The NCA Tour was set to get off to its earliest start ever as the Turtle Island Crokinole Tournament was added to the 2013-2014 season. And the tournament did not disappoint, bringing in 27 competitors from 3 states and 4 main Ontario crokinole clubs. At the end of the day it was Ray Beierling picking up 50 NCA points, and the honours of being the 2013 Turtle Island Crokinole Champion.
Crokinole fanatic, Dale Henry, had organized the inaugural tournament last August, which was well represented by the Toronto Crokinole Club and the local crowd. While Dale would claim 5th on the day, Justin Slater and Brian Cook would play a great final. In the end Justin Slater won the match 4-6, 6-0, 8-4 and became the first ever Turtle Island Crokinole Champion.
After a great first year, the NCA would add the Turtle Island Tournament to its tour, becoming the first tournament to be added outside of Canada. While many Ontario players would cross the border to compete, players from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Buffalo would also attend, creating a great mix of players.
The 27 players were split into 3 groups of 9 for the preliminary round. The elite field of competition, containing the last 5 singles World Champions and the top 6 ranked players (by CrokinoleCentre), rose to the top of the pack.
Reigning champion, Justin Slater, had the top score with 62 points, while Brian Cook, Jon Conrad and Ray Beierling came in with 56, 55, and 55 points respectively. Ray Beierling also recorded the most 20s of the preliminary round with 69. Completing the top flight, and advancing to the A Pool for round 2 were Eric Miltenburg, Fred Slater, Jason Beierling, Roy Campbell and Nathan Jongsma. Just missing out was Jerry Ward who's 39 points fell 3 shy of the cutoff.
The second round of action, featuring 3 pools of 9, would commence to determine the top 4 semifinalists of each group. In Pool A at 43 points Justin Slater and Brian Cook would grab the 1 and 2 seeds, with Slater scoring a tournament-high 71 20s. Ray Beierling would cruise to the 3rd spot with 40 points, while Jon Conrad (34 points) narrowly edged Roy Campbell (32 points) for the final spot in the playoffs.
So the semifinals were set, both containing world championship rematches. In the 1-4 match, the 2012 WCC final was recreated as Justin Slater battled Jon Conrad. The 2-3 match was a repeat of the 2011 WCC final between Brian Cook and Ray Beierling. Interestingly enough, the WCC results would repeat as Conrad and Beierling prevailed. The last time the two met in a final was the 2010 Joe Fulop Crokinole Tournament in Exeter that saw Ray Beierling defeat Jon Conrad on his way to tying for the NCA title with Justin Slater. This year Ray Beierling would succeed again, winning 5-3, 6-2 to take the 2013 Turtle Island Crokinole Championship.
With the win Ray Beierling can add another achievement to his crokinole career, and also becomes the newly ranked #1 by CrokinoleCentre in the Singles category, by a narrow 5 points.
Note: Since the New York tournament is completely new to the NCA, no ranking points came off any players score, as such the Points Change column are all positives as no players lost any points from their most previous ranking.
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In the overall category, Jon Conrad remains at the top with the exact same top 5. With the addition of New York, Justin Slater has been able to compete in 4 ranked events in the past 12 months and finally has a "true" ranking, putting him 6th overall.
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The next tournament is set for September 21st in Belleville, details can be found here: http://www.nationalcrokinoleassociation.com/tournaments.php