Nathan Walsh and Ray Beierling met in an elimination game for the second straight tournament, but it would be Walsh turning the tides to win the 2014 Forest City Flickers Crokinole Tournament.
Last Saturday in London 48 players piled into the St. James Westminster Anglican Church for the 6th Annual London Crokinole Tournament. In 2009 the London tournament was the inaugural World Crokinole League event (later renamed the National Crokinole Association), and has continued to be staple for the competitive crokinole tour.
The 2014 edition saw several players trying to score big, earning precious points for the NCA Tour in what was the last event before the NCA Finale.
There was a perfect split of 24 competitive and 24 recreational players, and each category was separated into two groups of 12 for the preliminary round.
Having particularly strong rounds on the recreational side were Bob Jones, John Lichty, Murray Matthison and Reg Matthison. All scored well above 60 points out of a possible 88 (11 games), and easily advanced to the top group for the second round.
In the competitive category, Ray Beierling had the top score with 65 points and 99 20s. Nathan Walsh followed (61pts), along with Jason Beierling (58) and Roy Campbell (58). Also making the top group for the second round were Matt Brown, Paul Brubacher, John Harvey and Eric Miltenburg. Just missing out was Rueben Jong who tied Miltenburg with 51pts, but only scored 72 20s to Miltenburg's 87.
The action really picked up in the afternoon session. In Recreational Pool A, Roy Brete grabbed the last playoff spot, and then won the playoff portion to finish 1st in Rec. over Reg Matthison, Bob Jones and John Lichty.
In Competitive Pool C, Jon Conrad scored 49 points out of a possible 56 in the second round, then carried through to win the playoffs over Ron Reesor, Dave Brown and Clare Kuepfer.
Competitive Pool B saw Fred Slater grab the 3rd seed in the round-robin, but then come out on top in the playoffs ahead of Ab Leitch, Rueben Jong and Peter Tarle.
Lastly, in the Pool A competition, it was Nathan Walsh (37), Roy Campbell (34), Eric Miltenburg (31) and Ray Beierling (30) taking the top 4 spots to advance to the playoffs. Jason Beierling was unfortunately on the outside looking in, after scoring 27 points to finish 5th in the tournament.
In the round of 4 playoffs, Ray Beierling would grab the top seed with 16 points, while Nathan Walsh would take the other spot in the Championship final with 14 points, leaving Roy Campbell for third place and Eric Miltenburg for fourth.
The finals was a rematch of the Golden Horseshoe semifinal from January. There Ray Beierling came out on top in three games, before losing in extra rounds in the finals to Ron Haymes.
In the London final, Walsh came out firing in the first round and scored 8 20s for a perfect game, while Beierling's 7 20s would not be enough. Walsh would go on to win the first game 6-2. Beierling would respond in game 2, jumping out to a 4-0 lead with some dominant crokinole, before sealing the game in the fourth round for a 6-2 win.
That sent the match to deciding third game. Up 4-2, Walsh was poised to take the match with the hammer in the fourth round. However, Beierling would take the lead early in the round, and looked to be in good shape to send the match to a winner-take-all 5th round. Until Walsh scored a lucky 20, bouncing off 2 pegs, to draw even. Walsh then scored on a follow through 20 to take an insurmountable lead, and won the match 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 for his first London title.
As mentioned, many men were targeting some high scores with the hopes of solidifying their NCA Tour position before the finale. Here's an updated look at the Tour standings with only one tournament to go.
|Rank||Name||Points||4th Score||Max Score||Max Position|
There will be a much more in depth analysis of these standings and all of the possible outcomes regarding the race at a later date, closer to the NCA Tour Finale in St. Jacobs, also known as the Ontario Singles Championships, which takes place on May 10th.
In the mean time, the focus shifts to the longest running crokinole tournament in history, the Joseph Schneider Haus invitational in Waterloo, on April 12th. CrokinoleCentre will be attendance to provide all the updates from this exclusive team event.