Lynne MacFarlane writes:
“Awesome”, “Excellent”, Brilliant”, “Friendly” and “Good Fun” – some of the comments received at the inaugural meeting of the Saltburn Backgammon Club. For a first meeting it was well attended, with players coming from Yarm, Hartlepool, Newcastle and Redcar. Eight of us gathered in the still-being-refurbished Function Room at the Cons Club. Three boards were set up and the players took their seats. Soon the room was filled with the rattle of dice in cups, the click of counters and the buzz of conversation.
Professional backgammon games last four or five minutes, with players making swift moves against the clock. Our games are a leisurely 20 to 30 minutes. We peck our way around the board and offer advice to opponent and neighbour, discussing the merits of making a prime or making a blot, and the best way to bear off. I learned some board etiquette and discovered that the dice do not have to match the colour of the counters (bless my OCD).
Thanks to a generous start up grant from the UK Backgammon Federation, the club owns two Philos 1715 tournament size boards. These are gorgeous with heavy counters and a plush playing area. On rolling a double six, even a beginner (like myself) can imagine themselves to be in a casino in Monte Carlo. We are not a club with structured play, tournaments or betting. We encourage social play, fun and conviviality.
We meet the first Thursday of every month and we are a friendly bunch of beginners. Next gathering is 7 pm on Thursday 4 April at Saltburn Conservative & Unionist Club (entrance on Dundas Street East). Someone will be on the door until 7.15 pm to welcome those unfamiliar with the layout of the Cons Club. Happy Hour ends at 7 pm so get there early to get a cheap pint! Bring your board if you have one, we will being ours. We were very lucky to have Keith Gill attend the first meeting, and he has promised to be at the second. Keith was one of the founders of the Newcastle Group three years ago, and kept us on track with backgammon strategy, instruction and education. Many thanks to the Cons Club for letting us have the room for free, and for publicising the events.
Forthcoming meeting dates: 4 April, 2 May, 6 June, 4 July, 1 August, 5 September, 3 October, 7 November, 5 December 2019
For more information: Contact Lynne and Phil McFarlane on 07949 628336, or find Saltburn Backgammon on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SaltburnBackgammon/
We’d love to feature other new clubs here – if you’d like to tell us about your experiences then please contact Julia. And if you’d also like to make use of a grant for new equipment – be it boards, clocks, precision dice or publicity – then do get in touch.