What’s Next – A Medal In Batter?!!

Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony last night and it was no surprise to see a very clichéd representation of Scotland.

I can’t confess to seeing it all, but what I did witness was Scotty Dogs, Kilts, a Caber, Bagpipes, Mull of Kintyre, Rod Stewart, the Loch Ness Monster and enough tartan to make you dizzy!!  I didn’t see the Krankies or Russ Abbott, but maybe they’re being saved for the closing ceremony!

All that remains is for the medals to be deep fried in batter!!

Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony


Engrave Danger!!

by Challenge Trophies


Claret Jug


Ok – so the pun isn’t the best!! The point is that the numbers of hand engravers in the UK is shrinking rapidly, and the noble art of hand engraving is indeed in grave danger of dying out.

For all the hundreds of thousands of trophies that are engraved throughout year, the engravers moment in the sun comes at the end of a major tournament.  We see it at the Champions League Final, recently at the World Cup 2014 Final but the most iconic sight is the engravers adding the winners name to the Open Claret Jug.

Any engraver worth his salt would have been hoping that someone with a short name, like Adam Scott won the Claret Jug, and with Rory McIlroy coming out as the winner – he didn’t do too bad.  If Charl Schwartzel had ended triumphant, the poor old engraver would have been scratching away for quite some time!!

But the sad fact is that fewer and fewer trophies and cups are hand engraved these days.  The reason for this?  Mostly, it’s the fact that as computerised engraving machines have improved, more and more items can be machine engraved and no longer need to be hand engraved.  Another factor is that cups are predominantly made in standard shapes which fit nicely into engraving machines.  The days of cups being made in an eclectic mix of unusual shapes are unfortunately behind us.

The saddest of all factors is cost.  You sometimes see a beautiful sterling silver cup that has been hand engraved with winners names for 60 years, only to have the last 3 years winners added by the uniformity of machine engraving.  It looks awful switching from the slightly stuttering strokes of hand engraving to the standard shapes of machine engraving, it’s almost as if the cup suddenly loses its soul.  Why is the decision made to switch?  Because the cost of adding the winners name by machine engraving may be £10 instead of £15 by hand engraving.  These are austere times, but I think that more is lost than is gained in that small saving.

But tradition demands that hand engraving will always remain.  So, whilst thousands of trophies will go in and out of machines this weekend, only one trophy will have its engraving viewed by millions of people through a global television audience.

Garry Harvey was the one responsible for hand engraving McIlroy’s name onto the jug last Sunday, taking over from his late father, and I for one raise a glass to the man!! Hoylake 2014 was the 11th time that the 58 year old performed one of the most famous duties in golf, witnessed by a live audience. Carry on the good work Sir!!

McIlroy wins Open Championship

Rory McIlroy won the Open Championships yesterday, leaving him only the Masters left to win all four major golf trophies.


Rory McIlroy



The Open was the Northern Irishman’s third major title after he beat Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler to victory at Hoylake.

McIlroy became only the second to have won 3 before he turns 25, whilst only 5 players have won all four major golf trophies in their career. We’ve rounded up these winners below.


US Open The Open PGA

Jack Nicklaus


4 3 5

Tiger Woods


3 3


Gary Player 3 1 3


Ben Hogan 2 4 1


Gene Sarazen 1 2 1


Germany Victorious in World Cup Final

It took them extra-time to do it, but Germany saw off Argentina in the World Cup Final at the Maracana last night to win their 4th World Cup trophy. They became the first European side to win the tournament on South American soil with Mario Gotze’s dramatic late winner deciding the game.


World Cup




–          Germany have looked the best all-round team at this tournament, and nobody can deny that they deserve the trophy. They were simply more clinical, and resolute than their opponents, and the goal that won the tournament was more than fitting. With only seven minutes of extra time remaining, Mario Gotze took Schurrle’s pass on his chest and volleyed it past the Argentinian goal keeper impressively. With Germany’s team being relatively young on average, it looks like they may become the dominant force in world football for years to come.


–          It’s always a bit uncomfortable watching the runners-up waiting around on the pitch to receive their medals, whilst the winners celebrate with their families and fans around them. Lionel Messi looked on like a lost child, who then had to pick himself up to receive the trophy for player of the tournament (a controversial decision in many people’s eyes; there were surely some more worthy winners?). Argentina will rue their missed chances in the first half, especially Higuain, who shot wide when one-on-one with the keeper.


–          In a tournament that has produced a record-equalling amount of goals, it was just one that was needed to secure the win, and the famous trophy itself. Two of the substitutes combined to highlight Joachim Low’s tactical brilliance in this tournament, and provided a goal worthy of winning any match.


–          Lionel Messi, as previously mentioned, received the Golden Ball for player of the tournament, although I’m sure he would have much preferred a winners medal. Thomas Muller received the silver ball and Arjen Robben picked up the bronze award. Manuel Neuer was by far and away the best goalkeeper of the tournament, forming a strong part of Germany’s resilient defence, and he picked up the Golden glove after conceding only four goals in their seven games. Colombia’s James Rodriguez picked up the golden boot after scoring 6 goals in the tournament.

Wimbledon Trophy Facts

After Djokovic’s success in the Wimbledon final last weekend, we’ve picked out a few interesting facts about one of the most historic tennis trophies in the world.


andy murray



  • For the past 11 years, there have only been 4 different names engraved on the men’s trophy.
  • There are 48 trophies given out at Wimbledon each year, including the men’s singles trophy and Venus rosewater dish, as well as other winner’s and runner-up trophy cups from doubles, juniors, seniors veterans and wheelchair events.
  • The engraving of the trophy is completed by Roman Zoltowski, who drives from Poland each year to hand-engrave each of the 48 trophies that are given out.
  • Each trophy takes around 18 minutes to engrave, totalling to 14 and a half hours of work for the individual.
  • The cup actually ran out of room after 2008, so the recent winners names have had to be added to a plinth on the bottom.

Click here to see a video of the engraver.