Jason Beierling takes on Nathan Walsh in the 2019 Belleville Crokinole Challenge semifinal.
Jason Beierling takes on Nathan Walsh in the 2019 Belleville Crokinole Challenge semifinal.
It took crokinole’s highest regarded doubles strategist 11 years and 3 partners, but with a 12-6 finals victory Jon Conrad, and Andrew Hutchinson, finally claimed their inaugural Ontario Doubles title.
The 10th edition of the Ontario Doubles Crokinole Championship brought in a record 34 teams with 14 playing in competitive and 20 playing in the recreational division. On the competitive side a full round-robin was played among the 14 teams to determine the 4 teams advancing to the semifinals, while the recreational division split the field randomly in the morning into two pools and then had an A and B pool in the afternoon to better group skill levels on the day.
On the Recreational side, Peter Carter and Tyson Kuepfer formed a strong team and scored 43 points in 7 games in the morning for the top spot in Group A, while Rex Johnston and Ab Leitch looked to be the toughest competition for them by taking tops in Group B with 45 points.
In the afternoon A Pool it was those two teams who ran away from the competition, but it was Carter and Kuepfer who took the top spot with 57 points in 9 games, as Johnston and Leitch finished second with 51 points. Grabbing third was Harvey and Joyce Atchinson who scored 41 points.
In the Recreational B pool the Owen Sound area team of Carman and Evelyn Hodgkinson took the top spot with 56 points in 9 games, followed by Doris Giddings and Phyllis Lightfoot at 50 points, and Brian Henry and Moochie Printup at 49 points.
The 14 teams making up the competitive division featured a number of top teams, and the field was also sprinkled with a few interesting partnerships. From the 2019 World Championships, 6 of the top 10 teams were in attendance, along with one-half of another 2 of those top 10 finishers from the WCC. Added into that mix was the newly formed team of Darren Carr and Robert Bonnett, both making their debut at the Ontario Doubles Championships, with lots of interest surrounding them and how their strong singles reputations would transfer into an initial foray into the elite doubles spotlight.
The competitive round robin play didn’t lead to many big swings in rankings as the top teams quickly found themselves at the top of the table. In fact, for the top 7 teams their ranking remained identical from the lunch break to the completion of the round. The Beierlings finished in the top spot with 75 points after 9 games and only surrendering one loss (5-3 to Reid and Nolan Tracey).
Roy Campbell and Jeremy Tracey were second with 74 points and lost 3 games by a score of 6-2 (to the Beierlings, Slaters and Conrad/Hutchinson), but won all 10 over games by scores of 6-2 or better. Jon Conrad and Andrew Hutchinson suffered two losses (6-2 to the Traceys and 8-0 to the Beierlings) but still racked up 72 points to finish fourth.
The final playoff spot went to the Slaters who score 69 points and only lost one game, 5-3 to Conrad/Hutchinson. Their solitary loss was combined with 5 draws which lowered their final ranking relative to the other top teams.
Finishing 5 and 6 points out of the playoffs were Reid and Nolan Tracey, and Robert Bonnett and Darren Carr. Both teams played well to only lose 3 and 2 games respectively throughout the day, but neither could manage enough big wins (6 points or more) to make the playoffs. All semifinalist teams earned 7+ victories by scores of 6-2, 7-1 or 8-0, while the Traceys and Bonnett/Carr only scored 6 and 5 victories by such a margin.
A cynical look would reveal that in some fashion the semifinals at this Ontario Doubles tournament have been rather stale. The four teams making the 2019 playoffs (Beierlings, Slaters, Tracey/Campbell, Conrad/Hutchinson) has essentially been repeated for 4 years in a row:
This was trip #3 (out of 3 attempts) to the semifinals for Roy Campbell and Jeremy Tracey, but neither of their prior outings had ended successfully as both the 2017 and 2018 semifinal matches ended in 10-2 loses to Justin and Fred Slater. Their fortunes seemed to be headed in a similar direction as they trailed the “first-to-9” match by a score of 8-2 to Jon Conrad and Andrew Hutchinson.
Things started to turn for Campbell/Tracey, and even unravel for Conrad/Hutchinson though. Leading 8-4, Conrad/Hutchinson had the hammer and a slight edge in the round, until a sequence of 3 shots from Conrad (missed takeout leaving a hanger, opposition 20 scored, takeout attempt wrecking on a peg) gave Campbell and Tracey all the opportunities they needed to win the round and make the match 8-6.
In that 8th round things looked quite bad for Conrad and Hutchinson again as Hutchinson was the first to miss an open 20 attempt, and Conrad scored another opposition 20 shortly after. But the tides of crokinole turn sharply and sometimes painfully, as Hutchinson was able to leave back-to-back discs hidden behind the pegs to draw errors from Tracey, while Conrad responded crucially with consecutive open 20s to finally win the semifinal by a score of 10-6.
Beierlings vs Slaters is probably the marquee matchup at the Ontario Championships in any year, with the 2019 semifinal being the 5th head-to-head meeting. The Slaters came into the match holding a perfect streak of finals appearances, having made the championship match in each year they had entered the tournament (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018). However in that time they have only earned one win over the Beierlings, that being in the finals in 2016). The Beierling’s also carried in an impressive record, making the finals of their own event in 6 of the first 9 years of the tournament (only missing in 2010, 2011 and 2017). That span also included 3 wins over the Slaters, once in 2018 in the finals, and twice in 2014 when the tournament used a “page playoff” format and the Beierlings won both the “1v2” match and the finals.
The match began quite competitively with strong open 20 scoring and very few mistakes. After 3 rounds the score was 4-2 for the Beierlings. Round 4 was crucial in the match as numerous discs sat on the board with both teams coy-fully positioning discs around the 15 circle. Jason Beierling earned MVP honours in the round as he came away with the only two takeout-20s of the round to put his team ahead 6-2.
Both teams traded steals in the next two rounds to make the match 8-4 with the Beierlings needing one more point. The Beierlings had a slim lead with the hammer when Jason Beierling scored a 20 for the opposition giving the Slaters the edge, but he made up for it on his very next shot, “pro-tracting” a long ricochet 20 to tie up the round. The Beierlings then won the ensuing 20 race to win the match 10-4.
The 2019 finals was Andrew Hutchinson’s first ODCC championship appearance, while for Conrad it was his third, and the Beierlings’ seventh. The Beierling’s carried in a record of 4-2 in championship matches, against Conrad’s record of 0-2 (previous finals losses with Barry Kiggins in 2010 and Tony Snyder in 2015).
Early in the final it did not appear that the 8-0 preliminary round victory for the Beierlings was weighing as much of a factor. The level of play was pretty high but a dichotomy was emerging between to two teams, as Conrad and Hutchinson were generally prevailing on open 20 success, while the Beierlings were more successful in board play and generating 20s when trailing. For the Beierlings, the deficiency on open 20s was too large to overcome and they were trailing 6-2 after four rounds.
In round 5 the Beierlings had the hammer and finally won a 20 race when Hutchinson missed long on his opening shot. The Beierlings extended that advantage and eventually had 2 discs on the board and open shot to gain a lead in the 20s. But Jason Beierling left a hanger, which was converted for a 20 by Hutchinson, and then Ray followed by also missing an open 20 to leave a hanger that was converted by Conrad. Hutchinson then sealed the round with a long ricochet 20 to push their lead to 8-2.
The Beierlings showed tremendous perseverance in the following round, having to hit several crucial open 20s as they saw the championship slipping from their grasp. They were able to hold steady to cut the lead to 8-4. Once again though Conrad and Hutchinson were superb on their open 20s in the following round, eventually getting a miss from the Beierlings and making the match 10-4 to move within one point of the title.
The Beierlings once again showed a lot of fight to win the 8th round after finding their groove in 20s scoring to stay alive at 10-6, and had the hammer going into the next round. The Beierlings even won the opening 20 race, but Conrad was able to score a touch 20, to which Jason Beierling did not answer, giving Conrad and Hutchinson a lead halfway through the round. Ray Beierling put the pressure on with a touch 20 of his own, but Conrad answered back to maintain their lead, which they would not relinquish as they won the match and the 2019 Ontario Doubles title 12-6.
As mentioned earlier, the win gives 4-time doubles world champion, Jon Conrad, a first Ontario Doubles title. Meanwhile self-proclaimed “singles specialist” Andrew Hutchinson picks up his first fingers doubles title, following a 2014 cues doubles world championship.
As always the inflated Tour points of a doubles event grants the ODCC significant implications on the NCA standings. The outcome of the event puts Jason Beierling and Andrew Hutchinson in a dead-tie for 1st on the Tour with 188 points (tie-breaker being a tie at the moment as well). Ray Beierling sits in 3rd with 187 points, followed by Jon Conrad and Connor Reinman at 181. Positions six through eight are held by Jeremy Tracey, Roy Campbell and Reid Tracey at 170, 169 and 167 points respectively. It’s worth mentioning Justin Slater already sits at 136 points despite have only played 3 events so far.
There are still 4 events (with the now late addition of the US Open Doubles event in April) on the 2019-2020 NCA Tour, with the next stop being after the holiday break in the schedule when the NCA comes to Hamilton in late January.
The Jon Conrad and Andrew Hutchinson final was already entertaining a crowd of spectators as their first-to-11 points final reached a score of 9-9 with the next round determining the tournament champion. But the drama reached the levels of Shakespearean high-school play when both players missed a chance to win the match in the 10th round, ultimately pushing the score to 10-10 and setting up for another winner-take-all round.
In the spirit of collaboration the Owen Sound event, typically scheduled in November, swapped places with the Brucefield Ontario Doubles Crokinole Championship due to organizer conflict. The switch was a nice benefit for those driving through Western Ontario that Saturday morning. While the roads were clear of the impending snow that November commonly brings to the region, the Fall leaves offered a scenic path on the way to the Scenic City.
The competition contingent brought in 20 doubles teams in the Recreational division and 26 competition singles players, which included the Scenic City's last 5 champions (Ray Beierling 2014, Roy Campbell 2015, Jon Conrad 2016 & 2017, Andrew Hutchinson 2018) and 7 of the top 10 finishers from the previous World Crokinole Championships.
The morning preliminary competitive singles action was a random draw of 10 games. Ray Beierling topped the points and 20s tallies with 64 points and 128 20s. Robert Bonnett and Connor Reinman filled in the next two spots with 61 points, followed by Reid Tracey and Andrew Hutchinson at 59 and 57. The afternoon A pool was rounded out by Jeremy Tracey, Jon Conrad, Nathan Walsh and Darren Carr. Walsh and Carr both scored 53 points, just ahead of Eric Miltenburg at 52 who settled into the B pool for the afternoon.
Meanwhile in the Recreational division, the preliminary round included a random draw of 6 games, with players scores determining their advancement into the A or B pools for the afternoon. Neil and Carol Cook led the preliminary play with 43 of a possible 48 points, followed by Ab Leitch and Rex Johnston who also counted up a ludicrously high score of 41 points. Carol Weins and Ron Hill had the 3rd highest finish with a more reasonable 33 points.
In the afternoon Recreational division 8 games were played. Sharon Jolley and Jim Downing won the B pool title with 52 points and a mirrored 52 20s. Jeff McKeen and Rob Nicol finished 2nd with 46 points, while David McCormick and Kathi Fisher finished 3rd with 43.
In the Recreational A pool, Neil and Carol Cook's momentum was slowed from the morning, but they still did manage to finished 4th with 36 points. Carl Weins and Ron Hill finished 3rd in the afternoon as well with 39 points, and Harvey Bell and Peter Carter finished 2nd with 42 points. The first time pairing of Ab Leitch and Rex Johnston took the Recreational title away from the local contingent with 49 points to top the table.
In the Competitive C pool, Kevin Ranney was the top of the group after the 7 game round robin with 39 points, followed by a 3-way tie for second. Wayne Gingerich, Howard Martin and Gloria Walsh piled in 36 points to complete the playoff qualifiers, while Dale Henry finished in 5th at 30 points. The C pool champion was determined by a Final 4 round robin. Gloria Walsh claimed the title at 15 points, just surpassing Wayne Gingerich in second at 13 points while Howard Martin rounded out the podium at 11 points.
Roy Campbell dominated the B Pool round robin, scoring 50 points in 8 games. Following Campbell a large margin away were 4 players vying for the final 3 spots in the playoffs. Ron Langill grabbed the second seed with 38 points, followed in line by Dwayne Campbell at 37, and Clare Kuepfer at 36 for 4th. For the second time in the day, Eric Miltenburg just missed the cutoff by one point, finishing 5th in the B pool at 35 points. In the Final 4 round robin Campbell's run was was challenged by Langill, but Campbell held on by scoring 16 points for top spot, just ahead of Langill at 15.
In the Competitive A pool 20s were in high demand and Robert Bonnett, despite his own claims contradicting his proficiency, piled in a tonne. Bonnett scored 131 20s over 8 games, good enough to average 163.75 20s over 10 games. The mark put him 2nd in the all-time 20s scoring records, just behind Justin Slater's 164.54 10-game average, which Bonnett could have surpassed had he scored just one more 20. In addition to the 20s, Bonnett also tallied 41 points for 3rd place in the round. Jon Conrad and Andrew Hutchinson took the top two spots at 43 and 42 points respectively. The final spot in the playoffs was a real scrap (and mathematical challenge) with Connor Reinman, Darren Carr and Jeremy Tracey all scoring 32 points to tie for the final spot. The head-to-head points tiebreaker was also dead-even as all 3 players had earned 8 points combined in their respective head-to-head matches. Connor Reinman claimed the final playoff spot by virtue of head-to-head 20s, with his 31 20s ahead of Carr's 29 for 5th and Tracey's 27 for 6th.
The Final 4 round robin saw all 4 players looking to finish in the top 2 to advance to the championship match. Both Jon Conrad and Robert Bonnett got out to early advantages and both sat tied at the top with 10 points going into the final game, while Hutchinson and Reinman had 6 points each. The final round robin matches were Conrad v Reinman and Bonnett v Hutchinson, where Reinman and Hutchinson needed to win 6-2 to advance to the finals, while Conrad and Bonnett needed to stop them to maintain their top 2 positions. Jon Conrad did his part by winning 6-2 over Reinman and finished as the top seed at 16 points, while Hutchinson and Bonnett went down to the wire, with Hutchinson just edging Bonnett 6-2 to take the second spot in the championship.
The finals matchup was the 3rd time Conrad and Hutchinson had played against each other in an elimination game. The previous two matches both resulted in wins for Conrad, the first being the 2016 Hamilton final, which was Hutchinson's first tournament final, and the second being the 2019 St. Jacobs 9-7 semifinal for Conrad.
The match began with 2 standard wins against the hammer as both players got an opportunity to win a 20 race and proceed to hold the lead with relative ease. Hutchinson got a break in the 3rd round when Conrad (who was leading by a 20 without the hammer) missed his final takeout attempt through Hogan's alley, giving Hutchinson a 4-2 lead after he made his final shot for an open 20. However, Hutchinson would miss his opening 20 attempt in each of the next two rounds, and Conrad pounced on the opportunity to turn the tide and lead the match 6-4.
Hutchinson was determined to not let the match get out of reach and won the 20 race to begin the 6th round. But Conrad fought back and tied the round on a tight-ricochet-takeout-20 on a disc on his own side of the board. The players then scored their final two 20s each to tie the round, making the score 7-5 for Conrad.
Hutchinson's 20s shooting continued to improve as the match advanced into the later rounds. He'd win the 20 races in the 7th and 8th rounds and successfully defend the lead in each to achieve a 9-7 lead, and move two points from the tournament title. He began the 9th round well with 2-straight 20s, but his 3rd-attempt just popped out of the 20 hole, while Conrad went 3-for-3 facing elimination and stopped Hutchinson from scoring a break-even 20 later in the round to tie the match at 9-9.
Jon Conrad had the hammer advantage in the winner-take-all 10th round but, following Hutchinson's opening 20, left a hanger 20 on his very first shot and then lost his shooter off the board on his second shot. Only three shots in and Conrad trailed massively by two 20s. While Conrad did score a touch-20 to cut the deficit, it still seemed that Hutchinson was assured of victory when he made a great takeout and roll on his 7th shot. That left Conrad facing 2 opposing discs, while trailing a 20 and only having 2 discs remaining to shoot.
BANG! Conrad smacked an impressive follow-through 20 on the disc in the 15 to tie up the 20 count and give himself a slim ember of a chance, but it could still be snuffed out with Hutchinson scoring one final open 20 to win the title. However, Hutchinson missed long giving Conrad a chance to win the match if he could successfully make a double takeout. But Conrad's double attempt jammed leaving one red and one black disc on in the 10 for a tie round. The score even at 10-10.
In round 11, both players made their first 3 20s, but Conrad was the first to miss on his 4th shot. Both players then danced around the 15 circle, Hutchinson looking to slide to the outside, Conrad looking to get one good look at a takeout-20 attempt. On Conrad's 7th shot he lined up a long follow-through 20, but his shooter rolled outside to the side of the board. Hutchinson's takeout left no line for Conrad to slide back into the 15 circle, so he had to settle for a simple takeout, and Hutchinson then proceeded to make the final takeout of the match to win the final by a score of 12-10.
The win is Andrew Hutchinson's 3rd NCA title, putting him tied for 5th in NCA history for most singles titles with Nathan Walsh and Quin Erzinger, and still trailing Jon Conrad (5 singles victories), Brian Cook (15), Ray Beierling (16) and Justin Slater (22).
In terms of the NCA rankings, Connor Reinman's 4th place finish pushes him back into first on the Tour at 181 points, trailled by Ray Beierling at 179, Andrew Hutchinson at 175 and Jon Conrad at 169. However there are still other top players yet to record 4 or more tournament entries to achieve a full NCA ranking, notably Justin Slater, Jason Beierling and Darren Carr. But a good opportunity exists for those players to do so at the 2019 Ontario Doubles Crokinole Championship in Brucefield.
In 2018, Jason Beierling had advanced to the Belleville final where his efforts ended in defeat in his first trip to the tournament's championship stage. 12 months later, he had returned to the final step and put in two confident playoff matches to come away victorious as the 2019 Belleville Crokinole Challenge winner.
For the second year in a row the Belleville event matched it's record-high attendance of 39, welcoming players from Owen Sound, Kingston, the greater Toronto area, Kitchener, London, Penetanguishene, Guelph, Tuscarora, New York and New Hampshire.
Morning play was split into 4 pool with Ray Beierling (61 points in 9 games) and Andrew Hutchinson (55 points) leading the way in Pool A. Barrie Wood scored 40 points for 3rd in the pool, but that would ultimately be 3 points shy of making Group A in the afternoon. Local favourite, Matt Brown, had the top score in Pool B with 51 points in 9 games, followed by Jason Beierling at 49 and Ron Langill at 48. Both Maradyn Wood and Clare Kuepfer scored 41 points to tie for 4th in the pool, and both would meet again in Group B in the second round.
In Pool C, Jeremy Tracey (playing his last North American event before travelling to Budapest in a week's time for the Hungarian Federation hosted event dubbed The Crokinole World Cup) scored the highest at 62 points in 9 games. Fred Slater scored 54 points, while Roger Vaillancourt scored 43 points to finish 3rd in the pool and earn the final spot in Group A for the afternoon. Nathan Walsh led Pool D with 56 points in 8 games, and he was joined in Group A with Extra Pint's Jason Molloy (45 points) and John McFeeters, who scored 40 to edge Steffan Hiller-Ranney's 37.
As player's sat for lunch some made time to attempt to set the high-score in a side 20s shootout competition. Players attempted 8 open 20s with the intention of scoring the most, although that became somewhat difficult as the board used for the competition was not adverse to giving the odd leaner. When the competition time had ceased, Matt Brown and Doug Gibson had tied for the high score with 6 20s and then took part in a final showdown. Brown took the first crack and started strong with 3 straight 20s, but his momentum stopped when he got 2 straight leaners, and finished with a score of 5 out of 8. Gibson looked like he would surpass that score, sitting at 5 20s after 6 shots, but then dramatically both of his final shots resulted in leaners for an identical score of 5 20s made, along with 2 leaners. An extra round proved successful for Brown who made another 5 20s (this time with one leaner), while Gibson received 2 leaners in the his first 4 shots which derailed his set of 20s, as Brown took the 20s Shootout title.
In the afternoon play, Len Chard came away as the Group D winner after scoring 40 points in 7 games, a decent margin ahead of another Quinte club member, Betty Waite, who was in second with 35 points, one ahead of Gloria Walsh in third. There was also a decent winning margin in Group C as Dave Brown ended up first with 47 points in 8 games, followed by Beverly Vaillancourt at 39 points in second and Kingston's Wayne Scott at 35 points.
In Groups A and B, players vied for spots in the top 4 to advance to the playoff stages. Group B scores ended up being pretty close with 7 points between first and and sixth. Eric Miltenburg and Peter Carter both scored 48 points (in 10 games), while Doug Gibson finished third at 47 and Clare Kuepfer took the final playoff spot at 43. This was just ahead of Glenndon Whitaker at 43 points and Maradyn Wood at 41. The spectators circled around the boards for the semifinal matches, but those didn't feature too much drama on the B side. Kuepfer defeated Miltenburg 10-2 and Carter took down Gibson 9-1, as it appeared that both victors quickly became comfortable with the boards while their opponents struggled to find form.
In the B finals, the match progressed to 5-5 with both players earning 2 relatively comfortable round wins, in addition to one complex round that ended in a draw. Kuepfer was able to earn a slight advantage when he went ahead 7-5, and then the player's continued to fight on level terms as they tied the next two rounds to go 8-6 and then 9-7. The 9th round was by far the best of the match, as Kuepfer scored a nice touch-20 and followed it up with a great double-takeout, while Carter got back into the round with a takeout-20. But the definitive moment was a gutsy combo-ricochet-20 Kuepfer made where he had to make a 20 off his own disc in the 15 and propel it towards the opposing disc in the 5. Carter missed the open 20 on the reply, and Kuepfer won the match and the B title 11-7.
In Group A not a single player seemed to excel through the field, and in rare fashion no one surpassed 5 points per game. Ray Beierling finished as the top seed at 50 points in 10 games, along with 112 20s, and he was followed closely by both Jason Beierling and Nathan Walsh at 48 points. Roger Vaillancourt grabbed the final semifinal spot at 46 points to make his first ever Group A final 4 appearance, as he just beat out Andrew Hutchinson, Jeremy Tracey and Fred Slater, who all scored 44 points, and Matt Brown who had 43. Amazingly 7 points separate 1st from 8th, and 2 points separated 4th and 7th.
The Jason Beierling/Nathan Walsh semifinal was their second ever head-to-head match, with the first being Beierling's win in the 2018 Belleville semifinal. Jason Beierling was under some pressure in the first round of the match, but that was relieved when he hit a takeout-2-peg-20 which was followed by Walsh missing his reply open 20 through the house as Beierling took a 2-0 lead. Beierling then hit a long ricochet 20 in the second round that set him up for another 2 points, as he carried a truck-load of momentum into an 8-0 lead. Walsh would get on the board late to make it 8-2, but a near flawless round from Jason Beierling in the 6th made it a 10-2 semifinal victory.
In the other semifinal, the match started deadlocked at 2-2, and it appeared to be headed for 3-3 when Vaillancourt (leading by a 20) left his final shot close to the hole leaving a takeout-20 opportunity for Beierling. But on Ray Beierling's last shot, he scored a 20 only to have hit the opposing disc too squarely on a peg, just slowing its momentum enough so that it remained on the board in the 5, for a 4-2 Vaillancourt lead. The lead became 8-2 as Roger Vaillancourt was superior on open 20 scoring, and Ray Beierling struggled to manufacture 20s from behind. Ray fought back with a storming performance in each of the next three rounds where he seemingly comfortably earned 6 points and made the score 8-8 to setup a sudden-death round. In that final round, Vaillancourt earned the early edge by making his first 20 while Beierling missed. This put a lot pressure on Beierling as throughout the match neither player had much luck fighting from behind. But critically on his very next shot, Ray Beierling's follow-through-20 attempt careened regally off a peg to end up sitting nearly perfectly hidden on his side of the board.
Vaillancourt missed on the takeout, but the drama wasn't done there as Beierling missed a chance by going long on his open 20. The two player's then tip-toed around each other searching for a 20 off of that single disc in the 15, before Ray Beierling finally got an opening and made the pivotal takeout-20 to win the match 10-8.
That setup the all Beierling final between Ray and Jason, in what was their 4th head-to-head battle. Previously, Jason had won their 2012 London final meeting, with Ray winning the next two matchups (2013 Hamilton final, 2018 World Championship 3rd/4th place game). Both players started with lots of open 20s scored, and it was easy to see Jason's confidence was high as in multiple cases he could (and perhaps should) have played defensive, but elected the more aggressive 20 attempt despite having the lead. Jason led 4-2, which then stretched to 8-2 when Ray's final shots in the 4th and 5th rounds were both missed when an opporunity for a tie or win was possible.
Ray Beierling was able to fight back to 9-5, but Jason Beierling capped off the match in round 8, affirmed by his first 2 shots of the round that included an aggressive follow-through 20, and then an exceptional defensive roll-out. The final 2 points gave Jason the 11-5 match and tournament victory.
Following the event, Ray Beierling now has the top spot on the NCA Tour, though that is at least partly a result of him competing in 4 events already, as the previous leader, Connor Reinman, remained stationary at 138 points after 3 events. With the win, Jason Beierling is now positioned in the best spot on the NCA Tour. 141 points after 3 events, so one more solid performance would already put him among the likely top scores of the 2019-2020 season.
The win earned Jason Beierling the Belleville Crokinole Challenge title, though if you look closely the tournament trophy is clearly labelled "Eastern Challenge." There's a bit of history there as this trophy was previously used as the top prize for the Eastern Challenge Crokinole Tournament. The tournament is no longer active, but used to be a team event (the only event of its kind other than the Schneider Haus tournament) that featured the main clubs of Eastern Ontario, such as Kawartha, Ottawa and Belleville. In recent years the trophy has now been re-purposed for use in the Belleville Crokinole Challenge.