Summer Weekend 2021

3-4 July 2021, Balgreen

Roger Binks won all his games in the tournament of diminishing blocks and player difficulties.

Two days to go - plans in place for 6 entrants to play each other in a single block; three 26-point games of 3 hours on day 1 and two on day 2.  One day to go - number rises to 7; retained single block three games each day, despite the tight time schedule.  Handicaps range from 2 to 24.  The competition was played in good warm weather, in splendid isolation at Balgreen.

Day 1:  John Owen (JO:2) took the late start.   Round 1: By random selection Joe Lennon (JL:11) played Rosemary Saunders Robertson (RSR:3.5) losing -8; Calum Worsley (CW:7) was +3 against Brian Cosford (BC:12) and Roger Binks (RB:8) had a last-minute dash to beat Rachel Frith (RF:24) +10.  Round 2:  Whilst JO was being subjected to what became a +26 defeat by CW, JL and BC started their double-banked match which was curtailed through physical difficulties for JL.  In the match against RSR, RB had used all bisques to get both balls to hoop 4 and RSR had scored one hoop, when RB (as manager) was advised by JL that he was unable to continue and wished to withdraw.  As RF was sitting out, and JO/CW were about to conclude it was decided to suspend RSR/RB play and reschedule.  Round 3: CW took RSR to 26-11; RF made 9 before JO pegged out and in round 4 RF made 11 against RSR’s 26.  BC very narrowly lost -5 to RB after another late surge; on conclusion BC reluctantly withdrew from further games to protect against a developing injury.  In the last round 4 match JO had scored 12 when RB pegged out.  The end of a long day, leaving the RSR/RB match pegged down, with RSR in the stronger position.

By the close of day 1, 7 players had become 5 (excluding JL and BC) with CW on 2 out of 2, RB 3/3, JO 2/3, RSR 1/3 and RF 0/3.  Handicap changes were noted for CW to 6 and RB to 7, with CW the bookies favourite for the next session.

Day 2:  RF had a late start.  RSR and JO started play on lawn 1.  Jane and Campbell Morrison arrived to attend to Balgreen work and view competition progress; as Match Secretary, and Handicap and Regulation Committee they confirmed that the block should be adjusted to discount games for JL and BC.  On lawn 2 RB (1 bisque) and CW played the first four turns, CW both balls to the east boundary and RB missing his mid-west boundary ball leaving the other nearer hoop 2.  Expecting to receive due punishment in turn five, RB was surprised to see CW doubled-over in the rough away from the lawn - not as was thought inspecting insects but suffering from an unpleasant bout of nausea.  CW’s plight was not quickly rectified and after a while he decided that he had better withdraw and returned home, without needing further assistance.  Thus 5 became 4; JM and CM left for other tasks and the block was adjusted again, excluding CW.  Was there the equivalent of a tontine in the offing?  Expecting, but now unable, to play CW, RF accepted an offer from RB for a non-counting 18-point game, which was soon curtailed when the outcome of the other match was a win for JO +19 over RSR.

The situation was well balanced with JO and RB each on 2/3 and RSR 1/3; a win for RSR would make it 2 games each and require a net hoop count, but with JO on +23 and RB then on +24, RSR at -4 needed a result better than +14 to avoid a further tie or loss.  The lawn was reset for the remaining 85 minutes, no bisques left, score RB 6, RSR 1.  RF left for domestic duties and JO stayed a short while before departing for Aberdeen.

The match resumed without any spectators to commiserate with a bemused RSR as RB in his re-start turn from a rush up the east boundary proceeded to take one ball from 4 to peg, leaving nothing for RSR to build on.  A medium length roquet and RB was away with the other ball heading for penultimate, again leaving nothing substantial, and in the following turns completed the peg-out.  A win for RB +25, and no need for any sums.  (All games played and counting had ended within time; details in the attached table.)

Having completed the competition, RSR and RB embarked on a Balgreen ladder match, which lifted RSR’s spirits as she won convincingly.  During this game Jane returned, and thinking it might be the final, asked whether JO and RF were also injured or unwell.  Jane’s presence was timely as she was able to present the trophy to RB and was pleased that no one else had fallen by the wayside.

Roger Binks

Postscript:  Fortunately, there were no lasting effects for those who, very sadly, had to withdraw.  Had the competition run with a full complement, the results might well have been quite different.


  RSR RB JO RF CW BC JL Wins Net Pos
Rosemary Saunders Robertson   -25 -19 +15 -15   +8 1 -29 3
Roger Binks +25   +14 +10   +5   3 +49 1
John Owen +19 -14   +18 -26     2 +23 2
Rachel Frith -15 -10 -18         0 -43 4
Calum Worsley +15   +26     +3        
Brian Cosford   -5     -3          
Joe Lennon -8                  

Roger Binks