2016 has been an incredible breakthrough year for the UK backgammon teams.
It started with us reaching the final of last year’s European online championship, and this year’s online team of Gaz “JPR” Owen, Simon “Rodin” Barget, “Sensation” Wilkinson, Charles “Freeze out” Hill and Chris “The Gem” Hamilton very nearly emulated them, finishing in fourth place out of 22 in this years event.
The undoubted highlight of the year however was the victory in the World Trophy against the might of World backgammon. Countries like Germany, Japan, USA and Denmark all fielded extremely strong, maybe even their strongest possible teams. Our team of Sebastian Wilkinson, Chris Rogers, Lawrence Powell and Leo Waters, led by Raj Jansari finished ahead of them all to take the trophy.
Then came the European Team Championship. The team of Eric McAlpine, Gaz Owen, Sebastian Wilkinson, Chris Rogers, Lawrence Powell and myself reached the final only to be pipped by Denmark in the final. It says so much about how the reputation of UK backgammon has risen on the international stage recently that finishing in second place is now seen as routine almost rather than spectacular. In the words of Sensation Wilkinson our achievements of 2016 will be ‘almost impossible’ to top – that sounds like our kind of challenge.
Should you wish to be play for the 2017 teams and you can demonstrate a playing ability sub PR5.5 please don’t have any hesitation in asking to be considered for the UK teams. “The Gem” Hamilton played his first matches for the UK this year and was a superb addition to the team. Let 2017 be another newcomers’ year!