GREAT SCOTT!

Posted 9 October 2007 to People, Regional & National by Jeff Soo
Paul Scott looks on as Leo McBride attempts a drag-jump shot in the singles semi-finals. 2007 USCA National Championships. Photo by Jeff Soo

Paul Scott of Raleigh, NC has won the United States Croquet Association’s national singles championship for the second time. The tournament was held at The Meadow Club in Southampton, NY, October 1—7. As with his first national singles title, won in 2001, his opponent in the final game was Jeff Soo of Durham, NC. And as in 2001, Scott won the final 26-2, not allowing Soo to take croquet.

As usual, Scott and Soo teamed in the doubles. They reached the final, as they have done five of the six times they have played together in this tournament. But they lost the final to Brian Cumming (Elora, Ontario) and Stewart Jackson (West Palm Beach, Florida).

Scott, who rarely practices, had a typically slow start in the block, losing some games and qualifying an undistinguished 12th to the 24-person playoff bracket. But once in the playoffs he won four straight games to advance to the semi-finals. There he lost a game to defending champion Leo McBride (Barrie, Ontario), but because McBride had already lost a game in the playoffs, he would have to beat Scott twice. On Sunday morning, Scott beat McBride 26-2 to advance to the final.

First came the doubles final. Scott and Soo, the winningest pair in USCA nationals history, did not have a good game. Each player made a significant playing error and Jackson and Cumming won easily, 26-3.

Soo, a three-time singles winner at this event, qualified third out of the blocks and then advanced undefeated to the final, pegging out in every game [Not quite—Ed.]. He started the final by holding back both red and yellow, while Scott took position in corner IV. Once Soo had lined up the balls for a roll shot to put both balls in at once, Scott rushed over and played a spectacular cannon shot to put yellow out of position and send red into the game. From here he rushed red to #2 and scored. But then, attempting a hard cut rush on red, in an attempt to develop a break for a possible 26-1 win, he missed entirely. Soo played yellow back to position and Scott joined on the east boundary. When Scott separated Soo played red on-court, hoping for an attack with yellow. But Scott made a delicate 20-foot roquet on his partner ball in corner IV, then arranged the three balls in the game near #3. Soo entered with yellow and shot at blue, roqueting but knocking it out of bounds. From here Scott played two tightly controlled breaks to win 26-2.

Scott’s win in the singles makes him the seventh player to win this event more than once, joining Archie Peck (four wins), John Osborn, Reid Fleming, and Soo (three wins each), and Dick Pearman and Ted Prentis (two wins each). Including doubles it is Scott’s fifth American-rules national title, tied with Mik Mehas and one behind the record of six held jointly by Peck, Prentis, Fleming, and Soo. It is Scott’s ninth USCA national title, tying him with Mehas, one win shy of the record held by Soo.

Last modified on 26 November 2007