Tim Cross writes:
I approached the World Team Championship 2019 in Montenegro with excitement and dreams of the UK winning the last major competition in which I would be UK Captain. We had an incredibly strong squad Chris Rogers, Eric McAlpine, Gaz Owen, Jon Barnes, Lawrence Powell, Raj Jansari and Sebastian Wilkinson. We were also buoyed by the support of Simon Hopper, Rosey Bensley, John Broomfield , David Broomfield, Holly Jansari, Julian Minwalla and Richard Biddle.
We were drawn in the same group as the tournament favourites Japan with the regular top three giants of Mochy, Michy and Akiko and we drew them in the first match and confidently beat them 3-1 to get our tournament off to a flying start. This was followed up by a great 4-0 victory over Ukraine at which point I thought that qualification for the quarter finals was almost certain. I should have listened to the wise words of my friend Simon who cautioned against overconfidence.
The third round saw a shock 3-1 defeat to Hungary and we couldn’t get back into top gear again finishing the tournament with 3 straight draws to miss out by one place for the second consecutive year. We were very touched by the generosity of the team from Armenia who gave us a lovely bottle of brandy and a pennant as well as being great sports. The tournament was won by Germany who have replaced us over the last 18 months as the in form National team so congratulations to Germany, worthy winners.
The next World Team Championship will be held in January so the Captain Elect will have to be chosen quite soon to give plenty of time to make his/her plans. My captaincy finishes at the end of December and of course I have many people to thank for their support which I will do in due course.
We’re immensely grateful to Tim for his captaincy which has created a great team and brought some awesome successes as well as painfully close misses – but that’s backgammon! We will be announcing the selection process for Tim’s successor soon with a view to having a decision made in plenty of time for the 2020 event.