SCA v Croquet North 2003

17-18 May 2003, Meadows

The Teams:

Peter McDermott (3) and Phil Errington (10)
Derek Watts (7) and Sheila Watts (7)

Rod Williams (1) and Alan Wilson (10) - (now 9)
Charlotte Townsend (4 1/2) and Campbell Morrison (5)

The Match:

All games to be played with no bisques and under advanced rules.

Day 1.  Fortunately the weather forecasters got it wrong and it turned out to be quite pleasant with occasional showers.  Even though Sheila ensured I stuck to the speed limit we arrived right on time at 10am.  The lawns were laid out and beautifully manicured.  They stand comparison with any in the U.K.  The results show that Scotland were 7 - 3 ahead at the end of the day but look more closely.  They won two matches plus one, two matches plus two and one match plus three.

The performance of the day was Phil (10) who pegged out Rod (1) but accidentally pegged his own out too.  The one ball game was nip and tuck with Phil on three and Rod on five with Rod pegging out (to his great relief) just ahead at the finish.

Charlotte & Campbell beat The Watts +2T
Rod and Alan beat Peter & Phil +1T
Rod beat Phil +3
Charlotte beat Sheila +17
Campbell lost to Derek -15
Alan lost to Peter -25
Rod beat Sheila +2
Charlotte beat Phil +17
Campbell lost to Peter -21
Alan beat Derek + 1T

The S.C.A. led seven - three.

Day 2.  The C.N.A. had it all to do and at last God smiled on us when Phil and I pipped Campbell and Charlotte plus one.  After the doubles and the first round of the singles, the North winning four of the six, we started the final session 9 - 7 behind.  Derek and I won our two and the match was all square at 9 - 9.  Alan played exceedingly well to beat Phil and all eyes turned to Sheila and Campbell.  But it had been a long weekend and after five tough matches Sheila was tiring but it still went to time Campbell winning plus six and Scotland the match 11 - 9.

The match had something in it for everybody.  No one person won all their games and no one person lost all their games.

I have three abiding memories all concern Rod.  In our doubles match when time was called I put all four balls pretty close to the corners - GET ON WITH THAT ROD! - well he hit in and made two impossible hoops to win the match.

He then played Sheila who had both balls to peg, Rod had one at peg and six hoops to go with the other.  After all her valiant efforts Sheila could only sit and await the inevitable.

Finally in my match against Rod when I won the toss I chose red and yellow. I pranged hoop five leaving all four balls together, Rod took over and I settled down to a nap.  He got through four was just about to make hoop five when he realised he was playing with my red!  But where did he change balls?

The red clip in his pocket answered that question.  In his position I would have at least imploded but Rod just smiled and said "at least it was good practice Peter".  That typified the spirit in which the match was played.

Charlotte and Campbell lost to Peter and Phil -1T
Rod and Alan beat Derek and Sheila +13
Rod beat Derek +16
Campbell lost to Phil -10
Charlotte lost to Peter -26
Alan lost to Sheila -7T
Rod lost to Peter -22
Charlotte lost to Derek -16T
Alan beat Phil +17
Campbell beat Sheila +6T

Fergus presented the "Scottish and Newcastle Challenge Trophy" (a beer pump handle) to Rod and after photos we had a pleasant drive home on a clear evening through bonnie Scotland and beautiful Northumberland.

The Hospitality

Fergus put up Phil.  Charlotte put up Derek, Sheila and myself in her delightful home.  The Scots had supplied the lunches and we in turn were to treat them all to a good night out.  But what is sauce for the goose can be curry for the gander.  As we could not agree on an Indian, Chinese or and Italian it was decided each to their own.  So the North bought the wine, the beer and the take aways and we all ended up at Charlotte's.  We had a cracking good evening and Charlotte if you ever come down our way your wish will be our command.  We thank you very much indeed.

The Future:

The trophy was first played for in 1991 but for reasons unknown to me was last played in 1996.  The C.A.N. winning four of those six matches.  Fergus and I agreed that as the match had been such a success we should continue with the present format suggested by Bruce Rannie.  He proposed that next year the away team make a selection from the willing with their handicaps and the home team select a side to match those handicaps as far as possible.

There were absolutely no complaints from the high handicappers playing advanced rules.  They saw it as a challenge and all performed very well. It may be that Scottish and Newcastle could be approached to support the event next year.  I mean Scotland v The North at Newcastle - well if that is not S & N territory then I'm a cockney.

Peter McDermott