North v South Match

North of Scotland v South of Scotland

From 1989 to 1996 there were matches arranged between North and South. 

Bulletin No. 34, April 1989, previews the first match as follows:

We are delighted to be able to tell you of a new fixture this year.  The first of what we hope will become a regular match is scheduled for Saturday 17 June 1989 at Pitmedden in Grampian.  The Great Garden in Pitmedden, one of the National Trust for Scotland’s many properties in the North-East, is an impressive ‘formal’ garden first created in 1675 and taken over by the Trust in 1952.  The match will be followed on the Sunday by demonstration sessions in which we will be encouraging spectators and visitors to the Gardens to try their hand, although details have yet to be finalised.  If anyone in the South of Scotland fancies combining some croquet with a trip around one of Scotland’s most delightful gardens in the heart of Whisky Country please let the SCA Match Secretary know!

Bulletin No. 35, July 1989, contains the result (4-0 to the South) with the players’ names, but no individual game scores.  George Dunnett, Peter Gray, Ian Marr and Billy Rae represented the North, while Simon Jones, Malcolm O’Connell, Colin Rogers and Rod Williams represented the South.

Bulletin No. 36, October 1989, contains this report by Ann O’Connell:

On a sweltering Saturday afternoon, 17 June 1989, at Pitmedden Gardens (a National Trust for Scotland property outside Aberdeen) the South’s team of Rod Williams, Malcolm O’Connell, Colin Rogers and Simon Jones arrived to take on the North’s team of academics, Dr. Peter Gray and Prof. George Dunnett, and Udny farmers, Billy Rae and Ian Marr.  After some discussion because the North’s team had no official handicaps, four games of short croquet doubles took place.  Despite gallant opposition, the South team, featuring the current National Short Croquet Champion, won the match 4-0.  Particularly close was the Rogers & O’Connell v Rae & Marr game; everything hinged on either Colin or Billy hitting the peg – both suffered attacks of nerves and failed to do so several times, no matter how close they found themselves, until Colin put an end to the spectators’ suffering to win for the South.  The game also featured some spectacular inadvertent jump shots from Malcolm.  The visiting team was then treated to a tour of tranquil Pitmedden Gardens where they spotted further attractive croquet lawns which may feature in next year’s North v South tie.  After a delicious meal and the odd pint at an old coaching inn nearby, Peter Gray introduced the visitors to some local beauty spots where they caught their first sight of a pair of puffins, but failed to spot any aurora borealis activity.

On Sunday morning, 18 June, the visitors, with Malcolm at the wheel, attempted to find their way to Crathes Castle for a spot of sightseeing.  Thoroughly lost after ten minutes or so, Malcolm was pleased to be stopped by a police car, hoping to be indicated the correct road, until the officer severely admonished him for throwing his cigarette end out of the window.  Crathes also featured some rather attractive lawns which were noted for possible future use, as well as some truly magnificent 300-year-old yew hedges.  After lunch a demonstration had been arranged at nearby Drum Castle whose lawns had been magnificently prepared by the National Trust for Scotland.  In two demonstration short croquet games Malcolm played Peter, and Colin played Colin Reid, also from Aberdeen.  In a marathon at the microphone, Rod’s commentary lasted for almost two hours as Malcolm and Peter’s game developed into a lengthy struggle.  Afterwards, so many people wanted to try the game that the demonstrators ran out of spare mallets, and had to donate their own cherished bats!   Meanwhile sensible onlookers stayed in the shade and took several tours of the charming – and cool – castle itself, finishing in the kitchens where afternoon tea was served.  Apparently all team members survived the journey home despite Colin’s driving, and a repeat engagement is anticipated with pleasure.

There has been nothing found regarding the 1990 match – the only clue that it did take place is in the report of the 1991 match, which has been found.

Bulletin No. 44, October 1991 has the following report by Peter Gray:

The third match in the series was played at Crathes Castle on 8 July 1991, by kind invitation of the Scottish National Trust.  The weather was kind to us, and we set up two lawns approximately 24 yards by 20 yards to fit the great lawn below the castle.  We agreed handicaps for North players, and played doubles for 1½ hours, at the end of which honours were even.  After an excellent tea, we played another doubles and two singles without bisques; these were all won by the North, and thus we won the encounter for the first time.  The match attracted a number of spectators, and we hope that it will become a regular event.  It certainly helps to popularise croquet in Grampian Region.

Further results are available only from 1992.  There are no reports for 1992 or 1993.

The match in 1994 took place at Glasgow Green on 21 and 22 May, and a paragraph in Bulletin 51 says:

The editors have the scores from this fixture but have decided not to ask manager Malcolm Smith for further details.  It is more fun to conjecture why there should be scores of 12-7 and 15-5.  The South won by 7 games to 4.

The 1995 match was cancelled and there is no detail about 1996.  There was no match arranged for 1997, and no previous details are recorded in the 1997 Handbook – there are no northern clubs listed in Handbooks after 1995, until Crathes CC joined in 2012.



North names first

1989:    The North (George Dunnett, Peter Gray, Ian Marr, Billy Rae) 0, The South (Simon Jones, Malcolm O’Connell, Colin Rogers, Rod Williams) 4, at Pitmedden

1990:    No report has been found – the 1991 match report states that it was the third in the sequence, suggesting the 1990 match did take place, and was won by the South.

1991:     North 4, South 1, at Crathes Castle
Peter Gray & Simon Robbins lost to Charlotte & Basil Townsend -23
Jim Lomax & Willie McKay beat Duncan Reeves & Anne Rutter +17T (19-2)
Peter Gray & Willie McKay beat Duncan Reeves & Anne Rutter +5T (15-10)

Simon Robbins beat Basil Townsend +5T (13-8)
Jim Lomax beat Charlotte Townsend +14T (21-7)

1992:     North 2, South 5
J. Lomax and G. Provan lost to R.ap W. Williams and D. McLaughlin
P. Gray lost to B.R.P. Murdoch
A. Rutter lost to D. Farmer
G. Dunnett lost to D. Farmer
B. Rae beat B.R.P. Murdoch
J. Lomax beat R.ap W. Williams
I. Marr lost to D. McLaughlin

1993:     North 4, South 2
G. Dunnett and P. Gray beat R.ap W. Williams and N.T. Gardner
J. Lomax beat C. Townsend, M.P.W. Smith
B. Rae beat M.P.W. Smith
S. Robbins lost to N.T. Gardner
A. Rutter lost to R.ap W. Williams

1994:     North 4, South 7
G. Provan and Dave ? beat C. Townsend and G. Spalding
J. Lomax beat M.P.W. Smith, lost to C. Townsend, S. Barnett
P. Gray beat M.P.W. Smith, lost to C. Townsend, S. Barnett
A. Rutter beat M.P.W. Smith, lost to S. Barnett, J. Walker
G. Provan lost to J. Walker

1995:     Match cancelled

1996:     No report in 1997 Handbook or Bulletins