USCA Trophy

In 1982, Scotland and South Africa were invited to Palm Beach, Florida to compete with United States for the USA Challenge Cup.  The Tournament featured matches under both International and USCA Rules, both singles and doubles, and South Africa beat US 10-8, whilst Scotland and US drew 7-7.  Both teams received a Cup, and this was played for between 1982 and 1988, using USCA Rules.

Roll of honour:


W.M. Spalding


Not played


Not played, or W.M. Spalding (by inference)


W.M. Spalding


J. Surgenor


J. Surgenor


J. Surgenor




A tournament was arranged to play for the Wine Cooler presented by the USCA, and five players attended to play knock-out singles to American Rules.  These include the following:  balls are played in sequence, blue, red, black, yellow; when a ball is roqueted, it is dead on that ball until after a hoop is scored; a player may therefore be dead on all three balls, making it difficult to score; the yard-line is actually nine inches; the turn ends if you roquet a ball which then goes off the boundary, so there are no long shots at balls on the edge.  The effect of these rules is to make the game faster – both sides play more turns as breaks are far harder to set up.

Bill Spalding, Jack Norton, Ian Wright, Bob Maclean and Rod Williams played games limited to 1½ hours and strokes to 1 min. 15 sec. – standard American practice.  Bob beat Rod by one on time; Jack beat Bob fairly comfortably; Bill beat Ian, and then Jack very comfortably in the final when Jack was dead on practically everything. 

We must thank the Americans for a good introduction to their game, and for the trophy which we will play for each year according to their rules.


Not played


No details found, assumed not played – Bill Spalding cannot confirm one way or the other.  However, previous Yearbooks suggested that Bill Spalding won.  The 1987 report suggests Bill Spalding had won the trophy three times in four years.

25 May, 1985:

At the end of our visit to USA in 1982 we were presented with a Wine Cooler, which is used as the trophy for an Open American Rules competition.  This year the USCA sent a team to play in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and this provided an incentive for ten entries for the USCA Cup.  It was played at the courts at Glasgow Green West on the Saturday before we were to play a two-day Test Match against USA, as practice for using their rules.  Saturday was a dreadful day with continuous rain getting heavier as the day progressed, so the practice was probably less useful and the game far less fun that on a fine day.  The tournament was to be a Swiss but Jack Norton did not appear, leaving nine contestants.  After three rounds, Rod Williams and John Surgenor had each won three times, with Bill Spalding on two wins, having had a bye.  Bill had to play either John or Rod next, and beat John first before playing Rod for the trophy; he won that game too to retain the Cup.


No records have been found.  The 1987 report suggests that in 1986 John Surgenor beat George Anderson in the final.


On Saturday 23 May, six competitors attempted to learn the complexities of the American game.  Fred Mann, a newcomer to this type of croquet, had a close game with Corla van Griethuysen and managed to win his first game by 5 points.  Bob Maclean was welcomed back after a few years absence from any type of competition, but he was beaten by Bill Spalding, who was attempting to claim this trophy for the fourth time in its five year existence.  The other first round match was a repeat of last year’s final with the same outcome; John Surgenor beat George Anderson +6 in a very close match.

As the day progressed more understanding of the tactics developed, although confusion was still apparent as some players played out of sequence, or, if they got that far, ran rover in the wrong direction.  Bill started well against John, setting up a break for his second ball while scoring a few hoops with the other, but unfortunately the forward ball over-ran a hoop and, being dead on the other balls (being unable to roquet any balls until its next hoop had been scored) returned to his first ball.  This is where Bill’s problems began.  John hit in across the lawn and used the break which was set for Bill’s second ball.  With Bill playing golf croquet with one ball, John took a commanding lead which he held to the end, winning by +8.  George put an end to Fred’s success by beating him in the second round +6T while Corla managed her first win against Bob +7T.

After lunch, Bob seemed to strike form, beating Fred by +8T, then George +1T and John +1T, the latter two being very close dour struggles.  The first game to finish before time (1½ hours) was John against Corla, John winning by +10, much to the annoyance of Corla as she dislikes the negative way this type of croquet is played.  George beat Bill, killing off any chance of his taking the trophy for a fourth time.  John also beat Fred on time, with an eight-hoop and two-peel break in the last thirty minutes being the deciding turn.  Corla beat Bill +6T, and the results in the fourth round meant John had retained the trophy.  The final round saw another game finish before time when Bill beat Fred +10; George beat Corla +3T.

This event requires the contestants to rethink the tactics they use in the Association game, safety being the name of the game, and keeping your balls ‘alive’.  As most of us discovered, when you are playing American croquet, your opponent has a tremendous advantage.  An enjoyable day was had by all the players with each one recording at least one victory.

The competition has not been staged since 1987.



1982:     Round 1:
Bob Maclean beat Rod Williams
Round 2:
Jack Norton beat Bob Maclean
Bill Spalding beat Ian Wright
Bill Spalding beat Jack Norton

1983:     Not played

1984:     No records have been found, but Bill Spalding is recorded as having won.

1985:     Nine-player Swiss
Round 1:
Alasdair Adam beat Corla van Griethuysen +3
John Surgenor beat Stephen Wright +11
Bill Spalding beat Ian Wright +15
Rod Williams beat David Warhust +1T
George Anderson bye
Round 2:
Bill Spalding beat George Anderson +5
John Surgenor beat Alasdair Adam +19
Stephen Wright beat Corla van Griethuysen +3
Rod Williams beat Ian Wright +20
David Warhurst bye
Round 3:
John Surgenor beat David Warhurst +23
Rod Williams beat Corla van Griethuysen +5T
Stephen Wright beat Alasdair Adam +11
George Anderson beat Ian Wright +3
Bill Spalding bye
Round 1:
Bill Spalding beat John Surgenor
Round 2:
Bill Spalding beat Rod Williams

1986:     No records have been found
John Surgenor beat George Anderson

1987:     John Surgenor (4 wins) beat Bill Spalding +8T, George Anderson +6T, Corla van Griethuysen +10, Fred Mann+4T
George Anderson (3 wins) beat Bill Spalding +8T, Corla van Griethuysen +3T, Fred Mann+6T
Bob Maclean (3 wins) beat John Surgenor +1T, George Anderson +1T, Fred Mann +10T
Bill Spalding (2 wins) beat Bob Maclean +9T, Fred Mann +10
Corla van Griethuysen (2 wins) beat Bill Spalding +6T, Bob Maclean +7T
Fred Mann (1 win) beat Corla van Griethuysen +5T