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A word about 20's Shootouts at the World Crokinole Championships

Nathan Walsh May 21, 2014

This will be short, but I've been meaning to write about the use of the 20's shootout at the World Crokinole Championships (WCC) for a while.

What I'm talking about is the 12-shot competition of open 20's that is reserved for the rare case of two players tied in total points AND total 20's for the final qualifying spot. In that case, which I have never seen occur, the shootout seems like a decent way to break a tie while making for a lot of excitement.

Speaking of excitement, the two 20's shootouts I have seen in the last couple of years were not very exciting.

What I'm referring to is the 2011 and 2013 Beierling v Slater 20's shootouts used to determine the 20's Champ for the year. Here's a look at both of those shootouts:

I delayed putting up the one from 2011 for awhile. As you can the see the camera work was quite substandard, and I don't think either player would really enjoy re-watching their play. But I felt it was necessary to post to illustrate my point.

The 2011 shootout ended 6-3 for Slater. Shooting percentages of 50% and 25%, well below the percentages they must have had to record 102 each in the preliminary round. The poor performance was understandable though. The decision to have a 20's shootout was a surprise from the WCC organizers. In 2008, Ray Beierling and Merv Wice both scored 97 20's as the top score and the title of 20's Champion was shared.

Not knowing any differently, the same was assumed for 2011. Until it was announced that there would be a shootout. Ray Beierling had just won the world title in an exhausting match, and Justin Slater hadn't touched a disc in over an hour.

The 2013 shootout was a bit better, taking place before the round of 16 action which seemed like a good time to stage the event. Beierling scored 10 of 12, pretty respectable, while Slater scored 5, but most of his misses came after he was down a few 20's and likely knew the comeback chances were quite limited.

However, I like the idea of breaking a tie in this way. The 20's competition is essentially a throw away event anyway. The winner is determined by most 20's after 10 rounds of play; there is no build up to determine the winner, and no way of knowing who is in the lead throughout. For a game that people call "not a spectator sport" the 20's competition doesn't even give you the chance.

If I was to make a suggestion for the World Championship, I'd like to see the top two 20's scorers have a 20 shootout for the title every year, regardless of whether they tied in 20's scores. I think it would add more excitement and credibility to the event, especially as it's likely to see a lot of Ray Beierling/Justin Slater matchups.

I do see two disadvantages though. The first is that it would take away from the excitement of the winner 20 score. It was an exciting moment when it was announced Justin Slater scored 142 20's in his 10 preliminary games in 2012. Having an additional round of action would somewhat takeaway from a recurrence of that event. The second is that large differences between the first and second scorers in the preliminary round become nullified and disregarded. While in most cases the difference is minimal, cases such as 2012 saw a massive difference of 38.

Either way, I think it's worth a thought.