SCA v CA of Ireland 2010

29-30 May 2010, Meadows

The annual match between the Scottish and Irish croquet associations was played this year in Edinburgh.  It was closely contested all the way, and the Irish emerged the winners by 16 games to 14 to retain the Appleton Trophy.

All five names from the CAI's last visit to Scotland (in 2008) appeared in the list again this time, except that Jane Shorten was now married to one of the opposition and had thus become Jane Morrison.  In full, the teams were:

SCA: Martin Stephenson (0.5), Campbell Morrison (0.5), Brian Murdoch (2.5), Alan Wilson (3.5), Fergus McInnes (4), Tony Brightman (6).

CAI: Nathaniel Healy (-0.5), Evan Newell (-0.5), Jane Morrison (1), Kieran Murphy (2.5), Danny Johnston (2.5), Ben Harris (5).

Saturday started with a round of doubles, in which Campbell and Alan scored the only win for the home side.  SCA 1, CAI 2.

This was followed by two rounds of singles, in which players met their non-opposite numbers in the same half of the team order - number 1 playing numbers 2 and 3, and so on.  The Scots won four out of six games in the early afternoon singles to go 5-4 up, and held onto their narrow lead after the ensuing round.  Overnight score: SCA 8, CAI 7.

Most of the players, plus Brian's wife Sabine and Tony's wife Betty, convened at La Bagatelle at 8.30pm and had an enjoyable dinner.  And so to Sunday morning.  The order of the day was again one round of doubles (with the same partnerships but different opponents) followed by two rounds of singles.

The Irish side again had the better of the doubles, to level the match score: SCA 9, CAI 9.    In the final two singles rounds, all the players had two games against their counterparts.  On handicaps, the Irish were the favourites at all places in the team order (even though Brian's handicap had come down to 2 after his wins on Saturday); but the results were closer than this might have suggested.  A quick win by Martin over Nathaniel took the score to 10-9 for the home side; the Irish took the next three points to make it 10-12, but the Scots fought back to 11-12; and the result remained in doubt right up to the final peg-out, achieved by Evan to beat Campbell in their second game and ensure that the CA of Ireland retained the trophy by an outright win rather than only by a draw.

If there had been a "man of the match" award, it would probably have gone to either Danny or Brian, as each of them won all four singles games.  Danny, with Evan, also had a part in two doubles wins and was thus unbeaten throughout the match.  Brian's wins, all over lower-handicapped players, earned him two steps of handicap reduction, as he had been on the brink of going from 2.5 to 2 at the start of the match and his wins on Sunday took him down another step to 1.5.

Fergus McInnes


Results
(Scottish names first)

Day 1, Saturday 29 May 2010:

Martin Stephenson & Fergus McInnes lost to Evan Newell & Danny Johnston -23
Campbell Morrison & Alan Wilson beat Jane Morrison & Ben Harris +16
Brian Murdoch & Tony Brightman lost to Nathaniel Healy & Kieran Murphy -20

Martin Stephenson beat Jane Morrison +5T
Campbell Morrison beat Nathaniel Healy +8T
Brian Murdoch beat Evan Newell +22
Alan Wilson lost to Danny Johnston -10
Fergus McInnes lost to Ben Harris -4T
Tony Brightman beat Kieran Murphy +4T

Martin Stephenson lost to Evan Newell -5
Campbell Morrison beat Jane Morrison +17
Brian Murdoch beat Nathaniel Healy +2T
Alan Wilson beat Ben Harris +25
Fergus McInnes lost to Kieran Murphy -7
Tony Brightman lost to Danny Johnston -23



Day 2, Sunday 30 May 2010:

Martin Stephenson & Fergus McInnes beat Jane Morrison & Ben Harris +17
Campbell Morrison & Alan Wilson lost to Nathaniel Healy & Kieran Murphy -16
Brian Murdoch & Tony Brightman lost to Evan Newell & Danny Johnston -16

Martin Stephenson beat Nathaniel Healy +21
Campbell Morrison beat Evan Newell +1T
Brian Murdoch beat Jane Morrison +23
Alan Wilson lost to Kieran Murphy -13
Fergus McInnes lost to Danny Johnston -7
Tony Brightman lost to Ben Harris -11

Martin Stephenson lost to Nathaniel Healy -18
Campbell Morrison lost to Evan Newell -10
Brian Murdoch beat Jane Morrison +21
Alan Wilson beat Kieran Murphy +17
Fergus McInnes lost to Danny Johnston -13
Tony Brightman lost to Ben Harris -13

Match result: SCA 14, CAI 16