Allan and I drove to Carlisle on Friday where we stayed in a B&B, picking up Mikki the next morning. We arrived with plenty of time to spare but none of our rooms were ready.
I drew Mikki for game one and after he started with TRAPEZE for 106 I was never in it.
Things flowed much better in game 2 against Phil Appleby. We gave our racks to Stewie but it doesn't appear to have made it online. Maybe will be used for the magazine...
Against Martin Harrison my play of IODYRITE to go 120 up was hit with R(E)FASTeN to be 29 down. There were 2 left in the bag and the Q was unseen, with only one place to directly play it. I decided my only hope was that Martin had picked it so I blocked the spot with FADE(R) to go 3 behind - phew, I didn't get the Q...
A win against Allan and my spread was positive for the first and only time of the whole tourney +1!
I lost the next 2. Adrian hit me with 4 consecutive bonuses, a smaller loss against Jared.
A high scoring game against Lewis. This is annotated on centrestar.
Next Paul Allan. I open with YAP and Paul bonused with CAVATIN(A). Holding AEGNOWS I tried GOWAN(I)ES, knowing GOWANY, but alas it is not allowed. Paul then tried COT(T)AGY but it is only allowed with an E. I balanced and bonused the next go but Paul then went on a scoring spree which I could not match.
So, end of day 1 and 4-4 but mega negative spread.
Another thrashing at the start of day 2 by Wayne - it could have been soooo much worse had I not played out with AZURINE for 131!
I followed it with another no-hoper against Paul Gallen.
And then Phil Robertshaw, who was having a much worse time than I was. Phil opened with COWED and I immediately played (C)OWBANES. Phil plays the 9x IRI(S)AtES but B(A)UhINIA gave me a 1 point lead. I completed the hattrick with LAZULIS. Phil caught me back up on move 9 with RESPITE. A nervy pre and endgame by us both - I had the Q and was ensuring that there were always two places to dump it whilst scoring with my other tiles. This proved enough to hold on for a close win.
Game 12. Neil started and gave me the I I needed for F(I)REHALL, unfortunately ending one short of the triple for a measly 65+5. Neil immediately plonked an S on the bottom with AMBLES for 84 :( My pickup was 6 vowels and a G so I was forced to dump while Neil followed up with steady scoring. I was hanging in there and a 4x of DIG(H)TED got me back within touching distance, and I was rewarded with a good pickup. A bonus each two moves later but TOXI(N)E for 63 gave me the edge.
So, now 6-6 and strangely still in with a chance - no-one was blitzing the field.
The next game against Kevin was a cracker. I really thought the gods were on my side when I extended BE to BEGORRAH. But it was not to be. A loss by 1 point...
Ed Martin in the next game. I kept getting a 100+ lead and Ed kept catching me back up. But luckily he couldn't overhaul me.
Last game, Craig Beevers. He changed tiles. I changed tiles. He changed tiles. I dumped tiles. He bonused. I bonused. He bonused again :( I caught him back up on move 8, but he was scoring well and another bonus by him on move 12. A playout bonus by me merely reduced my losing spread, which was pretty irrelevant in the grander scheme as it was mega negative by now.
So the end of a very strange Masters. The top 3 were all on 9-6, and I was 14th only two games behind. I had two nine timers played against me and I won both those games.
Congratulations to Jared who won his first ever major/'A' division - not a bad one to start with.
Thanks to Phil A for organising and Stewie for TDing.
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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