I set off down south at 11 a.m. on Friday. I had a leisurely drive across to the M6, stopping in Hawick to nip into Morrisons to buy some sandwiches and something to drink. I stopped again at the first services on the M6 for a loo break and to eat my picnic. Back on the road and a travel report said long delays from junction 23 to junction 16 - I was going to J15. Then the same message was being posted on all the overhead signs. I pulled into another service station to see if there was any feasible alternative - the best I could see was the A50 off of J20. In the end I stuck with the M6 as it was just stop/start around the junctions, but we were moving reasonably well in between. I eventually arrived at Yarnfield at 5.15 p.m.
I was not playing in the Ladies event so chilled out in the evening. I did not sleep well, my pillow being far to large and solid, and my room was very hot despite opening the window. Eventually in the early hours I got up and collected a towel to use as a pillow, which although not ideal at least let me get some sleep. Note to self - take pillow in future...
After breakfast I caught up on my cardbox quiz and then wandered over to the main building. I was a runner for the first two rounds of the newbies event, but that was more than enough - the room was extremely hot - and then went back to my room to get ready for the main event.
I won't go through all the games in great detail - partly because there were so many and partly because after day 1 I lost enthusiasm and stopped photographing the boards, and will only remember some of the games in any detail.
Game 1: Andrei Russell-Gebbett
I knew of Andrei from Brett Smitheram, so knew not to underestimate him.
Andrei started and changed 3, bingoing on move 2 with TAINTED. On move 4 he played DIAPSIN and I stupidly challenged it off - I realised I could have played PERIO(D)IC around the D. I played PICO, keeping EIR and picked 4 more vowels. PANIC from Andrei let me dump E(P)EIRA. On my third successive UW rack, having played off PURL and RUSH I had AEHIUW? and was holding my breath. Andrei bingoed with DEMOTES. WHArENUI for 102 from me and a 62 point lead. This was not rewarded by the tile gods - 7 consonants from the bag. I dumped K(I)W(I) to keep scoring and picked 2 more consonants, and was powerless when Andrei levelled with GENITOR. With J and Z unseen I had to block the triple. BOZO from Andrei for 35 - ZOBO for 81 would have been a real killer. I picked the blank, and played (FE)RN to make another opening and hope for a good pick up. Unfortunately I got the J and could just minimise the losing spread.
Game 2: Kevin Synott
This game was close throughout - everytime I got ahead Kevin pegged me back. BEECH for 50 from Kevin near the end was a killer for me giving him a 20 point lead on a tight board. With one tile in the bag Kevin found the correct play of P(E)ERAGE to give himself a two tile playout, and blocking my winning play of (T)WINTER.
Game 3: Stewart Houten
Stewart started with two consecutive phonies, MOANY and YEOMANS, but bonusing on move 4. I then took off with 2 consecutive bingoes, solid scoring and a third bingo on move 11.
Game 4: Bob Lynn
Three bonuses from me of IC(E)FIeLD (was pleased with that), SEXTILE and IND(I)TERS - correctly chickened out of trying to hook R(AKA). Also scored heavily with FELTY, JAW, QI and HI. On my bad racks I was able to balance with IONI(C) and AREAE.
Game 5: Phil Robertshaw
Phil got a 4-x CHAT(L)INE on move 1 and I levelled on move 2 with (T)RIaLLED. We were then nip and tuck. Going into the end game I was 28 behind but Phil had 7 vowels. I blew it.
Game 6: Chris Fenwick
I played a phony on move 2 - can't remember what, but successfully bonused on moves 4, 5 and 7 with an embarrassment of good easy tiles.
End of day 1, 3-3 and +567!
Game 7: Cecil Muscat
Cecil bonused on move 2, but I caught him back up on move 5 and took a bonus lead on move 8. Cecil bonused back on move 9 to get right back in touch, but I had enough ammo held back to stay in control.
W: 428-370 and the first time I had been ahead in the tourney.
Game 8: Richard Kennedy
I started with BYLAW and then SILICES. I could not believe it when it was challenged off, and asked for a recheck. Not allowed. I dumped CEILIS the next go and my racks just went downhill from there...
Game 9: Joyce Cansfield
Joyce started with LEISURE. I couldn't get going, and changed twice in the game. We exchanged bonuses on move 11, and I was still 40 behind with Joyce to play. Near the end and now I was 85 behind, holding AACERSU. I spent several minutes agonising over CAESURA(s) for 80, and eventually chickened out with CAESURA for 74, but opening the triple. Joyce dumped (C)IVIL for 30. As the tiles lay I would still have lost, but should have given myself the chance to win.
This was an annoying game as Joyce challenged every other word I played, even at one point muttering that if penalty challenges ever get voted in that she will have to learn the new 3s...
Game 10: Anne Ramsay
A cracking game. Anne started with a bonus, but I responded in kind on move 2. PANNI(E)RS from Anne on move 4 opening a 9-x and I hit it straight off with IM(P)ARTEd for 158 to be a bonus lead ahead. I bonused again on move 8 to take a 150+ lead, but Anne hit back on move 10 with GAZIEST for 101, and I took off the triple for 27 to stay a bonus+ up. Another bonus from Anne and another bonus from me. A play for 41 from Anne, but leaving herself only one place to play out that I blocked...
Game 11: Vincent Boyle
Vincent took an early lead, bonusing on move 2 whilst I was struggling. I face-value bonused on move 6 to get within 20. I then picked the J and Z with 5 vowels. I rejected JIZ for 54 in favour of JEU for 36 and picked the X. XI for another 36, setting up the Z for 63 the next go and a lead of 8 points. We exchanged 30 point plays, but a bingo from me on the next move and a winning margin that looked a lot easier than it was.
Game 12: Sandie Simonis
This was a dream game for me and Sandie took it in good grace. I started with OJIME, keeping ET and had the great pick up of AQSU?. Sandie's reply of PIU(M) set up SUQ for 67, followed by a bonus on move 3. Two more bonuses from me, my lowest score in the game being 22.
Game 13: Terry Kirk
Terry opened with COXY. My rack of AADINRT and neither 7 played, but I had choices of 8s. I knew I always muddled the anagram of RADICANT, and eventually settled for ANTID(O)RA as it gave least away. Terry was struggling, and when he bonused on move 6 was still slightly behind. I bonused again on move 7 and scored solidly from then on in to the line.
End of day 2 and I had recovered to 8-5. I still had a chance of a good placing if I could win all 5 on day 3, having the best spread by far of the field, +1060
Game 14: Gareth Williams
The tile gods decided to piss on me in this game. With BEFKRTU I opened with BUKE and Gareth bingoed. I picked no vowels but could dump FR(O)NT. I played the next 8 moves with a single vowel, but was still hanging in there. On move 11 I held CONTEST, but nowhere to play it. With a slightly vowel heavy bag I dumped COT to set up another bonus lane, and picked 3 more consonants. Gareth blocked the SCOT bonus lane, and I played W(E)ND to open another onto the triple lane on the left, keeping REST. I then picked EEO. Gareth blocked again. I dumped EE, to make another opening making (ME)E vertically stopping 1 short of the triple lane on the right, knowing that Gareth had no tile that went on the end of it so the best he would be able to do would be play a single tile onto the second E which he duly did. I picked LY, and dumped the Y in a last-ditch attempt - if the unseen E was the last tile in the bag I still had a chance. Gareth had it, and played PIZE for my worst defeat of the tourney.
Game 15: Mike O'Rourke
Solid scoring from me at the start including an X dump for 52 on move 2. Mike bonused on move 5, but was still 26 behind and a 95 point bonus reply from me kept me well in control. Mike bonused again on move 8 but I was still well ahead. Mike then tried a phony with AELORST, and I blocked a danger spot for an S ending. On my next move I blocked the only other bonus lane, and drifted over the winning line.
Game 16: Di Dennis
Di opened with QI, and I spotted TANTRUM. Di bonused back and after 3 moves apiece it was all square. I went ahead on move 5 with LINDIES, and Di hit me with a double whammy of BALDIES followed by INCRE(A)SE which blocked my RARITIE(S). There was nowhere to just dump RI for any points or tactical gain, so I played off ARTI(C) as there were 2 blanks still to come. Unbeknownst to me, Di had picked them both after INCREASE but had overlooked the R hook thinking she was safe with all the Ss and Ds gone. I got back ahead with FRIAR for 47 followed by JE(E)P for 34. Coming into the end game with 5 unseen, including the blanks, I dumped GLIT from AGGILNT to stay in touch and give myself a good chance of a blank if one was in the bag, or guaranteeing it if both were. It was not to be.
Game 17: Richard Kennedy (again)
I got revenge in this game :)
I opened with BANTY. On rack 3 I was holding AINOPRS with nowhere for either bonus to play when Richard just vowel dumped OE, to give me a place for PARISON. He bonused back with STRIVER on move 4. We were both scoring steadily. I had consecutive moves of MENHIR(45), F(I)Z (35) and VAL(I)D (36) despite having only a single vowel on the last two racks, to counter his JOW(37), EX (38) and BIOGE(N)Y (36). Richard then opened the 9x with ACiE(R)AGE, missing the safe AC(R)EAGES, to take a short lived 44 point lead. I had picked the other blank to hit it straight away with MORTG(A)gE for 158. We exchange 30+ plays, and I was holding ACDHILN. I made a decision that if I was still a bonus+ up after Richard's move I would go for it else I would play safe. Richard dumped (V)AU so down went MANCHILD*. I waited for the challenge but it did not come, so 110 points added, followed immediately with another 65 for UNSTAID. Richard's last rack of EEELNRS had no playable bingo so he just dumped the L to stop me scoring with an easy P(E)AK for 38 from a rack of AEKOPUU, but I was pleased to spot the new 4, KOAP for 33.
Game 18: Stewart Holden
This was the reverse of my game against Gareth. I foolishly played BOYLA from my opening rack of AABIOLY, and then had AAAIEUS. I dumped AUA and then had AEIIINS. I played INIA and then had AEIIOST. Stewart had just bonused opening the triple so I played IOTA. Next rack EEIIIXS, and I couldn't even play XI but had EX for 38. Can't remember next rack/move. EEIIMOS and dumped (A)MIE as the board was getting blocked and I needed to keep it open (no T for MOIETIES). AEIORSW, played off OW to make an opening. Stewart played TINNIER off of it, but at last. EARWIGS for 97 and only 109 behind! Of course, my pickup was by now consonant heavy but I had the second blank. J(U)VE for 44 and inside double figures. Stewart then played a phony (F)LUKER with 2 left in the bag. So with my rack of CFNOVZ? and APTT unseen I dumped of F(I)Z for 19 and prayed for AT in the bag. I turned over AP and any chance of playing out off the open I had gone.
So, 10-8 +1209.
Positives to take out of this: I had the best spread of the tourney. Average game score 441.9. Even in the two games where I had consistent crud against Gareth and Stewart I still had a chance of winning at the end. I only blew one game...
Many congratulations to Paul Allan who won the title although he could have looked happier :)
Also to Phil Robertshaw who gained the last UK place for the WSC.
Thanks go to Sarah for all the hard work she puts in to organise the tournament and apparently all the rudeness she had to suffer from a, hopefully, very small minority of the players. Thanks also to Mauro, Ian, the runners and everyone else without whom the event could not take place.
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
- ► 2012 (17)
- ► 2011 (33)
- ► 2010 (87)
- ► 2009 (110)
- ► 2008 (145)
- ▼ August (6)