2020 AGM, Buffet and Quiz

Twenty members attended the AGM held at the Cults Hotel on Friday 22 November 2019. As a thank you for all his work on the committee Robert was made our third Honorary Member.

Members were then joined by partners and guests for an excellent buffet and quiz organised by Nick. The quiz proved to be interesting and covered various themes – thanks to Nick for all his work. Winners were “the difficult ones” comprising John Owen, Geoff, Dan and Meg by the closest margin of one point.

Club Champion Bill receiving the Burnett Cup from beaten finalist and holder John Owen

Thanks to Zosia for her undoubted talent selling raffle tickets resulting in £75 towards club funds, much to the delight of Tom. Thanks to all those who contributed prizes for the raffle.

Aberdeen Tournament 2019
7-8th September, Albury and Northfield Centres

Hosted by Aberdeen and Crathes Croquet Club, 13 entered this year’s event with the regulars from the North of England and the Central Belt along with local players. Format 18pt. – 2hr – Handicap.
Blocks 1 and 2 were played at Albury with no clear winner in either after the block matches. Qualifying on 2 wins each were George Plant and Steve Skelton (Block 1) and Hamish Duguid and Ian Hall (Block 2). It was interesting that all the qualifiers had less gross hoops than the 3rd/4th players.
Block 3 was played at the new venue of Northfield Sports Centre, the lawns proving to be really flat and true. Both ACCC members Bill and Robert emerged as leaders on 3 wins, the final round between them would decide who played in the Final / Wine Final. As a result of his 3 wins Robert’s handicap was reduced from 18 to 16, good news for Bill as he was now only conceding 6 bisques instead of 7.5.
Sunday’s play was all based at Albury and started in glorious sunshine which continued all day. Despite Bill’s dislike of early morning croquet his form continued and he beat Robert 18-7 to qualify for the Final, with Robert playing in the Wine Final for the second year running. George Plant and Hamish Duguid contested the Block 1/2 final qualifying match with Hamish winning 10-7.
Wine Final: George proved too strong for Robert and although conceding 8 bisques won 18-11.
The Final: It could never be described as a classic exhibition of croquet but it kept the spectators intrigued as to what would happen next. Bill’s form deserted him as was demonstrated by his inability to run hoop 6 on no less than 4 occasions. Needless to say Hamish emerged as the winner 11-8.

Thanks to Lizetta, David, and Meg for their help in keeping all the players refreshed and fed over the weekend; their efforts were the highlight of the tournament. Once again the home bakes went down a treat. Thanks also to Robert, Brian and Hamish for providing transport to both venues, Hamish (Balgreen CC) for the additional sets of croquet balls, Janice for her photographic skills and everyone who helped set out and dismantle the lawns.

The Spalding Trophy 2019

Held at Knightswood, Glasgow 6 couples contested this year’s Trophy with John Owen replacing an injured Brian Durward, Charlotte Townsend and Roger Binks (Holders), John Surgenor and Bill Strachan, Alan Wilson and Kevin Wright, John Owen and Stefan Colling, Hamish Duguid and Joe Lennon, Jola Jursinakia and Jamison Walker. Format 26pt, 3hr, Advanced Rules, Alternate Stroke Doubles, no bisques, all play all.

Play started in warm sunshine which continued through the day. John and Bill’s first match was against the holders, which they convincing won 26/4, next was Hamish / Joe another win 24/15 and finally Jola / Jamieson winning 26/10. John and Stefan beat Hamish / Joe 26/5, beat Jola / Jamieson 26/4 but losing their final match against Alan / Kevin 17/24. After Saturday’s play John / Bill and Alan / Kevin remained unbeaten.
Sunday was even warmer with brilliant sunshine all day. John / Bill started by losing to the other ACCC/Glasgow combo John / Stefan 17/26 and with Alan / Kevin winning against Hamish / Joe 22/15, the final round had all the makings of a 3 way tie if John / Bill beat Alan / Kevin but it was not to be as they lost by one hoop 16/15 and Alan / Kevin were clear winners of the Spalding Trophy. John / Stefan won their last match against Charlotte / Roger 17/7 to finish second. Alan / Kevin also won the peeling prize which included several peeling of their opponents ball.
Thanks to John Surgenor for managing/referring the event, Brian for organising an excellent Sunday lunch, Eleanor for attending and presenting the Trophy and everyone who helped set.up and dismantle the lawns
Full results can be seen on the SCA website soon.

Scottish Short Croquet Championship 2019
Sunday 18th August 2019

John Owen played in the Scottish Short Croquet competition at Balgreen on a showery day. With 8 entrants, 14pt and 1-hour time limits, it was decided that everyone would play against everyone else (7 games each). Players were taking some time to get used to the small lawns, which weren’t in best condition, and there were many instances of take-offs going off the lawn. There was also the novelty of some players receiving bisques when playing against higher-handicap players and Jane Morrison having to do two mandatory peels in each game because of her low handicap (-0.5).
John’s first match was a comfortable 14-1 win against Rosemary Saunders-Robertson. The result was surprising, as Rosemary went on to win all her other games. Against Joe Lennon, John hit in on turn 2 and started a 2-ball break, getting as far as hoop 3. Joe hit in on turn 3 and went round to the peg using his bisques. John missed in turn 4, then Joe hit in on turn 5 and went round to finish the game in around 25 minutes. Jane Morrison gave John a gift, playing the wrong ball in turn 3, then accidentally cross-wiring him to give him a lift. Nevertheless, she looked like winning, but managed to shoot through a very narrow gap in a double target to let John in for a 14-10 win. John had a narrow 9-8 win over Hamish Duguid and losses to Graham Brightwell (2-14) and Roger Binks (5-14). In John’s last match against Rachel Frith, who had 10 bisques, John went round to peg, then Rachel did likewise (with 7 bisques). Rachel declined to peg out John’s ball, which would have made things interesting, and John ran out a 14-7 winner.
John had 4 wins and 3 losses, while Roger Binks won the tournament on 6 wins (ahead of Rosemary on gross hoops).

AC Club Championships

Division A winner, Bill Strachan

Club Championship Division A
The deciding match in Division A was between Bill Strachan, who was wanting to win back the trophy he won in 2015, and John Owen, who was aiming for a fourth consecutive title. The opening hour or so was quite tactical and cagey, as Bill didn’t want to give John an easy start and John was wary of Bill’s five bisques. Eventually, Bill used a bisque to establish a break for red, and went to rover, using two more bisques in the middle of the break when he temporarily lost control. John finally got his chance with black, setting up a break starting at hoop 2 when there were no balls anywhere near that hoop. He was thinking of going round, peeling red through rover and pegging it out, but blobbed 3-back to let Bill back in. Bill’s break also came to an end at 3-back. John then joined up on the north boundary near hoop 4, while Bill was joined up near hoop 1.

Div B winner, David Garwood

Bill roqueted red with yellow, took off to John’s balls, tried to get a rush on blue to 3-back, but failed to get position and returned to yellow. John shot at black with blue and missed, and the same sequence of shots was repeated. The third time, however, Bill’s take-off went off the lawn and John was able to get the rush to 3-back and make the hoop. It proved to be his last hoop, as Bill hit in and took yellow round to peg. He had John cross-wired, but left a juicy double target. John had to hit, but missed, and Bill finished off to win 26-11 to take the title.

Club Championship Division B
Congratulations to David Garwood on winning Division B, remaining undefeated over the season.

Summer Golf Croquet Festival : The Sandy Rennie Trophy
Sunday 11 August 2019

Play started under overcast skies but remained fairly dry for the whole day. 15 members contested The Sandy Rennie Trophy.
Format 13pt (25 minute time limit), this year the draw allowed for pairings to change after each of the 5 rounds morning and afternoon.

After the morning session John Owen topped the leader board with 4 wins closely followed by Jane and Stefan on 3 wins and 1 draw. The afternoon session saw Stefan and John O draw their match, advantage Stefan. Unnoticed Zosia (Stefan’s mum) although losing her first match against Stefan (4-3) won all her remaining matches to move into contention for the Trophy. Stefan continued his winning ways and won the Trophy although tied with John O and Zosia on 7 wins, thanks to 2 drawn matches against John O’s 1, with Zosia a close third. Congratulations to Stefan a worthy winner and thanks to Sandy Rennie for attending to present his Trophy. Special thanks to Lizetta for her extremely tasty home baked rock cakes which were enjoyed by all.

Inter-Clan Croquet Competition

Once again we were delighted to help supervise Jamie Burnett’s Inter Clan Competition held at Crathes Castle on Thursday 1st August 2019. 8 teams of two playing Golf Croquet, double banked on two half lawns in a straight knockout event made for an interesting evening’s croquet. After several closely contested matches the final was between House of Burnett “A” and Clan Baird “B” with Clan Baird eventually running out winners. Thanks to Jamie for providing refreshments and nibbles throughout the evening, his generous donation to the club and to Nick for helping guide the players round the lawns. We look forward to helping out again next year.

Wilkinson Sword 2019 – ACCC loose deciding match by 1 hoop

This year’s Tournament held at Kinghtswood attracted 6 clubs, Aberdeen & Crathes (John Owen and Bill Strachan 10.5), Aberdeen Saints (Charles Henderson and Quentin Stephens 38), Balgreen (Alistair Malcolm and Kevin Russell 17), Edinburgh (Alan Hawke and David Fell 14), Glasgow (Brian Durward and Peter Martin 28) and Meadows (George Plant and Bruce Bennent 24.5). Format Full Lawn : 14pt : 1hr 30mins : Bisques, handicap difference divided by 4.
Play commenced under overcast skies but warm conditions, things deteriorated early afternoon with heavy intermittent rain but finishing the day in glorious sunshine.
In his briefing Brian offered teams the option of standard doubles or alternate stroke doubles provided both teams agreed, only a few accepted to play ASD.
Our first two matches were played as ASD against Glasgow (4.5 bisques) which we won 14-7 and Balgreen (1.5 bisques) winning 14-6. The next match against Edinburgh (1 bisque) returned to standard doubles, a slight adjustment to play but we won again 14-4. Next match was against Saints, standard doubles, conceding 7 bisques, no pressure !!, their use of bisques was really puzzling and they had used 5 before running their first hoop. Their negative tactics made progress slow but John sealed our win by taking a break to peg, 9-4, we remained unbeaten. Our last match was against Meadows (3.5 bisques) the only other unbeaten team, so the winner would take home The Wilkinson Sword Trophy. Having won all their matches playing standard doubles it was not surprising that the “final” would be the same. It proved to be a rather negative tactical affair, they kept us well separated and it was 25 minutes before the first hoop was run. Fortunately John hit in and took his ball to peg. George then took a break to peg and with a slender lead, 2 bisques remaining and time running out they decided to play “Aunt Emma” with George in charge and using their remaining bisques ran out winners by one hoop 7-8.
Thanks to Brian for managing the Tournament and Glasgow CC for providing refreshment throughout the day.

ACCC Alternate Stroke Doubles 2019

Four couples played in this year’s ASD event held at Albury on Sunday 21st July, Bill and David C (2), Robert and Elaine (4), Dan and John (5) and David G and Gordon (6). Format All play All both Morning and Afternoon sessions : Half Lawns : 14pt : 1hr duration (strict guillotine) : bisques allocated per match.

Play started in warm sunny weather and continued for the morning. After some close matches including one tied match, two couples lead each with 2 wins, David G/Gordon and Bill/David C. Afternoon play commenced after a short lunch break with the weather still pleasantly warm. The Tournament Manager announced minor changes to the bisque allocation. David G/Gordon reduced to 5 and Dan/John increased to 6, perhaps Robert and Elaine’s bisques should of been reduced as they produced the only peg-out game with 2 bisques still standing in their first afternoon match. The reduction made little difference to David G/Gordon as they continued their winning ways with 2 wins and a tied match from the afternoon session and were clear winners with 4 wins and 1 tied match.

Johm Owen wins Balgreen Summer Weekend 2019

Having won this tournament in 2017, John decided to enter this year but did not look forward to a weekend pulling bisques out of the ground. The format was Egyptian System Handicap difference : 26pt : 3hrs. There were 12 entries with handicaps ranging from 2.5 to 24.
The weather was dry and warm: unfortunately, Balgreen has problems with patchy dry areas, so the lawns were not in great condition and we were given dispensation to use “preferred lies”.
Saturday morning saw John start with a match against Jola Jurasinska (14) who used her bisques to run 15 hoops. John then failed with a rover peel but used a jump shot to run rover then rush peeled his partner ball, pegged out one ball and won 26-15. Next was Kevin Russell (12) who combined some spectacular rolls with missing easy raquets allowing John to win 26-19. Brian Cosfford (16) using his bisques to great affect had both ball on rover before John took croquet. John then got round and cross wired Brian on hoop 1 who then missed his hit in and John then went round to win 26-22.
Sunday morning’s match was against Jamieson Walker (14) who was hitting in form everywhere but failing to run hoops. He finally got a ball on peg but John then followed and pegged Jamieson’s ball out. Jamieson made 2 more hoops before failing penult allowing John to win 26-23. Next match was against John’s nearest rival for the Tournament win, John Campbell (9). In turn 4 John C ran 9 hoops on a 3 ball break without using any bisques. John O replied with a break but was hampered after 1 back and that was as far as he got with John C winning 26-7 with 1.5 bisques left (handicap reduction on the horizon). With time for another round the Managers could not find suitable opponents for the two Johns, so they decided they play each other again with the winner taking the title. John C using his bisques had balls on rover and 3-back with John O still to start. John C took position for 3-back but mistakenly thought he had a bisque left, this allowed John O in, taking his break to peg and cross-wiring John C at hoop 1. John C then took off to John O’s balls near hoop 2 went off by about 1cm, letting John O in and going round to peg to win 26-20 and the title again.
Thanks to Balgreen for hosting the event and Hamish Duguid and Roger Binks as Tournament Managers

Meadows AC Open Tournament

The following report is from Bill Strachan. The Tournament format, Advanced Play, no bisques, 26pt, 2hr 45mins duration.

Played at the Meadows Club on beautifully green lawns if slightly on the heavy side.
My usual poor early morning play saw Brian Durward (4) take a break to 4 back and me hitting in but struggling to do anything else. Eventually my game improved but in a close finish Brian winning 21-16. Next opponent was a jubilant George Plant (7), having just beaten Alan Wilson he continued his good form and won 26-16. My final match was against Joe Lennon (10) where my play improved and I won 23-12.
Sunday morning match against Roger Binks (10), a slightly better performance but still ended up losing 16-23. My final match was against Gail Curry (0) returning to croquet after several years absence. It was nice to see her gradual improvement over the weekend which made my match against her really interesting. Her break maintenance was extremely good but her inconsistent roqueting meant she rarely had a break opportunity. I eventually won 17-12.
Full results will be published on the SCA website.

I was double banked with the Chris Martin/ George Plant (undeafeted) match on Sunday afternoon and witnessed the most incredible time turn by Chris. George had run rover and with his partner ball on rover and with time running out finished his turn but his leave was less than challenging. Why he did not peg out his peg ball amazed everyone. Chris was on 4 back and I think hoop 5, his task was simple take his back ball to peg, peel his partner ball through 2 hoops and peg out his peg ball. I suggested to Gail we pause our game to allow Chris minimum disturbance with his turn. Chris achieved his aim and his leave left George a hit in of at least 18M which he missed. Chris’s turn deserved to win any Tournament, as he eventually did..

SCA Handicap Doubles

John (2.5) and Bill (8) faced Alan Wilson (2) and Kathy Brown (16) conceding 4 bisques in the SCA handicap doubles at Balgreen. The lawn was quite fast but the numerous bare patches may long roquets a bit of a lottery.

John hit in on turn 4, but didn’t make much progress. Bill then made one hoop while Kathy was making steady progress with their bisques. Eventually, Alan decided that it was time for him to get going (with over 2 hours gone), but he only got as far as 2-back. Meanwhile, Bill with a good break got to 4-back. Kathy did likewise, but missed when shooting at white on the north boundary, and they had no bisques left. That gave John a chance to go on a 3-ball break (Alan’s brown was tucked away in corner 4), and he managed to get going from hoop 5. He wasn’t able to rush brown close enough to 3-back and his approach left a very difficult hoop. As time was running out, John declined to try the hoop and joined up with pink, with us 1 point ahead. Alan had to hit in, otherwise we would have won +1 on time, but he did hit in and was able to make 2-back and 3-back, but was hampered after 3-back so shot into corner 1 with them 1 point ahead. We then had a final turn, and one of us had to hit in. After a short discussion it was agreed that Bill should attempt the hit in and he was successful. His take-off was short of the rush line to 4-back and then he over hit his hoop approach and failed an angled hoop attempt (if only!), losing +1 on time.

The Golden Games

Once again ACCC hosted a Croquet experience as one of the many events offered under the banner of The Golden Games. Based at Albury Sports Centre, a set-up of 3 short croquet lawns allowed 24 people to participate. They were split into 2 groups with each session lasting 1 hour. After some basic coaching, it was followed by a game of Golf Croquet which appeared to be enjoyed by everyone. Thanks to John Owen, Eddie Marshall and David Garwood for helping out with the sessions. Hopefully some of the players enjoyed their experience to the extent of joining the club.

Aberdeen Ladies Curling Club – Summer Outing

The Club was approached by Lindsey McNiven, retiring President of Aberdeen Ladies Curling Club with a request to organise a Croquet Event for their Summer Outing. We were delighted to arrange the outing and on Tuesday 4th June, Lindsey and 19 of her fellow curlers arrived at Crathes. After a short introduction, 10 pairs were created by a draw of cards, play then commenced, Golf Croquet matches 25 minutes long, double banked on the 2 small lawns. Each group was supervised by a club member who manage to resolve any “traffic” jams by redirecting their match to an alternative route. With all teams having played 4 matches the overall winners were declared and received their prize from Lindsey. Thanks to Nick, John Webber and Robert for their help navigating the teams round the lawns and to Lindsey and her fellow curlers for their extremely generous donation to Club funds.

Middle Bisquers Tournament

For the past two years John Owen has been runner-up in this tournament but is no longer eligible as his handicap has reduced to 2.5. The Tournament format is open to players with 3 to 10 handicap, Advanced Play, no bisques, 26pt, 3hr duration. I entered hoping to match or even better John’s efforts.
The Tournament was played over the weekend of the 8-9th June on Kinghtswood’s ever improving lawns. With 3 late withdrawals only 6 players contested this year’s event so it was decided that all play all ie 5 matches over the two days. Play commenced in overcast but warm conditions and my start was less that convincing losing to Brian Durward in a forgettable match (26-20). Things could only get better and I won my next two matches against Callum Worsley (26-14) and Kevin Wright (19-4). Sunday saw my winning ways continue with a win against Rosemary Sanders-Robertson (26-7.) At this level you cannot be generous with the opportunities you give your opponent and this proved the case against George Plant losing (15-26) and matching John’s record disappeared.
Meanwhile Brian Durward played consistently well and remained undefeated over both days. I had to leave early so did not see how Brian as Tournament Manager and Referee presented the Trophy to himself! Thanks to Brian and Glasgow CC for managing and providing refreshments throughout the weekend.


At the start of the Tournament Brian produced a carrier bag containing a large selection of jumpers and pullovers collected by the late James Thompson and instructed everyone to help themselves, so several of us now have something to remind us of James.

Spring Golf Croquet Festival – The Sandy Rennie GC Trophy

Play started under damp overcast conditions but things gradually improved with the final rounds played in glorious sunshine. 10 members contested The Sandy Rennie Trophy.
Format 13pt (30 minute time limit), redraw for partners each round, 4 rounds morning and afternoon.
After the morning session the Garwoods topped the leader board with Lizetta in first place 2 hoops ahead of David. Several players were within 3 hoops of the leaders. The afternoon session saw David fall out of contention but John Webber closed the gap to Lizetta to 2 hoops with one round to play. The final round produced the deciding match with John and Judy Lyle against Brian Butler and Lizetta with the latter producing a faultless game running out 7-1 winners. Congratulations to Lizetta a worthy winner, thanks to her constantly good play.

Social Evening at the Cults Hotel

First social event of the season, consisting of a finger buffet and Beetle Drive, held at the Cults Hotel. Starting off with an excellent buffet, the evening then continued with the Beetle Drive, thanks to Sheena and Brian for providing all the materials needed and an explanation of how to play. After 6 rounds of frantic die shaking and drawing the eventual winner with 74 points (out of a possible 84) was Edna, with Gwen picking up the wooden spoon. This year we had a special prize for the most artistic drawn beetles, which was won by Gordon with Gwen a close second but Gordon clinched the prize by naming all his 6 beetles. A raffle raised £70 with thanks to Zosia for encouraging everyone to buy tickets and thanks to everyone who donated prizes. Format of the next social evening to be announced soon.

John Owen runner-up in Balgreen One Ball

I travelled to Balgreen for the Spring One-Ball Handicap tournament which was won last year by Bill Strachan, who was unable to defend his trophy. It was dry in Aberdeen, but dreich in Edinburgh, gradually becoming drier during the day. I started against the improving Stefan Colling who had never played one-ball before, but beat me 13-9. I then had three wins and a loss, before taking on James Hopgood, whose handicap for this tournament had been adjusted to -6. I managed to use my bisques well to get a lead, and after going through penult I roqueted his ball then saw that I still had one bisque left in the ground. I rolled both balls to rover and took position in front of the hoop, then told James that I would take my last bisque. He said that I had already taken it (at 3-back) but he hadn’t taken the bisque out of the ground. I had forgotten having taken it, and after much discussion, we agreed that I had been “playing when misled” when I rolled the balls to rover, so I replayed the break from that point without the comfort of an extra bisque. I still managed to win 13-4 and had another 13-4 win against Chris Martin. I then came up against Peter Martin whose handicap was 24 and had never played one-ball before. By the time he played me, he certainly knew what he was doing as he had won all his games, so I knew it would be a difficult game. However, after a slow start, I managed a 7-hoop two-ball break and closed out a 13-7 win with two of his bisques still standing. It wasn’t enough to stop Peter being a worthy winner of the tournament. After a final game 13-10 loss to Roger Binks, my record of 6 wins from 9 put me second equal.