The Wizard (on right - aka David Potter) accepts the trophy from last year's winner
Well done to David for winning, well done to Dicky for acting as a creative TD and managing the events, well done to Christian for being one of four splendid riding team members. I organised the trip (hope it was good chaps!). A great and memorable weekend!
The Wizard - 10 points
BotB - 9
BGBoy - 7
Pilgrim - 4
to Epsom, busy sunny Sunday roads, breakfast at an inn then the two
final 5-pointers beside a pub beside a pond with the noisiest frog's
chorus you've ever heard.
wins his third of three, BGBoy does likewise in the negative and the
final table sees the latter bottom, the former top and The Wizard and
Pilgrim in between in that order.
With BotB having won the now completed lunchtime event, he and The Wizard both have a first and second place in a sub-competition. Seven points
each. It's all going to rest on the Last Supper this evening - a
7-point round-robin - to decide who is BikeGammon Champion 2018!
has finally relinquished his hold on the trophy and Pilgrim is
discovering that his current approach to the game ('experimenting to
see what happens') may need reviewing.
the two leaders are very interested in the form of the trailers - at
least in respect of how they perform against their adversary!
cannot win BikeGammon, but he can win the evening event, triumph in
one of the three sub-competitions and take the side-pool.
first pairings see BotB v The Wizard and BGBoy v Pilgrim.
Wizard takes it, beating his higher-ranked opponent and making
himself huge favourite for the overall title. BGBoy wins his first,
too, keeping him in the hunt for a sub-comp win.
it's The Wizard v Pilgrim and BotB v BGBoy. The Wizard wins at a
canter. Now it's on the other second-round match. BotB is ahead but
can't bring it home, BGBoy hangs in there, gets the dice he needs and
beats his opponent for the first time in the weekend!
The Wizard v BGBoy and BotB v Pilgrim. Once again, Pilgrim
contrives to lose quickly (but he's the best of losers - and a great
playing and traveling companion!). Can BGBoy beat the favourite - and
will it make a difference to the overall title?
match is long and tense and BGBoy prevails to top The Last Supper
table, take the side pool (BtoB and The Wizard having done so for the
other two sub-tournies) and make something of his weekend.
doesn't alter the final outcome, though and The Wizard is rightfully
crowned the new BikeGammon Champion for 2018. He played well, made
creative and intelligent plays when he needed them and enters
backgammon history as one of only two players ever to have won this
Day 3 (Saturday 21st April, [en route to] Eastbourne)
A cooler yet still gloriously sunny day greeted the crew as they set off heading south-east towards Sussex.
Still no punctures.
Country lanes, architypal English hamlets and occasional ugly over-crowded arterial highways marked their way until, one delayed rendezvous later and having been denied leave to play the lunch-time 5-pointers overlooking an ancient bridge and waterway, a village pub presented the opportunity.
BotB prevailed against BGBoy - sustaining the latter's poor tournament and the former's status as favourite for the overall BikeGammon 2018 trophy and a permanent place in backgammon history.
A win for Pilgrim would have placed him joint leader of the lunch-time tournament but he was denied this by a tenacious The Wizard.
It was busy riding through Hove then Brighton on the hottest April Saturday in living memory - who'd a thought it!?
One more drinks stop overlooking water then, as the weather cooled and seemed to threaten thunder, Eastbourne.
In a noisy, bustling gastro-pub, the evening 11-pointers took place and backgammon's capricious nature asserted itself. Upsetting recent form The Wizard and BGBoy took two each.
By defeating BotB, The Wizard triumphed in the now completed evening sub-event, securing 4 points towards his BikeGammon 2018 Grand Total and establishing himself as the new favourite for the trophy. BGBoy's double win over Pilgrim placed him third in the evening table and an unlikely outside chance at the main crown.
One day to go and all to play for. It's still anyone's trophy...
Day 2 (Friday 20th April, [en route to] Winchester)
As if to show its approval of their enterprise, the sun shone enthusiastically as the crew made their way via country lane, byway and A25 west, then north, then west again on their way to Winchester. Notwithstanding one temporary loss of load (to wit, one backgammon board) and a brief fragmentation of the riding formation (with BikeGammoners riding off to all points of the compass only to reconvene, shake their collective heads and agree to carry on 'as if this never happened'), Pilgrim made progress - as did his riding companions.
At least there were no punctures (yet).
After morning coffee in Westerham a stop was made in the Grasshopper Inn for the Lunchtime 5-pointers.
BotB v The Wizard
BGBoy v Pilgrim
BotB began to establish himself as tournament favourite by maintaining a 100% record with a win. BGBoy also continued his form of the previous evening by recording the first loss to a lower-rated player with Pilgrim demonstrating that existing status needn't prevail.
On to Winchester...
After tethering the mounts and checking into their hotel, the town-centre Witherspoon's (a busy and admirably friendly place) was selected as the venue for the Evening 11-pointers:
BotB v Pilgrim
The Wizard v BGBoy
Cementing his favourite's status, BotB took both matches sending Pilgrim to the bottom of the table. The Wizard conceded one to present BGBoy with his first win, but took the second.
Tomorrow, Eastbourne via Brighton - here's to another fantastic sunny day's riding!
BotB is now strong favourite for the Evening 11-Pointers leg of the tournament and is tied with Pilgrim as leader of the Lunchtime 5-Pointers.