Game 17: Mikki Nicholson
Mikki bonused on move 2 with E(C)OTONES whilst I was struggling with unbalanced racks. I gave up on move 4 and changed, whilst Mikki had a 120 point lead after G(L)ITZ. With the change my luck changed. JEFES (56), (D)ReAMiNG (89), KAISERI(N) (85), HI(K)E (45) and WAXI(E)R (48) in successive moves. Mikki wasn't doing badly either with (J)AUP (39), OBIA (29), (M)AUVEINE (78) and Q(I) (41). H(E)RM from Mikki. I was concerned about a follow up play with the second F and took quite a while on this move. Eventually, with bonus friendly tiles, I decided on a balancing L(I)D. I picked FO. RA(F)T from Mikki to take a 23 point lead, leaving one in the bag. My rack was FGINORS, but the 7 didn't fit and I could see no playable 8. With the last S I played FIR(I)NG, with 7 out of the 8 unseen tiles giving me a playout.
Game 18: Brian Sugar
With AIMPRRT as my starting rack I wanted an E from Brian but he opened with AYU. Brian phonied with LOBBIER and I got the bonus on move 2 with the easy STOITER and immediately followed it up with AbO(I)TeAU. A neatly slotted REGIS(T)ER from Brian. WI(R)ED followed by QADI from me for a 100+ lead. No vowels on my next rack, so a dump of G(U)LCH followed up with PLONKER, picking the J and Z from the bag. Opted for JILTE(R) first followed by Z(O) for a 220 point lead. Brian bonused with INDITES, pick the last tile from the bag - V. My SAUNTED was blocked, but after blocking the only place for the V I scored only a couple of points less playing out one at a time.
Game 19: Stewart Holden
I opened with CORDED, and Stewart slotted GUINEAs across the top of it. This gave me (s)APONINE in response, but Stewart scored almost as much with J(E)FES. I took both the triples from it in the next two moves, with Stewart balancing and then bonusing with VERT(I)CAL. (C)HLORIdS two move later from him for a 130 point lead. I got some of it back with SLEETIN(G) after Stewart decided on the flashy play of GANGR(ENE) which opened the board up. I was close to another bonus but it didn't quite come...
Game 20: Paul Allan
Paul bonused first on move 3 with EPInAOI, and I came straight back with CANDORs. THI(O)UREA and RETAXES from Paul on moves 5 and 6, and SHOO(T)ING on move 7 from me to regain a small lead. Paul pulled 32 ahead with JIVE. The only hope I could see was STEVE(N) and pray for a playout from my pickup. Paul blocked TAW(T)IE with PURLS.
Game 21: Adrian Tamas
This was a good game, nip and tuck all the way. We exchanged bonuses on move 3, LATHIER from me and (I)ODINATE from Adrian. STARRIE(R) on move 7 from Adrian, I balanced with OOT and got DEVIATe(S) on the next move to retake the lead. SILANES from Adrian on move 10. I had the second blank, but was also hampered with FJNORV. I gambled on getting a bonus with 3 As and 2 Es unseen, dumping J(I)N. It was not to be...
Game 22: Craig Beevers
No photo. Another close game, two bonuses apiece.
Game 23: Azu Ogbogu
This game flowed for me. I started with a bonus 4-x, PIC(R)ATES. Azu dumped an A, and followed it with SLAINTE. I then got back-to-back sUITA(B)LY and (R)UMINATE. Azu was scoring well with the high-scorers. ERRINGS two moves later from me, but Azu fought back with QUINTeT(S) to reduce the spread.
Game 24: Anne Ramsay
Anne bonused first on move 5 with EVIRA(T)ES, blocking my ACCIDEN(T). DE(Z)INC for 40 instead to retake the lead. We were exchanging the lead over the next few moves and then Anne bonused with TURBI(N)E. I was close, balanced with D(U)N and got TESTA(T)ES down the next go for a very small lead. Anne dumped ON. With very bonus prone tiles unseen I opted for Qu(E)YN. Anne's last rack was RETAINS. I waited... Anne tried RE(S)TAINS. I could see RE(S)IANTS... I then saw I had a playout, LIA(B)LE..
So, end of day 3 and 5-3.
It was a relief to have the evening off. I think quite a few of us were feeling brain-dead.
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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