Saturday, 30 April 2016

Worldwide Trophy 2016 Tbilisi, Georgia

Report by Martin Barkwill, captain of UK Blitz, Saturday 30th April 2016:

Fifteen teams entered the event, including Japan, USA, Denmark, Ukraine, Rest of the World, two from Germany, two from Russia, two from Georgia, two from Armenia & two from the UK.

The format was triple elimination. As soon as any team loses three matches they are eliminated until eventually only one team is left standing. Each team had five players plus up to two reserves. All matches were played to nine points. 

The UK chose to enter two teams of six however our challenge started with a disaster when the plane arriving into Manchester for two of our players was struck by lightning & delayed for a safety inspection. This meant the two players; Tim Cross, captain of UK Prime & Mark Calderbank, top board of UK Blitz, would miss the connecting flight in Munich to take them on to Tbilisi. Unfortunately it was impracticable for the two players to travel on the delayed flight as strike action at Munich airport meant the earliest they would arrive in Tbilisi would be too late for the team event. 

Regrettably the loss of Mark was severely felt by the Blitz team who were eliminated in the early rounds. This was no disgrace as a very strong Japan team including Mochy, Michy & Akiko Yazawa, arguably the three strongest players in the world, also took an early bath as did USA.

The Prime team however just kept winning. USA were felled in the first round, then Germany 2nd team, followed by Russia 1st team, then Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine & it was not until the 8th round that the UK juggernaught was brought to a halt by the Russian 2nd team. By this stage only three teams were left & UK Prime had to play Russia 2 again however this time they triumphed to set up a final with Russia 1.

As Russia 1 had lost two matches by this stage & UK Prime only one, Russia 1 would have to win twice to lift the trophy. If UK Prime won the match, this would be sufficient. The match played on Thursday night was extremely close & at 2-2 it appeared to be going our way as in the last match tied at 8-8 between Raj of UK Prime & Sergey, the Russian player could only win with 55 or 66. Out of the dice cup popped 66!

This meant that the players had to meet on Friday morning for the last session of the final. Once again the match was tied at 2-2 with Raj & Sergei the last match to finish. Raj was leading 8-7 & held the advantage bearing off. On the last roll Sergey needed 33 or better to level at 8-8 however on this occasion lightning did not strike twice & the UK had won a memorable victory.

Congratulations to Raj Jansari (UK Prime acting captain), Seb Wilkinson, Lawrence Powell, Chris Rogers & Leo Waters each of whom played a gruelling eleven matches against some of the strongest players in the world & ended victorious. Although he was unable to be present, a large part of the success is due to Tim Cross, captain of the UK online & live teams as he was responsible for recruiting the team & getting everyone motivated. The online team has also recently achieved a high finish in international competition.

The two UK teams

The final, just as it's about to start

The UK Prime team who came through victorious, 3-2

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