You could say Ray Beierling is on fire, but that's pretty obvious, as on Saturday he made it 3 wins outs of 3 tournaments in 2017 by edging out Justin Slater by one point for the 2017 individual honours at the Schneider Haus tournament. More importantly though, as he'll probably tell you, that performance helped the Varna Crokinole Club repeat as champions and win the club title.
Spring never does seems to start on the day of the Spring Equinox in Ontario, and that's probably why the London crokinole tournament, set annually in March, always serves the memory as being a Winter event. But the Schneider Haus Crokinole tournament is crokinole's annual kick-off to Spring, and a reminder of the sunny days that accompany the St. Jacobs and World Championship tournaments.
That was no different this year, as snowfall on Thursday covered the ground for Friday morning, but melted away to sunlight that carried on throughout the weekend.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Waterloo Country Crokinole Classic taking place at the Schneider Haus Museum in Kitchener, and welcomed a record-high 7 teams, from heritage members of St. Jacobs, Varna and Preston, and the relatively newer Waterloo, Scone, Belleville and London crokinole clubs.
History and heritage are clearly a big part of the tournament. The museum has the honour of holding the oldest known crokinole board built in 1875, and utilizes the same tournament format it did since it's first edition in 1993. Perhaps the most impressive note is that it is the longest running continuous crokinole tournament in the world. Even though the Ontario Singles Crokinole Championship began in 1980, 3 separate years of inactivity have given the prize for consistency to the Schneider Haus event.
After 12 games, half of the round robin, play stopped as the players were treated to generous lunch offering. Meanwhile the battle for the top club prize was clearly down to 2 teams, as Varna (consisting of the Beierling and Johnston brothers) held a 244-236 lead over the London club (Justin Slater, Ron Reesor, and Christina and Dwayne Campbell). In the battle of the individual crown, Ray Beierling held a slim edge with 79 points, just over Justin Slater's 78 and Jason Beierling's 73.
With every on the line in the afternoon, the Varna club inched forward and the London club lost some ground. At the end of the final game, the Varna Crokinole Club had amassed 495 points to earn the title, with the London Crokinole Club finishing with 460 for second place and their highest finish in club history. Waterloo would round out the top 3 with 400 points, and a 20 point edge over their cross-county rivals of St. Jacobs.
|7||Paul Brubacher||St. Jacobs||117|
|8||Jeremy Tracey||St. Jacobs||114|
- Interestingly, the London club was able to earn a head-to-head victory against each club, including a 72-56 win over Varna.
- It was also a great year for club representation as members of 5 different clubs made the top 10.
- The victory is Varna's 7th title at the Schneider Haus. St. Jacobs still leads the all-time title count with 10, while the inactive Cameron Heights Teachers club still sits with an impressive 8.
- Only those 3 clubs have ever won the team title in the 25 year history of the event, and either St. Jacobs or Varna have won every year since 2006.
For some crokinole clubs the Spring ends the crokinole season. Preston held their season-ending banquet recently, and play at St. Jacobs concludes with a social gathering this Monday evening. However, competitive play continues as the NCA Tour heads to BC at the end of this month, before coming back to St. Jacobs for the Ontario Singles Crokinole Championship on May 6th, with the World Crokinole Championships growing ever-larger in the horizon.