Ireland B Match

This match ran for three years in the late ‘90s.  The reasoning behinds its introduction, then its demise, is not recorded.

Match scores:

1997

SCA (B)

5

CA of I (B)

14

at Carrickmines

1998

SCA (B)

7

CA of I (B)

13

at Bush

1999

SCA (B)

8

CA of I (B)

10

at Herbert Park

Players who have participated in this match include:

David Arnot

CA of I (B) 99

Steve Barnett

CA of I (B) 97

Geoff Caldwell

CA of I (B) 98 99

Maria Limonci

CA of I (B) 99

Fergus McInnes

CA of I (B) 97 98

Stuart McKendrick

CA of I (B) 97 98

Campbell Morrison

CA of I (B) 97 99

Charlotte Townsend

CA of I (B) 98

 

Reports:

October 1997 at Carrickmines:

No report has been found.  The Irish ‘B’ beat the Scottish ‘B’ 14-5.  There are some details in the 1998 report.

12 – 13 September, 1998 at Bush:

(Report by Fergus McInnes)

The inaugural ‘B’ international between the Scottish and the Irish took place in 1997, when four of us travelled to Dublin to take on our counterparts on their home ground at Carrickmines.  It was the end of the season, the hollow tining had been done and the lawns were riddled with rows of holes, which were a major distraction when lining up shots.  Maybe our hosts were more accustomed to this, maybe they had a higher tolerance for Guinness, or maybe they were simply better at croquet – anyway, they won convincingly 14 games to 5.  A return match obviously had to be arranged to determine the true explanation. So the two sides met again eleven months later at Bush.  Two of last year’s Scottish team, Stuart McKendrick and Fergus McInnes, were joined by Charlotte Townsend and Geoff Caldwell, while Steven Kenny and Morgan Power from the 1997 squad played alongside Stephen Strong and Nathaniel Healy.

The first day started off slightly damp, and degenerated to a mixture of drizzle and downpours which proved the worth of the SCA tent.  Play began with two doubles games, both won narrowly by the Scots.  The round of singles which followed gave further support to the home advantage theory – only Fergus letting the side down with a -17 loss to Morgan.  Yet the Irish remained sanguine, Steven Kenny offering to bet on a 16-4 win even as Charlotte lined up her peg out to make it 5-1 against them.  The last round of the day, with opponents swapped about, made his amended prediction of 15-5 seem more plausible, as the Irish side made a clean sweep.  Nathaniel, suffering after last night’s Indian meal, interrupted his game for an urgent trip to the garage (Bush lacked some of the more basic facilities commonly to be found around croquet lawns), after which his croquet took a turn for the better and he reversed Stuart’s lead to win by 5.  Fergus attempted another reversal against Stephen Strong, and was left needing only nine hoops, three peels and the peg to win in his last turn after time was called, but missing the roquet on the intended peelee after running 2-back put paid to that.  So the overnight score was 5-5 and the match still wide open.

Sunday was a welcome contrast to the day before: the sun shone for several hours, and though heavy clouds built up at one point their threat came to nothing.  Two doubles games were double banked while the puddle of overnight rain on the other court dried out; both courts were then playable for the two rounds of singles which completed the all-play-all format.  The closest games of the day went in favour of the Irish: Stuart and Fergus had the previous day’s +1 on time cancelled out by a -1 in extra time against Stephen Strong and Nathaniel; then Stephen notched up another extra time win against Stuart after protracted manoeuvring around 4-back with both partner balls pegged out.  Only Geoff’s win over Morgan and Charlotte’s over Nathaniel interrupted the Irish side’s march to a 13-7 victory.

In the course of the weekend there was a good deal of enjoyable eating and drinking – on Friday night at Charlotte’s house and on Saturday night at Maria and Geoff’s.  Steven Kenny also went out on the town on Saturday night (though the rest of us declined to join him), and after a little doze on the bench at Bush on Sunday morning was in splendid form later in the day.  Guinness, moreover, was seen on the lawns, even if only the canned variety – no match for what the Carrickmines bar dispenses.  So only the first theory of the Irish players’ advantage has been ruled out.  And since an experiment to distinguish the alcohol tolerance and croquet ability theories would involve a match with no croquet by either side it looks as if we shall never know.

4 – 5 September, 1999 at Herbert Park:

(Report by JS)

Herbert Park was the venue for the 3rd B-International match between Ireland and Scotland, in the absence of a clubhouse at Carrickmines.  Ireland needed to win to maintain a clean sheet in internationals this year and started well, winning both of the doubles matches on Saturday morning.

Stephen Strong and Michael Burke won a close game against Dave Arnot and Geoff Caldwell +2T, and Dernan O’Toole and Morgan Power proved too strong for Campbell Morrison and Maria Limonci, winning +8T.  This was to prove decisive, as the four rounds of singles that followed ended up level with eight wins for each team.  Dave Arnot won all his singles games in some style (wearing a Black Watch kilt on Sunday morning) and Maria had a couple of good wins over Dernan and Michael, belying her handicap of fourteen.  Michael Burke and Yvonne Marrinan were providing accommodation for some of the guests and Yvonne deserves a special mention for almost flattening Campbell with the contents of a bottle of brandy on the Friday night.  He did recover somewhat by Saturday evening, just losing a close game with Stephen -2T.

Many thanks are due to Evan Newell, not only for setting the hoops and recommending a good local restaurant for the Saturday evening, but also for providing some pure comedy on the lawns when he attempted a spot of refereeing (‘Oh, look, I say – somebody’s lost a coin’).  In a break with tradition, the Irish players were perfectly behaved, leaving the management with little to do except locate the nearest off licence for some cold beers, snooze in the blazing sunshine and chat to the twenty or so spectators who wandered along to watch over the weekend.

On the lawns the tension was maintained going into the last round of singles.  Scotland had to win all four games to win the match, or three to draw and force a peg shoot-out.  However Stephen won against Geoff and Morgan defeated Maria and confirmed victory for Ireland.  This was probably just as well, because when the peg shoot-out was played anyway, Maria won it almost single-handedly for Scotland.

Many thanks to Herbert Park for the use of their lawns and facilities, to Maymes Ansell and Yvonne Marrinan for providing a spectacular lawn-side lunch on Sunday (accompanied by lashings of wine), Guardian for their very generous sponsorship and not least the Scottish team and supporters for making the long trip over and back.

 

 

Results: 

Scottish names first

1997:     No records have been found
Ireland ‘B’ 14, Scotland ‘B’ 5

1998:     Day 1:
Doubles:
Stuart McKendrick & Fergus McInnes beat Steven Kenny & Morgan Power +1T
Charlotte Townsend & Geoff Caldwell beat Stephen Strong & Nathaniel Healy +4T
Singles:
Stuart McKendrick beat Steven Kenny +10
Charlotte Townsend beat Stephen Strong +12
Geoff Caldwell beat Nathaniel Healy +15
Fergus McInnes lost to Morgan Power -17
Stuart McKendrick lost to Nathaniel Healy -5
Charlotte Townsend lost to Morgan Power -7 +15
Geoff Caldwell lost to Steven Kenny -15
Fergus McInnes lost to Stephen Strong -7T
Day 2:
Doubles:
Stuart McKendrick & Fergus McInnes lost to Stephen Strong & Nathaniel Healy -1T
Charlotte Townsend & Geoff Caldwell lost to Steven Kenny & Morgan Power -6T
Singles:
Stuart McKendrick lost to Stephen Strong -1T
Charlotte Townsend lost to Steven Kenny -8
Geoff Caldwell beat Morgan Power +22
Fergus McInnes lost to Nathaniel Healy -24
Stuart McKendrick lost to Morgan Power -10
Charlotte Townsend beat Nathaniel Healy +15
Geoff Caldwell lost to Stephen Strong -12T
Fergus McInnes lost to Steven Kenny -11

1999:     Day 1:
Doubles:
Dave Arnot & Geoff Caldwell lost to Stephen Strong & Michael Burke -2T
Campbell Morrison & Maria Limonci lost to Dernan O’Toole & Morgan Power -8T
Singles:
Maria Limonci lost to Stephen Strong
Campbell Morrison lost to Michael Burke
Dave Arnot beat Dernan O’Toole
Geoff Caldwell lost to Morgan Power
Maria Limonci beat Michael Burke
Campbell Morrison lost to Stephen Strong
Dave Arnot beat Morgan Power
Geoff Caldwell beat Dernan O’Toole
Day 2:
Singles:
Maria Limonci beat Dernan O’Toole
Campbell Morrison lost to Morgan Power
Dave Arnot beat Stephen Strong
Geoff Caldwell lost to Michael Burke
Maria Limonci lost to Morgan Power
Campbell Morrison beat Dernan O’Toole
Dave Arnot beat Michael Burke
Geoff Caldwell lost to Stephen Strong