West of Scotland Championship 2003

4-5 October 2003, Glasgow

The entry for this year's concluding SCA tournament was larger than for several years, with 12 players braving the chilly wind at Kelvingrove on Saturday the 4th of October, and 13 playing in more comfortable conditions on the following day.  (Jamieson Walker was not available on the Saturday, but was able to compete by playing two games early at Meadows West - in which he beat both Fergus McInnes and Charlotte Townsend.)  We might have needed a fourth lawn but for the withdrawal of George Anderson with a slight illness.

To the ranks of the "regulars" were added Joe Lennon (handicap 20), Malcolm O'Connell (1.5) and, visiting from Jersey, Elizabeth Medway (14).  The rest of the field ranged from Rod Williams (1.5) to last year's winner Robert Lay (18 at the end of last season, now down to 12).

At the close of play on Saturday, those undefeated were Tony Foster (3.5), with three wins, and Elizabeth, with two wins - and, of course, Jamieson.  Tony had had a good +1 win against Robert, finishing from hoops 1 and 4 after Robert pegged out one ball.  Two games were pegged down: Malcolm v Elizabeth, and Fergus McInnes (4) v Alan Wilson (10).

Both the pegged-down games took a long time to finish when they were resumed on Sunday, leaving the unlucky 13th player, Jim Taggart (4), with a longer-than-expected wait for a game.  Fergus had been four hoops ahead overnight, with all Alan's bisques gone, but Alan had just hit in, and he kept the innings for several turns and reversed the advantage.  He had won in similar circumstances last year, but this time he didn't manage to finish, and Fergus eventually got in again, pegged out Alan's forward ball (on his second attempt) and won +2.  The lengthy struggle between Elizabeth and Malcolm ended with another +2 scoreline, in favour of Elizabeth.

Tony continued his winning streak by winning a close game against Jamieson on Sunday morning, but then lost to Jim in the afternoon.  Keen to get his handicap down to 3, Tony began a game against Fergus later in the afternoon, but Fergus was on form by this time (after not quite catching up with Joe in his previous game) and won +18.  Meanwhile Malcolm, who had also lost to Jim, fought back with a quadruple peel against Duncan Reeves (11) and won +23 with 7.5 of Duncan's bisques standing.  After Tony's loss to Jim, only Elizabeth was left unbeaten, and she kept this up by winning her fourth and last game of the weekend against Robert, +3, having pegged out one of his balls with his other on 4-back and her own on 1-back.

The final outcome was that Elizabeth had no losses and a rating of 119, while everyone else had at least two losses, the nearest contender being Joe, who had won four games and lost two (to Elizabeth and Rod) and had a rating of 109.  So Elizabeth's name would appear on the West of Scotland trophy, though it wasn't presented because Robert had forgotten to bring it.  Joe got his handicap down to 18, and Duncan's went up to 12 after five losses.

The only available photograph of the eventual winner is the one below, which should at least give an impression of the conditions prevailing on Saturday morning.

Fergus McInnes