Scottish Masters 2014

31 May - 1 June 2014, Meadows

John Surgenor won the Scottish Masters tournament for the sixth time (and the first since 2003) at a generally warm and mostly dry weekend at the Meadows Club.  Also distinguishing themselves were Campbell Morrison and Bryan Sykes, who performed the tournament's only two triple peels, and Bob Darling, who beat two higher-ranked players, came very close against a third, and got his handicap reduced from 7 to 4.5 at the end of the event.

The 12 contestants ranged from John and Campbell (both handicap -0.5) to David Houston (12). In between were Bryan Sykes (1), Jane Morrison and Martin Stephenson (1.5), Fergus McInnes (3), Alan Wilson (3.5), Janice Duguid (5), Bob Darling (7), Hamish Duguid (9) and Joe Lennon (10).

The format started out as a strict Swiss, with time limits of three hours.  After the first two rounds the manager acceded to a request for more flexibility in the format to reduce the amount of waiting between games, and it was transmuted to a flexible Swiss, in which players could be matched with any available opponent (with a preference for those with similar records so far) rather than having to wait for a designated person to become available.  All but one of the first day's games reached a peg-out, though not always before time was called; on the second day more games went to time as the players at the lower end of the ranking increasingly met each other.

John and Campbell were unsurprisingly the two undefeated contenders after the first day, and therefore played each other on Sunday morning; John gave Campbell an opportunity by failing rover in what should have been a finishing turn, and Campbell's shot from near the south boundary came off the wire to hit the ball in the hoop, but Campbell made little progress and John eventually won +24.  A further win for John in the next round (by his narrowest margin, +5, against Alan) put him in an unassailable position on 5/5, and so the last-round game between Campbell and Jane, both on 4/5 having lost to John, was only for the runner-up place - which Campbell took with a +22 victory.  Also in the last round was the unexpectedly close game between John and David, in which David was ahead by as much as two points for a while (getting to 4-back and 1-back against 4-back and 5) before John went round and finished to maintain his unbroken record.

While those at the top of the ranking thus performed much as predicted, the rest of the field had some notable upsets on the first day, when Bob, with his excellent shooting and hoop-running, beat Fergus (+4) and then Martin (+7).  Both games had interesting endings: Fergus did a straight 4-back peel and a posthumous penult peel in the turn in which time was called (but didn't complete his plan of running rover and pegging out one ball to equalise), and Bob finished with a single ball after being pegged out by Martin with his remaining clip on hoop 5.

Other notable games on Saturday were one in which Alan did three peels (rover posthumous) against Hamish and one where Martin had a failed sextuple and a failed straight triple in the course of beating Bryan.

Sunday featured the weekend's two completed triples, by Campbell against Martin and by Bryan against Alan, and nearly a third upset win for Bob, which Jane just managed to escape by pegging out her forward ball after time was called to obtain a one-point lead.  (Bob ignored his lift and shot at rover from west of hoop 2!  On this occasion he didn't run it.)

Thanks go to Campbell for looking after the bar, and to Rachel Frith for an excellent Sunday tea.

Fergus McInnes


John Surgenor 6/6: beat H. Duguid +26, J. Morrison +26, F. McInnes +23, C. Morrison +24, A. Wilson +5, D. Houston +11

Campbell Morrison 5/6: beat J. Lennon +21, B. Sykes +10, R. Darling +17, M. Stephenson +26tp, J. Morrison +22

Jane Morrison 4/6: beat A. Wilson +23, J. Duguid +13, R. Darling +1T (20-19), B. Sykes +20

Bob Darling 3/5: beat F. McInnes +4, M. Stephenson +7, H. Duguid +10T (20-10)

Bryan Sykes 3/6: beat D. Houston +18, F. McInnes +3, A. Wilson +24tp

Fergus McInnes 3/6: beat J. Duguid +24, D. Houston +23, M. Stephenson +23

Alan Wilson 3/6: beat H. Duguid +12, J. Lennon +22, M. Stephenson +16

Joe Lennon 2/5: beat D. Houston +17, J. Duguid +1T (17-16)

Hamish Duguid 2/5: beat D. Houston +7T (12-5), J. Lennon +1T (15-14)

Martin Stephenson 2/6: beat J. Duguid +14, B. Sykes +25

Janice Duguid 1/5: beat D. Houston +2T (13-11)

David Houston 0/6