Scotland started very promisingly on Friday night, losing a very tight match to England by six imps (14-16 VP). To be fair Iain and John played well enough to win the match, but although the younger pairs missed some opportunities it still looked a solid performance.
I did not see Saturday's play as I was helping run the junior trials, but I'm told that the team did not play as badly as the scores suggest and that the opponents were "walking on water". Whatever the reasons it was disappointing to see a 10-20 VP loss to Northern Ireland, the real stars of the weekend on home soil, and then a losing 15-15 VP draw with CBAI, the second Irish team.
The two matches on Sunday followed a similar course - a fair performance in the first half followed by something of a capitulation in the second half, losing 13-17 VP to Wales and 8-22 VP to Ireland. I haven't spoken to the pairs themselves but my impression was that they played a little tired. Iain and John played throughout Sunday and I expect the two new pairs found the experience more tiring than they expected, even though each partnership had an experienced internationalist.
The standard of the Camrose Trophy does not compare with the Polish Premier League and Dutch play-offs that could also be seen on BBO over the weekend. But it is more intense than any other UK competition and the Scottish players making their débuts can only benefit from the experience.
After a disappointing weekend there is little doubt that many of those supporting pairs who were not selected will be calling for changes. Failing to win any of the matches is clearly disappointing, but I would like to remind everyone that the 'high-scoring' highly-experienced Scotland team from last year also failed to beat another country in the second weekend. I didn't see any outstanding pair who missed selection, so I hope that the selectors keep this team for the second weekend in March.