Scottish Championship Finals 2003

21 and 28 September 2003, Meadows and Glasgow

Traditionally the Scottish Championship Finals comprise the finals of the Scottish Open, Handicap Singles, Handicap Doubles and Interclub League, and are scheduled to be played at the National Centre (formerly at Bush, now at Meadows West) during the last weekend of September.  In recent years it has also been the tradition that at least one of the finals is played late: the 2001 Doubles final, for instance, was played on the 6th of May 2002, and the 2002 Handicap Singles final on the 26th of October.

This year's finals broke with tradition in several respects.  Firstly, the Open had a new format and was completed in one weekend in July rather than being split into separate qualifying and final stages.  Secondly, the National Centre was not available at the designated weekend because of the need to do some serious scarifying, and so one of the three remaining finals was played a week early and the others were relocated to Glasgow.  Thirdly, all the championships were finished on schedule!

The Handicap Doubles final was played on Sunday 21 September at Meadows West.  Fergus McInnes (handicap 4) and Maria Limonci (14) had survived a close game in the first round (+2 on time against Steve Barnett and Robert Lay) and then had an easier win in the second round (+13 against George Kirk and Brian Smith) to reach the final.  Their opponents were Alan Wilson (10) and Dale Lyon (20), whose results so far were +8 against David Arnot and Jim Cooper and +14 against John Clark and Sheila Tibbels.  The final, scheduled for 10am, got started about 10.30 after a pause while Alan bought a new pair of flat-soled shoes, having forgotten to bring his existing ones.  Progress was slow at first, with the slope around hoop 2 causing some difficulties.  Alan and Dale used up most of their six bisques for very limited returns.  Dale eventually picked up a break, but failed hoop 5 with all the bisques gone, giving Fergus a chance, which he took up by playing a break to rover and cross-wiring the opposition at hoop 3 (which had Maria's clip on it).  Dale missed the shot from this position to near hoop 4, and Maria played a good break to reach the peg, though her speculative attempt at a rover peel was not successful.  Fergus scored rover in his next turn, but failed a seven-yard peg-out; Alan shot and missed, Maria missed Fergus's ball, Alan joined up, and Maria went for Fergus's ball again but accidentally pegged herself out.  Alan put Fergus's ball away to the east of hoop 3 and joined with his partner on the west boundary, but Fergus hit the peg from about 15 yards to finish the game with a score of +21.

The Interclub League finalists convened in Glasgow on Sunday 28 September.  The Meadows Club was fielding the team of Graham Brooks (handicap 8) and Maria Limonci (14) which had decisively beaten Edinburgh three weeks before.  Representing Glasgow were Brian Durward (4.5) (substituting for Steve Barnett, who was busy at home helping to look after a newly increased family) and Robert Lay (12).  Brian won a close game against Graham, +4.  The other game also went Glasgow's way, and was more one-sided, Robert defeating Maria +24.

Robert Lay and Graham Brooks then had to play again, this time against each other, in the final of the Handicap Singles.  Robert started well, and was on rover and 4-back with Graham on rover and hoop 1, but after Robert missed a four-yard roquet he got no further chances and Graham won +6.

Some pictures from the Doubles final appear below.

Fergus McInnes

 

Dale Lyon and Alan Wilson in action.
(This turned out to be their last hoop shot: the ball bounced off, giving Fergus McInnes an easy chance with blue.)

Maria Limonci runs hoop 4 hard to pick up Dale's ball from the south boundary.

Alan prepares to join up with red after sending Fergus's partnerless ball into the distance.