Scottish Short Croquet Championship 2010

29 August 2010, Kinross

Hamish Duguid kept the Scottish Short Croquet trophy in the family by winning this year's championship, played on a breezy but sunny day at the Green Hotel in Kinross.

Six players had entered, but one withdrew, with the consequences that one player had a bye in each of the five rounds of games and that only one carload of players, and no hoops or balls, had to travel from Edinburgh.  After a smooth and rapid journey, Robert Inder and his passengers - Fergus McInnes and Hamish and Janice Duguid - arrived in Kinross a little before 9.30am.  A short wait ensued, but then George Kirk drove in with the equipment for the one required lawn, and after some adjustment of over-tight hoops play got under way at about 10.15.

Hamish and last year's winner Janice were drawn to play each other in the first round, and they had a close game, though not a high-scoring one - Hamish coming out ahead by 7 hoops to 6 after an hour and a quarter.  The game between Robert and George reached a peg-out (as indeed did all the games in the later rounds), and Robert won +3 - only to lose to Hamish by the same margin in his next game.  Hamish and Fergus (who had a win over Janice) were the only unbeaten contestants when the five went into Jock's Bar for lunch.

Well fed and watered, the players in round 3 emerged to resume battle.  Robert had the bye this time, while Janice had her first win against George, and Fergus lost by 13 points to Hamish (without using his one bisque).  Hamish clearly was the one to beat, and with two rounds to go he could still be equalled on games won by Fergus or Robert, in which case the reckoning would go to net points and then if necessary to points scored and perhaps a shoot-out at the peg.

Round 4 left Robert still in contention, with a win over Janice, but Fergus no longer so as he lost to George (despite George's eight bisques' running out with several hoops to go).  In the final round, therefore, Robert needed to win his game against Fergus, and he needed Hamish to lose to George; also the total of the winning margins in the two games had to be at least 11, or Hamish would win on points.

The game between Fergus and Robert turned out to be something of a comedy of errors.  Fergus took one ball round to hoop 6 early in the game, and Robert took one of his balls to the peg.  Fergus then forgot where he had got to, and (using his bisque) set up for hoop 1 with his forward ball, only discovering his mistake when he was in front of the hoop.  Remarkably, Robert then made the same error, taking a bisque to prepare a break from hoop 1 for the ball whose clip was on the peg!  The game remained close for some time, but a miss by Robert on Fergus's backward ball eventually gave Fergus the chance he needed, and he ran his last two hoops and pegged out (after time had been called) to win +4.

By this time the game between Hamish and George had been completed, and Hamish had maintained his winning run with a +5 victory.  He was thereby the winner of the tournament by two clear games, with Robert and Fergus trailing on two wins, and Janice and George behind them with one win each.  The result was convenient since Janice had forgotten to bring the trophy.

Thanks go to the the Green Hotel for hosting the event; to Brian Smith and George Kirk for measuring and marking out two short courts (though in the event only one of them was used); and to Robert Inder for driving the Edinburgh contingent to Kinross and back.

Fergus McInnes

Results

Player (bisques) HD RI FM JD GK Wins Points
Hamish Duguid (5) -- +3 +13 +1T +5 4 +22
Robert Inder (3) −3 -- −4 +6 +3 2 +2
Fergus McInnes (1) −13 +4 -- +3 −3 2 −9
Janice Duguid (3.5) −1T −6 −3 -- +11 1 +1
George Kirk (8) −5 −3 +3 −11 -- 1 −16