On Saturday, May 7th one of the most competitive crokinole fields will assemble once again for the Ontario Singles Crokinole Championship, and the finale of 8th National Crokinole Association Tour. With the 2016 Ontario Provincial title on the line, Ray Beierling, Jason Beierling and Jon Conrad will battle it out for the NCA Tour Championship.
The event will once again be played at the St. Jacobs Mennonite Church in St. Jacobs and serve as the final warmup event before the 2016 World Crokinole Championship.
The 2015-2016 NCA Tour has been one of the most even and tightly-contested tours in its short history, which has resulted in extremely close points totals with a 3-way race for 1st place, a 4-way contest for the top 3 podium, and 16 players capable of finishing in the top 5.
Battle for 1st Place
Found below is a look at the current NCA Tour standings. Ray Beierling holds the top spot with 194 points, but can be overtaken for the title by both Jon Conrad and Jason Beierling.
Jason Beierling holds the longest odds of winning the title, needing a victory in St. Jacobs to do it. The win would give Jason Beierling 194 points to share the lead, and the clear edge given as he will have clinched the tie-breaker which awards higher ranking to whoever places better at the St. Jacobs tournament. Regardless, Jason Beierling has a chance to have his highest ever Tour ranking. He has finished 4th twice, and 5th twice, but never inside of the top 3.
Jon Conrad has a slightly better chance at being victorious. A first place finish in St. Jacobs would clinch the NCA title, as would a 2nd place finish so long as Ray Beierling does not finish 1st. Conrad won the NCA titles in 2013 and 2014, but came into the final event in both of those years with a lead in the ranking points. He now faces the more difficult task of trying to come from behind.
And simply put, Ray Beierling's poll position heading into Saturday can be converted into a NCA title so long has he can stop the winning attempts of Jason Beierling and Jon Conrad. A victory would be Ray Beierling's second NCA title (he once had a 1st-place tie with Justin Slater in 2010).
|Rank||Name||Events||Points||4th Score||Max Score||2nd Place||Max Rank|
"4th Score" indicates the lowest tournament point total included in a player's score. This number helps calculate the "Max Score" a player would have if they win the final tournament, and the "2nd Place" total received for finishing in second.
The Top 3
The fight to reach the podium of this year's NCA Tour is not particularly interesting as we have 4 players looking make the top 3 (above any score which would earn a top 3 finish is highlighted in yellow). Jon Conrad and Ray Beierling are both guaranteed to finish in the top 3, while Jason Beierling can only be removed from the top 3 if Justin Slater wins on Saturday. That makes 2016 the 5th straight year Ray Beierling has finished in the NCA top 3, equalling the streak of Brian Cook set from 2009-2013.
The Top 5
The green cells in the chart above indicate potential scenarios for different players to finish in the Top 5 on the 2015-2016 NCA Tour. The chase is quite crowded, but spots are sparse with Ray Beierling, Jon Conrad and Jason Beierling all guaranteed to make up 3 of the spots. The odds are also favourable for Justin Slater to finish in the Top 5 due to his 143 point total after only 3 events. Similar comments can be made for both Andrew Hutchinson and Robert Bonnett.
Ontario Singles Crokinole Championship
The OSCC has a long history dating back to the 1970s, before falling away and being rebranded along with the NCA Tour Finale. The new version of the tournament has been dominated by Justin Slater, who can lay claim to 5 of the 7 tournament titles since 2009, along with a current streak of 4 in a row.
Last year's St. Jacobs final match included Slater and Ray Beierling (video footage below), and the matchup was replayed one month later at the World Championships. With the World Championships ever closer, practice time will certainly increase for most players, and the 2016 Ontario Singles Crokinole Championship on Saturday will undoubtedly showcase some extremely strong crokinole.
Last years St. Jacob's final: