Scottish Handicap Finals 2008

27 September 2008, Meadows

Bill Spalding won the final of the Scottish Handicap Singles, played at the Meadows on Saturday 27 September, and Martin Stephenson and Brian Cosford won the Doubles.  Bill had last won the Singles in 1985, 23 years ago - so if he keeps up his record we can expect to see his name on the trophy again in 2031.  Martin, in the Doubles, was also a former winner, and a more recent one: he had shared the victory in 2005 with James Hopgood, but they couldn't both win in the 2008 final as they were now on opposite sides.

The other player in both Singles and Doubles was Robert Inder.  He, like Bill, had beaten David Arnot +26 in the previous round to reach the Singles final (Bill winning the Draw, and Robert winning the Process).  But the final was a much closer game, with many changes of innings, a duration approaching four hours, and a final score of +5 - Robert's 9.5 bisques running out when his clips were on 3-back and rover, and Bill then struggling round with both his balls while Robert scored only two more hoops.

The Doubles final got started at the end of this marathon, about 3.40pm, and was fortunately shorter - otherwise it would have run out of daylight.  Martin (handicap 1) and Brian (18) were receiving 2.5 bisques from James (0) and Robert (14).  It was Brian who first got a ball to 4-back, followed by Robert, while the senior partners held back.  Then in the second hour of the game Martin got going and went to the peg with three peels on Brian's ball (the third one posthumous), leaving his own ball in the jaws of rover where Brian could rush it towards the peg for the finish.  James took a shot and missed, and shortly the game was over: +17 to Martin and Brian.

It was now nearly 6pm, with sunset due about 7pm, and the limited daylight cast doubt on the third part of the provisional schedule for the day, which was an Interclub League match, consisting of two singles games, between Meadows 1 (Cosford and Stephenson) and Meadows 2 (Hopgood and Inder).  In fact Brian and Robert opted to leave their game till the following day, but Martin and James got started on theirs and finished in tolerable twilight (+20 to Martin).  The League remained very open, with only six out of ten matches completed so far, all of which had been draws; its denouement would have to wait until both Meadows teams had played their matches against Auchincruive some time in October.

Fergus McInnes


The Match Secretary presents the Singles trophy to Bill Spalding ...

... and the Doubles trophies to Martin Stephenson and Brian Cosford.