The NCA Tour hasn't even hit its halfway mark, but it is well worth having a update on the activities following the competitive crokinole world in the early part of October.
Ontario Doubles Crokinole Championship
Brucefield will once again play host to the ODCC tournament. It's the 2nd straight year in that venue as CrokinoleDepot co-sponsors the event with the Varna Crokinole Club. The previous 3 years of the tournament's history included tournaments in Stratford, and the recurring theme of Brian Cook and Fred Slater coming away as the champs. But as that team was unable to join forces last year, Ray and Jason Beierling stepped up as they defeated Ron and Ray Haymes in the final.
While the tournament entry list is not finalized yet, expect to see the Beierlings challenging for the title. The Haymes team as well as Tom and Rex Johnston and Matt and Dave Brown have a lot of chemistry and will also be strong forces at the event. The mix and mash of players as they team up for the event is always pretty interesting, so it will be fun to see the teams made up of some pretty strong doubles players like Jon Conrad, Fred Slater and Brian Cook.
However, like all crokinole tournaments, it will all depend on how everyone plays that particular day. And if you want to be there that day, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Choner Crokinole Tournament
A fanatic crokinole group exists in New York, and this Astroria-based tournament will enter its 4th edition on the 18th of October. By all accounts it is a terrifically enjoyable event, and word is that Demian Johnston will return in an attempt to reclaim the title. T-shirts are included with registration so how can you go wrong?
All joking aside, it will be nice to see if they find a bump in registration thanks to the BBC Radio shout out in June.
NCA Tour Standings
Normally analysis of NCA Tour standings are reserved later in the crokinole season when the races for the top spots have taken shape and players are close to clinching the top spot. Well it's October, and don't look now, but one player in particular is extremely close to cementing a high score with many tournaments to play. If you have been paying attention, that player, unsurprisingly, is Justin Slater.
|16||Rob Jr. Mader||2||43||89|
With only 3 tournaments played, Slater sits in 3rd place - 157 points. Supposing he racks up at least one more tournament victory before the St. Jacobs finale (certainly a feasible task), he'll sit at 207 points.
207 would be particularly significant because only 4 other players have the potential to earn that many this season. Those players (along with their highest possible scores) are: Brian Cook (210), Fred Slater (210), Nathan Walsh (207) and Clare Kuepfer (207).
Of course, those numbers are only attainable by any of those players by winning 2 more tournaments, plus the NCA final in St. Jacobs. That would be a tough enough task without mentioning that Justin Slater makes it a habit of winning the St. Jacobs tournament (4 victories in 6 years).
While the crokinole season is still young, the race for the NCA Tour title may be over early.
The CrokinoleCentre rankings have been around for two years now and have been an interesting side project to look at every now and then. Here's a look at the top 25 for both the singles category and the overall. A full listing the updated rankings can be found on the Crokinole Rankings tab above.
|1||Justin Slater||312||1||Brian Cook||295.5|
|2||Brian Cook||298.5||2||Ray Beierling||289|
|3||Ray Beierling||293||3||Nathan Walsh||284|
|4||Nathan Walsh||291||4||Jon Conrad||279.5|
|5||Fred Slater||289||5||Fred Slater||264.5|
|6||Jon Conrad||287||6||Matt Brown||250|
|7||Jason Beierling||273.5||7||Roy Campbell||243.5|
|8||Matt Brown||268||7||Eric Miltenburg||243.5|
|9||Roy Campbell||257||9||Jason Beierling||235.5|
|10||Clare Kuepfer||249||10||Justin Slater||229.5|
|11||Eric Miltenburg||247||11||Louis Gauthier||220.5|
|12||John Harvey||245.5||12||Clare Kuepfer||219|
|13||Dave Brown||232.5||13||John Harvey||215|
|14||Howard Martin||224.5||14||Howard Martin||213.5|
|15||Louis Gauthier||220.5||15||Robert Bonnett||196.5|
|16||Tom Johnston||218||16||Dale Henry||171|
|17||Peter Tarle||207.5||17||Peter Tarle||154.5|
|18||Paul Brubacher||198.5||18||Reuben Jong||151.5|
|19||Robert Bonnett||196.5||18||Dave Brown||151.5|
|20||Rex Johnston||195.5||20||Alex Protas||147.5|
|20||Tony Snyder||195.5||21||Gloria Walsh||143|
|22||Dale Henry||193||22||Peter Carter||136.5|
|23||Chris Gorsline||185||23||Tom Johnston||112.5|
|24||Reuben Jong||184.5||24||Chris Gorsline||109|
|25||Ron Haymes||183.5||25||Roger Vaillancourt||108|
After Jon Conrad owned the number one ranking all last season, there have been significant changes. Ray Beierling grabbed the number one spot after the World Championships, then Brian Cook regained the throne after winning in New York. And now, Justin Slater has finally recorded enough tournament results to get a full ranking, and firmly sits at the top. While Walsh, Brown and Campbell have climbed to career highs, Slater has amassed a massive 312 points, which should secure the number one ranking at least until May of 2015.
Meanwhile, in the Singles Only rankings, Brian Cook still appears as the top name, though Ray Beierling has a good chance to challenge for that, should he get some strong results in the coming tournaments. In case you are wondering, Justin Slater has yet to play a full 4 singles tournaments in the past 12 months, (or the 12 months before that), leading to his lower score. He, along with Louis Gauthier, are ones to watch as they play in a few more tournaments, and their rankings rise as a result.