The NCA Tour was founded in large part by Greg Matthison, with significant contributions from Eric Miltenburg, Ray Beierling, Brian Cook, and Joe Fulop. It's goal has been to grow the game of crokinole through developing and creating clubs and tournaments. Thanks to the NCA Tour, the game of crokinole has become more prominent in Ontario and has helped to establish crokinole connections across Ontario, Canada and even to a few locations internationally.
Beyond that, the NCA has provided a group of tournaments to track a player's success throughout the course of a year, and rank them against others. This has been very exciting as it provides players with an extra incentive to attend and perform well in tournaments. It has been especially exciting with regard to the St. Jacob's tournament, which acts as the NCA Tour Finals.
And since everyone is gunning for a particular year-end ranking, here is an analysis on the NCA Points Race heading into the final event of the NCA 2011-2012 Tour.
The current rankings can be found on the NCA website.
The Race for First
Brian Cook has went undefeated since the World Championships last year, and has won titles in Belleville, Stratford, Owen Sound, Hamilton, and both in BC. It should be no surprise that he holds the number one ranking heading into the final event with 202 points. At worst, Cook can finish 2nd overall, and only Ray Beierling and Fred Slater could pull ahead. By finishing in the top 2 in St. Jacob's Brian Cook would either win the NCA Tour, or tie Ray Beierling, if Ray were to win in St. Jacob's. In any other case, Fred Slater or Ray Beierling could win the Tour by winning in St. Jacob's.
The Top 3
The Race for the Top 3 is quite narrow. As mentioned, Brian Cook will either finish first or second. Ray Beierling and Fred Slater are guaranteed to finish first, second, or third. However, both Jason Beierling and Paul Brubacher can sneak into the top 3 by tying Fred Slater for 195 points. For both Beierling and Brubacher, this can only be accomplished by winning in St. Jacob's and having Slater finish no better than 5th.
The Top 5
This is where the competition really heats up, with several possibilities. Cook, Ray Beierling, and Slater have already locked up a top 5 position, so only 2 spots remain. With so many scenarios that could play out, I will try to focus on the simpler ones. Jason Beierling currently sits 4th with 185 points, and Joe Arnup sits in 5th with 180 points. Outside of those two, 11 players have the ability to earn 180 or more points after the conclusion of the St. Jacob's tournament. Only 7 of those 11 players have the possibility of earning over 185 points, which should be the bare minimum required to make the top 5. For most of these players, winning the St. Jacob's tournament should secure them a top 5 spot, and anything less that winning may leave them a few points shy of the top 5.
The Top 10
Every player inside the top 15 has the potential to jump into the top 10 with a win in St. Jacob's. Beyond that, there are many possibilities too extensive to cover.
Once again, the NCA Tour will come down to an exciting finish in St. Jacob's to cap off the 2011-2012 crokinole season.
The 2012-2013 season begins at the World Championships in Tavistock in June.