Scottish Handicap Doubles

Trophy: A Pair of Croquet Balls (mounted) donated by Glasgow Croquet Club.

This competition was launched in 1975, and one of its initial aims was to encourage more high-bisquers to play in competitive events, with the combined handicap of pairs deliberately set at ten or more.  Glasgow CC generously presented the SCA with two beautiful specimens of the old wooden balls, complete with coloured rings, mounted on steel pins set in wooden bases – one for each of the winning pair.

This is a knockout competition for pairs with a combined handicap not lower than 5, played throughout the season.  (In 2003 and previous years the minimum combined handicap was 10.)  The final is usually scheduled to be played on the same day in September as the Handicap Singles final, and possibly the Inter-Club League final.

Roll of honour:






F.V.X. Norton &  S. McKay




S.J.H. Wright & T. Snaddon




F.V.X. Norton &  S. McKay




M.P.W. Smith & A.G. Williams




W.S. Kilpatrick & G. Mason




W.S. Kilpatrick & G. Mason




G. Anderson & A.M. Ramsay




W.S. Kilpatrick & G. Mason




C.M. van Griethuysen & W.M. Spalding




G.M. Spalding & W.M. Spalding




C.M. van Griethuysen & J. Surgenor




I.H. Wright & M.R. Fotheringham




C.D. McArthur & R. Pirrie




M.P.W. Smith & M.A. Rutter




F. Mann & N.T. Gardner




A.D. Lamont & M.G. Wright




A.J. Campbell & D. Rothwell




D.P. Arnot & I. Read




P. Owen & I. Read




C.M. van Griethuysen & J. Walker




M.P.W. Smith & R. Close




D.P. Arnot & J.G. Caldwell




S.M. McCraw & J. Walker




J.G. Caldwell & M.T. Limonci




J.G. Caldwell & M.T. Limonci





J. Surgenor & R. Macdonald




R. ap W. Williams & A.A. Wilson




M.P.W. Smith & R. Close




F.R. McInnes & M.T. Limonci




A.A. Wilson & D. Lyon




M.A. Stephenson & J.R. Hopgood




F.R. McInnes & R.A. Hawke




A.C. Brightman & J. Walker




M.A. Stephenson & B. Cosford




D.P. Arnot & K.D. Wright




S. Cameron & J.R. Hopgood




D. Houston & M.A. Stephenson




J.R. Hopgood & B. Cosford





The Scottish Handicap Doubles Championship got off to a flying start with entries from 26 players.  The minimum combined handicap of ten for a pair of players was intended to encourage high handicap players to enter competitive events, and this indeed happened, as ten of the players were newcomers to competitions outside their own clubs.  More than half of the pairs had handicaps between 18 and 26 and one of these pairs reached the Final.  This was an all-Glasgow match in which Jack Norton and Stewart McKay (14) beat Jim Shearer and Nick Grey (22).  This was a most appropriate ending to the Championship’s first year because the idea of holding it was first suggested by Jack Norton who also found the unusual trophies and helped to mount them (they are a pair of wooden croquet balls, one with three red stripes and the other with three blue stripes, each mounted on a short metal rod set in a wooden base).  He has done so much to bring newcomers to the game and to encourage high bisquers and richly deserves this win.


Once again this event proved popular, with a total of thirteen pairs entering.  Handicaps were well spread with one pair on the minimum of ten and some combined handicaps into the twenties.  The Final proved to be an all-Alloa affair in which Stephen Wright and Tom Snaddon (12) beat Ian Wright and Margaret Lauder (8½) and which gave Tom Snaddon a very nice finish to his first competitive season.


The AGM Minutes say: “The Handicap Doubles trophies were presented to Mr Jack Norton and Mr Stewart McKay of the Glasgow Croquet Club who had won the title back again after losing it for a year.”  No other details are recorded.


The AGM Minutes say: “The Handicap Doubles trophies were presented to Malcolm Smith and Adrian Williams of the Auchincruive Croquet Club.”  No other details are recorded.


G. Mason & W.S. Kilpatrick beat F.V.X. Norton & Miss O. Brownlie.  No other details are recorded.


George ‘Ginger’ Mason and William Stewart Kilpatrick won the event in an interesting Final against Margaret Lauder and Alasdair Adam.


After some three hours play in the Doubles Final at Morningside on 29 August, Stewart Kilpatrick and George Mason had reached rover and rover, and looked set to win as George Anderson and Allan Ramsay were on rover and 1-back respectively with the last of their 3½ bisques having been used.  In a steady fashion reminiscent of his play in the Wilkinson Sword matches, Allan began to score hoops one by one while managing to leave his opponents with long shots that were missed.  George and Alan (Bush) eventually won by +4 in a total of 4½ hours as their Glasgow opponents became more and more aggravated by their failure to get the innings.


The winners were W.S. Kilpatrick and G. Mason.  No other details are recorded.


After a gap of four years the Scottish Championship Finals returned to Gleneagles Hotel.  The first event to start was the final of the Handicap Doubles, and the contestants arrived to find the courts almost flooded after heavy overnight rain.  The court furthest from the hotel had only one small puddle on it, near hoop 3, so play started on that court.  Before long the rain stopped and the courts started to dry out.  But they remained heavy for quite a time and that may explain why there were only three hoops scored in the first forty-five minutes.

When the score was five-all, Bill Spalding and Corla van Griethuysen unwisely risked joining up in the middle of the lawn.  At this point Mary Fotheringham hit in on her husband’s ball and made a five-hoop break which ended after an ambitious peel.  Bill replied soon after with a break from five to penult ending with a leave where Corla’s balls were cross-wired from Lionel at her hoop.  This did extract a bisque, but Lionel made only one hoop with its help.  The final bisque went when Lionel peeled Mary’s ball through 4-back, and Corla and Bill went on to win by six.


No report has been found.  Winners were Gillian Spalding and Bill Spalding.


The 1985 Finals Day, 14 September, held in Glasgow, was a West of Scotland affair with all the contestants coming from two clubs.  Three were from Glasgow Croquet Club, where most of the low handicap players in Scotland are now concentrated, and three were from the fairly new, Troon-based, Piersland Croquet Club, which is starting to make its mark.  In a perfect world, from the manager’s point of view, no finalist would be in more than one event, but players are not as co-operative as that!  This year Bill Spalding was in both the Open Singles and the Handicap Singles finals, and John Surgenor in the Open Singles and Handicap Doubles finals.  This meant that both handicap finals were played in the morning, one on each court, and the Open Singles in the afternoon.  All the rain this summer has helped the Glasgow Club’s courts recover from the serious trouble they were in by the end of the drought last year.  There still are quite a few bumpy patches where the grass is thin, but generally they are better than they were at the start of the season, and now the surface is much more true than it was.

John Surgenor and Corla van Griethuysen of the Glasgow Club started the season with a combined handicap of 13, but they have both been improving, and were 10½ by the time they reached the final; they gave two bisques to Geoff Strutt and Andrew Nixseaman from Piersland.

When Corla stuck in hoop 2 Andrew took the chance to make five hoops, but by the time Geoff reached hoop 6, both Corla and John were for the peg.  The bisques were then put to good use, but the deficit was too great for the higher-handicapped side, and the Glasgow pair won +9.


‘Finals Day’ for the Scottish Championships, held at Bush Croquet Club, turned out to be ‘Finals Days’, because of absence on holiday and illness, which struck down one of the Doubles Finalists, Malcolm Smith.  So the Doubles Final took place on the Wednesday following the originally scheduled date, between Edinburgh members Ian Wright and Mary Fotheringham (11), and Auchincruive members Malcolm Smith and Anne Rutter (19½).  Like the Singles Final had been the previous weekend, this was closely fought contest with Malcolm and Anne using their bisques effectively to establish a lead.  As the game drew to a close, Ian’s hitting became more accurate and he hit a vital six out of his last eight cross-court shots.  This turned the tide and he and Mary ended winning the title for the first time +3.  Ian Wright had done the handicap singles and doubles double, both for the first time.

12 September, 1987 at Bush:

It had been expected that the two new courts at Bush would be ready, but the legacy of the atrocious September of 1985 was still there in the form of drainage problems.  Sustained heavy rain overnight made one lawn unplayable; the other was waterlogged but without any visible pools of water on it, although steady rain during the morning added moisture quicker than it was draining away.  One Handicap Singles finalist, Alasdair Adam, was on holiday, so that was postponed, but the other finalist had to be decided, so it was the opening match on the barely-playable new court.  This was followed by the final of the Handicap Doubles – a dogged marathon of a match.  The much drier old court was reserved for the Open Singles.

The Doubles Final was between the locals, Ralph Pirrie and Colin McArthur, and the Glasgow pair, Corla van Griethuysen and Stewart McKay.  The latter had the better of the initial stages and were both on hoop 4 before Ralph opened the scoring for his side.  The game dragged on slowly for 3½ hours when the score stood at 15-11 in Ralph and Colin’s favour.  An hour later, with Corla on 2-back, Stewart made a break of four, ending when he stuck in penult off Colin’s ball, a mistake which turned out to be crucial.  Colin’s ball soon (relatively) joined Ralph’s on rover, and finally, 5½ hours after the game started, they won +10.

For the second year in succession, each of the three Scottish Championships has been won by players who have not won it before; a good sign for Scottish croquet.


No report has been found.  Winners are Malcolm Smith and Anne Rutter.


Final postponed to 5 May 1990 – report by Fred Mann. 

It was end-of-season stuff at Bush on 5 May in more senses than one – the final of the Scottish Handicap Doubles held over from 1989 was a scrappy affair.  The Dunfermline Carnegie duo of Fred Mann and Nigel Gardner was receiving what, after some dubiety, turned out be half-a-bisque from David Warhurst and Gillian Spalding.  Early play featured some good hitting in from Nigel and David, and it was Nigel who confidently made the first three hoops.  With Gillian, playing for the first time this year, doing all she was asked to, the Glasgow pair then took a four-hoop lead, which was reduced when Fred achieved hoop 1 after two and a half hours.  An hour later the Glasgow pair led 7-5 and over the next hour or so they added another five without reply.  Dunfermline fought back with a three-hoop break (which proved the biggest in the whole game) and Nigel produced some fine rolls, and comparatively soon the match was square, with clips on 1-back, 2-back, 3-back and 4-back.  Dunfermline then took control, with David only narrowly missing a series of long shots, and finally Nigel and Fred inched their way to peg out and win after 6 hours and 20 minutes of a game which …


No report has been found.  Mona Wright & Donald Lamont beat Fred Mann & Nigel Gardner in the final.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


Congratulations to Corla van Griethuysen and Jamieson Walker for their staying power – they finally pegged out to beat Dave Arnot and Iain Read by +7, after five and a half hours!


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


(Report by Rod Williams)

Less than a year late, the final of the 2001 Handicap Doubles was played on Monday 6th May 2002 at Meadows.  Alan Wilson and Rod Williams (13) beat John Clark and Sheila Tibbels (36) +9.

John went to rover very early on, using only one bisque, leaving a cross wire at hoop 2.  Alan missed.  Sheila had some grief at hoops 3 and 4 and stopped at hoop 5 with a couple of bisques left.  Alan went to 3-back in two or three breaks.  Sheila used one more bisque to move the balls about.  Rod faffed about a bit, then peeled and pegged out John.  Unfortunately Sheila could make no more hoops. Very sad.  Well, for John and Sheila anyway.  However, the celebratory champagne John and Sheila had brought along was much appreciated by us all!!  I recommend more champers at subsequent finals.


No report has been found.

21 September, 2003 at Meadows West:

(Report by Fergus McInnes)

Traditionally the Scottish Championship Finals comprise the finals of the Scottish Open, Handicap Singles, Handicap Doubles and Inter-Club League, and are scheduled to be played at the National Centre (formerly at Bush, now at Meadows West) during the last weekend of September.  In recent years it has also been the tradition that at least one of the finals is played late: the 2001 Doubles final, for instance, was played on the 6th of May 2002, and the 2002 Handicap Singles final on the 26th of October.

This year's finals broke with tradition in several respects.  Firstly, the Open had a new format and was completed in one weekend in July rather than being split into separate qualifying and final stages.  Secondly, the National Centre was not available at the designated weekend because of the need to do some serious scarifying, and so one of the three remaining finals was played a week early and the others were relocated to Glasgow.  Thirdly, all the championships were finished on schedule!

The Handicap Doubles final was played on Sunday 21 September at Meadows West.  Fergus McInnes (handicap 4) and Maria Limonci (14) had survived a close game in the first round (+2 on time against Steve Barnett and Robert Lay) and then had an easier win in the second round (+13 against George Kirk and Brian Smith) to reach the final.  Their opponents were Alan Wilson (10) and Dale Lyon (20), whose results so far were +8 against David Arnot and Jim Cooper and +14 against John Clark and Sheila Tibbels.  The final, scheduled for 10:00 a.m., got started about 10:30 after a pause while Alan bought a new pair of flat-soled shoes, having forgotten to bring his existing ones.  Progress was slow at first, with the slope around hoop 2 causing some difficulties.  Alan and Dale used up most of their six bisques for very limited returns.  Dale eventually picked up a break, but failed hoop 5 with all the bisques gone, giving Fergus a chance, which he took up by playing a break to rover and cross-wiring the opposition at hoop 3 (which had Maria's clip on it).  Dale missed the shot from this position to near hoop 4, and Maria played a good break to reach the peg, though her speculative attempt at a rover peel was not successful.  Fergus scored rover in his next turn, but failed a seven-yard peg-out; Alan shot and missed; Maria missed Fergus's ball; Alan joined up; and Maria went for Fergus's ball again but accidentally pegged herself out.  Alan put Fergus's ball away to the east of hoop 3 and joined with his partner on the west boundary, but Fergus hit the peg from about 15 yards to finish the game with a score of +21.


No report has been found.


The combined report of the Handicap Singles and Doubles Finals, including the Inter-Club League, is already on the website.  Depending on standards employed for the integrity of different events, it may have to be split.


The combined report of the Handicap Singles and Doubles Finals, including the Inter-Club League, is already on the website.  Depending on standards employed for the integrity of different events, it may have to be split.


No report has been found.


The combined report of the Handicap Singles and Doubles Finals, including the Inter-Club League, but not including the final matches (no report from those has been found), is already on the website.  Depending on standards employed for the integrity of different events, it may have to be split.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.


No report has been found.







1975:     Final:
Jack Norton & Stewart McKay (14) beat Jim Shearer & Nick Grey (22)

1976:     Final: 
Stephen Wright & Tom Snaddon (12) beat Ian Wright & Margaret Lauder (8½)

1977:     Winners:
Jack Norton & Stewart McKay

1978:     Winners:
Malcolm Smith & Adrian Williams

1979:     Final: 
G. Mason & W.S. Kilpatrick beat F.V.X. Norton & Miss O. Brownlie

1980:    Final: 
G. Mason & W.S. Kilpatrick beat Mrs M. Lauder & A.H.M. Adam

1981:     Final: 
G. Anderson & A. Ramsay beat G. Mason & W.S. Kilpatrick +4

1982:    Winners:
W.S. Kilpatrick & G. Mason

1983:    Final: 
Corla van Griethuysen & Bill Spalding beat Mary & Lionel Fotheringham +6

1984:    No records have been found
Winners:  Gillian Spalding & Bill Spalding (14½)

1985:     Final:
John Surgenor & Corla van Griethuysen (10½) beat Geoff Strutt & Andrew Nixseaman (12½) +9

1986:    Final:
Ian Wright & Mary Fotheringham (11) beat Malcolm Smith & Anne Rutter (19½) +3

1987:     Final:
Colin McArthur & Ralph Pirrie (17½) beat Corla van Griethuysen & Stewart McKay +10

1988:    No records have been found
Winners:  Malcolm Smith & Anne Rutter (19½)

1989:     First Round:
Ian Wright & Mary Fotheringham beat George Anderson & William Laing +20
Malcolm O’Connell & Colin Rogers beat Dave Arnot & Marie Gault +20
Second Round:
David Warhurst & Gillian Spalding beat Malcolm Smith & Anne Rutter +10
John Surgenor & Basil Townsend beat Ian Wright & Mary Fotheringham
Fred Mann & Nigel Gardner beat Malcolm O’Connell & Colin Rogers
Corla van Griethuysen & Charlotte Townsend beat Mona Wright & Donald Lamont +17
Third Round:
David Warhurst & Gillian Spalding beat John Surgenor & Basil Townsend +19
Fred Mann & Nigel Gardner beat Corla van Griethuysen & Charlotte Townsend
Fred Mann & Nigel Gardner beat David Warhurst & Gillian Spalding

1990:    Final:
Mona Wright & Donald Lamont beat Fred Mann & Nigel Gardner

1991:     Winners:
Andy Campbell & David Rothwell

1992:     Winners:
Dave Arnot & Iain Read

1993:     Winners:
P. Owen & I. Read

1994:     Final:
Corla van Griethuysen & Jamieson Walker beat Dave Arnot & Iain Read +7

1995:     Winners:
Malcolm Smith & Robert Close

1996:     Winners:
Dave Arnot & Geoff Caldwell

1997:     Winners:
Stella McCraw & Jamieson Walker

1998:    Winners:
Geoff Caldwell & Maria Limonci

1999:     Winners:
Geoff Caldwell & Maria Limonci

2000:   Winners:
John Surgenor & Robert Macdonald

2001:    Final:
Rod Williams & Alan Wilson (13) beat John Clark & Sheila Tibbels (36) +9

2002:    Winners:
Malcolm Smith & Robert Close

2003:    First Round includes:
Fergus McInnes & Maria Limonci beat Steve Barnett & Robert Lay +2T
Alan Wilson & Dale Lyon beat David Arnot & Jim Cooper +8
Fergus McInnes & Maria Limonci beat George Kirk & Brian Smith +13
Alan Wilson & Dale Lyon beat John Clark & Sheila Tibbels +14
Fergus McInnes & Maria Limonci beat Alan Wilson & Dale Lyon +21

2004:    Winners:
Alan Wilson & Dale Lyon

2005:    Winners:
Martin Stephenson & James Hopgood

2006:    Winners:
Fergus McInnes & Allan Hawke

2007:    Winners:
Tony Brightman & Jamieson Walker

2008:   Winners:
Martin Stephenson & Brian Cosford

2009:    Winners:
Dave Arnot & K.P. Wright

2010:    Winners:
James Hopgood & Suzanne Cameron

2011:     Winners:
David Houston & Martin Stephenson

2012:    Semi-final:
John Surgenor & Alasdair Adam beat Bill Spalding & Richard Sparrow
James Hopgood & Brian Cosford beat John Surgenor & Alasdair Adam +2