Switzerland v Scottish Select

4-5 June 2016, CERN

June 4-5 saw a Scottish CA team travel to Geneva to play the Swiss CA in a fixture last contested in 2012, when the Scottish team prevailed at home in Edinburgh. So it was with great anticipation that the team set off for Geneva from the heart of Scotland (and Buckinghamshire), to defend the title and trophy.  The Scottish team captain, for one, had never heard of a quaich before, these not being commonly used as drinking vessels in Buckinghamshire.

As we set off the news was of floods in Paris, and widespread rain across much or Europe, so we quite expected to be in for a wet weekend. In the event, although there was heavy rain nearby, we had only a couple of light showers at the club, and the rain wear remained unused in our bags.

It is always interesting to visit new croquet venues, and the Geneva club did not disappoint. It is set in the grounds of CERN, which is somewhat akin to a large university campus, with the croquet lawns in fact in France rather than Switzerland.   Immediately next to the lawns is a massive hangar-like building (currently being extended), where the magnets for the Large Hadron Collider are prepared and serviced. Beyond that rise the Jura mountains, when not shrouded in low cloud.

The Swiss team, including players from Geneva and Zurich, did not have great depth in AC so it was agreed to play a mixture of both AC and GC*.  The format was flexible, and Dave Underhill managed everyone very efficiently, keeping the players busy on the lawns all day.   Between us we played AC singles and doubles, level advanced and handicap; and GC singles and doubles.  Both AC and GC included some best of three matches.  At Duncan's suggestion ("we'll get plenty of interaction"), we also played a match of alternate-stroke doubles. In the event, this turned out to be surprisingly one-sided, with Duncan and Rob displaying great teamwork to win +26, with a tight NSL leave followed by a two turn 'triple' peel.

In terms of results, the Scottish team started strongly on Saturday, and maintained their lead through Sunday, resulting in a final score of 16-7.  However, the abiding impression was the warm welcome of the Swiss team, their friendliness and their generosity in taxi-ing us around, putting us up, providing all our lunches, drinks and a wonderful fondue dinner on Saturday evening. A huge thank you to the Swiss team and especially the indefatigable Dave Underhill.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable weekend of playing croquet and making new friends.

Duncan Reeve

(*) We also had a very brief introduction to the game of Gateball. This is a team game invented by the Japanese. A complete set includes ten lightweight telescopic mallets, ten balls, three hoops and a peg. The complete kit fits in a small hold-all. The game is designed  to be played by teams of five, on a 10m x 15m court, in half an hour, and does not require highly manicured lawns.   It looks like a fascinating game, with opportunities for travel to the Far East!



(Scottish names first)

Match score: Scottish Select beat Switzerland 16-7


Duncan Reeve & Robert Darling beat Ian Sexton and Dave Underhill +12
Duncan Reeve beat Ian Sexton +10, +21
Robert Darling beat Dave Underhill +5

Jamieson Walker lost to Angelina Brandon 7-6, 5-7, 3-7
Jola Jurasinska beat Tim Goodyear 7-4, 2-7, 7-4
Jamieson Walker & Jola Jurasinska beat Angelina Brandon & Tim Goodyear 7-4
Jamieson Walker beat Kevin Collins 7-5, 7-6
Jola Jurasinska beat Alexandre Huber 5-7, 7-4, 7-3
Jamieson Walker & Jola Jurasinska lost to Kevin Collins & Alexandre Huber 5-7
Robert Darling lost to Desmond George 5-7, 5-7
Duncan Reeve lost to Ian Sexton 4-7, 6-7
Robert Darling & Jola Jurasinska beat Angelina Brandon & Kevin Collins 7-3
Duncan Reeve beat Dave Underhill 7-3, 7-3



Robert Darling lost to Ian Sexton -23

AC (Handicap)
Jola Jurasinska (11) lost to Dave Underhill (5) -6

AC (Alternate Stroke Doubles)
Duncan Reeve & Robert Darling beat Ian Sexton & Dave Underhill +26

Jamieson Walker beat Desmond George 0-7, 7-6, 7-3
Robert Darling beat Tim Goodyear 7-1, 7-1
Duncan Reeve beat Desmond George 7-1, 7-1
Duncan Reeve & Robert Darling beat Alexandre Huber & Kevin Collins 7-5
Jola Jurasinska lost to Kevin Collins 5-7, 5-7
Jamieson Walker beat Alexandre Huber 7-5, 7-6
Jola Jurasinska beat Angelina Brandon 5-7, 7-3, 7-5
Robert Darling beat Ian Sexton 7-6

The Scottish team: Jola Jurasinska, Jamieson Walker, Duncan Reeve and Bob Darling

The Quaich