Welsh CA v SCA 2008

21-22 June 2008, Dyffryn

It was midsummer, the weather had been rainy, and the lawns in the sheltered valley of Dyffryn Gardens were accurately described at the start of the match as "wet and scalped".  (This was a lot better than "wet and shaggy", and with only moderate rain during the match itself the lawn speed remained very acceptable throughout.)  Four Scottish players, but only three mallets, arrived variously by car and plane.  The players were Bruce Rannie (handicap -0.5), Martin Stephenson (1.5), David Appleton (1.5) and Fergus McInnes (4).  The missing mallet was Martin's, misplaced by KLM in the course of his return from Canada, where he had reached the final of the Canadian Open two days before.

The Welsh team for Saturday consisted of Chris Williams (-1), Garry McElwain (0.5), Paul Pristavec (2.5) and Kevin Ham (4.5); on Sunday it was strengthened with the substitution of John Evans (-1.5) for Paul.  So the Scots' best hope was that they would take the lead on the first day, when the teams were evenly matched, and lose only part of their advantage on the second.

In fact the overnight score was 6-4 to the home side, and the Scottish team did not achieve an upset on Sunday, winning only two games out of 10.  Perhaps it was jet lag, perhaps the effect of an unfamiliar mallet, but Martin didn't keep up his Canadian form and lost all his singles games, though in one case by just a single point.  Another very close result occurred in Fergus's final-round game against Kevin: Kevin pegged out one ball after time was called to go one point ahead, Fergus hit a lift shot and pegged out his own forward ball, and they were left with the two remaining balls on 4-back - which Fergus failed to run from several yards, and Kevin eventually scored a few turns later after a desperate attempt by Fergus to jump over the hoop for a roquet and an even more desperate attempt to jump through the hoop over Kevin's ball in the jaws from about 15 yards.  David had the Scottish team's best results, with three singles wins, but overall we couldn't match the opposition.  So the Celtic Shield, won by the SCA on its home ground in 2006, will now be in Welsh hands until 2010.

Results apart, we had a really good weekend.  Credit for this goes to all those involved in the warm Welsh welcome, and particularly to Sue and Rod Mackay for accommodating all four SCA players, to Sue also for the excellent buffet dinner on Saturday and for transport from and to the airport, and to Chris and Liz Williams for organisation and catering.  Liz's leek and Gruyere flan deserves a special mention, and was certainly better than anything we Scots could hope to cook up with thistles!

Fergus McInnes


(Welsh names first)

Day 1

Williams & Ham lost to Rannie & Stephenson -22
Pristavec & McElwain beat Appleton & McInnes +13

Garry McElwain lost to Bruce Rannie -14
Chris Williams beat David Appleton +19
Paul Pristavec beat Fergus McInnes +25
Kevin Ham beat Martin Stephenson +11

Chris Williams beat Bruce Rannie +15tp
Garry McElwain beat Martin Stephenson +1
Paul Pristavec lost to David Appleton -8tp
Kevin Ham lost to Fergus McInnes -16

Day 2

Williams & Ham beat Appleton & McInnes +16
Evans & McElwain beat Rannie & Stephenson +25

John Evans beat Martin Stephenson +23
Chris Williams beat Bruce Rannie +3tp
Garry McElwain beat Fergus McInnes +7
Kevin Ham lost to David Appleton -4

John Evans beat Bruce Rannie +14
Chris Williams beat Martin Stephenson +26tp
Garry McElwain lost to David Appleton -16
Kevin Ham beat Fergus McInnes +1T (23-22)

Match Result

WCA 14, SCA 6