Game 1: Kate Surtees
I felt I always had this game under control until we reached the end game. From my point of view I could see SATIREAI outstanding and there was an open W at the top and an open P at the bottom with one place for a seven. Luckily I had picked the second blank from my previous play so things could have been worse but if Kate held IRISATE I was a goner. I blew the blank to block the place for a 7 and PARITIES and drew the last tile. The T...phew...
Game 2: Azu
I opened with ArEOlAE so no need to worry about the blanks for the rest of the game. I opted to play SHAWL for 47 onto the triple on move 2 rather than HAW for 35, to keep Azu under pressure but my pickup didn't let me keep going. A phony from me on move 4 of PIRI came off and Azu had caught me back up after his play. CISTERN from me on move 8 gave me back a good lead and steady scoring from then on saw me home.
Game 3: Ray Tate
I bonused on move 2 with (O)VErKIND. Ray made a fatal mistake on move 5 of changing his mind - he had placed QU(AG) on the board but then lifted it and played LOW/(L)AG instead. My previously unplayable FETIDER/(LOW)E hit the board followed by BALLETS/S(LAG) and then DIAMInE to complete the hat-trick.
Game 4: Simon Gillam
This game started like a rocket. A hat-trick of ALMONER, PORTING and CODGERS from me but Simon was more than matching my scoring with a couple of bonuses, and JA(P)ER(66) and HOA(44) onto the triples my bonuses opened. The scoring then settled down and we were neck and neck until I bonused again with (R)EUNITES to take a 42 point lead. Interestingly the unseen tiles were ABCLSVY? and I could see the possibility of SCABb(I)LY with only one place for the V to be played that I could block. Simon did indeed have that rack but didn't see the bonus but we worked out it lost anyway.
Game 5: Neil Scott
I struggled through the whole of this game with awkward racks. To give myself a chance I played (C)INCT to open a 9x. Neil challenged, and when it came back with a tick then plonked down S(T)oNERAG... I told Neil off later for grumbling about one of his racks!
Game 6: Alan Sinclair
This game was always under my control. A late bonus and good scoring from Alan near the end could not undo the earlier damage.
End of day 1 and there were at least four of us on 5-1, and nobody was undefeated.
Neither Allan nor I had thought to print off a map but we eventually found the B&B I had booked. By this time it was absolutely peeing down. In my hurry to get my luggage and myself back inside I managed to tangle my foot in the handle of my bag and went sprawling. Luckily I had only grazed my hand and bruised my pride as I picked myself up, now absolutely soaking. I think it was an omen of things to come on day 2...
Game 7: Margaret Armstrong
Not great tiles but I was scoring quite well, we exchanged bonuses on move 4 but I was always slightly behind as the board began to resemble a ladder. There was only one place for a bonus and my rack was nowhere near it. Margaret opened a triple and I knew that if I didn't take it Margaret would, taking out that last spot. However, being about 40 down and holding the last S with a blank unseen I played D(E)NT stopping one short of the triple - a bonus was not necessarily needed yet. Margaret had the blank and used it. With CONGEST on my rack I was forced to make an opening, dumping E(REV) but I never saw another vowel...
Game 8: Alan Georgeson
This started well, HELIX for 46 keeping back HS. Alan bonused on move 2 and matched my bonus on move 4 to take a 60 point lead. I retook a 1 point lead with a bonus on move 6. On move 8 my unplayable bonus forced me into taking a triple to stay in touch and Alan plonked down T(R)EFOILS - game over.
Game 9: Amy Byrne
Amy opened with ADO and I tried WHINNED on move 1, not sure if it was a variation of WHINNY but checking now it appears to be a shrub :( Amy bonused on move 3 and I thought here we go again. But a high scoring bonus from me on move 6 saw me take the lead which I consolidated with another on move 9 while Amy was now struggling. A playout bonus from me made the spread flattering.
Game 10: Lorraine Gordon
A nip and tuck game. It got interesting towards the end. I was 30 up with Lorraine to play. The only places for a bonus were an 8 with ending in G or G/vowel, or an 8 ending in N. AENPRSST? unseen. Lorraine tried a phony hook so I knew her rack was APNRST?, I had INTERA(G)E and there was ES in the bag. I spent a couple of minutes just checking that it did not let her play anything parallel, if so a dump of just an E would be the order of the day...
Game 11: Iain Harley
This game flowed for me and I was quickly 200 points up. Another two bonuses later in the game countered those from Iain.
Game 12: Allan Simmons
I needed a big win and Neil to lose to keep my title. Allan needed an enormous win and Neil to lose. So when Allan opened with DEWAXeS for 100 (announced very loudly for the whole room to hear) things were not looking good for me. But that loud announcement meant I was sure as hell gonna try. I was pegging him back and a bonus of TOESHoE on move 5 saw me take a lead of 4 points. A couple of low scoring balancing moves resulted in another on move 8, Allan levelling the scores with his reply. But it was not to be. With a consonant heavy bag my rack matured to CCIISTT :( A dump of T(E)C saw me pick the J - a brief glimmer of hope as there was a high scoring place for it which may have meant a problem for Allan to block. Unfortunately for me he could score well there which was enough for him to win.
So, third place behind Neil and Allan. Still, I was getting bored of that trophy :)
Thanks to Ross for TDing and Amy for organising (and looking after my jumper that I left behind).
Next stop Penang...