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out earlier - for the same event four years ago, when he'd thought there would be 10 players but one had eventually withdrawn.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.

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Scottish Masters 2008

7-8 June 2008, Meadows

In its first 17 years, from 1991 to 2007, the Scottish Masters Tournament was never won more than once by anyone except for John Surgenor, who won it five times.  John wasn't playing this year, but two of the more recent past Masters, Fergus McInnes (2006) and Alan Wilson (2007), were in contention, along with eight other players from across Scotland and beyond: Martin Stephenson, Brian Murdoch, James Hopgood, Campbell Morrison and Jamieson Walker from the host club, Joe Lennon and Tony Whateley from the Glasgow Club, and Jane Shorten visiting from Dublin.

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Basil Townsend Quaich 2008

24 May 2008, Auchincruive

James Hopgood (Meadows, 2.5) won vs Malcolm Smith (Auchincruive, 12) by +1 on time.  As was only appropriate with so many bisques, Malcolm made all the early running taking ball 1 to to rover although using rather too many bisques.  James was for a long period unable to hit in and also found the lawn very slow compared with the Meadows, so was unable to take a couple of chances as his approaches were just not working.  Malcolm finally got his second ball to 4-back but ran out of bisques.  James then eventually began to hit and to get a good break or two going.  Both players had great trouble with an apparently very tight 4-back (had seemed OK when it was hoop 3!) but as time drew near James took his forward ball to rover.  Malcolm hit in, time was called and Malcolm failed yet again at 4-back.  James won +1 on time.

James Hopgood won vs Allan Hawke (Edinburgh, 6) +11.  I saw little of this as I went and did my Mum's shopping, but both players were by then playing well, though James was well in control by the end with Allan's few bisques all gone.

With James having won, Malcolm and Allan decided to return to domestic duties rather than play for 2nd place.

Malcolm Smith

East v West of Scotland 2008

31 May - 1 June 2008, Meadows

The annual match between the East and West of Scotland is an oddity in several ways.  It combines Association Croquet and Golf Croquet, level and handicap play; there is no entry fee; the results don't count for the ranking and handicap systems; and perhaps most importantly from the manager's point of view, it is not subject to the rules governing international matches which prohibit changes of allegiance between matches within a designated period (currently 13 months).  As many of Scotland's players are qualified for both sides of the country, this allows flexibility in making up the teams.  This year 12 players represented the East, and 10 played for the West - including seven currently resident in the East of Scotland but with West connections by birth, parentage, past residence or club membership.

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SCA v CA of Ireland 2008

10-11 May 2008, Meadows

Traditionally the Appleton Trophy is contested each year by six players from the Scottish Croquet Association and six from its Irish counterpart.  In recent years a new tradition has threatened to take over, whereby the visiting side fails to field a sixth player and the home side selects a varying set of five players from its pool of six to play in each round.  This happened in 2004 (Evan Newell injured by a horse) and in 2005 (SCA couldn't find a sixth player), and it occurred again this year, when Simon Williams pulled out of the Irish team at a few days' notice.  As he had been the strongest player, at a handicap of -1.5, this shifted the balance of the teams from a slight advantage to the CAI to a slight advantage to the SCA.  Those still involved were:

SCA: Bruce Rannie (-0.5), David Appleton (2), Martin Stephenson (2), James Hopgood (2.5), Campbell Morrison (4; playing Saturday only), Fergus McInnes (4.5; Sunday only).

CAI: Evan Newell (0), Jane Shorten (1), Nathaniel Healy (1), Danny Johnston (4), Ben Harris (10).

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