West of Scotland Championship 2010

2-3 October 2010, Glasgow

As has happened before in recent years, the last SCA tournament of the season was also the best attended.  With a few days to go, there were 20 entrants, and one more player ready to enter if a space became available.  After some withdrawals we ended up with 18 players, ranging in handicap from James Hopgood at -1 up to Tamar Shorten, playing in her first Association Croquet tournament, at 20.  Two late starts were therefore on offer on Saturday (given lawn space for 16 players at a time), and they were taken by Hamish and Janice Duguid, who thus travelled through from Edinburgh for 10:30am instead of 9:30.

The system of time limits introduced at the Summer Weekend was used again this time: three hours plus three minutes per bisque.  But in stark contrast to the Summer Weekend, when more than half the first day's games went to time and the commonest score was +1T, on this occasion every game reached a peg-out and the most frequent score, occurring 12 times in the weekend, was +26.

The weather also showed a pattern opposite to that of the Summer Weekend - most of the rain being on the first day of the tournament, and most of the sunshine on the second.  Saturday finished with the recording of positions on soggy pegging-down sheets and the tedious task of winding up heavy wet string; Sunday began with some more rain, but it soon cleared up, and the afternoon's sunshine was pleasantly warm.

At the end of Saturday the leaders, as yet unbeaten, were Alan Wilson and Hamish Duguid, and they were playing each other in one of the pegged-down games.  Also in contention were Janice Duguid, Robert Lay, Joe Lennon and David Turner, all on two wins from three games, and Malcolm O'Connell, whose three wins in four games had brought his handicap down from 4 to 3.5.  (Alan too had won a handicap reduction, from 3 to 2.5, and this took effect in the first new game he started on Sunday.)  It was Alan who kept his unbeaten record when his game with Hamish finished on Sunday morning, boosting his rating in the "Egyptian" scoring system to 120; but then he came up against Janice, who beat him +25 to take over the lead.  A further loss, to David, put Alan out of contention, and strengthened David's position by increasing his rating to 114, just one point behind Janice.  The tournament now hung on the results of two Sunday afternoon games: one between Janice and Bill Spalding (on 111 points), and one between David and Hamish (who was on 110).  If Bill beat Janice, he could take the lead, but only if David didn't beat Hamish, whereas if Janice won she would be ahead regardless of the result of the other game.  In fact Janice won her game to reach 120 points, and although David pegged out well before the 5:30 cut-off this took him only to 119, leaving Janice narrowly the winner.  She received the trophy to the applause of the other players, and the news that her handicap was down to 9 was greeted with cheering!

James nearly added another to the weekend's list of handicap reductions, as he had only to win one more game than he lost to get to -1.5.  He was thwarted in this by losing to Robert on Sunday afternoon, and his attempt at a high-speed win over Bill before the guillotine was unsuccessful, so he stayed at -1.

Everyone in the tournament achieved at least one win.  (Tamar got hers in her first game, against Jamieson, and had some fairly close games thereafter although she didn't win any of them.  Campbell Thomson got his in his last game, beating Fergus McInnes +2 after pegging out one of Fergus's balls, and thereby avoided a handicap increase.)  And a good time seemed to be had by all, most of the time at any rate.  Thanks are due to the Glasgow Club members who set out the lawns, and to Bill and Eleanor Spalding for the provision of cakes for the hungry hordes (of players - no spectators!) on Sunday afternoon.

Fergus McInnes

("Egyptian" system)

1. Janice Duguid 120 points, 5/6 wins: beat CM +26, CT +9, JW +24, AW +25, BS +17.
2. David Turner 119 points, 5/6 wins: beat JH +16, JD +13, RL +12, AW +26, HD +11.
3=. Alan Wilson 109 points, 4/6 wins: beat MOC +8, TS +9, MS +26, HD +12.
3=. Malcolm O'Connell 109 points, 4/6 wins: beat CT +10, DT +9, MS +26, JM +15.
3=. Robert Lay 109 points, 4/6 wins: beat JM +26, FM +22, JW +18, JH +15.
6. Bill Spalding 106 points, 3/5 wins: beat JW +11, TS +4, MOC +21.
7. Hamish Duguid 105 points, 3/5 wins: beat JL +20, JM +10, JP +2.
8. Jola Jurasinska 104 points, 3/5 wins: beat BS +6, JL +1, JW +21.
9. Jim Penny 101 points, 4/7 wins: beat FM +23, RL +19, JM +26, MS +26.
10=. James Hopgood 100 points, 3/6 wins: beat CM +12, FM +10, JJ +6.
10=. Joe Lennon 100 points, 3/6 wins: beat CM +26, JP +11, MS +10.
12=. Fergus McInnes 92 points, 3/8 wins: beat CM +26, JL +8, MS +26.
12=. Campbell Morrison 92 points, 3/8 wins: beat JP +24, CT +6, TS +8.
14=. Martin Stephenson 88 points, 3/8 wins: beat CT +5, JJ +4, CM +26.
14=. Jane Morrison 88 points, 2/7 wins: beat FM +11, TS +12.
16=. Jamieson Walker 87 points, 2/7 wins: beat JH +26, JM +25.
16=. Campbell Thomson 87 points, 1/5 wins: beat FM +2.
18. Tamar Shorten 84 points, 1/5 wins: beat JW +13.