It is time for some celebration before starting another year’s determined battling for the UK backgammon teams.
I was totally motivated by a programme I saw about UK backgammon from about 7 or 8 years ago in which Paul Magriel expressed his views about the UK’s place in the hierarchy of World Backgammon and I hope that in light of recent performances he has updated his views about the UK backgammon scene. I was of course lucky to inherit the captaincy at a time when new UK players where appearing on the World stage.
[The programme in question is, I believe, “Backgammon – The Cruellest Game” and you can watch it here – Paul’s thoughts about us are about 7 minutes in. Watch carefully for some familiar faces! – Julia]
So what have we achieved in the two years since I was appointed captain in the 3 major international team competitions?
- Worldwide Trophy: Winners in 2016 and 5th in 2017
- European Championships: Runners up in 2016 and 6th in 2017
- European Online Championships: 4th in 2016 and Winners in 2017
No other countries came close to replicating this success in 2016/17. I am particularly proud of the UK online team who played the final against Austria at a combined team PR of 3.4 at the most crucial time.
Naming names is dangerous because I will undoubtably miss out someone worthy of praise, but Seb and Chris have played in almost all my teams, Raj stepped up to the plate and captained the team to victory in WWT 2016, Gaz and Leo were incredible in this year’s online and Lawrence and Eric have both been extremely successful when playing for the UK these last two years.
So to 2018; Martin Barkwill has been appointed second team captain, Rachel Rhodes Women’s team captain and Chris Rogers online captain so I look forward to the year with optimism. The UK teams are not in any way a closed shop; Steve Bibby through his performances at the UKBGF Tour and Peter Bennet through his various victories and domination of the UKBGF ratings have forced their way into the first team squad and I am hoping others will do this in 2018.
I took my eye off the ball in Iceland this year and I won’t do again, 2018 will be marked by great team spirit and the teams representing the UK with my often stated goal of dignity and determination. Let’s do it.
As always, if you’d like to find out more about playing for Team UK, what it takes and how to be considered, do get in touch.