Summer Weekend 2017

1-2 July 2017, Balgreen

After two late withdrawals 14 players met at Balgreen Croquet Club for the SCA Summer Weekend tournament.  Six of the 14 had had their handicaps cut prior to the weekend so there was considerable interest in whether that might affect the outcome.  Manager Alan Wilson had granted late starts to Charles Henderson and John Owen who were both driving down from Aberdeen so only 12 started at 9.30.   Unfortunately nobody took Alan up on his plea for someone else to write the report so most details will be about the games involving him!

In the first round Roger Binks, Lorna Dewar, Hamish Duguid, Rosemary Saunders Robertson, Jamieson Walker and Alan Wilson defeated George Geis, Bill Strachan, Alistair Malcolm, Rachel Frith, Joe Lennon and Brian Cosford respectively.   Charles and John both arrived about 30 min before the first games finished and opted to wait for opponents rather than play one another. They then won their first games defeating Rachel and Brian.

The tournament continued in the usual fashion with winners playing winners where possible with Roger, Hamish and Rosemary beating Jamieson, Lorna and Alan. Rosemary’s game against Alan was a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. Alan pegged off Rosemary with her other ball for 2b (and Alan for 6) he then gave Rosemary an easy pick up which she took to rover then failed the hoop. Alan hit and set up a good leave only to watch Rosemary hit in across the lawn and finish.

Three games were pegged down on Saturday evening with only John (3/3) and Hamish (2/2 and pegged down) unbeaten but Roger, Joe, Rosemary and Jamieson on 2/3. Charles had looked like beating Alan but was undone when Alan hit in with his second ball and finished including a Wylie peel of rover after 3b.

On Sunday the pegged down games were completed with wins for Charles, Alistair and Bill over Rosemary, Lorna and Hamish leaving John as the sole unbeaten player. George became the first player to incur the manager’s penalty for latecoming and arrived to find Brian playing a break having started with George’s balls deemed in corner III then I.  John then went on to beat Joe and Jamieson to take an unassailable lead of 123 points on the Egyptian system. Alan and Charles were the closest to him but wouldn’t be able to catch him.

Then John was finally beaten.  In his own words: "Having won 5/5, I was virtually guaranteed to win the tournament, but I had a final match against Lorna Dewar (20). This was her first-ever Association Croquet tournament, but you wouldn’t have guessed it. She played superbly from the outset, and I was thinking that 20-handicap players aren’t meant to play like this. She knew how to do rushes and play 4-ball breaks and never gave me a chance. She won +26 with 3 bisques left, and I hadn’t even taken croquet. She had probably played over 250 shots to my 3!"

Meanwhile Alan was defending the trophy to the best of his ability beating Roger, Bill (who had the game almost won then failed penult) and Jamieson with a near textbook triple peel (4b after 3, penult jawsed after 6, rush peeled to rover after 1b and peeled before 3b) leaving Jamieson wishing he had used his remaining 4 bisques.  So John won with 116 points, Alan was second with 114 and Charles third with 112.  I’d like to give a special mention to both Rachel, who won a game playing off 24 instead of her handicap of 28 thus earning a reduction to 24 and Lorna, in her first tournament, winning 3/5 after having her handicap set at 20 when she’d had 4 more bisques previously. Those who had their handicaps cut won 13/29 suggesting that the cuts were, in general, justifiable.

Alan Wilson

Alan Wilson presenting the trophy to John Owen
Results

  Points Wins Beat
John Owen 116 5/6 Brian Cosford +14, Rosemary Saunders Robertson +5, Alan Wilson +25, Joe Lennon +4, Jamieson Walker +17
Alan Wilson 114 5/7 Brian Cosford +14, Charles Henderson +5, Roger Binks +7, Bill Strachan +4, Jamieson Walker +17tp
Charles Henderson 112 4/5 Rachel Frith +10T (20-10),  Rosemary Saunders Robertson +11, Alistair Malcolm +13, Brian Cosford +18
Joe Lennon 107 3/5 George Geis +5, Roger Binks +1T (20-19), Hamish Duguid +6T (20-14)
Lorna Dewar 107 3/5 Bill Strachan +3T (19-16), Rosemary Saunders Robertson +6T (18-12), John Owen +26
Roger Binks 103 3/5 George Geis +7 26, Jamieson Walker +13, Rachel Frith +5
Bill Strachan 101 2/4 Alistair Malcolm +3, Hamish Duguid +4T (18-14)
Jamieson Walker 100 3/6 Joe Lennon +7T (23-16), George Geis +4, Rachel Frith +16
Hamish Duguid 99 2/4 Alistair Malcolm +2T (23-21), Lorna Dewar +1T (21-20)
Alistair Malcolm 96 2/5 Lorna Dewar +8, George Geis +12
Rosemary Saunders Robertson 94 2/5 Rachel Frith +17, Alan Wilson +7
Rachel Frith 87 1/5 Brian Cosford +1T (17-16)
Brian Cosford 87 1/5 George Geis +9
George Geis 77 0/5  

 

A Report by John Owen

On the Monday before the Balgreen Summer Weekend, I had an email from Jane Morrison saying that she had heard that I was interested in playing in the tournament. I can’t remember having said this to anyone, but seeing as I wasn’t due to be working, I took up the offer of a place.

I was grateful to the organiser, Alan Wilson, for allowing a late start on the Saturday due to the long drive from Aberdeen. As usual, the Met Office forecast was spot-on, being largely sunny on Saturday morning, then clouding over in the afternoon, while Sunday was showery. My first game was against Brian Cosford (12) on the lawn nearest the adjacent school. This proved to be spongy, slow and rather rough, easily the worst of the four lawns available (the other three were good), and I just couldn’t play on it at first. I spent an hour missing shots of all lengths from 5 yards upwards while Brian made some hoops. Eventually I got going and Brian kept giving me chances, so I managed to win +14. Next, I played Rosemary Saunders Robertson whose handicap had been cut to 8 since I last played her. Rosemary used her 3 bisques to get one ball round, then made progress with her other ball while I got one ball round. It wasn’t looking good for me, but I had a spectacular hit-in from at least 30 yards, which enabled me to set up a break and win +5. Against Alan Wilson (2), I had the luxury of 3 bisques. I immediately used one of them, but just had to leave a rush to hoop 1. Alan missed, so I started on a dodgy 3-ball break, but managed to pick up the other ball and go round to rover, cross-wiring Alan at hoop 1. He declined to shoot at me near corner 3, so I got going with my second ball, using 2 bisques to get round, but messing up the rover peel. However, Alan could only make one hoop, so I won +25. Afterwards, Alan generously told me what I had done wrong (I should have taken my first ball round to peg)!

On Sunday, I started against Joe Lennon (9). He has an inimitable style where the balls seem to be all over the place with not a pioneer in sight, but he conjures up rushes and rolls to his hoops from anywhere and keeps going. He got both balls round to rover while I had got one ball to peg, but again a spectacular long hit-in saved the match for me, allowing me to set up a winning break for a +4 win. Against Jamieson Walker (10), I took advantage of him losing position (and failing to take a bisque) to take my first ball round to peg. He made significant progress with one ball, but I was still able to win +17. Having won 5/5, I was virtually guaranteed to win the tournament, but I had a final match against Lorna Dewar (20). This was her first-ever Association Croquet tournament, but you wouldn’t have guessed it. She played superbly from the outset, and I was thinking that 20-handicap players aren’t meant to play like this. She knew how to do rushes and play 4-ball breaks and never gave me a chance. She won +26 with 3 bisques left, and I hadn’t even taken croquet. She had probably played over 250 shots to my 3! Shortly afterwards, it was confirmed that I was the winner of the tournament and I got a trophy to take back to Aberdeen, together with a handicap reduction to from 5 to 4 1/2.

John Owen