East v West of Scotland 2003

7-8 June 2003, Meadows

In celebration of Scotland's new National Croquet Centre at Meadows West, with its upgraded facilities including three full-size courts and a spacious pavilion, and in recognition of the long-standing rivalry between the East and West of Scotland, a special event was arranged in which teams from the two sides of the country battled it out over two days, playing advanced games on the first day and handicap on the second so that a wide range of players could be involved.

Saturday's programme began with three advanced doubles games.  The East pair of Fergus McInnes and Alan Wilson took one game +25 from Malcolm Smith and Rob Close (though arguably it should have been +27 since the West pair's only point was scored by Fergus peeling a ball that had stuck in hoop 1); David Arnot and Geoff Caldwell retaliated for the West with a +10 win over Brian Murdoch and Campbell Morrison; and the third game got to the point of having all four clips on penult but ended up going to the West (John Surgenor and Maria Limonci) by one point on time when George Anderson, playing with Tony Brightman for the East, stuck in rover.  First round score: 2-1 to the West.

The match then took a pause for the official opening of the National Centre.  Meadows Club Chairman Jamieson Walker introduced the occasion, and SCA Chairman Nigel Gardner thanked those who had made the project possible, in particular sportscotland, whose Lottery Fund had provided most of the cost of the development, and the City of Edinburgh Council, from which the facilities were leased, as well as all the individuals and organisations that had made donations to the development fund.  The National Croquet Centre notice board was then unveiled by Ian Wright, who had been one of the prime movers of Scottish croquet over several decades and a founder of the SCA.  Shelley Hunter said a few words on behalf of sportscotland.  The formalities ended with the presentation of a pair of engraved tankards to Brian Murdoch, whose persistent and strenuous efforts had been in large measure responsible for bringing the project to fruition.  The players and guests then enjoyed an excellent lunch, prepared by Charlotte Townsend.  A heavy shower had interrupted the sunshine during the morning's games, but by lunch time the weather had cleared up and we were able to sit outside looking over the beautiful new expanse of level turf whose creation we were celebrating.

The croquet got started again in the afternoon, and two rounds of advanced singles games were completed by mid-evening.  Some substitutions were made to allow more players to take part, the additional people being David Appleton and Jamieson Walker for the West and Malcolm O'Connell, Stuart McKendrick, Graham Brooks and Charlotte Townsend (now free from catering duties) for the East.  The West continued to have the edge, winning 7 of the 12 games, and so the cumulative score for the first day was West 9, East 6.

Sunday morning was less inviting than Saturday, with rain for several hours, but eventually the weather improved and only light showers marred the afternoon.  Again the format comprised one round of doubles and two rounds of singles, but this time all the games were to handicap rules, and two higher-handicapped players joined the East team - Sheila Tibbels and Joyce Buckler, both at handicap 20 - along with Tony Foster (4.5), while Rod Williams (1.5) and Duncan Reeves (10) joined some of the first day's players on the West team.

This time all the doubles games went to the West, but the East did better in the singles, winning 7 out of 12 games to keep the final score reasonably close at 17-13.  Memorable occurrences included Brian Durward's two-ball break through seven hoops after he pegged out one of Fergus McInnes's balls.  Brian won that game, but both players' games in the other round of singles went the other way - Fergus finishing in the seventh turn, using only one of his three bisques, to beat David Appleton +26, while Joyce Buckler made good use of her bisques to beat Brian by the same margin.  A few one-ball games were also played, which together with one such game on Saturday left the East 3-2 up; but the one-ball results would only have counted for the overall match result in event of a tie on the full-scale games, and it was the West that took the trophy.

There was enough of Saturday's lunch left to feed the players on Sunday (though the food was better on Saturday, before it had undergone freezing and partial defrosting), and the Anderson and Foster households provided a delicious selection of cakes and scones for afternoon tea.  All in all, it was an enjoyable weekend, and a good opportunity for some less experienced players to take part in a match.  The decision that the games should not count for index points - and the generous supplies of food and drink laid on for the occasion - probably contributed to the relaxed atmosphere.  I expect we shall be repeating the venture (though presumably without the official opening) in future years.

A few photographs of the match can be found at the end of this page.

Fergus McInnes


(West names first)

Day One:
David Arnot and Geoff Caldwell beat Brian Murdoch and Campbell Morrison +10
John Surgenor and Maria Limonci beat Tony Brightman and George Anderson +1t
Malcolm Smith and Rob Close lost to Fergus McInnes and Alan Wilson -25
David Appleton beat Stuart McKendrick +26
David Arnot lost to Brian Murdoch -26
Brian Durward beat Tony Brightman +5
Jamieson Walker beat Fergus McInnes +22
Malcolm Smith beat George Anderson +9
Rob Close lost to Graham Brooks -18
John Surgenor beat Malcolm O'Connell +25
David Appleton beat Charlotte Townsend +22
Brian Durward lost to Stuart McKendrick -1
Jamieson Walker beat Campbell Morrison +2
Geoff Caldwell lost to Fergus McInnes -21
Maria Limonci lost to Alan Wilson -15
One-ball: Geoff Caldwell beat Fergus McInnes +3

Day Two:
John Surgenor and Jamieson Walker (6) beat Charlotte Townsend and Alan Wilson (13.5) +11
David Appleton and Geoff Caldwell (9) beat Stuart McKendrick and Sheila Tibbels (23) +1t
Rod Williams and Maria Limonci (15.5) beat George Anderson and Joyce Buckler (27) +17
Brian Durward (4.5) beat Fergus McInnes (6) +3
John Surgenor (0) beat George Anderson (7) +3
Brian Durward lost to Joyce Buckler (20) -26
David Appleton (3) lost to Fergus McInnes -26
Geoff Caldwell (6) lost to Alan Wilson (9) -19
Duncan Reeves (10) lost to Campbell Morrison (6) -10t
Maria Limonci (14) lost to Tony Foster (4.5) -15
Rod Williams (1.5) beat Sheila Tibbels (20) +10
Jamieson Walker (6) beat Stuart McKendrick (3) +12
Geoff Caldwell lost to Campbell Morrison -23
Duncan Reeves lost to Alan Wilson -22
Maria Limonci beat Charlotte Townsend (4.5) +20
Brian Durward lost to Tony Foster -9
John Surgenor beat Fergus McInnes +7
Jamieson Walker lost to Fergus McInnes -4
Duncan Reeves lost to Alan Wilson -3

Final scores:
West 17, East 13
(one-ball games: West 2, East 3)



Panoramic view of the lawns and pavilion.

Malcolm Smith examines the trophy.

Alan Wilson attempts an angled shot at 4-back.  (He got it!  Just before this he had peeled black through from about 12 yards.)

Maria Limonci playing for the West in the doubles.

Brian Murdoch's peg-out against David Arnot.