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Varna Cruises to Top Spot at Schneider Haus

Nathan Walsh April 10, 2016

They lost the team title by a mere 2 points last year, but for the 2016 Varna Crokinole Club, the team mantra may have been "leave no doubt." By the end of the day there certainly was no doubt, as Varna rolled through the competition and won the Joseph Schneider Haus Crokinole tournament for the 6th time in their history.

Joseph Schneider Haus shirt

The oldest running crokinole tournament in the world opened up its doors for the 24th year, inviting 6 teams including the long-time attendees of Preston, St. Jacobs and Varna, and the relatively new clubs of Waterloo, Scone and Quinte.

The tournament format is a simple singles round-robin, with every player playing one-game against each other, excluding that of their own team members. While some traffic issues caused half of the Varna team to show up just on time for the beginning action, they had no problems getting comfortable and picking up points in pursuit of the team title. By the half way point (10 games) the Varna club was on pace to win the event by 80 points, while the St. Jacobs and Waterloo clubs were in a dead-heat for second place.

Crokinole/Checker board dating back to 1897-1901
Crokinole/Checker board dating back to 1897-1901

The competitors got a chance to rest after 10 games, enjoying a fantastic lunch spread provided by the staff at the Joseph Schneider Haus museum, which, in addition to housing the oldest known crokinole board, also holds the incredible feat of being the oldest dwelling in Kitchener, built back in 1816. On display on the day was also a few other boards, clearly first-cousins of the game of crokinole we know today.

A crokinole/steeplechase board made in 1906
A crokinole/steeplechase board made in 1906

When play resumed in the afternoon, the battle was on for players to hold and improve their positions. The Quinte Region Crokinole Club had a fantastic afternoon. After starting the day against the heavy-weights of Varna and St. Jacobs, the Quinte club had the strongest rise up the rankings, going from 6th place, to a firm 4th place finish.

Meanwhile, the Waterloo Crokinole Club put forth a very strong effort, and were rewarded with the Club's best ever finish at the event, grabbing 2nd place. The strong Waterloo performance saw St. Jacobs fall to 3rd, just 14 points behind despite beating Waterloo in the head-to-head battle.

Scone Varna St. Jacobs Quinte Waterloo Preston Total Rank
Scone 38 49 49 35 66 237 6
Varna 90 89 95 78 84 436 1
St. Jacobs 79 39 88 65 78 349 3
Quinte 79 33 40 56 72 280 4
Waterloo 93 50 63 72 85 363 2
Preston 62 44 50 56 43 255 5

The Varna Crokinole Club closed out the day as strong as they had started, beating every team comfortably, with the smallest margin of victory 78-50 over Waterloo, finishing the event with 436 points.

For the individual scoring race, Nathan Walsh was able to claim the top spot for the 3rd-straight year, with 127 points. Not surprisingly, the next 4 spots were held by Varna members, as each broke 100 points.

Rank Player Club Points
1 Nathan Walsh Waterloo 127
2 Ray Beierling Varna 122
3 Rex Johnston Varna 110
4 Ab Leitch Varna 104
5 Jason Beierling Varna 100
6 Jon Conrad St. Jacobs 98
6 Matt Brown Quinte 98
8 Andrew Hutchinson Waterloo 97

As previously mentioned, this is the 6th Joseph Schneider Haus victory for the Varna Club. Through the 24 year history, still only 3 clubs have won the event. With this year's win, Varna ended St. Jacobs attempt at winning the title for a third-straight year. Only the now-defunct Cameron Heights Teachers Club can claim the prestige of having won the event 3 years in a row (1994-1996, 2003-2005).

With the tournament complete, the crokinole scene shifts back to the focus of the 2015-2016 NCA Tour, which will reach it's conclusion in one month's time at the finale event in St. Jacobs on May 7, 2016. The golden stretch of the crokinole season is once again upon us, with the big prizes on the table, and everyone looking to put their best efforts into grabbing the sweet taste of victory.

2016 Joseph Schneider Haus Team Champions - Varna 'Not in my Haus'
2016 Joseph Schneider Haus Team Champions - Varna "Not in my Haus"