SCA v CA 2003

30-31 August 2003, Meadows

It was Scotland's turn to host this annual fixture, and it was held for the first time at our new National Centre at Meadows West, Edinburgh.  The event followed the usual format, with teams of six playing best-of-three doubles on Saturday and best-of-three singles on Sunday.

The CA team was substantially stronger than the home side in terms of handicaps, and the SCA players were therefore pleased to win all three of Saturday morning's doubles games, and to hold onto their advantage later in the day and win two out of three doubles matches overall.  Notable features included Chris Dent's triple peel, and the endings of the two games that went to time.  In one of these Fergus McInnes succeeded with a long peg-out of Brian Murdoch's ball in the turn in which time was called, but then missed the peg with his own ball from about three yards.  In the other, the last game to finish in the evening, Tony Foster had gone to rover, with his partner Tony Brightman still for hoop 1.  Tony B got started on what looked like being an all-round break, but stuck in 2-back.  Bob Burnett then went round, peeled the Scots' forward ball through rover but landed too close to it to roquet either of the escape balls, and could only rush the peelee aside and attempt a long peg-out - which succeeded.  In doing this he conceded a contact, but he left his own and Graham Whitehouse's balls near opposite corners, and Tony didn't manage to get a hoop out of it.  After several turns of careful manoeuvring, Graham had reached 3-back to level the scores, and as time approached he ran the decisive hoop to complete the CA side's only match win of the day, +1 on time.  The day was rounded off for 10 of the 12 players with a convivial dinner at La Partenope (Chris's local and very good Italian restaurant), followed for some of them by watching the Festival fireworks from the top of Bruntsfield Links and then sampling some Islay malt chez Murdoch.

The singles matches on Sunday comprised two quick ones at the top of the team order, two slow but completed ones in the middle, and two at the bottom that remained unfinished.  Chris Dent (SCA) won two close games against Bob Burnett, with a triple peel in each.  Meanwhile Dave Nick (CA) had also completed two triples to beat Brian Murdoch in a little over three hours.  Their first game was nearly finished before either of the double-bankers, Abdul Ahmad and Fergus McInnes, got a ball through hoop 3 in a game with a very scrappy start: both players were hitting in but then failing to establish breaks.  It was Fergus who broke the deadlock, and he eventually won the game +14 despite a good two-ball break fightback by Abdul.  Their second game was rather different - but more of that later.  Tony Foster scored only one hoop in his first game against John Richardson, but then turned their match around by winning the second and third games; in the second game he achieved two peels of a straight triple, but the rover peel was posthumous and only one ball was pegged out in that turn.  So by mid-afternoon the cumulative score was SCA 4, CA 2, with three matches still in progress, any one of which could give the SCA an overall victory.  Tony Brightman had won his first game against David Hutt +12, and in the second David had got one ball round, which Tony then pegged out.  Campbell Morrison had lost heavily in his first game to an all-round break by Graham Whitehouse (at 8 the highest-handicapped player in either team), but was fighting back in the second game.  And then there was that second game between Fergus and Abdul ...

This time Fergus had got a break fairly quickly and gone to 4-back, but had then failed several times to get started with his second ball - having persistent difficulty with underplayed take-offs on the slowest of the three Meadows lawns, which was still rather wet after overnight rain.  Abdul had made some progress - hitting balls spectacularly far through hoops, rather than clanging them as in the first game - and was on hoop 3 and 1-back.  Eventually Fergus got his second break started, and began setting up for a triple, but he failed to get position at hoop 3 with a thick take-off from the intended peelee, and had to retreat to the north boundary as a defensive measure.  Abdul hit in with his forward ball, but failed to get position at 1-back.  Fergus hit in and set up by hoop 3 with a rush on his forward ball; Abdul missed to near corner 3; and Fergus resumed his break.  This time he got hoop 3, and the 4-back peel succeeded, as did the penult peel after hoop 6, each being played with a split roll.  The break became untidy, and he had to run 4-back from about three yards, and subsequently needed a good cut rush to get the peelee in position at rover from SW of the hoop.  The rush fell short - end of triple attempt?  Fergus wasn't giving up so easily.  He put the peelee a yard or so in front of rover, scored the hoop, and came back into position for a rush on the peelee.  The posthumous rush-peel went through by a couple of yards, and far enough to the side to leave a clear line to the peg.  The big half-roll peg-out was successful, and (learning from his mistake in the doubles) he made sure he pegged out the striker's ball as well this time, completing a somewhat non-standard TP and clinching the match for the SCA.

The second games in the other two matches finished soon after this, yielding wins for David over Tony and for Campbell over Graham, so that both matches were tied.  The CA players wanted to get started on their journey south, and so these two ties were left unresolved.  Tea and cakes were consumed, team photographs were taken, and Ian Wright - a veteran of the very first SCA-CA encounter in 1975 - presented the Glasgow Quaich to the SCA side.

Some photographs can be found below, though we didn't get one of the streaker who invaded the premises on Sunday afternoon: one of the SCA's photographers was taken too much by surprise, and the other was so intent on his triple that he didn't even notice her!

Fergus McInnes



Chris Dent (0)
Brian Murdoch (2.5)
Tony Foster (4)
Fergus McInnes (4.5)
Tony Brightman (4.5)
Campbell Morrison (6)
(all local Meadows Club members)

Bob Burnett (-1)
Dave Nick (-1)
John Richardson (0)
Abdul Ahmad (2.5)
David Hutt (4)
Graham Whitehouse (8)
(mostly from Lancashire and Cumbria, but John and David from Cheltenham)

(SCA names first)

Day 1
Dent & Morrison beat Nick & Ahmad +24TP(Dent) +3
Murdoch & McInnes beat Richardson & Hutt +5 +6t
Foster & Brightman lost to Burnett & Whitehouse +11 -8 -1t

Day 2
Chris Dent beat Bob Burnett +3TP +4TP
Brian Murdoch lost to Dave Nick -21TP -15TP
Tony Foster beat John Richardson -25 +17 +8
Fergus McInnes beat Abdul Ahmad +14 +18TP
Tony Brightman drew with David Hutt +12 -5
Campbell Morrison drew with Graham Whitehouse -23 +9

Overall result

SCA 5, CA 2, and 2 halved (or SCA 6, CA 3)

Three of the SCA players achieved handicap reductions: Chris Dent from 0 to -0.5, Tony Foster from 4 to 3.5, and Fergus McInnes from 4.5 to 4.


by Fergus McInnes, Ian Wright and Allan Hawke

Tony Foster and magpie (not on either team, but probably Scottish) during Saturday morning's doubles.

Chris Dent in his second doubles game.

Brian Murdoch attempts a double peel finish.  (He got both balls through penult, but then missed a roquet on pink.)

The Glasgow Quaich.

Tony Brightman sticks in 2-back in the last game of the doubles ...

... Bob Burnett peels and pegs out yellow, as his partner Graham Whitehouse looks on ...

... Tony and Tony consider what to do ...

... So do Bob and Graham ...

... Tony fails 2-back again (and Bob and Graham get the innings and eventually win +1 on time).

Not quite the peel he wanted: John Richardson leaves the peelee too close.
(He knocked it aside as he scored rover, and succeeded in pegging Tony Foster's ball out.)

Tony pegs out his remaining ball.

Fergus McInnes runs penult, with two peels done ...

... while players from both teams and local club members look on (Fergus's opponent Abdul Ahmad in the foreground).

Brian Murdoch watches the peg as Fergus attempts the peg-out from beyond rover.

The match-winning stroke.

The teams:
CA: Abdul Ahmad, Bob Burnett, David Hutt, John Richardson, Dave Nick, Graham Whitehouse;
SCA: Campbell Morrison, Tony Foster, Brian Murdoch, Tony Brightman, Fergus McInnes (Chris Dent missing).