Bamburgh v Croquet North v Edinburgh 2010

20 June 2010, Bamburgh

Croquet, cricket and castleThere can be few more idyllic settings for a day's croquet than the village green at Bamburgh.  Beneath the imposing towers and ramparts of Bamburgh Castle, the sound of mallet on ball mingles with the whack of willow on leather from the adjacent cricket pitch, while low-flying swallows delight the eye with their aerobatics amongst the hoops.  This was the scene on the Sunday nearest midsummer when players gathered from near and far and from north and south for an innovative three-way match - Bamburgh v Croquet North v Edinburgh.

The schedule for the match stated:

  • "There are four players in each team..."  (In fact, such was the popularity of the event that each side raised a team of five, which complicated the scheduling somewhat as detailed below.)
  • "All players will be playing at all times."  (Well, four of each team were, and which four varied from round to round.)
  • "Each player will play three games..."  (Some played three games, and the rest played two.)
  • "Each player will play two games of doubles and one game of singles."  (Some did, while others had only doubles games, and one player had two singles and one doubles.) 
  • "Doubles pairs change partners at each doubles game so that any pair plays together once only."  (That was true!)
  • "All games are association (18 or 26-point to be decided...)."  (That also was true, with 18-point games in the first two rounds and 26-point games in the last round.)
  • "Lunch will be provided in the pavilion."  (True!  And a very good lunch it was: thanks to Seonaidh and the other Bamburgh Club members who contributed.) 

There were in fact eight players from Edinburgh taking part, but Jamie Edgar and Allan Hawke were in the Bamburgh team by virtue of their dual membership, and Fergus McInnes was drafted in as an honorary Bamburgher (Bamburgensian?) to equalise the numbers, and issued with a Bamburgh Croquet Club hat to counteract his Edinburgh Club shirt and fleece.  The Bamburgh locals were John Woodman and Keith Whitfield.  Playing for Edinburgh were John Clark, Sheila Tibbels, Hamish and Janice Duguid and Andrew Macmillan; Croquet North had Roger Staples, Nigel Roberts and Don McKinley from Middlesbrough, and Phil Errington and Derek Old from Belsay Hall.  With widely varying handicaps (from 2 to 20), all the games were played to handicap rules.

In the first round Bamburgh played doubles against each of the visiting teams, and each doubles game was double-banked with a CN v Edinburgh singles game.  The honours were split in the singles, but both doubles games went to the home side.  The game between Fergus and John (Bamburgh) and Roger and Nigel (CN) was notable for a rather fluky jump shot by Fergus, whose ball didn't go high enough to clear the obstructing ball but luckily bounced off it onto the target ball; also for the discovery, after John had pegged out and the score had been recorded, that the bisques had been miscalculated and indeed awarded to the wrong side!  (Roger had stated his and Nigel's combined handicap as 17.5, after scaling down for the 18-point format according to the table in the laws book.  Fergus had taken this to be their unadjusted handicap, and had subtracted it from his own and John's total of 24 and then scaled the difference down to get 4.5.  As Roger and Nigel were actually 25 before adjustment, they should have been receiving half a bisque instead of giving bisques.  What difference this would have made to the score, we shall never know, but it probably would have been closer than the +14 that the Bamburgh pair achieved.)

After lunch it was Croquet North's turn to play doubles against both the other teams; the games were close, but both went to Croquet North's opponents, while Bamburgh continued its unbeaten run with wins over Edinburgh in both the singles.

Finally Edinburgh played doubles against the others while the singles pitted Bamburgh against Croquet North.  With two and a half hours for 26 points, both doubles games went to time, although the Bamburgh pair of Jamie and John were only one point short of finishing in their final turn.  The singles got finished, and yet again the Bamburgh team made a clean sweep.

The scoring for the match had been laid down as three points for each doubles game and two points per singles game.  On this basis Bamburgh ended up with a perfect score of 20 points, while Croquet North and Edinburgh were tied on 5.  So the prize of champagne went to the Bamburgh team - but the others didn't go away empty-handed, as Jamie had laid in enough sticks of Bamburgh rock to distribute to all the players.  So ended a well-organised and enjoyable match.

Fergus McInnes

Results in full
(affiliations shown before players' names):

(B) Allan Hawke & Keith Whitfield bt (E) Janice Duguid & Sheila Tibbels +12
(CN) Phil Errington bt (E) Hamish Duguid +6
(B) Fergus McInnes & John Woodman bt (CN) Roger Staples & Nigel Roberts +14
(E) Andrew Macmillan bt (CN) Don McKinley +15

(E) John Clark & Andrew Macmillan bt (CN) Nigel Roberts & Derek Old +5T (13-8)
(B) Jamie Edgar bt (E) Janice Duguid +15
(B) Keith Whitfield & Fergus McInnes bt (CN) Don McKinley & Phil Errington +4
(B) Allan Hawke bt (E) Sheila Tibbels +5

(B) Jamie Edgar & John Woodman bt (E) John Clark & Sheila Tibbels +14T (25-11)
(B) Allan Hawke bt (CN) Roger Staples +12
(CN) Phil Errington & Nigel Roberts bt (E) Hamish Duguid & Janice Duguid +11T (20-9)
(B) Fergus McInnes bt (CN) Derek Old +21