SCA v CA of Ireland 2004

28-29 August 2004, Meadows

Some difficulties attended this year's match between the Scottish and Irish associations.  It was initially scheduled for the 12th and 13th of June, but the Irish side didn't get organised in time.  Then, with new dates agreed and a team of six selected, Evan Newell had his arm broken (by a horse) with a few days to go, and the visiting side was reduced to five players.  But from that point on everything went well, and the diminished Irish team arrived in Edinburgh on Friday evening as planned, complete with mallets.

The top and bottom of the CAI line-up consisted of Andrew Johnston (handicap -1.5) and his father Harry (5).  Sandwiched between were Michael O'Shaughnessy (1), Jane Shorten (4) and Nathaniel Healy (4).  The SCA team appeared weaker, with Bruce Rannie (0.5) followed by David Appleton (3.5), Fergus McInnes (4), Campbell Morrison (6 in Scotland, though 4 in Ireland), Alan Wilson (7) and Jamieson Walker (6).  Alan, ranked just above Jamieson despite their handicaps, played in the no.4 slot on Saturday, and Campbell replaced him on Sunday.  Fergus had devised a format of six rounds comprising 20 singles games and five doubles games, with each player (except Alan and Campbell, of course) encountering four different opponents in the singles and two different pairs in the doubles.

Saturday's results were mostly to handicap, and the Irish side accordingly ended the day with a 9-2 lead.  Two games went against handicap, but they cancelled out: Bruce and Fergus beat Andrew and Harry +23 in the first-round doubles after Harry broke down at hoop 4, and Harry in the next round had a +16 win over David, who was having a frustrating day with a lot of missed roquets.  Bruce provided the Scots' second win, beating Nathaniel +26 in the second round.  Andrew performed a fifth-turn triple in his second game for a +26 win over Fergus, and an Nth-turn triple, where N was large, to finish off a long and scrappy doubles game with Jane against Bruce and Jamieson.  The other TP of the day was performed by Michael in a much more one-sided doubles game, with Nathaniel against David and Fergus, in which the Scots never took croquet; it featured a very clean death-roll penult peel going to a deep pioneer at 3-back.  Alan had the opportunity to add a third point to the SCA tally in his third-round singles game against Harry, which went on after all the rest were finished, but he got badly angled position at penult and failed it in what should have been the finishing turn, and Harry eventually won +3.

Irish and Scots (with Campbell but without Alan) assembled for dinner in Jamieson's spacious eyrie overlooking Bruntsfield Links, a few minutes' walk from the lawns.  Jamieson and his Australian visitor Jenny laid on a magnificent meal, and whisky and song flowed freely.  All were nevertheless back at the lawns at 0930 on Sunday to resume the battle.

Sunday's games were predominantly singles, with just one doubles game, which was played in the first round, and was the only game in the weekend to reach the three-hour time limit; Nathaniel and Harry scored 21 points to Campbell's and Jamieson's 10.  The Scots did much better in the singles, winning all three first-round games and four out of five in the second round, and thus went into the final round only 9-11 down.  David, having gone up in handicap from 3.5 to 4 after Saturday, proceeded to complete two consecutive triple peels, against Andrew and Nathaniel, and two peels of a third one against Jane!  Jamieson also had a notable victory: +1 against Michael, after each of them had failed the peg-out with one ball and pegged out its partner.  Attempts at triples by other players were unsuccessful: Bruce got two peels (penult posthumous) against Jane, Fergus peeled 4-back after 2-back against Harry but failed to rush to position at penult, and Andrew broke down with one peel done, giving Bruce four balls in the middle of the lawn and an opportunity to finish from 4-back and peg, but then won +5 with a double peel when Bruce handed back the innings.  That result left the Irish side needing just one more game to win the match, and they got it when Fergus, having persistent trouble at hoop 1 on the relatively slow court 1, went down to Michael by 25 points.  The Scots won two of the other three final-round games, David beating Jane (despite the lack of a rover peel) and Campbell beating Nathaniel.  The game between Jamieson and Harry went on into the dusk, with Jamieson failing 2-back from in front at least twice; Harry won +10 to make it 14-11 to the Irish team.

Before that last game ended, David had to go, and so there was a brief pause while he presented the trophy that he had designed to the victorious side.  It would now have 10 years listed under the CAI's name, and 10 under the SCA's - though this represented only 18 years' results, not 20, with draws in 2001 and 2003 yielding entries in both sides' lists.  Pictures of the trophy and the winning team, and a few action shots, can be found below.

Fergus McInnes
(with contributions from Bruce Rannie)

(Scottish names first)

Day 1, 28 August 2004:
Bruce Rannie & Fergus McInnes beat Andrew Johnston & Harry Johnston +23
David Appleton & Alan Wilson lost to Michael O'Shaughnessy & Jane Shorten -15
Jamieson Walker lost to Nathaniel Healy -24
Bruce Rannie beat Nathaniel Healy +26
David Appleton lost to Harry Johnston -16
Fergus McInnes lost to Andrew Johnston -26TP
Alan Wilson lost to Michael O'Shaughnessy -21
Jamieson Walker lost to Jane Shorten -16
Bruce Rannie & Jamieson Walker lost to Andrew Johnston & Jane Shorten -6TP(J)
David Appleton & Fergus McInnes lost to Michael O'Shaughnessy & Nathaniel Healy -26TP(O'S)
Alan Wilson lost to Harry Johnston -4

Day 2, 29 August 2004:
Bruce Rannie beat Michael O'Shaughnessy +26
David Appleton beat Andrew Johnston +26TP
Fergus McInnes beat Jane Shorten +24
Campbell Morrison & Jamieson Walker lost to Nathaniel Healy & Harry Johnston -11t (10-21)
Bruce Rannie beat Jane Shorten +17
David Appleton beat Nathaniel Healy +7TP
Fergus McInnes beat Harry Johnston +13
Campbell Morrison lost to Andrew Johnston -26
Jamieson Walker beat Michael O'Shaughnessy +1
Bruce Rannie lost to Andrew Johnston -5
David Appleton beat Jane Shorten +5
Fergus McInnes lost to Michael O'Shaughnessy -25
Campbell Morrison beat Nathaniel Healy +18
Jamieson Walker lost to Harry Johnston -10

Match result: SCA 11, CAI 14



Andrew Johnston's first triple of the match: the 4-back peel after hoop 3 ...

... the penult peel going to 4-back ...

... and the Irish peel at rover.

Andrew rushes yellow with red (having peeled it just through penult), sending the striker's ball off the ground.

Jamieson Walker approaches rover, with Michael O'Shaughnessy's remaining ball for the peg, on his way to a +1 win.

The Appleton Trophy: Irish side ...

... and Scottish side.

The winning team: Michael O'Shaughnessy, Harry Johnston, Nathaniel Healy, Jane Shorten, Andrew Johnston.