West of Scotland Championship 2007

6-7 October 2007, Glasgow

For the fifth year in a row, the SCA's last tournament of the year was also its biggest - this time attracting a record entry of 19 players, whose total of 56 completed games was the highest in an SCA weekend this millennium and possibly an all-time record.  It was very nearly 57 games, but Tony Whateley's impressive high-speed finish against Tony Thomas on Sunday afternoon just failed to beat the 5.30pm deadline for the game to count.

The tournament started on Saturday with 16 players, a good fit to the four lawns at Kelvingrove - with handicaps ranging from 2 (held by Brian Murdoch and Martin Stephenson) to 20 (Jola Jurasinska and Ruth Munro).  Three others who were unavailable on Saturday joined in on Sunday, creating a small queue for lawn space, though the day was so warm and sunny (in contrast to most of the summer) that sitting out for the occasional half-hour was no hardship.

Newcomers to this event were Jola and Ruth from the Meadows Club, Tony Thomas from Southport, and on Sunday Robert Inder (also Meadows) and Matthew Hutcheson (Glasgow).  Terry and Melanie Foster completed the Southport contingent - Terry bringing the trophy which he had won on his first visit in 2006.  The other 12, a mixture of East and West of Scotland players, were veterans of many previous SCA events, though two of them - Brian Murdoch and Campbell Morrison - had not played in this particular tournament for several years.

Saturday's games left Campbell in the lead with an unbroken series of wins - which he had maintained by catching up from far behind in his fifth and final game of the day against Tony Thomas after Tony failed a peg-out and pegged out one ball.  Also unbeaten was Tony Whateley, with three games won, and a fourth pegged down, in which his opponent was Robert Lay.  The game between Alan Wilson and Bill Spalding was likewise pegged down overnight.  Campbell's successes brought his handicap down from 5 to 4.5 at the end of the day, while Robert's went in the opposite direction from 12 to 14 - to take effect in the first game he began on Sunday after finishing the one with Tony.  The lawns were cleared shortly after 6.30pm, and Allan Hawke's busload from Edinburgh (Allan, Jola, Ruth, James Hopgood and Fergus McInnes) joined Tony, Tony and Cath, Bill and Martin for dinner at the nearby Argyll Hotel before heading back along the M8.

Sunday began with the resumption of the two pegged-down games, and the starting of six more - including one between two of the single-day entrants, Jamieson Walker and Robert Inder, and one between the third of them (Matthew) and Fergus McInnes.  As manager, Fergus had been charged with watching Matthew to determine whether his provisional handicap of 18, set by Rod Williams a few days before, was appropriate.  After losing by 26 points, with four of Matthew's bisques standing, he was inclined to adjust it to 14, but following discussion with Rod (who wasn't playing but called in for a while in the morning) he took a more gradualist approach and set it at 16.

Matthew's +26 was one of three such results in Sunday's first round of games.  Joe Lennon had a speedy +26 against Martin, finishing before either of the pegged-down games, and Terry beat James by the same margin.  Robert Inder, playing off 20 in his first 26-point tournament, produced another decisive result, beating Jamieson +23.  He was then put into the "battle of the bandits" against Matthew, which turned out to be a considerably longer game - Robert using his four bisques sparingly to establish a strong lead, but Matthew catching up at last and winning +3 after about five hours.  Robert didn't get a third game into the day, because of a shortage of opponents in the afternoon, but Matthew did, and recorded another +26 against Brian.

A game that could have been even longer was the one between Ruth and Jola, begun about 9.30am and still far from finishing at lunch time.  At this point the manager heeded the players' pleas for mercy and set a time limit - with the outcome of a 12-5 win for Jola when time was called at 1.15pm, allowing each of them to get another game in before 5.30.  Ruth then played Robert Lay, who ended up with his only win of the weekend (though some of his losses had been narrow), and Jola played Martin, who achieved the surprising score of +26 with 16 of Jola's 18 bisques remaining.

Campbell, meantime, was continuing his excellent performance.  Despite being half a bisque down from the previous day, he notched up scores of +17 against Joe and +20 against Jamieson, and finished with a +24 against Martin - the second time in the weekend that he had beaten a 2-handicap opponent without using any of his bisques.  It was no surprise, then, that Campbell turned out the winner of the tournament by a wide margin.  The runner-up was Melanie, who had won four out of five games and achieved a handicap reduction to 6.  Tony Whateley could have joined her in second place if he had been two minutes earlier in finishing against Tony Thomas, but as it was he had to settle for fifth place, behind Matthew and Tony T.  Joe, by winning one more game than he lost, also got his handicap down, from 9 to 8.  Campbell received the trophy, as shown below - and celebrated by buying what was quite a large round of drinks for all the players still present.

Fergus McInnes


Campbell Morrison with the West of Scotland trophy.  (Photograph by Tony Thomas.)

("Egyptian" scoring system)

1. Campbell Morrison 130 points, 8/8 wins: beat JH +26, AW +9, BM +26, AH +25, TT +1, JL +17, JW +20, MS +24.
2. Melanie Foster 115 points, 4/5 wins: beat RL +13, JH +21, TT +13, BS +16.
3. Matthew Hutcheson 114 points, 3/3 wins: beat FM +26, RI +3, BM +26.
4. Tony Thomas 112 points, 5/7 wins: beat JL +9, AH +22, FM +2, MS +14, BM +26.
5. Tony Whateley 110 points, 4/5 wins: beat MF +3, BS +24, JH +23, RL +2.
6. Bill Spalding 109 points, 4/6 wins: beat RL +3, JJ +19, AW +9, FM +19.
7. Joe Lennon 107 points, 4/7 wins: beat RM +6, BM +21, MS +26, AH +13.
8=. Allan Hawke 102 points, 4/7 wins: beat RM +16, TF +15, FM +8, MS +10.
8=. Terry Foster 102 points, 3/6 wins: beat MS +15, JH +26, TW +7.
10. Robert Inder 100 points, 1/2 wins: beat JW +23.
11=. Fergus McInnes 96 points, 3/7 wins: beat BM +25, TF +8, AW +6.
11=. Jamieson Walker 96 points, 1/3 wins: beat JH +15.
13=. Alan Wilson 92 points, 3/7 wins: beat JJ +22, MS +13, JL +6.
13=. Brian Murdoch 92 points, 3/8 wins: beat MS +2, TF +14, RL +7.
15=. James Hopgood 88 points, 2/7 wins: beat JJ +9, AW +3.
15=. Robert Lay 88 points, 1/5 wins: beat RM +15.
17. Martin Stephenson 86 points, 2/9 wins: beat RM +7, JJ +26.
18. Jola Jurasinska 85 points, 1/5 wins: beat RM +7T.
19. Ruth Munro 75 points, 0/5 wins.