North of England Tour 2017
Another end of season North of England Tour completed. Starting at Bamburgh with a mixture of AC and GC matches we ended up with an honourable draw (8-8).
This year we decided to stay in Newcastle overnight which made travelling to Middlesbourgh on the Monday far more relaxing. This was reflected in our croquet as we ran out convincing winners (5-2) playing AC doubles and singles matches. Thanks to Roger for organising the match and the catering at lunch break. We then made our way along the A66 to Matterdale where Brian had arranged for us to stay for the rest of the Tour. We were now reinforced by the arrival of Bob and Alan for the remaining 3 matches.
Crake Valley our next opponents included Simon who showed no loyalty winning both his matches. The result was never in doubt and we lost (6-2). Heavy overnight rain meant the morning session at Penrith had to be cancelled but play was possible in the afternoon following an enjoyable lunch at the club house. The result was another crushing defeat, although both singles could have gone either way (0-4). Our final match was against Keswick with 12 AC singles being the format and played in rather pleasant warm conditions. We returned to our winning ways with a comfortable lead at lunch time. After an excellent lunch in the pub, a team photo was arranged and Tom then celebrated his win in Aberdeen by sharing a rather pleasant single malt from the Aberdeen Quaich. The afternoon session saw us maintain our lead and eventually ran out winners (8-4). Thanks again to Brian for all the work involved in organising such an enjoyable 5 days of croquet and to all the clubs for their friendship and hospitality. All being well we hope to see them all next year.
ACCC Win Final of SCA AC Interclub Competition
John Owen (3) and Malcolm Robertson (16) won both their matches against Meadows 1, David Houston (4.5) and Lyn Gilpin (16), played at the Meadows on Sunday 24 September.
The manner of their victories were in total contrast to each other.
John conceding 1.5 bisques was well behind (11-22) with little time left when he hit in and began what would be his last turn, beginning by running hoop 1. With David on penult and peg, John had little room for error – not to worry, after rover peeling his front ball he then calmly pegged out to win 26-22. To quote John “under the circumstances possibly my best ever break”, and it’s doubtful anyone would disagree.
Malcolm’s game against Lyn, played without bisques, was a more “controlled” affair with Malcolm making steady progress and Lyn struggling to hit in and run hoops. He eventually ran out winner by 16-7 on time. A very competent performance, considering some of Lyn’s scalps this season including 26-0 victories over Chris Martin and Charles Henderson,.
Thanks to Chris Southworth and Bill Strachan who featured in the block stages of the competition, a great result for our club.
AC World Rankings
Having played 10 level play matches in the Malmet Trophy over the weekend and Monday, our Cl;ub Captain, Bill Strachan, qualified for a World Ranking and is now ranked 672 in the AC World. Bill comments, “Not bad going for a loon from Inverurie, OK I know Peter Nicol came from Inverurie as well but he never played croquet”.
Malmet Trophy Experience
Thanks to several players unavailability and withdrawals, Bill Strachan received an invitation to play in the Malmet Trophy which runs alongside the Chairman’s Rosebowl and is played at the Meadows, Edinburgh. The Rosebowl is for the top 6 players and the Malmet for the next 6. This is a 3-day event with 6 players in each event and you play everyone twice, i.e. 10 matches over the 3 days. The format is Advanced Rules, level play (no bisques), 26pt, 2.5hr time limit.
Saturday started well despite the rainy conditions and very soggy areas on lawn 1, ending with a 2 win 1 loss and a level pegged down game. Sunday was played in much better weather although the croquet did not quite match, with a 2 win 2 loss but Bill was still reasonably happy. Monday proved a day too long losing all 3 matches, at this level any basic mistakes are punished severely. Thanks to the different Index point changes for level play, Bill actually gained 8 index points over the weekend. A great experience of level play Advanced rule AC croquet but 10 matches over the 3 days was perhaps not the easiest introduction. Thanks to Chris for Managing the event and Alan as Tournament Referee. Highlight of the weekend was James Hopgood’s sextuplet finish to his final match.
Full results of both events will be on the SCA website
New Club Sign
No excuse for not finding ACCC’s base at Albury. It was hoped that our new sign would be in place before the Tournament at the weekend but better late than never.
Aberdeen Tournament 2017
Eighteen players from as far afield as Middlesbrough, Keswick, Auchincruive, Central Belt and several locals took part in the AC Tournament over the weekend 9/10th September. Last year’s winner Jim Wilson (Keswick) could not defend his title as he is recovering from a knee replacement operation but the Aberdeen Quaich will be returning to Keswick as Tom Ryan beat Kevin Wright (Auchincruive) in the final. Finishing at 4.45pm the presentation ceremony was a rather hurried affair as Tom and others had to catch their train at 5.10pm. For the second year running the only person to beat the winner of the Aberdeen Quaich in the block stages was our own Brian Clark.
The Wine Final was won by Lorna Dewar (Edinburgh) who beat Malcolm Robertson in a closely contested match.
Thanks to Lizetta, David, Sheena, Edwina and Meg for their help in keeping all the players refreshed and fed during the tournament, your efforts were a highlight of the tournament. Once again the home bakes went down a treat and thanks to everyone who helped. Robert, Malcolm, Brian and Hamish for providing lifts to Westburn and Albury. Hamish (SCA) for supplying the additional sets of croquet balls and everyone who helped setup and dismantle the lawns.
Full results can be viewed on the SCA website.
Twenty-eight members and players had an enjoyable evening at the RNUC on Saturday night. No sing-along this year as Jim Wilson was unable to attend but has promised to make up for it next year.
CSSC Golf Croquet Team Challenge
Four teams took part in a Golf Croquet 13 hoop event, played on Sunday 20 August at Albury in rather pleasant weather. After some close fought matches HSE were unbeaten and declared winners, with second place going to BEIS/OGA closely followed by HMRC in third; the wooden spoon was won by Borders.
Thanks to Nick Marshall for asking ACCC to organise the tournament and his donation to the club
ACCC Golf Croquet Festival
Once again the sun shone on Albury for the 3rd Golf Croquet Festival on Sunday 27 August.
The prestigious Sandy Rennie Cup was vigorously contested by 14 intrepid, wily croquet players, and an entertaining display of cunning and skill led to some impressive scores being posted. At the end of almost 5 hours of play there was a 2 way tie for the title, with several more players not far behind. The exciting hoop running shoot out, between David Garwood and Stefan Colling, was a closely fought battle, with both players having opportunities for victory. Despite determined pressure from Stefan the cup was eventually claimed by a jubilant David.
The golf croquet festival days were introduced as a fun day with the emphasis on relaxed and sociable sport. Those elements were seen in abundance on Sunday, but improving skills and a determination to post as good a score as possible were also observed in many players. Laughter and concentration, banter and tactical discussion, all in equal measure, Evidence of the continuing growth, strength and values of the club.
Unfortunately, the organiser completely forgot to take photographs on the day. Apologies to all, particularly David.
ACCC Reach Final of SCA AC Interclub Competition
ACCC required only a draw against Glasgow to qualify for the final of the SCA AC Interclub competition. Play started in overcast skies and persistent drizzle, with occasional rain throughout the day. John Owen (3.5) and Bill Strachan (9) played Brian Durward (5) and Joe Lennon (9): it was agreed to play with no time limit.
Brian Durward (5) had 1.5 bisques against John. In turn 5, John set up a partly-wired rush to hoop 1, thinking that Brian might shoot at one of my balls but would be forced to take a bisque if he missed. He did shoot and miss, but surprisingly didn’t take a bisque, which allowed John to set up a break and take black round to rover. Having been left cross-pegged, Brian shot and missed but this time he did take his 1.5 bisques to set up a break and get his first ball round. When John got a chance with blue, he set up a perfect break and went through hoop 1. His next shot, however, had the worst possible outcome: not only did he miss black, but blue hit the peg and stopped near red, giving Brian a perfect 4-ball break. Brian had one or two problems on the way round, including blobbing 4-back, but the best John could manage was one further hoop with blue, and Brian went on to win +13.
In the other game, Bill and Joe spent the first 45 minutes in a rather “Aunt Emma” style of play with only 3 hoops run. Joe’s rather unique playing style left little opportunity even when he failed hoop runs (which he did on more than one occasion), so progress was really slow until Joe had a good run from hoop 2 to 3 back but again bobbled the hoop, allowing Bill to progress 3 hoops before returning the favour. Another period followed of little opportunities, until Bill hit in and then progressed to 4 back followed next turn by a four ball break from hoop 5 to peg. After Joe failed another hoop approach, Bill hit in on his partner ball and then took a 2 ball break through 4 back, and penultimate, but unfortunately hitting the peg with his roll approach to rover. Bill then managed to run rover from about 6yds, ending up with a rush to peg and duly pegged out after 3hrs 45mins play. The results was a +9 win for Bill thus securing the draw needed to progress to the final.
Handicap Changes (AC)
Please note the following changes in AC handicaps which take effect immediately (from 7 August).
Well done to Malcolm Robertson whose handicap has been reduced from 20 to 16 by the SCA Handicap Committee.
Decisions by the ACCC Handicap Committee see David Garwood change from 26 to 24 and Vaila Harvey from 26 to 28.
Second Inter-club Competition Win for ACCC
ACCC recorded their second win, this time away to Meadows 2 in Edinburgh. John Owen (3.5) and Bill Strachan (9) were up against Alistair Malcolm (6) and Rachel Firth (24). After heavy overnight rain the lawn was playing quite slow, the situation not improving after a heavy shower just after the matches had started. Fortunately John and Bill were not on the lawn during the downpour.<br ?–>Alistair hit in on the fourth turn and made 6 hoops before being hampered and needing a bisque to continue. Alistair was soon back in but completely missed a short rush, wasting his half bisque and allowing John with a good break to get a ball round to rover. Alistair then used his last bisque but failed to get through hoop 1. John now had a match winning opportunity but missed a 6yd roquet and had to retrieve Alistair who was in the kitchen making a cup of tea. John was well ahead and played match croquet from then on, giving Alistair nothing apart from long shots which he missed, allowing him to creep round and win 26-11.
Bill was faced with the intimidating sight of 15 bisques sticking out of the ground, never before had he given away so many. Rachel began running 3 hoops but using 5 bisques and taking almost 25 minutes, we had agreed to play 3hr 30mins and that began to look like a wise move. I was kept well separated and was struggling to hit anything but managed to 2 ball hoop 1 but failed hoop 2. Rachel then progressed her front ball to hoop 4 with her back ball on hoop 3. A three ball break by me, including peeling my partner ball through hoop 2 looked promising until a bad approach to hoop 3 ended the turn. Rachel then came alive progressing her back ball to rover using 5 more bisques. Desperate times so I shot at her, hit in and set-up a 4 ball break which I took to peg. Match level but 5 bisques remained. Rachel then tired and proceeded to squander her remaining bisques gaining only one hoop. A three ball 5 hoop break on time save the day and rather than risk anything I finished by putting the three balls into separate corners, Rachel failed her roquet and I won 19-15 a close call.
No photograph as Alistair and John had to leave early to catch buses before the rush hour started.
Burnett Clan Gathering
We were invited by Jamie Burnett to provide a “Croquet Experience” as part of the Burnett Clan Gathering at Crathes Castle. Over the two days more than 30 clan members, mainly from the USA, ventured onto the lawns to play Golf Croquet under the supervision of ACCC players and the event organiser Bob Burnett. Weather over the two days was mixed but Thursday started with thunder rumbling in the distance. Everyone entered into the spirit of the event and typical whooping, hollering and laughter were indicators that everyone was enjoying themselves. On the Wednesday a BBC camera crew visited the Castle as part of a documentary series on archaeological sites. They spent almost an hour filming the croquet and surrounding area, they also had a drone which was doing aerial shots of the gardens. The producer agreed to include our feature board during the filming. Not sure when the series will be shown on BBC or how much of the croquet will feature we can only wait and see.
Thanks to Bob for organising the event and all the ACCC members for assisting over the two days.
It was unfortunate that Jamie felt it prudent to cancel the Clan Tournament on the Thursday evening, due to an adverse weather forecast.
ACCC Beetle Drive Social Evening
Twenty three members braved the summer weather to attend our second social event, held on Friday 28th July at the Cults hotel. On a pleasantly warm evening we had the benefit of the large balcony on which to enjoy a most satisfactory buffet and also some liquid refreshments, after which we formed our teams in the function room. For this event it was decided to have a Beetle Drive, which, as far as I could ascertain was a new experience for most of us. Under the guidance of Sheena Butler (once a primary school teacher, always a primary school teacher), the fun began, and it was quickly seen that the intellectual giants of ACCC were totally absorbed in what is, to be honest, a very silly and trivial game. A heady mix of simple fun, aggression and triumph was evident as the games progressed with all participants totally absorbed. The eventual highest scorer and winner was Jane Drury, with second prize going to Dan Walker. A special prize, for the most imaginatively decorated beetles, was awarded to Gwen Marshall. My thanks to Sam, the barman who gallantly stepped in to make up the numbers, and who admitted that he really enjoyed being involved. Such was the excitement that nobody remembered to take any photographs, or maybe that’s just an age thing. A raffle was also held, raising over £85 for club funds. Thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to the planning and organizing. The evening was most enjoyable and successful, and I think these social events are proving to be both popular and eagerly anticipated (thanks to Brian Bultler for the report).
ACCC scores victory in interclub match against Auchincruive
The Inter Club match between ACCC and Auchincruive took place at Albury on Saturday 8th July. Chris Southworth (18) and Malcolm Robertson (20) respectively played Auchincruive husband and wife team Kevin Wright (20) and Michelle Wright (24).
ACCC won both games by narrow margins on time.
It was a sunny afternoon, and, with the help of a slight breeze, the dew had dried an hour before, leaving the lawn fast but consistent.
In Malcolm and Michelle’s game, Michelle ran Hoop 1 with her first stroke of the match. However, a similar attempt with her second ball failed, allowing Malcolm the possibility of setting up a four ball break. However, Malcolm failed to make the required roquet, and at the end of his turn, and many more later, found himself confined to various boundaries.
Michelle went on to extend her lead, taking care to use each of her bisques only when there was at least one hoop to be gained. For his part, Malcolm was forced to continually join up at a boundary, occasionally making a hoop if Michelle had, perhaps, miscued a rush in the previous turn.
With three quarters of the time gone, Michelle remained ahead, with neither player able to attain the elusive four ball break. Only when Michelle’s four bisques were all gone did Malcolm find a conveniently placed reception ball, and so manage to take the lead. Malcolm remained ahead on points until time was up, so giving him a win by a narrow margin (8-6 on time).
Chris and Kevin’s game followed a similar pattern. Kevin took a gradual lead while Chris bereft of bisques struggled to hit in from the boundary.
Chris took an early opportunity to set up a four-ball break only to bobble his approach to Hoop 1, leaving a simple roquet and hoop run for Kevin to use the break. Reflecting the scrappy nature of the game, Kevin then copied Chris in bobbling the hoop.
The game continued with odd hoops run until Chris eventually managed to string together a small break to take the lead, which he held on to, winning 10-8 on time. (Thanks to Chris for the report)
John Owen victory in the SCA Summer Weekend Tournament
On the Monday before the SCA Summer Weekend (1-2 July) to be held at Balgreen Croquet Club, I had an e-mail from Jane Morrison saying that she had heard that I was interested in playing in the tournament. I can’t remember having said this to anyone, but seeing as I wasn’t due to be working, I took up the offer of a place.
I was grateful to the organiser, Alan Wilson, for allowing a late start on the Saturday due to the long drive from Aberdeen. As usual, the Met Office forecast was spot-on, being largely sunny on Saturday morning, then clouding over in the afternoon, while Sunday was showery. My first game was against Brian Cosford (12) on the lawn nearest the adjacent school. This proved to be spongy, slow and rather rough, easily the worst of the four lawns available (the other three were good), and I just couldn’t play on it at first. I spent an hour missing shots of all lengths from 5 yards upwards while Brian made some hoops. Eventually I got going and Brian kept giving me chances, so I managed to win +14. Next, I played Rosemary Saunders-Robertson whose handicap has been cut to 8 since I last played her. Rosemary used her 3 bisques to get one ball round, then made progress with her other ball while I got one ball round. It wasn’t looking good for me, but I had a spectacular hit-in from at least 30 yards, which enabled me to set up a break and win +5. Against Alan Wilson (2), I had the luxury of 3 bisques. I immediately used one of them but just had to leave a rush to hoop 1. Alan missed, so I started on a dodgy 3-ball break, but managed to pick up the other ball and go round to rover, cross-wiring Alan at hoop 1. He declined to shoot at me near corner 3, so I got going with my second ball, using 2 bisques to get round, but messing up the rover peel. However, Alan could only make one hoop, so I won +25. Afterwards, Alan generously told me what I had done wrong (I should have taken my first ball round to peg)!
On Sunday, I started against Joe Lennon (9). He has an inimitable style where the balls seem to be all over the place with not a pioneer in sight, but he conjures up rushes and rolls to his hoops from anywhere and keeps going. He got both balls round to rover while I had got one ball to peg, but again a spectacular long hit-in saved the match for me, allowing me to set up a winning break for a +4 win. Against Jamieson Walker (10), I took advantage of him losing position (and failing to take a bisque) to take my first ball round to peg. He made significant progress with one ball, but I was still able to win +17. Having won 5/5, I was virtually guaranteed to win the tournament, but I had a final match against Lorna Dewar (20). This was her first-ever Association Croquet tournament, but you wouldn’t have guessed it. She played superbly from the outset, and I was thinking that 20-handicap players aren’t meant to play like this. She knew how to do rushes and play 4-ball breaks and never gave me a chance. She won +26 with 3 bisques left, and I hadn’t even taken croquet. She had probably played over 250 shots to my 3! Shortly afterwards, it was confirmed that John Owen was the winner of the tournament and I got a trophy to take back to Aberdeen, together with a handicap reduction to from 5 to 4 1/2. Full results will appear on the SCA website. (Report submitted by John Owen with apologies from the webmaster for its late appearance on the website!)
Association Croquet Alternate Stroke Handicap Doubles
Ten members entered our first Alternate Stroke Handicap Doubles Tournament, held at Albury on Sunday 9 July.
The format was Half Lawn : 14pt. : Time limit 1hr 15mins. Couples were based on an experienced player partnering a novice player, with partners changing every round. Play started in rather pleasant if overcast skies but unfortunately as the day progressed the weather took a turn for the worse, with heavy drizzle arriving for the rest of the day. David Garwood was the early leader after the first peg out match of the day, closely followed by Stefan. After a break for lunch and the hope that the weather may improve, play continued in the drizzle. Despite a good win by his nearest rival Stefan, David extended his lead with a second peg out match and with the final round abandoned, David was declared the winner. Thanks to all the members who never gave up despite the inclement weather and hopefully enjoyed the experience.
Improvements in Club playing standard.
Congratulations to Club Captain, Bill Strachan, and to John Owen on lowering their AC handicaps following excellent performances in National and Club competitions. Bill now has a single figure handicap of 9 and John’s already impressing handicap has been lowered further to 3.5.
These changes act as incentives to others and provide evidence that the overall aspirations of the Club’s Committee to improve the standard of croquet within ACCC are being realised.
Balgreen AC Handicap Alternate Stroke Doubles 2017
Eight couples entered and were split into 2 blocks, format 18pt, all clips on hoop 5, 1hr 40mins duration, all play all round robin, with group winners playing the final. Played in rather pleasant weather and on ever improving lawns, Block A clear winners were John Surgenor/Bill Strachan winning all three matches. Block B proved a far more closely fought affair with Jamieson Walker/Jola Jurasinska winning on net hoops. In the final John/Bill took a commanding early lead, only to see it disappear when Jamieson/Jola forced to use their last bisques, produced a 3 ball 8 hoop turn to peg, using only roll shots and hoop runs. John/Bill then took their back ball to peg and duly pegged out the opposition ball. A 3 ball finish, which Jamieson/Jola played well until Jamieson stuck in rover. Bill then hit in, peeled their ball through rover, roqueted it, setup a rush to peg and then pegged out, winning 18/17. John and Bill received a bottle of wine each for their days efforts.
Thanks to Hamish for managing the event and providing refreshment throughout the day.
Scottish GC Handicap Tournament 18 June 2017
Thought it might be a good idea to enter a GC tournament. Imagine my surprise when I entered and was then asked to manage the event. The event was played in glorious sunshine throughout the day at the Meadows Croquet Club. The lawns proved quite testing as they seemed to have developed some very subtle borrows this season. Nine entries were reduced to Eight with a late withdrawal on the Sunday morning. It was decided to play an all play all round robin (7 rounds) time permitting, which we almost managed with only 4 matches unplayed. My apologies to Brian as two of them involved him, but the sixth round proved very difficult to arrange. It soon became apparent that Rosemary was the one to beat as she comfortably won her opening matches. Robert and Lorna took her close but Bill was the only one to beat her (admittedly after she could not be caught on matches won).
Thanks to all the competitors for their patience and support throughout the day, Meadows Croquet Club for the use of their lawns, Lorna for providing an excellent afternoon tea at the finish and last but not least Rosemary for agreeing to be assistant manager and congratulations on winning the event. Full results will appear on the SCA website.
Golden Games Croquet
This year’s Golden Games Croquet was played with occasional sunshine but generally warm weather at Albury Sports Centre. Twentyfour people attended playing over two sessions from 1.00 to 2.30 and 2.30 to 4.00 with 12 in each session. This proved to be an excellent arrangement as the new 3 lawn layout meant 4 players per lawn was possible. Basic tuition was then followed with a game of Golf Croquet which proved popular with all players. Some participants showed definite promised and all left with an ACCC leaflet; hopefully some may return. Thanks to Gordon, Malcolm, Tom and David for their assistance throughout the afternoon. Unfortunately no photos are available as the players had not given permission.
Golf Croquet Festival 2017
Sixteen members took part in our first Golf Croquet event on Sunday 14 May at Albury Sports Centre. Played in mainly glorious sunshine, the new three lawn setup was well used throughout the day with players completing 10 matches. After the morning session Sandy and David Colling had run 24 hoops, With David Garwood, Lizetta Garwood, Zosia Colling and Karen Southworth all running 22 hoops, so all to play for in the afternoon. The redraw of partners produced what proved to be a winning combination of David Garwood and Jane Drury who won three of their five matches in time (ie scoring seven hoops).
It came as no surprise that the eventual winner of The Sandy Rennie Trophy was David Garwood (54 hoops) with Jane Drury (51 hoops) second and Zosia Colling (46 hoops) third. Everyone is now looking forward to the next Golf Croquet event later in the season.
Thanks to Brian Butler for providing all the accessories and refreshments throughout the day.
Spring Weekend AC Handicap Tournament
Fourteen players contested the Spring Weekend Tournament over the weekend 6/7 May, played in glorious Spring sunshine on the lawns at the Meadows Croquet Club Edinburgh. Thirteen players had handicaps of 12 or under with Lyn Gilpin on 22. Bill Strachan entered from ACCC and had a very mixed weekend, with wins against Alistair Malcolm (26-13) and Jamieson Walker (26-13) but losing to Rosemary Sanders Robertson (19-26) and the eventual winner John Paul Moberly (24-26) in an enthralling game.
JP missed a roquet on the 3rd turn (which proved to be his only mistake of the match) allowing Bill to hit in, set up a 4 ball break and take his ball to peg. Unfortunately this involved wasting several bisques by hitting the peg, wiring himself on a hoop and missing a rouqet, which left him with only 2 bisques. JP then hit in from about 20 yds and proceeded to take his ball to peg and not surprisingly peg out Bill’s ball. This now forced Bill to use his remaining bisques to set up a break: he then proceeded to run 11 hoops with a 3 ball break and looked certain to finish but bobbled rover, allowing JP an easy roquet. He then demonstrated the classic way to play a 3 ball break running all 12 hoops and pegging out. JP went on to win a peg shoot-out with 3 other players on the same win percentage.
Thanks to Jane Morrison for all her work as Tournament Manager
Club Social Evening
Twentyfive members braved the winter weather to attend our social event, held on Friday 10th February at the Cults Hotel. Sustained by an excellent finger buffet and refreshed by the services of our own barman the evening got off to a great start. The decision to have a raffle proved extremely beneficial to club funds raising £60, much to the delight of treasurer Tom. Teams were then formed and quiz master Bill helped by his assistant Meg (pictured right), commenced a general knowledge and various other categories quiz. The clear winners were “The Deesiders” (Malcolm, Mary, Jane, Jocelyn and Gabrielle) with “The Shy Tots” who will remain anonymous collecting the wooden spoons, but we know who they are. Thanks to everyone for making the evening such a success and similar events will definitely be arranged during the coming season.