The UKBGF Tour reached its northernmost stop in October as we reached round 9, the Newcastle Open. Held in NEBA’s very own home, 56 players took part, including sizeable contingent from the north-west as well as a few southerners undaunted by the journey (helped, as Tariq and I found out, by the tables on the trains being perfectly sized for a P40 board – the perfect way to while away the time!)
Friday night featured a warm-up knockout with a bonus £100 in the prize pot, won late in the evening by Dorothy Lee beating Martin Barkwill in the final. Then on into the main event, with five Swiss rounds of 7-pointers on the Saturday. It was certainly noticeable that video recording games is proliferating, and we certainly put the Legion’s power supplies to the test! All of the leaders in the UK Tour were present but with some difficult draws and some great performances by less fancied players, only one, Steve Bibby, was still in with a chance of the title at the end of the first day. Undefeated with 5 wins was Peter Snape, and Lawrence Powell and Kate Porter also finished with clean sheets having got 4 wins and safely qualified for the last 16.
Twenty players ended up on 3 wins out of 5, needing to be whittled down to just six to make up the final bracket’s numbers, so there were plenty of one-pointer playoffs – and plenty of hard luck stories coming out of them…
Saturday evening featured the doubles, with eight pairs doing battle in a straight knockout. This was ultimately won by Tariq Siddiqi and Cynthia Roberts, again late into the evening – we must have tested the patience of the Legion’s staff a bit! This position came up in their first round against a scratch pairing of myself and Steve Allott, and caused quite a discussion – it was my roll but both sides got quite opinionated about it (as did a few people who saw it the next day)!
There’s plenty of plausible options, and the match score certainly is important – in the end we agreed to try to nail down a straightforward win with 22/16 6/2, which was successful but not enough in the end…
Sunday featured the final knockouts; as usual everyone not in the last 16 played the consolation. However, this consolation is progressive, with all but the final four of the main dropping into it. Saturday’s leader, Peter Snape, made full use of it as he bounced back from a quarter-final defeat by Graeme Turner to claim the consolation trophy. The Last Chance was a flurry of activity with rapid-fire 3-pointers and the chance of re-entry for those defeated quickly. Michael Levi’s Sunday was a bit of a roller-coaster, being knocked straight out of the main and then the consolation, but then fighting back to win the Last Chance.
The eventual finalists were Graeme Turner and Alistair Woods, with Alistair winning the final having run up a pretty large lead early on. Congratulations to both!
A big thankyou to everyone at NEBA for making us most welcome and a very successful weekend, and particularly Keith Gill for directing the tournament so smoothly. We hope it will become a regular fixture on the calendar!