End of season success at Balgreen
Balgreen Croquet Club held an end of season Single Ball Handicap Event, 13pt, half lawns, 1hr time limit, on Sunday 16 October. There were 17 entries with handicaps ranging from -0.5 to 28 and was played in surprisingly good weather and on much improved lawns. Bill Strachan entered from ACCC and was unbeaten with 6 wins against Jane Morrison (13/7), Hamish Duguid (13/5), Rosemary Saunders-Robertson (13/10), Campbell Morrison (13/6), Joe Lennon (13/6) and Rachel Firth (13/10). Although there was no trophy Bill did receive a rather nice bottle of Merlot for his efforts. Thanks to Hamish for organising the event and all the hard work he has put into the lawns over the season.
North of England Tour 2016
This year our team was initially Brian Clark, Robert Bell, Malcolm Robertson, Bill Strachan and Bob Burnett with Alan Pidcock joining us for the Lake District matches. The Tour was once again organised by Brian Clark with support from the various clubs. Starting off at Bamburgh Castle on Sunday 26th September, in glorious sunshine, the format for our match was GC with Bob as Captain and despite reservations by several players we ran out comfortable winners. Monday saw us travel to Middlesbrough where AC doubles (alternate stroke) and singles was the format. Our winning ways continued, with many thanks to Roger Staples for his excellent organising and catering throughout the day. We then made our way to The Royal at Dockray to be met by Alan for the Lake District matches. Westmorland was our destination on Tuesday with again AC doubles and singles being played. Yet another victory under our belt and it was nice to see Simon even though he was playing for the opposition. On Wednesday we travelled to Langwathby to play Penrith and North Lakes CC, where we suffered a compressive defeat winning only 2 matches. Keswick was our final match on Thursday, played on Tom Ryan’s lawn and at Braithwaite and despite occasional torrential rain throughout the day, the match ended in an honourable draw.
Thanks again to Brian for all the hard work involved in what was probably the most enjoyable Tour to date. We all appreciated the friendship and hospitality we received throughout the Tour and look forward to next year.
ACCC September Handicap Tournament
This year’s tournament had 19 entries with handicaps ranging from 0.5 to 20. Format was 4 blocks of 5 players (block 4 only had 4) playing each other, 18 point with a 2 hour time limit (block 4 was 26 point 3 hour time limit). Winners of the blocks played a knock-out semi-final and then a final. Runner up in each block had the same knock-out (wine knock-out).
Played in glorious sunshine all weekend on lawns at Westburn and Albury, with most players reckoning they were as good as any in Scotland.
Block 1 winner Tom Ryan, runner-up Jane Morrison. Block 2 winner Brian Durward runner-up Janice Duguid. Block 3 winner Jim Wilson, runner-up Brian Clark. Block 4 winner David Houston, runner-up Jola Jurasinka. John Owen (block 1) and Charles Henderson (block 2) both tied on wins but lost out on net hoops to qualify for the knock-out stage. Robert Bell had 2 wins in block 3, including one over Brian Clark, but this was not enough to progress to the knock-out stage.
Jim Wilson had a comfortable 18/1 win against David Houston. Tom Ryan looked certain to win having only to run rover when time was called, he then proceeded to run rover the wrong way. Brian Durward then took his second ball from hoop 5 round and pegged out to win 18/15 in his after time turn. Unfortunately Brian’s impressive display put pressure on the final as Jim had to catch a train at 4.30pm. It was agreed that the final would stop at 4pm but after an entertaining display of croquet by both players, Jim pegged out with time to spare 18/15.
In the wine knock-out Janice Duguid beat Jane Morrison 18/11, Brian Clark beat Jola Jurasinka 18/13 and in the final Janice was just too steady for Brian and won 18/8. Brian at least had the consolation of being the only player to beat Jim Wilson (14/13) in the block stage.
Bill Strachan and Simon Robins had a tournament to forget as both failed to win any matches.
Full results can be found on Croquetscores.com and on the SCA website
ACCC pair lose in Semi-final of SCA AC Handicap Doubles
Brian Durward (6) and Bill Strachan (11) lost in a tense 3 ball finish to Robert Inder (4.5) and Vivien Wightman (18) from the Meadows Club, played at Albury on Wednesday 7 September.
Vivien was the first to setup a break but on reaching hoop 3 she had used their 3 bisques but then progressed to 1 back before failing that hoop. Brian then hit in and took his ball to 4 back, with a good leave, the next few turns saw neither Robert nor Vivien make any progress. Bill then created a break and in one turn took his ball to peg. Things were looking good for ACCC with clips on peg and 4 back and Robert on hoop1 and Vivien on 1 back. Enter Robert, manufacturing an excellent 3 ball break from hoop 1 to peg, he then proceeded to peg out Bill’s ball leaving a 3 ball game for the last 50 minutes. Brian now faced the unenviable task of shooting from 20m plus at oppo’s balls which were usually setup for a rush to the next hoop. A combination of Vivien running a hoop and Robert intervening to ensure Brian was always shooting from distance saw Vivien eventually reach rover only to fail running on 3 attempts. Time was called and Robert and Vivien won a close contest 24-22.
High Handicap Short Croquet competition
Our first ever 14 point ½ lawn short croquet competition was held at Crathes on Sunday 14th August, aimed at encouraging high handicap, social players and any interested golf croquet players to have a try at competitive Association Croquet.
The afternoon was a success, with some six players taking part (and a further 8 expressing interest but being unavailable on that date). The weather was warm and dry and all players said that they enjoyed the event and would like to see more (possibly whole day) events in the future. Congratulations to David Garwood who was the overall winner with four wins.
Aberdeen/Glasgow combo win The Spalding Trophy
Bill Spalding was a stalwart member of Glasgow Croquet Club and past Chairman of the SCA, who died in 2014 after a short illness. His widow Eleanor and family presented a trophy to be played for in his memory, with the stipulation that it be a doubles event with low and high handicap players forming partnerships.
The venue was Glasgow’s “new” home of Knightswood Park Bowling Greens with 2 lawns available. The format was advanced play, alternate stroke doubles, any ball and any player starting a turn. 8 couples entered Rod Williams and Joe Lennon, Martin Stephenson and Alistair Malcolm, Charlotte Townsend and Roger Binks, Janice and Hamish Duguid, Alan Wilson and Rosemary Saunders-Robertson, Jamieson Walker and Jola Jurasinska, Brian Durward and David Appleton and finally John Surgenor and Bill Strachan. Unfortunately Martin failed to turn up but Alistair agreed to play on his own but would not be eligible to win the Trophy.
In wonderful sunshine all day, Saturday’s play ended with Rod and Joe and John and Bill with 2 wins. Sunday was slightly overcast but improved as the day progressed. John and Bill won their first match to remain the only unbeaten couple. Unfortunately they lost their final game against Alan and Rosemary (23-21) which resulted in 3 couples Rod and Joe, Alan and Rosemary, John and Bill and Malcolm on 3 wins. The normal deciding factor of net hoops or hoops run would have seen John and Bill clear winners but the suggestion of a centre peg shoot out was accepted as an entertaining way to finish. Brian Durward produced his E.peg, a centre peg with a sensor which lights up a string of LEDs when hit even a glancing blow.
All 7 players had one attempt from the west boundary yard line, only Malcolm and John lit up the LEDs. Everybody then decided to have a go from the east boundary with Alan the first to hit, his celebration was short lived as Bill then hit and saving the best for last John hit for the second time. With 3 hits John and Bill were declared the winners.
The day ended with the presentation of the Spalding Trophy by Eleanor and the unanimous agreement that the format and weather made for an extremely enjoyable weekend.
Full results should be available sometime on the SCA website
Edinburgh Midweek Tournament, 17 August, Lauriston Castle
Gordon Hendry (22 handicap), Tom Mason (28) and Chris Southworth (18) were amongst 8 players who took part in the Edinburgh Midweek Tournament for those with handicaps 16 and above. The tournament was held in glorious sunshine, in the spectacular setting of the Edinburgh Club’s Lauriston Castle lawns.
The format was time-limited 14 point Short Croquet games, with two Blocks each of 4 players. This was followed by a cross-block round where the winner of Block A played the second in Block B (etc), to determine the top two players overall, who then played in a final round to decide the overall winner.
The higher cut grass, combined with a very heavy dew meant that the Lauriston lawns were very slow and wet in the morning session making long hoop approaches and long drives/rolls very challenging for those not used to the conditions. However, things speeded up as the day progressed and the temperate rose to the mid-20’s, and we all got a better feel for the conditions.
Chris and Gordon both played to their respective handicaps, winning two (50%) of their games, while Tom in his first ever tournament, although not winning, gained valuable experience.
In the cross-block round, Chris, second in Block B, failed to reach the final, losing to the winner of Block A who subsequently went on to beat his wife (the winner of Block B) in the final.
ACCC end with a convincing win
With the knowledge that a victory by 32 hoops would see ACCC overtake Glasgow and win Group A of the SCA Interclub competition, something that definitely inspired one half of our team. John Owen (8) and Bill Strachan (12) played Alan Hawke (5) and Rosemary Saunders-Robertson (14) at Albury on Tuesday 23 Aug. John started in impressive style, despite hating playing with bisques, and with Alan struggling to hit in built up an early lead. John soon had a clip on rover and was progressing his other ball to penultimate. Alan could not get going and John was soon lining up a peg out, only to miss with his front ball. This only delayed the inevitable and he pegged out to record an impressive win 26/2. (handicap reduction on the cards ?)
Bill on the other hand was hitting in from all over the lawn but squandering the openings with poor hoop approaches and failed hoop runs. Rosemary was far steadier, hitting in well and with consistently good hoop approaches, built up a reasonable lead without using her 2 bisques. Then in one turn she wasted both her bisques and left Bill an opening and he took his front ball to rover. At this stage Rosemary was on rover and 1 back with Bill on rover and hoop1, slowly Bill caught up only to bobble hoop 6, fortunately Rosemary returned the favour by failing 1 back., Bill got to 3 back but failed, allowing Rosemary to run 1 back and 2 back and killing any chance we had of overtaking Glasgow. Better late than never Bill started to play more consistently and was soon lining up a peg out only to miss with front ball but not the back ball, time was called Rosemary hit in but could do nothing but put Bill’s ball in corner 3, from where he missed the peg with his last hit in but won 25/20.
Our winning margin of 29 agonisingly 3 short of what we required but congratulations to John for his outstanding play giving us at least the chance of reaching the final.
GOLF CROQUET FESTIVAL
Sixteen members, 12 attending in the morning and 12 in the afternoon session played in glorious sunshine throughout the day at Albury Sports Centre on Sunday 21st August. Doubles pairings were selected by a draw of cards (experienced/novice combination) and play commenced on 2 half lawns and a smaller third lawn. With a time limit of 25 minutes only one match finished in time (i.e. scoring 7 hoops), and all players managed 4 matches. Leaders at the lunch break were Nick and Judith with six others within 2 hoops.
The afternoon session was the same format with 4 matches finishing within the time limit. Again, all players managed to play 4 matches but the overall leader was continually in doubt,.
The organisers then retreated to the shelter of the gazebo to decide the overall winner. After much deliberation it was agreed that a player’s average hoop score should decide.
In second equal were Eddie and David (4.75) but the winner with an average score of 4.85 was Nick. He was presented with The Sandy Rennie Trophy by Sandy, with a replica to keep and a bottle of fizz. We also agreed to present a trophy and bottle of fizz to Lizetta as the most improved GC player over the season, replacing the bottle of fizz she and David shared at lunchtime.
Thanks to Brian Butler for providing the refreshments, gazebo and prizes for this the first GC event. All those that took part were unanimous in their support for the Club to organise two similar events next year, which we agreed to, but emphasised that we could not guarantee similar great weather.
ACCC share honours with Meadows
On a slowish but excellent lawn at the Meadows, Bill Strachan (12) and Brian Clark (16) played Brian Cosford and Lyn Gilpin in the SCA AC Interclub Competition on Tuesday 2 August. We were greeted with the news that both opponent’s handicaps had increased, Brian 18 and Lyn 20.
Fortunately Brian, refusing to use his bisques allowed Bill to play more aggressively than planned and slowly with 2 and 3 ball breaks got his first ball to the peg. Bill then set-up a 4 ball break only to fail penultimate, Brian then decided to use his bisques and progressed to hoop 6 (penultimate) but bobbled the hoop off Bill’s ball (with no bisques left). Bill then ran penultimate, rover and pegged out winning 26/8.
Brian and Lyn’s game was plagued with missed roquets, until Lyn settled down and using 3 of her bisques set-up a comfortable lead. Brian then started to play better and Lyn’s lead suddenly reduced dramatically putting her under pressure. She responded well only to fail an attempted rover peel but Brian narrowly missed a long roquet and on her second attempt successfully rover peeled and using her last bisque pegged out to win 26/16.
Success in Wilkinson Sword Inter Club Doubles Tournament
In this SCA event held at Kelvingrove on Sunday 24 July, Aberdeen and Crathes Croquet Club represented by Bill Strachan and Brian Clark won a closely contested tournament, on hoops run 60 to 57 when Aberdeen and Glasgow tied on 4 wins each.
6 clubs entered Auchincruive (Dave Arnot & Kevin Wright), Balgreen (David Houston & Roger Binks), Edinburgh (Alastair Burn-Murdoch & Rosemary Saunders-Robertson), Glasgow (Brian Durward and Richard Sparrow) and Meadows (Chris Martin & Lyn Gilpin).
All matches were Handicap Doubles played on a full lawn, 14 point with a time limit of 1hr 30mins.
Aberdeen started well, pegging out their first 3 matches against Auchincruive, Balgreen and Edinburgh, with Glasgow also winning their first 3 matches. In the fourth round Aberdeen lost in a match where both teams squandered opportunities to win, before Richard ran 2 hoops just on time to seal their victory 10-8. Glasgow now faced Edinburgh knowing a win would ensure their overall victory, only to lose, despite an early commanding lead. Aberdeen regained their winning ways against Meadows and were declared winners after hoops run were confirmed.
Full report and results will appear on the SCA website.
20+ Handicap Tournament at Meadows CC, Edinburgh, 23 July 2016
Chris Southworth and Gordon Hendry (respective handicaps 20 and 24), took part in the 20+ Handicap Tournament at the Meadows Croquet Club, Edinburgh.
In total 11 participants, from the Aberdeen, Balgreen, Glasgow, Lauriston and Meadows Clubs, each played six 14 point Short Croquet games on half lawns with a 1.05 hour time limit per game.
Chris won four games (14/6, 11/4, 10/9 and 9/6) and lost two, including to the overall tournament winner (5/14) who showed his superior class by finishing with two extensive breaks including making four hoops in a well-controlled 3-ball break without bisques. Chris’ other game proved to be a real nail-biter. While on peg and hoop 4 Chris used one bisque to set up a 4-ball break ending with a good approach to hoop 4 – only then to realise that he was playing the ball that was for peg! This let in his opponent who was on peg and hoop 1. Not making Chris’ mistake he approached hoop 4 as time was called and managed to run that and the subsequent hoops, resulting in Chris losing the game 9/12.
Gordon won three of his six games, up from five losses the year before, including a convincing 14 point win. A big improvement and hope for the future. Highlight was the aforesaid 14 point win, while the lowlight was reminding his opponent, putting ball four into play, that “you can start from the opposite baulk” – and then seeing her destroy his excellent three ball set-up at hoop 3 (which had been pretty safe without her using bisques). Losing the match by a point just rubbed it in. Just remember loose lips lose matches!
SCA Handicap Doubles
Bill Strachan and Brian Durward (Country member) beat the holders Alan Wilson and Chris Martin 26-7 on the immaculate lawns at Kelvingrove on Thursday 14 July. On the fifth turn Bill setup a break and took his ball to rover (using 4 bisques); unfortunately Alan hit in and began a confident break but failed on hoop 4 off Brian’s ball. Brian then used our last bisque and set off on a match winning break but bobbled penultimate allowing Chris to start. Alan then remarked that this match could now be very interesting but Chris broken down at hoop 5 (rover) allowing Bill to run rover, separate them and leave Brian a straight rush to penultimate. Alan failed to hit in and as they say the rest is history. Brian completed his turn and pegged out to seal a comfortable but unexpected victory.
SUMMER WEEKEND TOURNAMENT 2-3 July
The tournament was held at the new croquet venue of Balgreen in Edinburgh over the weekend with 18 entries. After heavy rain all the lawns were “slow” with 1 and 2 quite challenging. Bill Strachan and Charles Henderson entered from ACCC and both had early success on the Saturday with Charles losing to Brian Durward (7/26) in his first match but recovering to beat Joe Lennon (26/11) and Alastair Burn-Murdoch (26/14). Bill won his first 3 matches against Roger Binks (25/18), David Houston (26/1), Alastair Burn-Murdoch (26/10) and had a pegged down game against Joe Lennon (half finished), at this stage he was the only unbeaten player. Sunday turned out to be slightly disappointing with Charles losing both his matches against Roger Binks (19/26) and Jamieson Walker (19/26). Bill lost to Joe Lennon (23/26) thanks to 2 failed attempts to run 4 back but won his final match against Jamieson Walker (26/12) playing for the first time off his new handicap of 12. Full results can be found on the SCA website.
Middle Bisquers Tournament, Edinburgh
I went to the Middle Bisquers tournament which was held at the Meadows on 18 and 19 June. This tournament is played to advanced rules and has the great advantage for me of not involving any bisques, so instead of spending a couple of hours sitting down and occasionally pulling bisques out of the ground, I was actually playing a lot of croquet.
The lawns at the Meadows were beautifully smooth, though quite slow in places after recent rain, but they had a lot of subtle undulations. My first game on the Saturday was against Joe Lennon, who was playing better than his 11 handicap would suggest. I wasn’t properly warmed up (I blame getting up at 5 a.m.!) and played pretty poorly but only lost -6 in the end. I improved against David Houston (7) and won 22-17 on time despite missing a 3-yard roquet when the ball rolled off line. My 3rd game was against John Campbell. He was brave to enter with a handicap of 16, and I suspect that he is probably better than that, but I gave him no chance, winning +22. I was helped by playing on the easternmost lawn which was playing better than the one I had used for the first two games which was still in shade.
On Sunday morning, I was up against Alastair Burn Murdoch who had won all his games on Saturday and earned a reduction in his handicap from 7 to 6. This was a high quality affair. In the fourth turn, he hit in and went all the way round to 4-back leaving a diagonal spread with not much for me to aim at once I took my lift. However, he had left his two balls just close enough together to be a double target for someone of my limited shooting ability, and I hit in and went round to 4-back myself. I then managed to get going with my second ball, and it looked for a while as if an upset might be on the cards, but I carelessly missed a 3-yard roquet (can’t blame the lawn this time), and presented Alastair with a 4-ball break. He set off to do a triple peel and managed the first one fine, but left himself hampered after doing the penult peel. That only delayed the inevitable, and Alastair finished off with a spectacular jump shot through rover to avoid hitting his partner ball followed by a cannon to move his partner ball into a position for rushing it towards the peg for a +10 win.
My last game against Brian Durward (6) was a much poorer affair. I kept missing, but Brian was doing the same and letting me back in. The highlight was when I conjured a 4-ball break out of nothing when Brian had left his balls in corner 4 and the middle of the south boundary while I was for hoop 2. I won +11 to finish with 3 wins out of 5, alongside several other players, while Alastair Burn Murdoch was the winner with a 100% record.
Corporate Evening at Banchory
We were approached by Craig Reekie, Manager at Banchory Lodge Hotel, to see if ACCC could arrange some form of Croquet event for a group of guests. After visiting the hotel grounds an area was earmarked for two lawns and Craig agreed to have this mown over the next few days.
Nine guests were present representing Norway, America, Scotland and England, and, after a quick explanation of Golf Croquet, play commenced. As their competitive nature developed we had to introduce a new rule that tactics could not be discussed in Norwegian. The two lawns were quite challenging but everyone appeared to enjoy themselves.
Craig was delighted with the response from “his clients” and can see Croquet becoming an option he could offer to future guests/ groups. Unfortunately we cannot show any photos showing the beautiful setting as permissions had not been requested from the guests. Thanks to Chris Southworth for helping set-up and assisting on the night.
SCA Competition: West v North (v East in absentia!)
The North team, 80% of whom came from ACCC, made their way to the magnificent lawns at Kelvingrove, Glasgow from their remote corner of Scotland to play in two days of glorious sunshine the annual match against the West and East of Scotland. Unfortunately the named East team failed to turn up possibly due to the remoteness of Edinburgh from Glasgow or the usual failure of trains, chaos on the M8/A8 or the other impediments of living in our capital city!
With 3 points for an AC win and 1 point for a GC win the North won the tournament by beating West by 27-16. The results of all matches are listed below but North won 4 of the 5 golf matches with Bill Strachan figuring in 3 of the wins and North won 8 of the 13 singles and doubles AC matches with Bill, John Owen and Malcolm Robertson winning 6 of these matches. Brian Clark put in a miserable performance until his last match when he beat Joe Lennon 26-23. This was something of an embarrassment for initially he was playing so badly he received “timely advice” from Joe which saw an 11 hoop break without bisques and convinced him not to give up croquet which he was strongly minded to do! Full results can be viewed here.
Everyone from ACCC enjoyed the event and special thanks go to Brian Durward (ACCC country member) for the cheerful and competent way in which he managed the event. We would also like to thank Lyn Gilpin who again played for the North and I am sure that Marion Emrie of Dundonald and Auchincruive CC will always be grateful to Bill who taught her the basic croquet strokes and introduced her to AC! This is one Scottish tournament that all members of ACCC should consider entering next year, whether golf or AC, and whatever your handicap, as you will receive a warm welcome and learn a great deal in a friendly competitive atmosphere.
The Club is grateful to Bob Burnett and Alan Pidcock for their excellent coaching sessions at Albury and Crathes. Bob held sessions on two weekends in May and Alan joined him to help with coaching on the second which included Saturday 21st at Crathes and Sunday 22nd at Albury. The pictures show the coaches in action during a well-attended session at Crathes, as well as a moment to relax at a very enjoyable party on the Sunday evening generously hosted by Brian and Edwina Clark (the haze in the party photo is apparently due to the lack of flash and nothing to do with the alcohol!).