Edinburgh Tournament 2015 - day 6

The final day of the Edinburgh Tournament was warm and sunny with a welcome breeze to keep the horse-flies at bay.  The morning saw the finals for the main Handicap singles and the consolation Swiss event played side by side on the two lawns with a pronounced North-South declivity, the effect of which was initially lessened by the early morning dew. Compared to the rest of the week, the start of the day was unusually quiet, with only the four competitors and the tournament manager in attendance. This only served to heighten the tension.

Edinburgh Croquet Club’s rising stars Alastair Burn-Murdoch and Rosemary Saunders Robertson contested the consolation Swiss event for the main Handicap singles, both having been surprisingly beaten in the first round then winning virtually all their games. Rosemary had the first chances but couldn’t get going using bisques and Alastair hit in. He picked up a break but failed an angled hoop 6. Rosemary took a bisque and finally got started and around to hoop 4.

Both players hit straight and, like all Edinburgh players, rolled well but a combination of faster lawns and, possibly, a touch of nervousness meant neither was quite as fluent as in earlier games. The game went one way then the other before Alastair’s accuracy was too much for Rosemary and he won +12. Both players belied their handicaps of 11 (Alastair) and 18 (Rosemary) and these are likely to come down quickly.  

The final of the main Handicap singles was a closely contested affair between Allan Hawke and Chris Martin that saw some good break building interspersed with some critical errors. Chris was the first to pick up a break and was going well until 1-back, where the hoop approach was downhill and quick. When he failed to make the hoop, he used the first of his two bisques to continue round to 4-back and set a leave. Not a wise move – the event is normal handicap, not advanced.  For the next hour or so Allan was in the ascendency, constructing a couple of tidy breaks, though also failing to run 1-back with one of his balls. Following some piff-paff, Chris managed to pick up a break with his second ball but again had to use his second bisque after a failed attempt at the troublesome 1-back. After some further cat and mouse play, Chris had managed to get to penult and peg, and Allan to 2-back and 4-back, with Allan having a long cross-hill hit-in attempt at opponent’s balls on the North boundary. By just a fraction of an inch, he missed both. This proved decisive and allowed Chris to run penult and rover and to peg out across the slope to win +9.

By lunchtime, the crowds had grown, attracted by the final of Event 1, the two doubles competition, and the sumptuous spread that had been organised by Frances Dunn. The final of the prestigious Event 1, the Open event, was played out between John Surgenor and Campbell Morrison on the flattest of the five lawns. The tie, however, did not quite match up with the quality of their last group game, and proved to be jittery affair with a couple of short shorts being missed by both players. In front of a small but appreciative crowd of spectators keen to learn from two of the best players in Scotland, Campbell eventually prevailed +20  

In the consolation doubles final Alistair Malcolm and David Young were defending their title against Charlotte Townsend and Rod Williams. In a similar final to last year, Alistair and David used their stock of bisques well, managed to build up a considerable lead, and never really let their opponents get going. Rod had to play an angled jump shot to run hoop 1 but that was the highlight of their game and Alistair and David ran out winners +23.

In the main doubles final Chris Martin and Alan Wilson were defending their trophies against Lyn Gilpin and David Houston. Although Chris and Alan had a combined handicap of 23 last year, it was now down to 9 against Lyn and David’s 28.  Lyn got round to 3-back but had to use a number of bisques - the downhill speed of the lawn was difficult to master. Chris and Alan both had chances to take their ball round but were also caught out by the pace. Eventually Alan made a leave that David could exploit with the remaining bisques. However, failure to run hoop 1 cost him a couple of bisques. Although David later got going and managed to reached 2-back the damage was done, with Chris getting round to penult, which Lyn had also reached, leaving Alan to try to finish. He managed a straight peel at penult but missed a hampered shot - then on his next turn peeled Chris’s ball through rover after he had already run the hoop and time had been called. With no shot at peg he opted to shoot into corner 1 and to give David the longest possible shot to win the game. David missed to leave Chris and Alan as the winners by +7T (24-17).

Two others trophies were decided without finals. Due to injury, Event 2 was decided based on the earlier match results: Janice Duguid was declared the winner, having a slightly stronger record than runner-up Allan Hawke.

The Lauder Bowl, the trophy which goes to the player getting furthest without winning any of the other trophies, went to Allan Hawke, runner-up in Event 6X, would-be finalist in Event 2, and with strong records in the doubles and the golf. He will now have the problem of finding a 2015 20p to go on the trophy.

The day finished with the traditional presentation of trophies, conducted by Hamish, Allan and Ian Wright, and with thanks being given to a myriad of people who competed and who helped make the week such a success.

See you all next year!

Chris Martin