Spalding Trophy 2021

22 August 2021, Knightswood

Due to a disappointing lack of entries from Edinburgh players, there were just two teams, John Owen (2) and Bill Strachan (8) from Aberdeen and Crathes Croquet Club, and Brian Durward (4½) and Stefan Colling (7) from Glasgow Croquet Club. An agreement was made so that GCC provided the lawns, food and drink, while ACCC provided the tournament manager. It was cloudy and humid, with only a couple of light showers in the morning, and quite warm in the afternoon.

As it was a long way to go for just one game of advanced alternate-stroke doubles (the normal format for the Spalding Trophy), the manager devised a Davis-Cup-style tournament with advanced singles, the ASD, and reverse singles. If the singles went according to handicap expectations, then the doubles would be pivotal, and so it proved.

Against Brian, John hit the tice on turn 4 and went round to 4-back with black. His attempts to get black in position for a triple peel attempt with blue came to nothing, and he blobbed 4-back anyway. Brian got stuck after hoop 5, allowing John to take black to peg. Brian responded by getting red through 2-back but was hampered near the peg and John was able to get blue round and peg out at the second attempt.

On the other lawn, Stefan got black to 4-back early on, but there was slow progress for a time until Bill got yellow to 4-back. Stefan had a very good break to peg with blue and finished soon thereafter.

Pizzas were ordered and the doubles started, with a suitable break after the pizzas were delivered. Brian and Stefan were first in, with a break to 2-back for yellow. John and Bill responded by getting black to 3-back. Stefan unfortunately stuck red in hoop 5 while attempting a hoop and roquet in the same stroke, allowing John and Bill to get blue from hoop 1 to peg. Brian hit a long double with yellow, but they couldn’t make much progress and the crucial doubles soon went the way of the team from Aberdeen.

In the reverse singles, John tried the shock tice against Stefan, but the latter hit in with yellow, only to miss a short roquet after hoop 1. John got blue as far as 1-back, which he blobbed. Stefan thought that his subsequent shot might need to be watched, but as there were only 6 inches between the balls, a referee wasn’t needed! Stefan took yellow to 3-back, then John hit the lift shot, but blobbed hoop 3. Fortunately, he got another chance and took black to 4-back. Stefan missed the lift shot, and John got blue to peg. Again, Stefan couldn’t hit in, so John completed the win that would guarantee overall victory in the Spalding Trophy.

In the final match, Brian was looking like finishing against Bill until he blobbed penult with yellow. A tricky rover peel on red didn’t work, and he also missed a short peg-out, but still ran out a convincing winner, leaving the final score as 3 matches to 2 for John and Bill.

The format worked well (and maybe could be used for other interclub matches where there is time for several games), and everyone won at least one game.

Eleanor Spalding kindly presented the trophy, and accepted a donation from the players on behalf of the Prince and Princess of Wales hospice.

John Owen


John Owen beat Brian Durward +16
Bill Strachan lost to Stefan Colling -12
John Owen & Bill Strachan beat Brian Durward & Stefan Colling +15
John Owen beat Stefan Colling +18
Bill Strachan lost to Brian Durward -14


Eleanor Spalding presenting the trophy to Bill Strachan and John Owen


John Owen playing a sweep shot