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Scottish Open - full report

[<<] [>>] by Ian Lines
26th July 2005 (International)

The Scottish Open Championship was won by Jonathan Kirby, who beat David Openshaw -3, +26tp, +17tp in the final. The 11 competitors also included a number of other minus players including Chris Dent, Dave Nick, Bob Burnett, Ian Lines and Jenny Williams, as well as Jonathan Bowen from Canberra. This was apparently the strongest field of competitors at a Scottish croquet tournament since the Home Internationals were played in Glasgow in 1992.

The event was held at Edinburgh's Meadows Croquet Club, about a mile south of the town centre on the edge of a very pleasant park. The club is also the home of the Scotland's National Croquet Centre. As such it is the Scottish Croquet Association's www.scottishcroquet.org.uk/ centre for the development of the game in Scotland at all levels and hosts major competitions and international events.

As a first time visitor, I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the lawns. Meadows was originally a bowls club with 2 lawns with a wide path between, but the path was removed some years ago and now there is ample room for 3 full sized courts, all on the same level. The lawns are remarkably flat and the quality of the grass very good, making them relatively easy, although on the fast side of medium due to the hot and sunny weather which we enjoyed. The lawns are fenced off from the park, and have their own pavilion/park-keeper's lodge, but there is a steady stream of spectators looking over the fence at one end.

The event was run as a knockout with best-of-threes from the quarter finals onwards. Kirby and Openshaw won their quarters in slightly scrappy games; Jenny Williams put her striker's ball hard on the wire when completing the rover peel of a triple to lose -3tp to Dave Nick; and Ian Lines was beaten -14otp in a deciding game by an in form Chris Dent, who finished from a contact leave for hoop 2 with Ian's balls in corners 1 and 4.

In the semis, Jonathan Kirby beat Dave Nick fairly tidily, and David Openshaw came back from 1-0 down to beat Chris Dent. I didn't see much of the final itself - but in the decider, Openshaw went round first with a spread, Jonathan hit the ball at the peg from the North boundary and had an NSL. Openshaw, somewhat to the crowd's surprise, shot from south of hoop 1 at the chunk of partner ball showing on the north side of hoop 4, but missed and Jonathan finished with an easy triple. My overall impression was that both Jonathan and David were playing reasonably well on easy lawns, but that Jonathan's shooting was marginally superior.

The consolation plate event was run as an Egyptian, with the top 2 and losing semi-finalists going into a knockout on the Sunday afternoon. In the Plate final, Jenny Williams beat Bob Burnett +26tp.

The prizes were presented by Brian Murdoch. Jonathan received the Moffat mallet, which is the oldest croquet tournament trophy anywhere in the world, dating from 1870. The peeling prize was awarded to Ian Lines for 4 tps and an otp, although Jonathan also finished with 5 tps (nobody even attempted to win the Champagne on offer for a sextuple). Thanks were also recorded to Fergus McInnes for organising the event and setting the hoops, Chris Dent for managing and arranging a Nepalese meal for 16 on the Saturday night, and to all those who provided the sumptuous tea on Sunday afternoon.

Account of the final

by Jonathan Kirby
The most interesting game of the final was the first.

Game 1

Openshaw won the toss and went first, Kirby chose RY.

  • Openshaw laid K as an anti-duffer ball about 4 feet off the East yard line level with the peg.
  • R to 1 foot South of II.
  • U to East boundary, leaving rush towards the peg.
  • Y shot down East boundary, missing into IV.
  • U rushed to 1, made 1 without a rush, rolled K to 3 going to R in II. Hit 5-yarder at R and tried to roll off 2 but failed long hoop.
  • R hit 5-yarder at U, pass rolls it to 2 trying for rush on K to 1 or Y in IV but runs into K. Rolls K to 1 going to Y, and takes off to 1 yard straight in front of 1. Runs 1 without touching the wire to about 9 yards past K. At this point I had the fairly strong but defensive option of shooting at Y in IV or the more aggressive option of shooting at K. I chose the latter and had the worst possible result, missing K and hitting the hoop, giving K a dolly rush to 1.
  • K to 4b with reverse NSL
  • Missed lift (I can't remember which shot, but not giving away a standard triple)
  • U embarks on delayed triple, but doesn't get rush out of 3b and rolls into escape ball trying to get past it to the peelee. Rushes peelee to 4b then rushes to long peeling position at penult and peels it. Doesn't get position for straight rover peel and scrambles a leave with U and K only 11 or 12 yards from B baulk.
  • R hits short shot and goes to 4b with NSL, U on back of 4, slightly further W than ideal but not rushable to the peg.
  • K misses the half of U visible from A baulk.
  • Y starts standard triple, but lack of tidiness contributes to failing to get 4b peel after 3 and failing to get position to attempt it before 6. Leaves peelee for attempt before 1b, but fails to get rush out of 6. At this point there were at least three options, and I chose the most aggressive, leaving my 2b pioneer at 4b. I then successfully peeled 4b going to 1b, but the rush to 2b wasn't good and the approach and hoop stroke weren't good enough.
  • K finishes easily from rover and peg.

Score -9 (not -3 as reported)

Game 2

Kirby chooses to go first, Openshaw takes RY

  • U Standard ball to East boundary
  • Y Duffer tice
  • K hits duffer, rolls Y near maximum distance point on E going to U, croquets U to boundary near Y, getting 5 foot rush pointing at corner II, goes off West boundary two yards South of level with hoop 6.
  • R misses into IV
  • U cuts Y to 1 yard South of K, goes to 4b (with DSL?)
  • Misses long lift
  • K finishes
  1. 26tp

Game 3

Openshaw goes first, Kirby RY. The opening is very similar to game 1.

  • Openshaw laid K as an anti-duffer ball about 4 feet off the East yard line level with the peg.
  • R to 1 foot South of II.
  • U to East boundary, leaving rush towards 1.
  • Y shot down East boundary, missing into IV.
  • U rushed to 1, made 1 but not by much and missed deep reception ball.
  • R misses U to South boundary near corner I.
  • K hits U, goes to 4b with DSL, yellow at peg.
  • R hits Y from North boundary, rushing near South boundary with enough room to send it to 2 going to UK, goes to 4b with NSL, K just N of 4. (There was a faster area around hoop 4, and I failed to get K in the ideal position where it would be rushable to 1 but not 2.)
  • U missed K from A baulk in front of hoop 1 (just over 1/2 a full target at 15 yards, making it the "longest" shot on offer).
  • Y completes standard triple.

Score -9, +26tp, +16tp



 

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