Edinburgh Tournament 2010

16-21 August 2010, Fettes College

This year's Edinburgh Tournament began on Monday 16 August with a rather depleted "big handicap".  Some of the regulars on the Scottish croquet circuit were away at the World Team Championship, and one regular Edinburgh Tournament visitor (Graham Brightwell) was busy with the hosting of the MacRobertson Shield at Surbiton.  The count of 15 players in the handicap event was the lowest on record, equalling the minimum set in 2007.  With only seven games on at a time, one of the five courts was out of use in each session of play on Monday.  Perhaps surprisingly, the empty one was not always court 1, with its notorious patch of bare earth near corner 4, but was instead court 1 in the morning, court 2 in the afternoon and court 3 in the evening.  By the end of the day the semi-finalists were known to be Hamish Duguid (handicap 14), Duncan Reeves (20), Ruth Munro (18) and Alan Wilson (3).

Tuesday was busier than Monday, as the four class events had a total entry of 17 (still lower than in previous years) and some games in the Swiss consolation section of the big handicap were fitted in alongside them.  It was still the case that the courts were never fully occupied, with a maximum of nine games in play at a time.  The leaders in Event 1 (the Open) at the end of the day were Brian Murdoch and Alan Wilson; in Event 2 (4+ advanced) Allan Hawke, John Seddon and Tony Whateley shared the lead with one win each; in Event 3 (8+ advanced with bisques) the defender Jamie Edgar was ahead; in Event 4 (14+ handicap) Hamish Duguid was the only one undefeated but, with six players in the block, there was plenty of room for changes of fortunes later in the week.

Wednesday was entirely devoted to doubles.  The doubles event was less depleted than the singles, with 11 pairs competing, including nine doubles-only entrants.  Two family teams made their way into Saturday's final: Hamish and Janice Duguid, and Bryan Sykes with his son Richard.  As usual many of the games went to time (indeed Hamish and Janice were the only pair to achieve a peg-out, which they did twice), and it was about 9pm when the last game finished.  The classic handicap doubles score of +1 on time was achieved in two games: Sykes and Sykes versus George Anderson and Sheila Tibbels, and Bob Cross and Marjorie Elliott versus Alasdair Adam and Joe Lyske.  The latter game generated more than its share of calls for a referee, and some dispute on one occasion when a referee or umpire had not been called and the players disagreed about a claimed roquet on a ball at a hoop.  Alasdair and Joe were behind until the closing minutes of the game, and then got one point ahead, only for Alasdair to miss a short roquet and hand the innings to their opponents, who then equalised and scored the "golden hoop" to secure a win.

Thursday's programme was a mixture of games in all the singles events, and Friday's was a similar mixture but with one doubles game (Charlotte Townsend and Rod Williams beating Fergus McInnes and Duncan Reeves to reach the Y final). The semi-finals of the big handicap were played on Friday morning, and the winners were Duncan Reeves and Alan Wilson. Alan was also confirmed as meeting Brian Murdoch on Saturday in what was effectively the final of the Open, both having defeated the other three contestants. Events 2 and 3 were completed, with Allan Hawke and a still-undefeated Jamie Edgar as their winners; Event 4 was completed except for a tie-breaker to be played on Saturday between Hamish Duguid and Andrew Macmillan, who each had four wins.

So to the final day, Saturday the 21st of August, which dawned fair (continuing a record of better weather than had been predicted for the week before it began) and had three courts in use in the morning for the Open decider and two games in the Swiss.  In the Open, Brian Murdoch had a +1 on time win over Alan Wilson; the same score occurred for Hamish Duguid against Duncan Reeves in their Swiss game, and Fergus McInnes was the only one to peg out as he achieved a +16 win over Ruth Munro.  Fergus would thus have been in contention for the Swiss if Duncan had beaten Hamish, but as it was, the trophy would go to Hamish.

A busy day for Hamish continued with his 14-point tie-breaker against Andrew Macmillan, played on court 2 (uphill by the cricket square) immediately after lunch.  It was Hamish who opened the scoring, and he held onto his lead to win +5 on time.

Three more games concluded the programme for the day.  Bob Darling and Allan Hawke won the Y doubles final against Rod and Charlotte, by 18 points to 7 with an impressive 6.5 of their 7.5 bisques still standing.  Alan Wilson won the handicap knockout final against Duncan by 23 to 20 despite Duncan's 17 bisques.  And that left only the Duguid-Sykes doubles final in play - delayed by Hamish's tie-breaker and begun about 3pm.  A band of hardy spectators stayed to the end, fuelled by the club's hearty provision of afternoon tea, in a chilly westerly wind, and saw yet another win by +1 on time, which Hamish and Janice achieved after Richard Sykes missed his last long shot at Janice's ball in corner 1.

The trophies were presented inside the pavilion in view of the wind - and this was confirmed as the right decision when the rain, having held off so far, came on quite heavily.  The club's Chairman Jean Forshall thanked those who had contributed to the success of the tournament, and its President, Ian Wright, presented the prizes.  Ian recalled that this had been the 40th Edinburgh Tournament, and that he had played in the first one in 1969 at Dunfermline College and won two of his games, so that his tally of one win this year didn't show much progress!  (He had in fact had more success in some of the intervening years.)  Finally, the winners posed with their trophies on the veranda (in the dry), while John Clark and Joan Marshall braved the downpour to take their photographs with the banner provided - along with financial support - by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The tournament seemed to be generally successful apart from the low numbers.  I hope we'll see more players competing in 2011.

Fergus McInnes


Event 1 (Open Singles): Brian Murdoch
Event 2 (Advanced Singles for players of handicap 4 and over): Allan Hawke
Event 3 (Advanced with Bisques, handicaps 8 and over): Jamie Edgar
Event 4 (Handicap Singles, handicaps 14 and over): Hamish Duguid
Event 5X (Handicap Doubles): Hamish Duguid and Janice Duguid
Event 5Y: Bob Darling and Allan Hawke
Event 6X (Unrestricted Handicap): Alan Wilson
Event 6 Swiss: Hamish Duguid
The Lauder Bowl (player getting furthest without winning any event): Andrew Macmillan

Edinburgh Tournament 2010 - Results in Full
Edinburgh Croquet Club tournament page