fence stopped to watch this tie on several occasions). Bob Darling and Allan Hawke, victors in 2011 and 2012, beat the Kinross pairing of Alistair Malcolm and David Young. Bob and Morven Cross lost out to Lyn Gilpin and David Houston. Roger Binks and Peter Thompson beat Jola Jurasinska and Jamieson Walker.

And Alan Wilson and Chris Martin scraped past Charlotte Townsend and Rod Williams, the 2003 victors, in a scrappy affair. With the aid of a half bisque, Alan was in play with a break when time was called and had to make a very angled penult to take the lead. After also running rover, he left Charlotte with the smallest of glimmers - balls in all the wrong corners and a long cross-hill hit-in attempt with at least two hoops needed. She made the hit in at corner 3, took off to the ball in corner 4, and took off again to the ball near corner 1, narrowly missing getting the perfect rush to her 1-back hoop in corner 2. A rush to near peg left a long take-off hoop approach. This left a long hoop attempt that deserved to go through - but didn’t, and a narrow victory on time to Wilson and Martin.

Hamish and Janice Duguid, winners in 2010, played Rachel Frith and George Geis in the later starting tie. Despite attempting hoops in the wrong direction and with the aid of half bisques, Rachel and George were up by one hoop after three hours of solid play. It was only when Janice pegged out George’s ball, leaving Rachel with the lonely single ball in a three-ball ending, that the tie turned in favour of Janice and Hamish.

With Allan Hawke and Bob Darling beating Roger and Peter, this meant that the two semi-finals in the main event were Gilpin/Houston versus Duguid/Duguid and Hawke/Darling versus Wilson/Martin. The first tie went to time with David and Lyn finishing five hoops up against Janice and Hamish. 

The other semi-final was over more quickly (and before the arrival of the rain) and it was a tie that Allan Hawke can feel particularly hard done by. After Chris opened with a standard ball to East boundary, Allan set a normal if longish tice on West. This proved to be his last shot until near the death. Alan Wilson missed with third ball but joined partner on East boundary. Fourth ball, Bob hit the long tice but narrowly failed to run hoop 1 having set a break. This let in Chris, who went steadily around to three-back. Then Bob hit in, and preceded to complete a very tidy break to rover. And then Alan Wilson hit in and - with a hiccup in the middle when he broke down attempting a triple peel - got all the way round and pegged out Bob’s ball. This left Allan Hawke facing the unenviable position of his clip on 1, two advanced opponents' balls, a long hit-in, and no partner ball, and the tie was over relatively quickly.

This means that three of last year’s finalists will contest the final on Saturday. Alan Wilson and Chris Martin, the current holders, will face Lyn Gilpin, last year's runner-up (when playing with Fergus) and David Houston.

The Y final will be between Charlotte Townsend/Rod Williams, who beat Rachel Frith/George Geis, and Alistair Malcolm/David Young, who were narrowly ahead of Robert Inder/Vivien Wightman when time was called in their semi-final.

A couple of Swiss singles were slotted in late in the day. Alastair Burn-Murdoch polished off a quick win against Peter Thompson before the arrival of the rain. In a closer match between Bob and Rosemary, Bob pegged out Rosemary, but inadvertently pegged himself out at the same time, leaving Rosemary for rover and himself for penult. Rosemary eventually won by hitting Bob in front of penult from the boundary.

Thursday sees the resumption of the various singles events.