Edinburgh Tournament 2014

4-9 August 2014, Fettes College

The 2014 Edinburgh Tournament had a welcome resurgence of entries from the low numbers of the past few years, with 32 Association Croquet players (the most since 2009) plus four who were only in the Golf Croquet event.  It was particularly encouraging to see a good number of players entering from the first time, and most of them taking part in the singles as well as the doubles.  And four of these players, from different clubs, won trophies: Ian Hall, from Keswick, in the 4+ advanced singles, Charles Henderson (Crathes) in the 14+ handicap singles, new Meadows Club member Chris Martin in the main handicap doubles event, and David Young (Kinross) in the Y doubles.

The tournament began as usual on Monday with the unrestricted handicap competition, played as a knockout (Event 6X) with a consolation event for those knocked out of it (Event 6 Swiss).  There were 15 players in this event, but two of them, Ian Hall and Norman Hicks, had been granted a late start on Monday, and one, Roger Binks, was available in the morning only and had no game then because none of his designated opponents was available at that time.  Hence a rather sparse set of 12 players kicked off the tournament on Monday morning, and with five courts their six games could have been mostly single-banked, but they chose to use just four courts and hence four games were double-banked (and had time limits of 3 hours 15 minutes to allow for this) while two had courts to themselves (with a 3-hour time limit).  Only one game went to time, and five of the six were won by the lower-handicapped players - the exception being a win for Alan Wilson (3) over Brian Murdoch (0), while Jamieson Walker (7) beat Lyn Gilpin (24), Graham Brightwell (2.5) beat Charles Henderson (18), Fergus McInnes (3) beat David Houston (11), James Hopgood (-2) beat Jola Jurasinska (12) (+24 with four of her bisques unused) and John Surgenor (-0.5) overtook fellow Glasgow player Brian Durward (4.5) to win +3.

Later on Monday the courts were more fully populated, with Ian and Norman joining in Event 6 in the afternoon (playing off 7 and 3.5 respectively) and a few games being played in other events in the afternoon and evening - two in Event 1 (the Open, played as level advanced singles), one in Event 2 (4+ advanced singles) and one in Event 4 (14+).  Three of the 6X semi-finalists were known by the end of the day: Alan Wilson in the top half of the draw and Fergus McInnes and James Hopgood in the lower half; the games to select Alan's opponent were deferred till Tuesday because of the incompatible availabilities on Monday of first-round opponents Norman Hicks and Roger Binks (20).

Tuesday's games were mostly in Events 1-4, three of which had started on Monday as mentioned above, while Event 3 (8+ advanced with bisques) had its first few games on Tuesday.  Event 1 had a single large block of eight players, each of whom was due to play seven games in it in the course of the week, which made for a busy schedule; Event 2 had five, who were each to play the other four; Event 3 had only three, who would play one another twice; and Event 4 had eight, in two blocks of four with a final between the block winners.  Tuesday's Event 1 games left three players unbeaten: the two minus players James Hopgood and John Surgenor plus Martin Stephenson (1.5); the other with the lowest handicap, Brian Murdoch, had lost only to James.  There was one triple peel, performed by James against Graham Brightwell.  In Event 2, Ian Hall was the leader, with wins over two lower-handicapped players, namely Allan Hawke (5) and Bob Darling (4.5), while Jamieson Walker had lost his two games so far and Janice Duguid (5) had had only one game and lost to Allan.  In Event 3 Alistair Malcolm (14) won his first games against Jola Jurasinska and David Houston, both +13, and Jola won a close game against David.  The leaders in Event 4 were Charles Henderson and Lyn Gilpin in Block A, each with a win over Carolyn Clark (24), and Chris Martin (20) in Block B, with wins over Bill Strachan (18) and George Geis (22) and still to play Rachel Frith (24); Roger Binks was in Block A but hadn't played any games in it yet as he was occupied with delayed Event 6 games.  In Event 6X Norman Hicks got into the semi-final against Alan Wilson.  Roger had an exciting finish in his last game of the day, in the Swiss, hitting the peg with his remaining ball from near hoop 1 to win +4 after Ian stuck in penult; this game was double-banked with James's triple against Graham, which yielded the same narrow winning margin of 4 points.  It was a warm sunny day, without the wind that had blown across the open expanse of playing fields on Monday, with the slight disadvantage that the air became rather full of flies and wasps.

Wednesday was devoted mostly to Event 5 (handicap doubles), in which 13 pairs were competing, with a main knockout event (5X) and a consolation event for those losing their first game (5Y).  There were some good games, most going to time, but all with at least 18 points scored by the winning side, and the majority with winning scores of 22 or more.  The state of play at the end of the day was that the 5X semi-finalists were Rachel Frith & George Geis (combined handicap 46), Chris Martin & Alan Wilson (23), Lyn Gilpin & Fergus McInnes (27), and Carolyn Clark & Brian Durward (29), while in Event 5Y the final would be between Alistair Malcolm & David Young (36) and either David Houston & Martin Stephenson (12.5) or Charlotte Townsend & Rod Williams (8).  Three singles games were also played, in the evening, in Events 1 and 6 Swiss.  It was rainy for a while in the morning and early afternoon, but less so than the forecasts had suggested, and in the evening we had some pleasant sunshine.

Thursday had a fairly full programme of games in all the AC singles and doubles events, but some changes were needed because Brian Murdoch withdrew with an injured knee (set off by running to play his last shot in his morning game against Fergus) and Graham Brightwell withdrew with a sore shoulder.  This reduced the Open block from eight to six players, and depleted the Swiss a little.  The Event 6X semi-finals ended in a win on time for Alan over Norman (17-16) and a decisive +20 for James against Fergus - who was not helped by playing on court 3, which has a steep slope to its east boundary (the word used in the day's email report was "declivitous"), with Barlow "C" balls (included amongst the tournament sets by mistake, and almost impossible to rush up the hill), and having had no sleep the night before because he was busy working out the schedule for the rest of the tournament.  The 5Y semi-final was played in the afternoon and put David Houston and Martin through to the final; and in the evening the first 5X semi-final resulted in a win for Chris and Alan over Rachel and George.  Ian Hall won his last game in Event 2, +1 on time against Janice Duguid, to remain undefeated and win the event (and a handicap reduction to 6), and the winner of Event 3 was Alistair Malcolm, who could not be overtaken with one game yet to play.

Friday was the day of the Golf Croquet (Event 7), played as handicap singles in two blocks of six players.  The block winners were Chris Martin (handicap 10 at the start but down to 9 on the day's results) and Martin Stephenson (2).  The GC occupied three courts for the earlier part of the day, leaving two for the AC events, which conveniently had only a few players wanting games, as several had taken the day off.  Most of the AC games were in the Swiss, but also Alistair had his only loss in Event 3 to David Houston, and in Event 1 James beat Alan to remain undefeated and Fergus had his only win over Norman in the wooden spoon decider (not that there is a wooden spoon: maybe someone should donate one).  Some games were played in heavy rain with thunder and lightning, including Fergus's barefoot +4 win (his shoes temporarily abandoned to alleviate a sore toe) over Brian Durward, which featured a double peel and peg-out of Brian's ball.

So we came to the finals on Saturday, which was a dry and increasingly sunny day, though afflicted again with a brisk westerly wind.

In the morning Charles Henderson had a win on time (15-13) over Chris Martin in the Event 4 final, and Alan Wilson had a quick +24 over James Hopgood (using only one of his five bisques) to win Event 6X.  There was also the Event 5Y final, but this was late starting because, by a mistake with email distribution, David Young had not known that he and Alistair Malcolm were playing in the morning rather than the afternoon; he arrived about 11am and they got started against David Houston and Martin Stephenson.  Also played in the morning was the remaining Event 5X semi-final, the day's only official game on court 2 (the one by the cricket square), in which Lyn Gilpin and Fergus McInnes came through against Carolyn Clark and Brian Durward.

In the afternoon James Hopgood won his remaining game in Event 1 on court 6 (the undulating one in front of the pavilion) against John Surgenor, doing two peels of a straight triple, to remain unbeaten and avoid the need for tie-breakers (there could have been a three-way tie involving them and Martin Stephenson), while a modest-sized crowd gathered by court 4 to watch the Event 5X final, in which Lyn and Fergus were pitted against Chris and Alan.  Chris played well to get his ball well advanced, while Fergus and Lyn both made some progress and were slightly ahead with one of their two bisques gone, with Alan yet to start scoring; towards the end of the game Alan began a break, but got only as far as hoop 5; Lyn and Fergus managed to level the scores by getting to 1-back and 3-back respectively, with Chris on penult and Alan still on 5, and laid up near corner 4 with a few minutes and one bisque remaining, but they left a double target, Alan hit it and scored two hoops, and time was called in his turn, leaving the bisque unusable.  Lyn and Fergus now had a choice of long shots: Lyn's blue near corner 4 could shoot at Fergus's black near hoop 3 or at Alan's yellow near corner 1 or Chris's red west of the peg, or Fergus could shoot at blue or yellow (he was wired from red by hoop 6).  After some deliberation Fergus shot at yellow, but his ball hilled off (hitting hoop 1), and that was the end: +2 on time (16-14) to Chris and Alan.

Meanwhile Alistair and David Young had beaten David Houston and Martin in the 5Y final, played on court 5, in which Martin had a chance to finish if he went round with a double peel, but missed a roquet after hoop 4, making it 24-14.

With both Golf Croquet finalists now free from their doubles games, the Event 7 final began on court 6.  The first hoop was keenly contested, but after that the game went quickly, with Martin getting to 5-2 and then to 6-2 when Chris's attempted clearance put his ball through hoop 8; Chris took position at hoop 9 with blue and tried to clear yellow with black using two of his remaining extra turns, but the clearance was poor, and Martin then finished with an in-off which made it 7-2.

So only Event 6 Swiss and the Lauder Bowl (for the player getting furthest without winning any event) were still to be decided, and this was up to the manager.  In the Swiss, Graham Brightwell had the highest percentage of wins, with 3/4, and was therefore awarded the trophy despite having withdrawn from the last two days of the tournament; James Hopgood also had 3/4 in Event 6, but all his games were in the knockout and he was judged therefore not to qualify to win the Swiss.  The award of the Lauder Bowl was a close-run thing between Fergus McInnes (runner-up in 5X, 4/6 in the Swiss, 1/6 in the Open) and David Houston (runner-up in 5Y, 2/5 in the Swiss, 2/4 in the 8+), but Fergus decided that he should get it since he thought his overall singles percentage was slightly higher than David's and the main doubles event outranked the Y.  In fact Fergus had miscounted the singles games and his record was really 5/12 (not 5/11 as he thought) and thus slightly below David's 4/9; but fortunately his decision could still be justified on the basis of the doubles results, where Fergus and Lyn had won 3/4 and David and Martin had won only 2/4.

An excellent afternoon tea was provided in the pavilion by club members; and then when all the games and management decisions were finished we had the presentations.  Edinburgh Club Chairman Hamish Duguid presided and thanked those who had played, managed, measured out the courts, set hoops and provided catering; Fergus thanked Hamish for his work as tournament secretary and bar manager; and the club's Honorary President Ian Wright presented the trophies to the remaining winners (Ian Hall and Charles Henderson having departed by this time).  Handicap reductions were announced for Ian Hall (from 7 to 6), Charles Henderson (from 18 to 16) and Martin Stephenson (from 1.5 to 1).

Complete results and some photographs (thanks to Chris Martin for many of these) can be found via the links below.

Fergus McInnes


Event 1 (Open Singles): James Hopgood
Event 2 (4+ Advanced): Ian Hall
Event 3 (8+ Advanced with Bisques): Alistair Malcolm
Event 4 (14+ Handicap): Charles Henderson
Event 5X (Handicap Doubles): Chris Martin and Alan Wilson
Event 5Y: Alistair Malcolm and David Young
Event 6X (Handicap Singles): Alan Wilson
Event 6 Swiss: Graham Brightwell
Event 7 (Golf Croquet): Martin Stephenson
Lauder Bowl: Fergus McInnes

Results in Full

Results in Order of Play