Kinross 11+ Tournament 2008

9 June 2008, Kinross

How to run a one-day tournament for 10 players on two lawns, and ensure that it produces a winner within four rounds so that the games can be long enough to count for the handicap system?  In true Blue Peter style, the manager had a format he'd worked out earlier - for the same event four years ago, when he'd thought there would be 10 players but one had eventually withdrawn.  It consisted of a knockout plus extra games amongst the losers, with 18-point games, time limits of an hour and 45 minutes, and two players sitting out in each round.

The players gathered at the Green Hotel on a fair but windy Monday, and they were, from the home club, Brian Smith, George Kirk and Andrew Harvey; from the Fife Club, Mike Sawyer; from the Edinburgh Club, Hamish and Janice Duguid; from the Meadows Club, Robert Inder, Jola Jurasinska and Ruth Munro; and from Glasgow, Matthew Hutcheson.  The games were played with full bisques off a base of 10, scaled down, which meant that Andrew and Matthew (handicap 16) got 4 bisques, Mike (28) got 12.5, and all the others (at 20) got 7.  The bisque allocation was similar to that of previous years, but the 18-point variant was different, with all the clips starting on hoop 5, instead of one clip going to 3-back when the partner ball ran hoop 1.

The first round set Robert against Andrew, and George against Janice, on the full-size, fairly smooth but undulating lawn 1, while Mike played Ruth and Jola played Hamish on the bumpier lawn 2 at the back of the hotel, on this occasion reduced to slightly less than full size to avoid the worst of the damage caused by a fallen tree.  Brian and Matthew had the chance to sit and watch (or in Matthew's case go for a walk through Kinross) and consider their tactics for the ensuing rounds.


All the first-round games went to time, but some of them were close to completion: Robert scored 16 points to Andrew's 5, Janice got 15 to George's 14, and it was 13-5 to Mike against Ruth and 9-7 to Hamish against Jola.  Robert's balls actually went through a total of 18 hoops, because he placed his clip on 1-back instead of penult after scoring 4-back, and played through 1-back and 2-back before realising his error.  This cost him a bisque for recovery, which made recompense for the free hoop and wiring lift that Andrew had given him earlier by accidentally peeling him through 2-back in an attempt to run it himself.

So to round 2, where lawn 1's winners and losers were playing each other on lawn 2, and lawn 2's winners moved to lawn 1 for games against Matthew and Brian, while Ruth and Jola retreated to the hotel lounge.  This time two games reached a peg-out: Matthew beat Mike 18-5, and on the other lawn Andrew had an 18-13 win over George.  Robert beat Janice (15-10) to get into the final, and Hamish had a +1 win using a bisque in extra time after Brian miscounted the score (thinking he was one point ahead when in fact they were level on 9 points) and therefore didn't split Hamish's balls up in what he thought was the last turn of the game.

Orders for lunch had been collected and delivered during the first round, and just after 1.30pm the players adjourned to the bar.  Another counting error came to light at this point - this time by the manager, who had failed to include himself when he reckoned there were 10 people in the party when checking the orders.  Fortunately this didn't delay the serving of lunch by more than a few minutes - and a good lunch it was.

Robert and Andrew had the siesta opportunity in the afternoon, while Matthew and Hamish played off for the remaining place in the final, Brian played George, Janice played Mike, and Ruth played Jola.  The game between Matthew and Hamish was eventful.  Matthew, who was playing much the best croquet in the tournament, with proper four-ball breaks despite the slowness of the lawns, took one ball to the peg.  Hamish went to penult.  Matthew had more difficulty with his second ball, failed hoop 6, played his ball into position and left it there.  After further turns and progress by both players, Matthew needed to use his last bisque, and there was some discussion as to whether he had used one when he placed his ball in front of hoop 6 (in which case he now had none left).  The ruling was (under Law 25) that although Matthew had mistakenly played when he was not entitled to play without taking a bisque, because Hamish hadn't recognised this and pointed it out before taking his next turn, the limit of claims had passed and the error could not be penalised: therefore Matthew still had the bisque.  Despite this, Matthew now didn't finish the game (he got both balls to the peg but then half-jumped a rush), and Hamish took his forward ball to the peg and pegged out one of Matthew's balls ... accidentally pegging out his own ball too!  The accident was of little consequence, because Matthew immediately pegged out his remaining ball from about 12 yards to win +9 and reach the final.

So the final was between Robert, with 7 bisques, and Matthew, with 4.  It was on the front lawn, double-banked with Andrew and Hamish and watched by George and Mike (and by the manager for most of the time), while Ruth played Janice and Jola played Brian on the back lawn - which incidentally was not as slow in the afternoon as in the morning because the grass cuttings had been removed by the gardener at lunch time.  Robert and Matthew both used up their bisques for less progress than in earlier games, and Matthew then resorted to "Aunt Emma" tactics, making hoops off his partner ball and keeping Robert well separated.  Eventually Matthew had a break from 4-back to the peg, but again his rush to the peg turned out to be a half-jump; as time had been called, he sensibly split Robert up and pegged out one ball, and when Robert missed the long shot it was 17-11 to Matthew.  The only game in this round to be finished with a peg-out was Hamish's 18-7 win against Andrew.

The manager's preparations had not extended to deciding how to identify a runner-up.  This turned out to be important because there was a prize for the runner-up (chocolates) as well as one for the winner (a bottle of wine).  However, the problem was resolved by splitting the chocolates (which conveniently came in two boxes) between Robert, the losing finalist with 2 wins from 3 games, and Hamish, who had the second best winning percentage with 3 wins from 4 games and had also lost only to Matthew.

Thanks go to the Kinross Club and the Green Hotel for hosting an enjoyable day's croquet; also to Ruth for transporting the manager and the other Meadows players to and from Kinross.

Fergus McInnes
[manager, referee and (mis)taker of lunch orders]



Matthew Hutcheson 3/3:  beat Mike Sawyer +13, Hamish Duguid +9, Robert Inder +6T (17-11)
Hamish Duguid 3/4:  beat Jola Jurasinska +2T (9-7), Brian Smith +1T (10-9), Andrew Harvey +11
Robert Inder 2/3:  beat Andrew Harvey +11T (16-5), Janice Duguid +5T (15-10)
Ruth Munro 2/3:  beat Jola Jurasinska +7T (10-3), Janice Duguid +2T (8-6)
Janice Duguid 2/4:  beat George Kirk +1T (15-14), Mike Sawyer +3T (10-7)
Mike Sawyer 1/3:  beat Ruth Munro +8T (13-5)
Jola Jurasinska 1/3:  beat Brian Smith +2T (13-11)
Andrew Harvey 1/3:  beat George Kirk +5
Brian Smith 1/3:  beat George Kirk +2T (13-11)
George Kirk 0/3