20+ Tournament 2008

20 September 2008, Meadows

The holder of the 20+ quaich, Robert Inder, was not defending it this year, being now ineligible as his handicap was down to 14.  But he turned up at Meadows West in the afternoon to deliver the trophy and to get some practice on a spare lawn for the delayed Scottish Short Croquet Championship final which he was to play at Lauriston Castle the following day.

Those who did compete were Joe Henderson, Jola Jurasinska and Joan Marshall at handicap 20; Ruth Munro and Andrew Macmillan at 22; and Sarah Duguid and George Geis, both new to Association Croquet this season, at 24.  Five of the seven were Meadows Club members, while Andrew and Sarah were accustomed to the slower and bumpier lawns of Lauriston, but had had some experience of the Meadows the previous month when they took part in the Golf Croquet Challenge between the two clubs.

On as sunny a morning as Edinburgh had seen all summer, three short courts were laid out in an "L" shape on the middle and east lawns (a configuration which conveniently required only one string for the boundaries), and battle commenced at about 9.40am in the form of single-banked Short Croquet games with a time limit of an hour and 15 minutes.  Five rounds were scheduled, with one player sitting out in each round.

After three rounds Andrew was the only one unbeaten, having pegged out against Ruth in the first round and against Joe in the third round and finished ahead on time in the intervening game against Joan despite her pegging out one of his balls.  Joe had used the same tactic of pegging out the opponent in his game against Jola, also in the second round, with more success, winning +1 on time after a missed rush cost Jola her last two bisques; but having won her other two games Jola was in second place, and she was now to play Andrew in round 4.

The game between them was rather a slow one, and indeed Andrew did not use his last two bisques because time was called before he got going with his second ball.  The result was a win for Jola by two points on time.

The two leaders were set to play the best remaining opponents in the final round - Andrew playing Sarah, who had one win from three games so far, and Jola playing Ruth, who had two wins from three games.  If Andrew or Jola won and the other didn't, the tournament would have a clear winner; if both won they would be tied on 4/5; and if both lost there would be a three-way tie on 3/5 involving Andrew, Jola and Ruth.

In fact Andrew missed his peg-out against Sarah and took one ball off, but hit the peg with his remaining ball to win +3 after Sarah had hit in and scored hoop 5 but failed to finish.  Jola beat Ruth by the same margin, but only on time, with bisques standing on both sides.

Now the manager was in a quandary, having failed to specify in advance the tie-breaking criterion to separate players with the same number of wins.  Andrew and Jola had each won four games out of five - and against the same set of opponents apart from each other, so that a criterion involving quality of opponents would not work.  Jola had won the game between them; but Andrew was ahead on total points scored (by 60 to 45), on net points (by 21 to 10) and on games won by pegging out rather than on time (by 3 to 0).  The manager decided that the fairest resolution was to play some form of decider - and in the interest of finishing by 6pm he decreed that it should be a shoot-out at the peg from the boundary, with the winner being the first one to be ahead at the end of a round having either hit the peg at least three times or played at least 10 rounds.  Jola won the toss and chose to play second.  Fergus (manager and referee) took up his post to watch the peg, and a crowd of five spectators (the other players minus Joe plus Robert) looked on with interest from the sidelines.  After five shots each, Andrew had hit the peg twice, and so had Jola.  Then Andrew got his third hit!  Could Jola equalise?  She lined up her shot, took it... and missed the peg by an inch or two.  By this narrow margin the tournament was decided, and Andrew received the 20+ quaich.

Fergus McInnes



Andrew Macmillan 4/5: beat Ruth Munro +7, Joan Marshall +2T (11-9), Joe Henderson +11, Sarah Duguid +3.
Jola Jurasinska 4/5: beat Sarah Duguid +2T (8-6), Joan Marshall +4T (9-5), Andrew Macmillan +2T (9-7), Ruth Munro +3T (10-7).
Ruth Munro 2/4: beat George Geis +8T (12-4), Sarah Duguid +13.
Joan Marshall 2/4: beat George Geis +6T (9-3), Joe Henderson +4T (9-5).
Sarah Duguid 1/4: beat George Geis +4T (9-5).
George Geis 1/4: beat Joe Henderson +3T (10-7).
Joe Henderson 1/4: beat Jola Jurasinska +1T (10-9).