For the 7th consecutive year, the Forest City Flickers hosted the London Crokinole Tournament. 53 players travelled from near and far for a chance to claim one of the tournament crowns.
There was a near even split between recreational and competitive players (26 competitive, 27 recreational) which made tournament rotations work well. Notable top seeded players were absent for various reasons. This opened the door for a potential new tournament winner, but the road would not be easy with 2 previous WCC Champions still in the field. 3 pools were set up, in both competitive and recreational, at random and play began.
The morning draw passed quickly and the results were tabulated. The top 2 seeds from each pool plus 3 wildcard spots setup the afternoon grouping.
In the Recreational group, Bob Jones, Abijah Jong and Ian Morton topped their respective pools and would lead the charge in Rec Pool A. Paul Trnka, Dave and Kathy Geris would all just miss out of the Pool A placing and settle for fighting it out in Pool B.
In the Competitive group, NCA Tour regulars, Ray Beierling and Jon Conrad, took first place in their pools and the high morning score was set by Dwayne Campbell. Dwayne has been out of action for the last couple of years, but was back in full force this day. Peter Tarle would grab the final spot in the competitive Pool A, narrowly sliding ahead of Matt Brown. At the break a fabulous chilli and soup lunch was served, complete with fresh rolls and cookies.
After the reseeding, round 2 began. The top 4 from each pool would advance to their respective playoffs and everyone was gunning for one of those spots.
Recreational Pool C saw Sharon Watson, Moochie Printup, Mary Hohmann and Caroline Baker prevail, while Fred Smith missed the cutoff by a single point. In Recreational B, Jo-Ann Carter, Dave Geris, Janet Diebel and Len Zettler advanced. Ian Morton topped Rec A with Christina Campbell, John Lichty and Bob Jones in tow.
Competitive C was led by Howard Martin and followed by Joe Richards, Bill Gerris and Brian Henry. The Comp B pool was a tight race with Matt Brown and Reuben Jong tied in points, while Fred Slater took the third position. Ron Reesor snuck through a three way tie break, winning the head to head games despite having less overall 20s, besting Chris Gorsline and Barry Kiggins. Ray Beierling ran away with Comp A, and the next three spots were claimed by Tom Johnston, Rex Johnston and Ab Leitch. Just missing the top 4 were Jon Conrad and Dwayne Campbell.
With the playoff participants ready to play, the 3 game playoff round robin began. Congratulations to Christina Campbell, Jo-Ann Carter, and Caroline Baker for claiming the top spots in the Rec A, B and C pools respectively. Bill Geris came from 3rd place to win the Comp C pool and Matt Brown held on to his top seeded qualifying position to claim the Comp B title.
In Competitive A, the top 2 would play a best two out of three final, and after the dust settled, Ab Leitch and Rex Johnston had topped Ray Beierling and Tom Johnston. Ab, who made his first final appearance since the 2008 World Crokinole Championships, got off to a great start against Rex Johnston, who was competing in his first final, and never looked back. The cagey veteran executed a great get ahead and hide strategy and won the title in two straight games.
The London Club wants to thank all the visitors for coming and making the tournament a great success. Also, a huge thank you from the players to the London Club for hosting yet another fantastic event. The results yielded little movement at the top of the NCA Standings setting up a great final event in St. Jacobs at the 2015 Ontario Single Crokinole Championship.
Hope to see everyone there.
Ray Beierling is long-time crokinole player who has several tournament titles to his name, including the BC, Ontario and World Championships. Additionally, he is a founder of CrokinoleDepot and can be followed on Twitter @Razer_Ray and on YouTube.