In late January, 24 of our most successful 2018 tournament players gathered at the Shrigley Hall Hotel for the inaugural TWI.
Anticipation quickly turned into expectation as the 16 Masters and 8 Intermediates commenced battle.
With 2 wins required from 3 for qualification, 1st round wins were crucial for avoiding sudden death scenarios. A match from each round was streamed live and videos can still be seen on the UKBGF youtube channel. Notable 1st round wins included our top 2 tour players (Tim Cross and Jon Barnes) who subsequently lost their 2nd round matches thereby requiring a win from a 3rd round match to qualify for last 8. UK Open champion (David Brown) comfortably breezed through his first 2 rounds and along with Martin Barkwill, Eric McAlpine and Anna Price, they were all able to put their feet up for the rest of the day, comfortable in the knowledge that qualification for the last 8 was secured. Round 3 deciders were well fought and produced Radu Ciortan, Aref Alipour, Jon Barnes and Sean Clennell as the remaining quarter finalists.
Day 2 began with St Albans domination. Three local players plus the St Albans Open 2018 winner all making the final 4. Semi Finals were Eric McAlpine vs Aref Alipour and Jon Barnes vs David Brown with Aref and Jon triumphing.
The final was a tremendous match with both players playing to a truly impressive standard (Aref 2.48, Jon 4.40). You can download the match file here.
Huge congratulations to our eventual TWI masters winner: Aref Alipour
Streamed matches were:
- Aref Alipour vs Martin Barkwill (Round 1)
- Tim Cross vs David Brown (Round 2)
- Jon Barnes vs Radu Ciortan (Quarter Final)
- Aref Alipour vs Jon Barnes (Final)
There was a distinctive North/South split to our randomly drawn double Round Robin format for our Intermediates. With all 8 players still in with a chance of qualification at the start of the final heads up double matches the competition was warming up nicely.
Group A was reaching a gladiatorial conclusion with Alex Polden gaining 2 very narrow back to back wins over Richard Halvorsen to earn his place in the Semi Final. This left our top two tour players, Simon Hopper (Intermediate Tour Winner) and Ben Owen (UK Open Champion) battling for the remaining semi final spot. A three hour+ marathon took place which saw Simon and Ben win 1 match each requiring a further playoff to separate them. This was all recorded via the live stream on the day and is available for viewing for those inclined to bg suffering! Ben was the eventual playoff winner.
Group B was a little less traumatic. Cristian Cozos sailed through with 5/6 wins leaving Roger Porter to claim the other semi final place via a playoff vs Sean Jones.
Day 2 semi finals were Alex Polden vs Roger Porter and Cristian Cozos vs Ben Owen. Alex and Cristian battled through and went on to play in the live streamed final.
Congratulations to our first TWI Intermediate winner: Alex Polden
Streamed matched were:
- Simon Hopper vs Ben Owen (Round 5/6 and playoff)
- Alex Polden vs Cristian Cozos (Final)
Other tournament results:
- Masters Runner Up: Jon Barnes
- Masters Consolation Winner: Mardi Ohannessian
- Intermediate Runner Up: Cristian Cozos
- Intermediate Consolation Winner: Ana Mancino
Full tournament results can be found on the TWI website.
All streamed matches are available on the UKBGF Youtube channel.
A massive thank you to Geoffrey Parker Games Ltd for their generous tournament sponsorship.
Also, I would like to thank the outgoing UKBGF board for having the vision to support such an event.
A very personal thank you to Anna Clarke for exciting social media coverage during the event, Martin Barkwill for his unquenchable photography work, Aref Alipour for live streaming services and Kev Jones for diligent assistant tournament direction.
The Tour Winners Invitational has been confirmed for Jan 2020. The new UKBGF board have decided to support and grow the TWI for this year. It will now include sixteen Intermediate qualifiers (up from 8 last year).
Anyone wishing to qualify for the TWI must be a UKBGF member and with the newly arranged “nominate a member” scheme now available offering one year’s free membership, there are no excuses. Please ensure you take up this offer prior to the upcoming West Yorkshire Open if you would like to participate in this year’s event.