Malmet Trophy 2003

13-15 September 2003, Meadows

The Malmet Trophy (sometimes known as the Malmet Cup: it is a cup, but the inscription says "trophy") is meant to be contested by the second-best six available Scottish players; but this year there were only five contestants because not enough players were available for the full three days.

Play began at Meadows West on Saturday 13 September, in pleasantly warm though sometimes windy conditions.  Fergus McInnes (4), the favourite in terms of handicaps, nearly had a costly loss (17 index points) in the first round to Duncan Reeves (10), but managed to score three hoops and peg out one ball after time was called to win by one point on time.  Duncan had played very well in that first game, but didn't manage to maintain his form and lost the next two by wider margins to Maria Limonci (handicap 14) and Robert Lay (12).  Saturday's other games went according to handicap - Fergus and Alan Wilson (10) each beating both Robert and Maria.  One game was pegged down as the twilight ebbed away, with Alan ahead of Duncan by a single hoop.

The evening's entertainment included, for Duncan and Fergus, driving around the Tollcross one-way system several times looking for Robert, after the players managed to lose one another at the point of leaving the lawns in pursuit of sustenance.  Alan was with them at first, but opted out after the first two circuits and went off to catch a train.  On the third time round, they discovered that the makeshift barriers which Fergus had put out to prevent balls from going through the fence were still there, and they had to go back to Fergus's house to get the keys to put them away.  Eventually he and Duncan gave up the hunt and just went for a meal together, while Robert, after looking for them in a few restaurants and pubs without success, ate separately.

All five contestants reconvened at Meadows West on Sunday morning - Alan and Duncan resuming their pegged-down fourth-round game, and the fifth round following when that was completed.  Alan got off to a good start by hitting a roquet of some 15 yards with his first stroke of the day, and went on to win the game, preserving his unbeaten record.

Alan also started well in his next game, against Fergus, and was well ahead for a while, but too many failures at 2-back and some good play by Fergus (once he discovered how to hit roquets again) undid the advantage.  Fergus resorted to pegging out one ball after time was called, as in his first game against Duncan, and won +5 on time after Alan over-rolled a long approach to that troublesome eighth hoop in his final turn.

Meanwhile Robert had a +12 (on time) win over Maria, who had a less successful day overall than on Saturday, losing subsequently to Alan and to Duncan - who thus achieved his first win of the tournament.  The other game in round six was the second encounter between Duncan and Fergus, who had had such a close game in the first round.  This time the score was a more emphatic +25 to Fergus - who, as in two of the first day's games, achieved a 4-back peel but then failed to complete the triple, in this case because his attempt to bombard the peelee out of the jaws of 4-back with a croquet stroke from near the east boundary went awry, making the completion of the straight peel excessively posthumous.  The other game in round seven was Alan's second, and again more emphatic, win over Robert (+16).

During the afternoon the tournament was favoured with a few spectators, and the spare lawn was employed for a friendly game between regular Sunday afternoon players Catherine and Anne.  In the evening the contestants managed to avoid losing one another and enjoyed dinner together, Mexican style, at the Coconut Grove in nearby Thornybauk.

Three rounds remained to be played on Monday.  Fergus was in all these rounds, and continued his quest for the elusive triple peel (but not against Maria - he was told he had to put this in the report!); the nearest he got was against Robert, when he did the 4-back peel after hoop 3, but failed hoop 4, and achieved the last two peels and peg-out in a later turn after Robert wired himself joining up at hoop 2.  This and the rest of rounds eight and nine conformed to the results of rounds three and four.  So, with one round left, Fergus was in the lead (7/7), and had to play Alan (on 6/7), with a tie-breaker to follow if Alan won the game.  The other players were out of contention for the trophy, but the score in Maria's game with Robert would determine whether she or Duncan came last.

Alan started strongly against Fergus, as in their first encounter, and established a substantial lead, hitting roquets with good consistency and recovering from the effects of misplaced pioneers by accurate hoop-running.  Fergus's shooting was off for much of the game, but when he eventually got the innings he made up for it by playing tidy breaks, and reached the peg with one ball with the other three clips on 4-back.  Then Alan's hitting deserted him, and Fergus was able to lay up and stagger round from 4-back with his backward ball in several turns to finish, +8.

The other game in the last round also had a reversal, Maria starting well but then losing her lead.  Robert won by 14 points - a small enough margin to leave Maria in fourth place, ahead of Duncan.

Maria acted as deputy for her husband Geoff, who had won the trophy last year but had not been able to take Monday off work to defend it, and made the presentation to Fergus, who had survived some serious challenges in the three days to achieve the predicted result and a small improvement in his index.  Larger gains were made by Alan and Robert, who did better than their handicaps indicated, while Duncan, despite giving Fergus his closest game on the first day, had a net loss of 56 index points and went up to 11 at the end of the tournament.

Some photographs can be found below.

Fergus McInnes



Fergus McInnes -- +5t
8 +112
Alan Wilson −5t
-- +3t
6 +58
Robert Lay −20
-- +12t
4 +16
Maria Limonci −20
-- +6t
1 −91
Duncan Reeves −1t
-- 1 −95


(by Fergus McInnes and Alan Wilson)

Day 1:

Alan plays a croquet stroke.
(Exercise for the reader: what sort of croquet stroke was it, and, given that this was a 1/50 second exposure, how fast was the green ball travelling?)

Maria on the way to her win against Duncan.

Robert stalks his ball.

Day 2:

Alan resumes his progress in the pegged-down game ...

... while his opponent Duncan looks on.
(Note the barriers, in alternate colours, to prevent balls from going through the fence.)

Duncan gets a shot.

Alan runs rover from an angled position ...

... and pegs out.

A visitor to the manager's clipboard.

Fergus as outplayer against Alan (self-portrait by reflection) ...

... and eventually as inplayer.

Maria in play against Robert.

Day 3:

Fergus's finish against Robert: running rover and knocking the peelee away ...

... and lining up the long peg-out past the hoop.

Robert tries for a peg-out against Maria.  (He missed it this time, but pegged out yellow, and finished with red shortly after.)

Maria Limonci presents the Malmet Trophy to Fergus McInnes.