Scotland and Canada finished their international match yesterday with a tie - 15 games each. Canada retain the Maple Leaf Shield, having beaten Scotland two years ago in Canada. The last day proved to be equally as close as the previous two days, with one doubles match going each way and then all four singles being drawn.
Leo McBride hadn't made a single mistake in the previous two days' singles, with four +26tp wins, two in the fifth turn and two in the sixth. Jonathan Kirby was hoping to put him under some pressure, and this worked in the first game, when Leo failed to rush partner in front of rover for the straight rover peel. Jonathan hit the short lift shot and went to 4b, Leo's lift shot hilled off and Jonathan embarked on a delayed triple, getting 4b before 6 and penult before 2b. However, he too got into trouble with the straight rover peel, and missed a ten yard peg-out, sending partner near penult. He pegged off one ball, Leo missed the 11 yard shot from B baulk, and Jonathan hit the peg. Possibly still reeling from this short miss, Leo missed on turn three in the second game allowing Jonathan to go to 4b. Leo then pulled himself together to hit - his shooting had been perfect all weekend until the previous game. Jonathan missed the long lift and Leo again had problems with the straight rover peel. Jonathan's last shot hilled off and Leo finished.
Paul Emmett had a good, if untidy, triple peel in the first game against Rod Williams, but then seemed to lose his concentration in the second game, allowing Rod to level once more. Charlotte Townsend had a near faultless first game against Patrick Little. In the second game, Charlotte pegged out Patrick's red ball with her partner ball on 1 and yellow for 2b. Charlotte made no real mistakes, but Patrick was very patient and gradually managed to get round and finish.
Fergus McInnes and Chris Loat had each yet to win a singles game, but managed to ensure that no one went away disappointed by winning one each. Fergus made the early running in the first game, but was eventually overtaken by Chris. Their second game was the last to start, and all the other games had finished with an hour left on the clock. Both players were feeling the pressure of knowing that everything rested on them, and there were several nervous shots. Chris's hoop shots had the crowd's hopes up or down (depending on nationality), as he hit each just hard enough to go through. Fergus eventually had the Scottish observers perplexed as he played a most peculiar turn, not giving himself the chance to finish in the next turn when he could have. Then time was called - we hadn't realised it was so close - and everything became clear. Chris missed the last shot, and the Scots breathed a sigh of relief that they had managed a draw.
Both teams greatly enjoyed the match, and the result was very fair. The Scottish selectors deserve credit for successfully matching the Canadian team, although the agreed all play all format was also conducive to a close result - only one of the singles games didn't go to form. The Scottish team greatly looks forward to the return match in 2004.
Jonathan Kirby & Fergus McInnes beat Paul Emmett & Patrick Little +6
Rod Williams & Charlotte Townsend beat Leo McBride & Chris Loat +14
Jonathan Kirby drew with Paul Emmett +16tp, -16tp
Rod Williams lost to Leo McBride -26tp, -26tp
Charlotte Townsend beat Chris Loat +6, +26
Fergus McInnes lost to Patrick Little -10T (25-15), -17
Match score: 5-5
Jonathan Kirby & Charlotte Townsend beat Leo McBride & Patrick Little +26tp(K) Rod Williams & Fergus McInnes lost to Paul Emmett & Chris Loat -1T (20-19)
Jonathan Kirby beat Patrick Little +22tp
Charlotte Townsend lost to Leo McBride -26tp
Jonathan Kirby beat Chris Loat +24
Rod Williams beat Patrick Little +26
Charlotte Townsend lost to Paul Emmett -25
Fergus McInnes lost to Leo McBride -26tp
Rod Williams beat Chris Loat +17
Fergus McInnes lost to Paul Emmett -6
Match score: 10-10
Kirby & Williams lost to McBride & Emmett -25tp(E)
Townsend & McInnes beat Little & Loat +16
Kirby drew with McBride +3, -17
Williams drew with Emmett -26tp, +10
Townsend drew with Little +26, -6
McInnes drew with Loat -4, +4T(23-19)
Final match score: 15-15