I got as much sleep as I normally do when I am away from home despite staying up late, thanks to my pillow. I felt a little frail...
Wayne has emailed me the details of our game - my bonuses on moves 2 and 3 were sIMILOR (upon checking afterwards that was the one and only word which surprised me) and TOEBIES. Wayne's bonus was KEYN(O)TED which I challenged, but was followed with WUXIA for 75, not a bonus. In a rarity for me I went over on the clock, having spent a long time near the end looking for bonuses and deciding what to dump to make openings.
Game 8: Lewis Mackay
Lewis had been unstoppable on day 1. I started and Lewis changed 5, bonusing on move 2 with EXPERTs whereas all I could do was L(E)VO to balance. My bonus on move 4 of ENAMIN(e)S meant I was still a couple of points behind. CUFF from Lewis let me clear a consonant heavy rack with WHOM to take the lead, but Lewis hit straight back with ASTILBE. I then rallied with consecutive plays of QAID (35), JA (36), TWANGED (84) and D(U)RGIEST (88) to take a commanding lead. (F)OODIE for 30 cleared a bad rack and the turnover made it unlikely that Lewis would get the two bonuses he needed. A late NUTRIAS from Lewis reduced the spread.
Game 9: Phil Robertshaw
I started with FADED and had BELNOTU. Phil's bonus reply of HOV(E)RERS blocked both the Ds. I spent a long time on this rack - it looked so hopeful but eventually gave up and played the 4-x BUTANOL. I had not missed anything. Phil bonused again with (S)CABbIER. Trading insults, I played WA(R)TY. Phil moved further ahead with XENIA, and my rack had developedvowelitis. AUA for 16 followed by (C)IAO for 18 and I was slipping further behind. fRUITI(O)N from Phil on move 7 essentially meant that the game was his as I continued to struggle with unbalanced racks. He tried to be greedy at the end, playing out with SO(NO)R(E)S, which meant I kept the spread to 2 figures.
Game 10: Stewart Holden
I started, and with 7 consonants changed 5, and Stewart opened with JAPAN. I hate to admit that I pondered for a long time before playing UNBE(A)RED. (J)UDAS response from Stewart, and DIXI from me. Stewart then bonused with a very well spotted (DE)MAgOGIC to take a small lead. I had six consonants, and opted K(A)V(A). I still had six consonants... MULCH over MUCH. Stewart spent a long time, obviously looking for a 9-x, before PARIT(I)Es hit the deck. I was hanging in, and having a U-less Q went for score with ROWED. This was hit with FEZ, but it could have been worse as I had blocked a potential ZA disaster. I had picked the last U and dumped QU(OD). Stewart took off the triple, and I scored with HIN. I had been steadily getting back in touch when I was hit with SEA(s)ONER and found myself a hundred behind again and tiles running out, and staring at an uninspiring rack of EEGOOYY. No miracle came...
Game 11: Mikki Nicholson
This was a dream game...for Mikki.
Mikki's opening play of OF allowed me to score well with WHY and balance. He bonused with CANINES. My rack of BEMNORU looked hopeful, and I spent an age before playing NUB - it actually is a NUMBER 0 rack. Mikki then cleared his absolutely rubbish rack with BRATTL(IN)G. I could at least respond in kind this time with EM(B)ROILS. Mikki completed his hattrick with HEINIES. I won't bother you with the rest of my feeble moves in this game, other than INEP(T) which is how I felt. Mikki, however, was on for a mega score with consecutive plays of QUA (68), JOLE (75), XI (52), (C)OZED (34) before he changed 6, balanced, and then (R)ESOuRCE. I hate to say this, but he admitted it himself - greed overcame him at the end going for a 600+ score. WA(HI)TI was a move too far...
Game 12: Janet Phillips
Janet opened with HOKI, and I replied with HEXED. Janet capitalised on it with FATE, and I balanced with POON holding an S. Janet took the hook off with JIBS, and I was forced into the lower scoring place for MESONIC. It was all looking good when I immediately followed this up with LA(N)OLINE, but Janet bonused straight back with (C)OMEDIaN. I had a consonant heavy rack including the Q, but scored well with HID. Janet scored more with FLAG. I picked another I, and dumped QI to retake the lead. We were nip and tuck for the next few moves. When Janet bonused with (T)ITTEREd I still had hope with one in the bag - AEORSTVV. My rack was AELNOSU. I spent a long time going through the possibilities, and eventually dumped the U hoping for an R or T. As it was I got a V which was no great surprise, but Janet missed her bonus outplay.
Game 13: Russell Smith
I started with what is frequently the kiss of death move, QI. Fortunately Russell did not play the dreaded IF underneath. Russell bonused on move 3 with InFO(R)CES Here we go again I thought. I took the triple with (I)NDOW to regain a small lead. We both appeared to be struggling - well, I know I was - with unbalanced racks. Russell played a phony (G)LOaMERS. I blocked the spot with GOX. Russell made an opening with OM, with I blocked with UPGO, and now I had a cushion. When he eventually bonused with SISTERs I was still 30+ up. I just had to be careful in the end game to play out in two, as his rack of EPIZOAS* held some good scoring options.
Well, day 2 had not gone to plan. I was actually quite pleased to not have a blank in the last game - it was the story of my day. I can't complain about day 1 though - I had at least seven - don't know what the distribution was against Steve.
Many congratulations to Lewis, who proceeded to win all the rest of his games.
Thanks as always go to the organizer, TD and computer operator - namely Laura, Amy and Ross.
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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