The first Saturday in June is just around the corner, which means the biggest day on the cues crokinole calendar is almost upon us. The World Crokinole Championship is the only tournament of the year that brings the world's best cues crokinole competitors together. Again, this June 7th, the most effective with "the stick" will congregate in Tavistock, coming from St. Jacobs, Kitchener, Milverton, and beyond! These "men (and ladies) with cues" will renew their longstanding rivalries in cues doubles in the morning and cues singles in the evening.
In the cues crokinole world, there is one duo that strikes fear into the heart of all cues doubles teams: Lorraine Proud and Carol Litt. The most dominant team of this decade, Proud and Litt are looking to win their 3rd straight doubles championship and 4th in total. They have been virtually unstoppable the last few years, and for as long as they continue entering this tournament it would be foolish to call them anything but the favourites.
Proud and Litt's favourite status does not mean they won't face some tough competition. There will be a number of pairs with a serious chance of upending the two-time defending champions. Hottest on Proud and Litt's heals might be Oscar and Paul Weber. The Weber's were the last team to finish ahead of Proud and Litt, squeaking out a cues doubles championship in 2011. What the Weber's lack in flair, they more than make up for in consistency. In fact, Oscar Weber has the most top-four finishes in WCC cues doubles history with 7, including 2 championships with his current partner, Paul.
Another team with a good chance to take down the defending champions are Dave and Dennis Brubacher. The always competitive Brubacher brothers have been on the scene for about a decade finishing 2nd in 2005, 3rd in 2012, and 4th in 2011 in cues doubles as well as accumulating numerous 2nd through 4th place finishes in cues singles. The question everybody is asking is if this might be the year the Brubacher brothers finally win it all and take themselves home a championship? Whatever the case, make sure you don't get lulled into a feeling of safety by their good natured personality – the truth is they have the ability to take down anybody in the field.
In addition to the Weber's and the Brubacher brothers, there are a few other pairs with a serious opportunity of seizing a seat on Proud and Litt's throne. Sam Moore and Gary Palmer will no doubt be looking to improve upon their 2nd place finish from last year. Raymond Schwartzentruber and Sam Wagler, although never having finished 1st, always put up a tough battle, including 3rd place in 2013. Husband-and-wife duo Merv and Marjorie Roth had a run of 3 top-four finishes between 2008 and 2010, but none since – will this be the year they finish back in the money? In addition to these formidable opponents, there is always a chance that another pair breaks into the top-four or even challenges for the championship.
A full preview of the cues singles competition, as well as a rundown of the fingers events will be provided in the coming week as the 2014 World Crokinole Championship approaches on June 7th.
Andrew Hutchinson is a competitive cues crokinole player who broke through in 2013 to finish 4th in the singles competition. He can be followed on Twitter in his preparation for the 2014 World Crokinole Tournament at @FavouriteHutch