Saturday, 13 October 2018

Beierlings defeat Slaters in Nail-Biter for Ontario Championship


In recent history, the discussion of the best doubles team in crokinole was centred around 2 teams. While Conrad & (insert partner) consistently had impressive performances, the solidified partnerships of Ray and Jason Beierling, and Fred and Justin Slater, have by far the best resumes. And as they did in 2014 and 2016, these two distinguished teams met in the final to determine the Ontario Doubles Champions.

The Brucefield United Church hosted the provincial event, which featured a record-tying attendance of 58 players, with 14 competitive teams and 15 recreational doubles teams.

The competitive doubles teams played a full round robin of 13 games, with the first 7 games taking place in the morning. Roy Campbell and Jeremy Tracey, fresh off a 2nd place World Championship finish, had the best start, scoring 44 points, and they were followed closely by the Beierling’s at 40 points. 

Sitting tied for 3rd at the halfway point were Connor Reinman/Andrew Hutchinson and Cor Vanden Hoven/Ron Reesor, both at 36 points. Sitting 4 points back of the playoff spots were the teams of Justin Slater/Fred Slater, Clare Kuepfer/Neil Cook, and Dwayne Campbell/Christina Campbell, who all had 32 points looking to gain ground in the afternoon. Also not too far out of the playoff mix were the brother teams of Reid Tracey/Nolan Tracey and Tom Johnston/Rex Johnston, who were tied for 8th at 30 points.

In the afternoon the Recreational division had been split top-half/bottom-half based on the morning performance. In the B division, the team of Eileen Bell and Wayne Bell, and Carmen Hodgkinson and Evelyn Hodgkinson scored well with 27 and 30 points respectively, but neither was enough to make it into the finals. Doreen Sulkye and Marilyn Thompson earned the top seed with 34 points, while the tournament-debut of Garret Tracey and Ernie Lightfoot led to the second seed at 31 points. In the “first to 9 points” final, Sulkye and Thompson used the hammer advantage to scrap out a narrow 10-8 victory.
In the Recreational A division, several new partnerships led to high scores with Peter Carter and Perry Carter scoring 33 points for 3rd place, while Ron Langill and John Lichty scored 36 points for 2nd. Meanwhile, the Vanden Hovens, Rich and Tony, finished 1st with 39 points to claim the other spot in the final. While not as thrilling as the 10-8 finish in the B division, the final had its moments of excitement before Rich Vanden Hoven and Tony Vanden Hoven won the match.

In the competition division, the Slaters had the strongest afternoon with 37 points in 6 games, propelling them up to 3rd place and a spot in the semifinals. The Beierlings scored 34 points to Campbell/Tracey’s 30 points, leading to a tie for 1st at 74 points. The Beierlings earned the first seed by way of head-to-head tiebreaker. Connor Reinman and Andrew Hutchinson finished with 32 points in the afternoon, for a total of 68 points and the 4th seed for the semifinals. Missing the playoffs, that left Reesor/Vanden Hoven in 5th place as they totalled 64 points, and Kuepfer/Cook in 6th place as they finished with 60 points.

Strangely the 2018 semi-finals were nearly a perfect match to that of 2017:
  • the top seeded team of Ray and Jason Beierling playing the 4th seed of Connor Reinman and partner
  • the 2nd seed of Jeremy Tracey and Roy Campbell playing the 3rd seed of Justin and Fred Slater

The only non-constant between the two years was the partner of Reinman, which was Nathan Walsh in 2017 (who partnered with Gloria Walsh in 2018), now swapped out for Andrew Hutchinson (who needed a new partner to substitute for the vacationing Jon Conrad).

Curiously the similarities continued in the Slater/Slater v Campbell/Tracey semifinal. Just as in 2017, the 2018 match began with Campbell/Tracey holding their first hammer for a 2-0 lead, which was followed by Slater/Slater winning the next 8 points for an 8-2 lead in the “first to 9” match. The 2018 match saw the Slaters gain early leads in nearly every round, forcing their opponents to make tough shots to come back. What was somewhat unusual for the aggressive, creative and shot-making pair of Campbell/Tracey, was that they struggled to score takeout-20s in those rounds to level the score. The Slaters held their hammer and won the 6th round of the match to make the Ontario final for the 3rd straight year.

In Reinman’s 2017 semifinal with the Beierlings, he and Walsh were able to sweep the match 10-0, and Reinman began the 2018 semifinal in that direction as he and Hutchinson (both choosing to sport University of Michigan sweaters on the day) made it 2-0 against the hammer. Reinman/Hutchinson had the edge in the 2nd round as well, but the turning point was when Jason Beierling protracted a disc into the 20 from the farthest edge of the board (so far that they needed a flash light measure), on the way to winning the round for 2-2. 

The following rounds fed into the bread-and-butter of Ray Beierling’s game with many Open 20s scored that all favoured the Beierlings on their way to an 8-2 lead. In the 6th round, the Beierlings just needing one more point, left their final disc hidden beyond the pegs on the far side of the board. Hutchinson, needing a takeout and stick, took a good amount of time to compose himself and successfully made the shot for 8-4.

Down early in the 7th round, Hutchinson scored an amazing ricochet and peg-rub 20 (the star shot on what was one of many terrific shots for Hutchinson in the match; the full video for that one is going to be great). However, the Beierlings stayed extremely well focussed and made every Open 20 they needed to close out the match 10-4.

And so the final was set for Slater/Slater v Beierling/Beierling, with the winner to earn another point in their favour for who is the best doubles team in crokinole. Both teams have had strong recent performances at the World Championships, with the Slaters winning 3 times and finishing in the top 4 5 times since 2012. While the Beierlings have made the top 4 at the World Championships every year since 2013, and picked up the 2018 title. At the ODCC, the Slaters three prior appearances resulted in 2 2nds, and one victory, to go along with what was now their 4th overall, and 3rd straight finals appearance. For the Beierlings, now all 9 years of the ODCC resulted in top 4 finishes, with 4 victories, and 2018 being their 7th trip to the finals.

It’s only fair in this “best team in recent history” discussion to mention Tony Snyder and Jon Conrad, who have 2 wins and a 2nd place finish at the WCC, along with a 2nd and 3rd place from the ODCC. And, while stretching the definition of “recent history” it would be thorough to mention the team of Fred Slater and Brian Cook, who went a perfect 3 for 3 in ODCC appearances, and even added a provincial British Columbia doubles title to their record.

Getting back to the 2018 championship match, it was the third head-to-head finals match of Beierlings v Slaters, with the Beierlings winning 2014, and the Slaters in 2016 (apparently Jason Beierling was breaking down video footage of the 2016 match the prior evening).

The first two rounds of the “first to 11 points” final went against the hammer. Lots of 20s were scored in the 3rd round, but Ray Beierling’s follow through 20 that bounced off a peg was decisive as the Beierlings held their hammer for 4-2.

The 4th round saw lots of interesting positional shots and discussion, including lots of whispering from a large and engaged crowd that stuck around to watch the final. The Beierlings had an extra 20, but the Slaters had 2 discs on the board. Jason’s final takeout and roll attempt lost the shooter, leaving a Slater 5 and an open board for Justin on the final shot. He’d just missed for a 15, tying the round; 5-3 for the Beierlings.

The Slaters would make it 5-5, and despite being down in the 20 count, put on significant pressure. Twice Justin left discs perfectly next to the peg forcing Ray to just tap. Justin Slater then scored a follow through 20 that would narrow the gap enough for the Slaters to tie the round and make the match 6-6.

Interesting strategy choices and execution errors were the themes of the 7th and 8th rounds. The Beierlings missed a a tap-up-assist play in the 7th round that took the pressure off the Slaters, as they led 8-6. But in the 8th round, Fred Slater’s attempt to spoil a hangar 20 chance for the opponents, led to him removing all of his discs on the board. Once Jason Beierling scored the crucial open 20 on the next shot, the Beierlings were well on their way to 8-8.

After making it 10-8, the Beierlings were only one point away from the title and secured an early lead in the 10th round. They then used some great disc placement to prevent a comeback, and took the Ontario Doubles Crokinole Championship 12-8.

With the win, Ray and Jason Beierling tie Fred Slater’s record with 4 Ontario Doubles titles. Also, 2018 marks the 3rd straight year that the Doubles World Champion(s) have went on to win the Ontario Doubles tournament immediately after (Slaters in 2016, Nathan Walsh in 2017, Beierling in 2018).

The victory and tournament results are also significant for the NCA Tour. Justin Slater now has 197 points (3 victories and a 2nd place finish), followed by Jason Beierling at 190 (2 victories, 2nd, 4th) and Ray Beierling at 184 (2 victories, 3rd, 7th). Roy Campbell and Andrew Hutchinson are currently rounding out the top 5 on the Tour, with the next stop being the 2017 Scenic City Crokinole Classic in Owen Sound on November 24th.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

J. Slater defeats J. Beierling in Belleville


The 2018 calendar year has been one of Justin Slater’s best, which is saying something for a player of his calibre and resume. Coming into Belleville, Slater had won the singles events in Hamilton, London, St. Jacobs, the World Championships, and Turtle Island: 5 victories in 6 events. The single blemish being a 2nd place finish in Kitchener at the Joseph Schneider Haus event. The winner of that event, by just one single point over Slater, was Jason Beierling, and the two would meet again in the finals of the 2018 Belleville Crokinole Challenge.

The Quinte Region Crokinole Club (QRCC) welcomed 38 players from Kingston, Oshawa, Toronto, Kitchener, London, Owen Sound, Hamilton and Penetanguishene. Chris Gorsline opened up the day with some scripted comments on rules and tournament format, mixed in with off-the-cuff humour, and then play began.

Fred Slater led all morning scores with 62 points and 91 20s in 10 games, with Nathan Walsh finishing 2nd with 61 points, and Justin Slater finishing 3rd with an adjusted 10-game score of 60 points (by virtue of the rotation some players only played 9 games, Slater scored 54 points in those 9 games). The top 20 score of the morning round came from Roger Vaillancourt who scored 98 20s through 9 games (equivalent to 109 20s through 10 games).

The top 13 scores from the morning advanced to Pool A for the afternoon, which included several NCA-regulars with a long resume of crokinole success, and tournament rookies Tim Burgess and John Wood, who made a strong impression and quickly became players to watch out for. Also making the afternoon A pool were the Tracey trio (Jeremy, Reid and Nolan), which was impressive considering all 3 were placed into the same pool in the morning round.

John McFeeters, Peter Tarle and Shirley Sager just missed the Pool A cutoff (McFeeters by 2 points, Tarle and Sager by 3), while Clare Kuepfer grabbed the 13th and final spot in Pool A with 48 points in 10 games. The cutoff for Pool B also saw a couple players just missing out with Jo-Ann Carter earning the final spot with 36 points in 10 games, beating out Barrie Wood by 2 points, and Dave Brown by 3 points.

In the afternoon, Pool C was led by Len Chard at 51 points and 63 20s in 9 games. Bob Leggett grabbed the 2nd seed with 49 points, Peter Klaassen was 3rd with 45 points, and tournament rookie Maradyn Wood earned the final playoff spot with 43.2 points (48 points in 10 games, adjusted down to 9). For the second time in the day, Dave Brown just missed the cutoff, finishing 5th with 39 points.

In Pool B, it was Eric Miltenburg, playing for the first time representing the flag of the Quinte Club, earning the top seed with 53 points in 10 games. Peter Tarle was second with 51 points and a group-high 78 20s, with Chris Gorsline closely behind at 49 points. And the final semifinal spot was earned by John McFeeters at 43 points, edging out the 41 points of Brian Miltenburg.

The A pool was led by Jason Beierling, who scored 51 points in 9 games (adjust to 56.7 points in 10 games), followed by Justin Slater at 53 points. Andrew Hutchinson scored 43 points in 9 games (equivalent to 47.77 over 10 games), while Nathan Walsh earned the 4th seed with 47 points. The 5th and 6th place spots were close behind with Jeremy Tracey at a 10-game adjusted score of 45.55 points, and Fred Slater at 45 points.

The 20s scores were somewhat incredible in Pool A with Walsh scoring 115 20s, including his 2nd perfect round of the tournament, but that was only the 3rd highest 20 score in the pool. Ray Beierling, who finished 7th, scored 105 20s in 9 games, which normalizes to 117 20s in 10 games, and Jason Beierling scored 118 20s in 9 games, which translates to a huge 131 20s. Truly some fantastic 20s scores for being very early in the crokinole season.

After a quick explainer of the Quinte Convention, the semifinals were able to get underway. For those unaware, the Quinte Convention was first introduced in 2012, and although it’s had some tweaks has generally stayed true to form. While opinions on playoff formats vary greatly between individuals, it’s generally acknowledged that the Quinte Convention, and the Belleville tournament, was the first event to remove the advantage of hammer in a head-to-head match. (To explain further: under the World Championship final format, 2 perfectly equal opponents will eventually find themselves tied with only one tiebreaker round to play. In that instance, one player has the inherent, and some would argue unfair, advantage of having an extra round with the hammer advantage.)

The Quinte playoff format is a best 2 out of 3 games, but each game only plays a maximum of 4 rounds, meaning it is possible for a game to end in a tie at 4-4. If after 3 games the players are tied (either by drawing all 3 games 4-4, or by drawing one game 4-4 and each winning one of the other 2 games), the match proceeds to the Quinte Convention tiebreaker. The tiebreaker involves pairs of 2 rounds being played, so each player has the hammer once. If, after a pair of rounds is completed, the score is either 3-1 or 4-0, the match is over. If the score is 2-2, then another pair of 2 rounds is played. A maximum of 4 pairs of rounds (a total of 8 extra rounds) is played, and if still tied the match ends via a 20 shootout (which has yet to be required in the history of the Quinte Convention).

In the C Pool semifinals, Len Chard progressed 6-2, 6-0 against Maradyn Wood, while Peter Klaassen defeated Bob Leggett 6-0, 5-3. In the finals, Len Chard emerged victorious, winning 4-4, 6-2, 4-4 over Klaassen.

In Pool B, Peter Tarle defeated Chris Gorsline 5-1, 6-2, while Eric Miltenburg and John McFeeters required the Quinte Convention to determine a winner. McFeeters won the first game 5-3 and led 4-0 in game 2, before Miltenburg staved off elimination by winning the next 4 points to tie game 2 4-4, and then send the match to extra rounds with a 6-2 game 3 win. Miltenburg prevailed in the first set of extra rounds 4-0 to make the final. Peter Tarle won the final match by a score of 4-4, 6-2, 4-2 (having already secured the match by earning at least a tie in the 3rd game) to win Pool B and the Reg Chisholm Memorial trophy.

The A Pool semifinals saw Andrew Hutchinson and Justin Slater facing off in a rematch of their Turtle Island semifinal from one month ago, while Jason Beierling and Nathan Walsh played each for the first time in a singles playoff encounter. Hutchinson and Slater played a brilliantly tied match, with Hutchinson winning game one 6-2, and Slater winning game two by the same score. In game 3, Hutchinson won the first 2 points against the hammer, only to have Slater return the favour and then lead 4-2 threatening to take the match. But Hutchinson pulled out the final round to tie it 4-4. The first pair of extra rounds was split 2-2, before Slater won the final pair 4-0 to make the final.

In the other semifinal, it looked like one-way traffic for a while with Walsh leading 5-1, 4-0, but Jason Beierling came back from the brink to make game 2 4-4. Walsh then won the first round of game 3, and needing only a 3rd game tie, was 2 points from the finals. But again Beierling fought back, winning the next 3 rounds to take game 3 6-2, and then winning first set of extra rounds to make the final (5 rounds "on the trot" as they would say in England).

It was Jason Beierling’s and Justin Slater’s first meeting in a singles final, with their last playoff meeting being the St. Jacobs semifinal won 10-6 by Slater. Game 1 saw both players play their first hammer rounds solidly for a score of 2-2, and then saw both players trade costly errors leading to 2 steals for a 4-4 tie to game 1. In game 2, Slater was very opportunistic and converted each of the few hangar 20 opportunities that were left to him, and after a steal and 2 hammer holds, Slater had won game 2 6-0.

The tension built in game 3, with Beierling accumulating a couple of discs on the board following Slater errors. Slater scored a touch-20 and was rewarded when Beierling’s open 20 shot slipped through the house. However, only up one 20, Slater faced two opposing discs on his final shot. After a long analysis Slater’s shot resulted in only a single-takeout and a missed 20. Beierling made the successful hit and stick to lead 2-0. Round 2 was more structured with Beierling missing an early 20 and Slater comfortably maintaining the lead throughout the round to make it 2-2. Beierling, now facing elimination, won the 3rd round in a similar fashion with superior 20 scoring even when facing pressure after Slater scored a touch 20 to take what was a temporary 20 lead. 

In the fourth round, Slater needing 2 points to win the title, Beierling missed his first open 20, but immediately scored a follow-through 20 to get back on track. Slater answered strongly with a couple open 20s until Beierling missed short on his 4th shot and was again looking for takeout-20 opportunities. One came later on this 6th shot when he expertly took out a disc in-between the pegs and had his shooter rebound perfectly off the peg into the 20 hole. But again, Slater scored the open 20, prompting Jason to recall a popular Jon Conrad quip, “counts as much as that.” Beierling would leave a hangar on his 7th shot, which Slater scored for a 20 to clinch the match and the Belleville title 4-4, 6-0, 4-4.


With the results of Belleville in the books and the Ontario Doubles Championships coming up soon, the NCA Tour standings already seem to be taking shape. Justin Slater is out to a big lead with 3 victories and 188 points, while Ray Beierling is 2nd with 172 points. Jason Beierling only has 3 events scored in his rankings at the moment, but sits second in points average with 46.7.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Slater Wins 5th Consecutive NCA Singles Event in Tuscarora


From Hamilton now to Tuscarora, Justin Slater is undefeated in NCA Singles events in 2018 as he took down Roy Campbell in the final of the 2018 Turtle Island Crokinole Tournament for his 5th straight NCA Singles title.

44 players were in attendance for the 7th Annual event taking place at the Tuscarora Nation House in Lewiston, NY, which featured competitors from Vermont, Long Island, PEI, Kitchener, Owen Sound, London, Toronto, Niagara, Elmira, Kingston, Penetanguishene, and of course the local contingent.

As they have become quite famous for, the local Tuscarora crowd exemplified hospitality by providing a full spread of breakfast, lunch and afternoon desserts. Also attracting attention was a good number of door prizes, including a raffle for a brand new “Tracey Tour Board.”

As an aside, Crokinole Game Boards made by Jeremy Tracey looks to be off to a good start and is an enjoyable social media follow for crokinole-related content.

The Turtle Island tournament is one of the few events that includes a Kids division, and this year there were 4 participants. Harley Printup had the top score in both the first and second rounds to win the youth title for the second year in a row.

14 competitors were in the Recreational division and Jo-Ann Carter had the top score with 62 points and 43 20s through 10 games. Moochie Printup would also score 43 20s to equal the top mark, and score 54 points to finish 3rd in the preliminary round. Janet Diebel earned the 7th and final spot in Pool A with 41 points, beating out Tiffany Henry at 39, and PEI’s Jane Younker, competing in her first ever tournament at 38 points.

In the Recreational Pool B, Tiffany Henry was first into the playoffs with 33 points, followed immediately by Dave Goodwin of Vermont also at 33 points. Jane Younker and Thomas Sharpe would grab the 3rd and 4th seeds moving in the final four round robin championship. There it was Goodwin and Henry leading the way again, but Tiffany Henry was able to score just 2 more points (15 to Goodwin’s 13 over 3 games) to win the Recreational B title.

In Pool A, a substantial gap appeared between the top 4 and 5th as Dave Carnahan scored 26 points for the 4th spot, 5 points ahead of 5th. Carnahan would finish 4th in the final round robin with 8 points over 3 games, not far behind Janet Diebel at 9 points for 3rd, and Doreen Sulkye at 9 points for 2nd place with the edge via Head-to-Head. Jo-Ann Carter earned the top spot, as she did in all 3 rounds of the day, scoring 22 points in the final four for the Recreational title.

On the Competitive side, in the morning the 26 players played 10 games against a random selection of opponents to determine who would fall into Pools A, B and C in the afternoon. Michael Meleg missed out on Pool B by one point, but then proceeded to advance to the semifinals as the 3rd seed in a very tight second round in Pool C. Mouser Henry and Andrew Korchok earned the 1st and 2nd seeds at 37 points each, while David Younker proceeded as the 4th seed at 34 points when Dale Henry had to withdraw to aid in tournament organization after scoring 35 points.

Both Pool C semifinals were tight and came down to the final round, with Michael Meleg defeating his Niagara club-mate, Andrew Korchok, 9-7, and David Younker defeating Mouser Henry 9-7. The “first to 11 points” final was also closely contested with Younker doing a fine job representing all Islanders, but ultimately succumbing to Meleg 12-8 in the final.

Pool B included a couple of tournament former champions, and last years semifinalists, in Nathan Walsh and Ray Beierling after each missed the Pool A cut-off by 1 and 3 points respectively. In the second round, Walsh ran away with the top score at 53 points over 8 games, followed by Beierling who scored 43 points for second, and Eric Miltenburg at 34. Bev Vaillancourt score 30 points for the final semifinal spot, just ahead of Christina Campbell at 28 points and Jeremy Herrmann at 27.

Ray Beierling would hold his higher seed with a 10-0 semifinal victory over Miltenburg, while Vaillancourt would upset Walsh 9-5 to move on to the finals. In the finals, Vaillancourt carried the momentum and held a lead for a good stretch of the match before Beierling levelled the score at 10-10, and then Beierling proceeded to win the final round for a 12-10 victory and the Pool B title.


Justin Slater and Dwayne Campbell had the top two scores in the morning round at 59 and 58 points to make Pool A. Also making Pool A was Jeremy Tracey, Roy Campbell, Clare Kuepfer, Nolan Tracey, Wayne Scott, Fred Slater and Andrew Hutchinson. Hutchinson was the final entry, despite having the high 20 score of 93 over 10 games, with 48 points to edge Walsh by one.

Some fortunes would flip in the second round as Fred Slater and Andrew Hutchinson, despite being the final two Pool A qualifiers, would advance to the semifinals. Roy Campbell earned the top seed at 43 points, while Justin Slater was 3rd at 40 points in 8 games. Nolan Tracey would be the unlucky 5th place finisher, scoring 34 points, missing the semifinals by 3.

In the Andrew Hutchinson/Justin Slater semifinal, both players held their hammer rounds to be tied 4-4 after 4 rounds. But then Slater ramped up the pressure and stole hammer twice in a row to win the match 10-4. In the Roy Campbell/Fred Slater match, Slater had numerous highlight-reel shots, but Campbell’s 20 scoring was incredible and it got him out to an 8-0 lead which he would convert into a 10-2 victory.

The final of Roy Campbell and Justin Slater would be their second championship encounter; the first being Slater’s 6-2, 6-2 victory at the 2016 Ontario Singles Championship. In this match, Slater would be strong early, and with Campbell showing no signs of the 20s scoring he had in the semifinal, Justin Slater led 8-0. Campbell needed a break and he got one on his hammer in the 5th round when he attempted a follow-through 20 that was missed and nearly scored a 20 for Slater. Even more fortunately, instead of his disc sitting open for Slater to have 3 discs on the board, it sat partially hidden. Slater’s tough takeout attempt was not made and Campbell made an easy takeout to win the round by 5 points and make it 8-2.

That was a clear turning point with Campbell gaining confidence from there, making the score 8-4. Slater did make it 10-4 after he got a lead in the 7th round and made a number of strong takeouts, and he had an Open 20 shot in the 8th round to tie the round and win the match. But his shot fell short, making the score 10-6, and then 10-8.

Still just one point away from the title, Justin Slater would get the final nail in the coffin when he converted a hanger-20 on Campbell’s second shot of the 10th round, and then held on to win the round and the match 12-8.

Hamilton, London, St. Jacob’s, Tavistock and now Tuscarora have all been won by Justin Slater in 2018. Only Belleville and Owen Sound remain to complete the calendar year sweep of the NCA Singles events, a feat never before accomplished.

Speaking of which, the next event on the 2018-2019 NCA Tour is the Belleville Crokinole Challenge coming up Saturday, September 22nd.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Introducing The Crokinole Glossary - Presented by CrokinoleCentre


A Guide to Crokinole Terms and Slang

So if you’ve been watching crokinole videos you’ve been exposed to a significant amount of crokinole terminology. But like learning a new language, or even the local hometown slang, many words and phrases can seem undecipherable and take a long time before they become fully understood. 
For your convenience, below is a list of commonly used crokinole terms, and their corresponding helpful english definition.

Like any good dictionary/glossary/terminology, attempts will be made to keep this listing informational and modern, so feel free to offer suggestions. The updated page can be found here.
Credit to CrokinoleDepot for the templates used to create the diagrams in this glossary.

20
Description - A crokinole disc counting for 20 points, after having been shot and lying flat in the centre recessed hole of a crokinole board.

20 Race
Description - The very typical opening of a round where players exchange Open 20 attempts until one player misses, thus leaving a disc on the board causing the next shot to not be an Open 20. The first player to miss is said to have “lost the 20 race” while the other is said to have “won the 20 race.”

Angle 20
Description - An attempt at scoring a 20 that involves deflecting off of another disc so that the shooting disc is directed at an angle into the 20 hole. Short-angle and long-angle are often used to describe the distance the shooting disc has to travel to the 20 hole after deflecting off another disc.

Centre
Description - Another term for scoring a 20, derived from the fact that the 20 hole is found at the centre of the board. The term is commonly used in Eastern parts of Canada.

Circus 20
Description - An attempt for scoring a 20 of extreme difficulty that often involves numerous fortunate deflections off of pegs and discs to be successful. Typically a “last ditch effort” used when no reasonable options exist.
Common Use - “He/she will need everything to go well on this last shot, a circus 20 is the only way to win.”

Conrad, The 
The Conrad shot.
Description - When an opportunity for an Open 20 is available, a shot intentionally taken so the shooting disc will come to rest in a location where a 20 cannot be made by the opposition.
Origin - Jon Conrad, 2012 and 2013 World Crokinole Champion







Crokinitis 
Definition - A condition that can affect crokinole players, severely damaging their performance, often manifesting in an inability to release the shooting hand to complete the flicking motion. It can be compared to “dartitis” which famously impacted professional dart player Eric Bristow, or “the yips” which is a term used to describe the loss of fine motor skills without any explanation.

Crokinole
Description - A game known well and with a long history in rural Canada and the Northern United States, though absent from most dictionaries, with no clear idea of the derivation of its name.
Alternative Definition - Another term for scoring a 20. Originating from the theory that crokinole gained its name from its main objective of putting discs, or crokes, in a hole. Hence, croke-in-ole. (Source: Wayne Kelly, Crokinole a 2006 film)

Damage
Description - When a disc that was knocked out-of-bounds re-enters the playing surface, usually after striking the outer ditch, and contacts any discs currently in play. Most competitive tournaments utilize the “damage stays” rule whereby the previously out-of-bounds discs are removed from play, but any “damage” caused to the discs in play remain as is. This is the opposite of the “damage replaced” rule where discs are attempted to be moved back into their proper positions before they were “damaged.”

Diddle for the Middle
Description - A method used in many non-competitive games to determine who will shoot first in a round. Each player takes one shot towards the centre, with the player with the closest shot to the middle (perhaps by scoring a 20) getting to start or getting to choose who will start.
Origin - Possibly darts, where some English literature from the mid 1950s references the phrase “diddle for the middle” or “middle for diddle” when describing the beginning of a darts game.

Ditch
Description - The recessed and outer most ring of a crokinole board, outside the surface of play, where all previously removed discs in a round remain until completion of the round.
Synonym - Gutter

Follow Through
Description - A shot attempt in which the shooting disc strikes one disc and then proceeds forward, as opposed to deflecting to a particular side. Often attempted when an opposing disc is sitting directly in front of the 20 hole from the shooters perspective, in an attempt to score a “follow through 20.”

Freeze
Description - A shot attempt in which the shooting disc is to come to rest near another disc or peg in order to make the disc very difficult to be removed from the board.
Origin - Sport of Curling

Hammer
Description - The last shot of the round, a particular advantage. The player/team with the last shot is said to “have the hammer.”
Origin - Sport of Curling

Hanger
Description - A disc that is partially over-hanging the 20 hole, and often is a good opportunity for an opponent to score a 20; called a “hanger 20.”

Hide
Description - A shot where a player’s disc is intentionally left behind a peg or collection of opposing discs and pegs, so that the opponent’s attempt at contacting or removing that disc will be particularly difficult.

Hit and Roll
Description - A shot where the shooting disc hits or removes another disc, and then continues in motion to slide into another location on the board.
Origin - Sport of Curling

Hit and Stick
Description - A shot where the shooting disc hits or removes another disc, and stops without moving after contact is made.
Origin - Sport of Curling

Hogan’s Alley 
The left Hogan's Alley.
Description - The treacherous and most difficult passage of the crokinole board that involves a disc traveling down the narrow passage between a total of four pegs.
Origin
In Joe Fulop’s book, “It’s Only Crokinole but I Like It” he references this shot as “going through Hogan’s alley” and then states “I don’t know where the expression came from.” There are numerous uses of the term throughout recent history, including an 1890s comic strip, a 1984 video game, an old alley in Vancouver, and an FBI training facility opened in 1987.
The crokinole usage most likely comes from legendary golf player Ben Hogan, who so thoroughly dominated throughout his career that 2 US golf courses are now known as “Hogan’s Alley.” However, the most analogous connection to crokinole is that of hole #6 of the golf course in Carnoustie, Scotland. In 1953, Hogan won the British Open after successfully using the more dangerous left fairway of the split-fairway hole #6 on all four days of competition. The hole became known as “Hogan’s Alley” before officially being named as such in 2003.

Hog Line
Description - Another term for the 10/15 line, where in the case of no opposing discs on the board, the shooting disc must at least touch or exceed to be a valid shot.
Common Use - “The shot didn’t even make the hog line.”
Origin - Sport of Curling, as shots not reaching the hog line in curling are invalid.

House
Description - The entire circle encompassed by the 10/15 line, where in the case of no opposing discs on the board, the shooting disc must remain in to be a valid shot.
Common Use - “The disc rolled outside of the house." 
Origin - Sport of Curling

Joe Fulop Shot, The 
The left Joe Fulop shot.
Description - A ricochet 20 scored off an opposition disc that is sitting directly in front of the shooter’s side-left-near peg or side-right-near peg.
Origin - Joe Fulop, 2001, 2002 and 2004 World Crokinole Champion

Leaner
Description - A disc that is lying on an angle, or leaning, partially resting on the bottom of the 20 hole, and partially resting on the edge of the 15-point surface.

Middle
Description - The 15 circle surrounded by pegs.
Common Use - “Forcing play back into the middle.”

Open 20
Description - A 20 attempt when there are no opponent discs on the board, and no player’s own discs blocking the path to the 20 hole, hence an “open board.”

Outside
Description - The 5 and 10 point zones, outside of the middle 15 circle and pegs.
Common Use - “Keeping play to the outside.”

Peel
Description - A takeout that removes a disc, while also removing the shooter from the board. Often used when the opposition has a lead and a disc on the outer edge of the board, so that play can be forced back into the middle.
Origin - Sport of Curling

Pegged
Description - A disc that is either resting next to a peg and difficult to remove, or is very likely to be directed into a peg after attempting a takeout at a particular angle.
Common Use - “I can’t remove it from this angle because that disc is pegged.”
Synonym - Posted

Perfect Game
Description - When a player completes a round scoring every 20 possible (example 8 20s made out of 8 shots). While “Perfect Round” is the accurate term, a player’s exuberance after completing one allows them to be forgiven for incorrectly naming the achievement.

Pick
Description - When a disc stops or changes course abruptly and without clear reason for doing so.
Origin - Sport of Curling

Raise
Description - A shot where the shooting disc is directed into another of it’s own colour in order to move that disc closer to the middle or to an increased scoring area.
Synonym - Promote/Promotion

Razzle Dazzle 
Description - A shot intended to show off one’s own skill and look impressive. “They are beautiful shots to watch and great shots to pull off at a critical time in the game.” (Joe Fulop, It’s Only Crokinole But I Like It.)

Rebound 20
Description - A 20 attempt in which the shooting disc first makes contact with an opposing disc, and then proceeds to bounce off a peg into the 20 hole.

Ricochet
Description - A shot that rebounds or deflects off of another disc. A ricochet 20 describes a shot that deflects off an opposing disc before scoring a 20.
Synonyms - Slider, Drifter, “The In Off”

Roll Away
Description - A shot where the shooting disc removes an opposing disc, and then proceeds to slide to a location that makes it very difficult for an opponent to score a 20. Typically the intention of the shot is to have the shooting disc roll away from the 20 hole. The use of this shot is noticed particularly when a “Hit and Stick” would leave an easy shot for the opponent to score a 20.

Slice
Description - A shot where the shooting disc attempts to contact only a small portion of the outer edge of an opposing disc in order to cause a very slight change in the direction of the shooting disc, and usually leave the contacted disc in nearly the same position.

Steal
Description - Any points scored in a round where the opponent has the hammer.
Synonym - “Against the Hammer”

Takeout
Description - A shot where one disc removes another from play. This can be made on multiple discs (“double takeout" or “triple takeout”) or while scoring a 20 (“takeout 20”).

The Situation 
Description - The most important details of the score of a crokinole round, namely how many 20s have been scored by players/teams, and who has the hammer. Commonly clarified with partners during doubles matches.
Common Use - “Fred Slater is asking his partner what the situation is, to which his partner replies that they are up one 20 without hammer.”

Touch 20
Description - A 20 attempt in which the opposing disc is contacted minimally before the shooting disc enters the 20 hole.
Synonym - Slice 20

True Perfect Game
Description - When a player completes a game where every round was a Perfect Round.
Special Note - The first player to do this on camera earns the naming rights to the True Perfect Game.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Slater Wins a Classic for 2018 World Championship


2018 World Crokinole Champion - Justin Slater
In a fitting manner, some of the best performers in the 20 year history of the World Crokinole Championships took the top spots at the 2018 edition of the event. The Beierlings ended an 8 year drought and cemented their status as the most successful doubles pairing of all time with their 7th World title, and later in the day Justin Slater emerged victorious from a brilliant championship encounter with Jon Conrad to take his 4th world title.

It was a banner year for the World Championships, of course with the significance of the number 20 to the game of crokinole, and the WCC committee was quite hopeful the 20th edition of the unique event would be a terrific success. The result was just that as crokinole enthusiasts poured in record numbers and saw the afternoon singles play fill the arena floor with 120 boards in action.

Later in the day, East-Zorra-Tavistock mayor Don McKay announced and celebrated the many participants who travelled a great distance to compete at the event. Once again the enthusiastic and talented crew from PEI made the trip, along with a few others who represented Quebec and Newfoundland. Another strong slate of American entrants made their way from the states of Connecticut, Virginia, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. And finally the 20th edition of the World Championships also saw entries from Switzerland and Russia for the first time.

Doubles
The preliminary round of the competitive doubles field featured 40 teams vying for a spot in the top 6. Zooming through the 8-games comfortably were Jeremy Tracey and Roy Campbell who picked up 55 points out of a possible 64 for the first seed, and their first top 6 finish together. They were followed by Ray and Jason Beierling with 52 points and a tournament high 90 20s. They were making their 6th straight top 6 appearance (tying the record set by Justin and Fred Slater from 2011-2016), and 15th top 6 appearance overall. Qualifying third were the PEI crew of Lawson Lea and Wilfred Smith, making the top 6 for the 2nd time at 48 points. Also at 48 points was the newly formed team of Jon Conrad and Connor Reinman. For Reinman it was his first top 6 finish in his first attempt in competitive doubles, and for Conrad it was his 10th top 6 finish with a 4th different partner. The final 2 qualifying spots at 47 points went to Tom and Rex Johnston with their 4th top 6 finish, and Clare Kuepfer and Nathan Walsh with their 5th straight top 6 finish.

With the doubles playoffs at the World Championships there are teams who have to deal with the sting of just missing a shot to compete for the title, but do get the fortune of getting to play a few more games of crokinole as they finished from 7th-12th place to play in the B playoffs. For 2018 these included:
  • Justin and Fred Slater, scoring 45 points to miss the top 6 by 2 points for the 2nd straight year, but making the top 12 for the 8th year in a row
  • Eric Miltenburg and Dale Henry, scoring 43 points, making the B playoffs for the 2nd straight year
  • Kevin Bechtel and Ray Kappes, scoring 43 points, making the top 12 for the 9th time and 4th in a row
  • Dwayne and Christina Campbell, scoring 41 points, finishing in the top 12 for the first time as a pair
  • Reid and Nolan Tracey, also scoring 41 points for their first top 12 finish, and
  • Michael Meleg and David Braun, completing the hat-trick of teams scoring 41 points for their top 12 debut

2018 WCC Doubles 3rd Place
Lawson Lea (left) and Wilfred Smith (right)
Those just missing the playoffs included Howard Martin and Paul Brubacher at 40 points, and Arthur and Robert Thuot who scored an impressive 40 points in their first World Championships. Dave and Matt Brown also scored 40 points and unfortunately saw their 7-year top 12 streak come to an end.

In the B playoffs Dwayne and Christina Campbell emerged victorious with 26 points through the 5-game round robin, beating out 2nd place finishers of Justin and Fred Slater at 22 points. Ray Kappes and Kevin Bechtel finished 3rd at 20 points, and Eric Miltenburg and Dale Henry finished 4th with 18 points.

2018 WCC Doubles 2nd Place
Roy Campbell (left) and Jeremy Tracey (right)
In the A playoffs the teams of Beierling/Beierling and Tracey/Campbell quickly found themselves clearly in the top spots with 14 and 13 points after two games. In game 3 of the 5-game round robin they met head-to-head and the Beierlings played magnificently in an 8-0 victory and had a 9 point lead on the rest of field with only 2 games to play. Meanwhile Wilfred Smith and Lawson Lea were sitting 3rd with 12 points, hoping to surpass their personal best finish of 5th in 2014, but had two tough matchups left with Tracey/Campbell and Beierling/Beierling. 

Tracey/Campbell rebounded well from the Beierling skunk to win their final games 6-2 over Lea/Smith and 5-3 over Conrad/Reinman to finish with 24 points, good enough for second place. Lawson Lea and Wilfred Smith would hang on to the 3rd place finish by one point after earning a critical tie 4-4 with the Beierlings in the last game, earning the best ever finish from a non-Ontario team at the World Championships. 4th place would go to Jon Conrad and Connor Reinman by virtue of 20s, after they finished with 17 points, just beating out Clare Kuepfer and Nathan Walsh who also scored 17 points, and whom they drew 4-4 in the crucial head-to-head.

2018 World Crokinole Doubles Champions
Jason Beierling and Raymond Beierling
Ray and Jason Beierling closed out their round robin with two draws to finish with 30 points and a pretty high 20 score of 76 (31% of total shots). While the pair have been a staple of World Championships and unquestionably one of the top teams every year, for a long time they had been unable to find that necessary championship form in the playoffs. While they had been close since 2010 (finishing 2nd twice, 3rd twice and 4th once), something always eluded them which had been present during their dominating run of 4 straight from 2007-2010. With 2018 being their 20th Top 12 finish (success rate of 100%), 15th top 4 finish (75%), 10th top 2 finish (50%) and 7th World Doubles title (35%), there is no other team that currently rivals the Beierlings in the discussion of greatest doubles team in the history of the World Crokinole Championships.

Singles

With the morning festivities done, players were forced to quickly transition to the singles game in an effort to accumulate enough points to finish in the Top 16, while a few others may have placed an eye on the 20s title. In relative terms to some previous years it was a low scoring year as only 5 players scored 80 or more 20s, with Randy Harris at 80, Robert Bonnett at 86, Andrew Hutchinson at 88, Jon Conrad at 89, and Ray Beierling scored 99 20s for his record-extending 7th World Championship 20s title.

The 99 20s Ray Beierling scored is equivalent to 31% of all shots being made for a 20, and kept alive the drive for the first ever World Championship “Triple Crown” (doubles, 20s and singles victories on the same day). Ray Beierling is the only person who has ever won the doubles and 20s titles on the same day and faced the prospect of being able to fight for the triple crown in the singles playoffs. He earned the opportunity in both 2008 and 2009, but finished 4th and 3rd in the singles events respectively.
The Karin Jeske Award, sponsored by Hans Reinhold, was once again awarded to the ever consistent Beverly Vaillancourt. The award has been granted to the top female competitor in the Adult Singles competition since 2012, and Beverly Vaillancourt has taken home the prize in the last 6 years, following Kristin Vaillancourt’s victory in the first year in 2012. This year Beverly Vaillancourt won the prize with 51 points, just missing the top 16, and ahead of Christina Campbell and Jennifer Carstairs who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively at 44 points.

Following the afternoon singles preliminary round, some time was given for a few individuals to speak. David Younker of PEI had a heart-warming speech thanking the committee members, volunteers and players who have helped create and continue the World Crokinole Championship through these past 20 years. It is no small task that a double digit number of Islanders travel to southern Ontario nearly every year for this crokinole event, something that began largely from the efforts and passion of David’s father, Roy. But David reminded all in attendance that the goal of their trip from PEI is to always have fun, and clearly their persistent attendance is proof that they are doing so.

The WCC committee also made a presentation to Willard Martin. The world famous board maker, who has created thousands of high quality crokinole boards for several decades, announced earlier this year that he was retiring. Volunteers and players around in the early years of the World Championships remember that it was challenging to gather enough boards to host a large tournament, and the fact that the boards were of different quality and make was an annoyance with no easy and simple solution.


"Chairman of the Board" - Willard Martin
It was tremendous project that the World Championship tournament took on in 2003 when they announced their intention to only use custom-made tournament boards, and shortly afterwards Willard Martin became the sole producer for the WCC. The committee honoured Martin and thanked him for his years of service in making quality boards worthy of a World Championship. Willard Martin then took time to express his gratitude for the high praise and then announce that he would be working with Jeremy Tracey in a mentorship capacity as he begins to create high quality crokinole boards of his own. (Crokinole Boards by Tracey is already up and running, and you can view the website here.)


Top 16
With the playoffs set after the preliminary round, here’s what the Top 16 pools looked like.

Pool A
  • Andrew Hutchinson (preliminary round top scorer with 68 points, 2nd top 16 fingers appearance in 2nd attempt)
  • Justin Slater (3-time World Champion, 5 top 4 finishes, 9th top 16 finish)
  • Reid Tracey (1st top 16 appearance)
  • Ray Beierling (2011 champion, 9 top 4 finishes, 18th top 16 finish)
  • Jeremy Tracey (2nd top 16 finish in 2nd attempt)
  • Jeremy Herrmann (1st top 16 appearance after missing in 2017 by one point)
  • Kevin Brooks (3rd top 16 finish)
  • Ray Kappes (2003 champ, 3 top 4 finishes, 11th top 16 finish)

Pool B
  • Jon Conrad (2-time champion, 5 top 4 finishes, 12th top 16 appearance)
  • Jason Beierling (2006 champ, 2002 runner-up, 10th top 16 finish)
  • Brian Simpson (5th top 16 finish)
  • Roy Campbell (2015 3rd place finisher, 3rd top 16 finish)
  • Tom Johnston (2 top 4 appearances, 7th top 16 finish)
  • Tony Snyder (3rd top 16 finish)
  • Robert Bonnett (defending champ, 2015 4th place, 6th top 16 finish)
  • Dwayne Campbell (6th top 16 finish)

Dwayne Campbell was the final qualifier for the top 16 with 51 points and 56 20s. He earned that final spot just ahead of Eric Miltenburg and Beverly Vaillancourt who also scored 51 points, but only 45 and 44 20s each. Connor Reinman and Roger Vaillancourt also just missed the playoffs with 50 points.

In Pool B there was a significant log-jam for the top 2 qualifying spots. Jon Conrad would emerge first in the pool with 35 points, and Jason Beierling was right behind at 32, and that left Tom Johnston, Dwayne Campbell and Roy Campbell all on the outside looking in at 30 points. Even more so, Brian Simpson was right behind them at 29 points. It is quite rare to see 6 players above the .500 mark in an 8-player round robin, and for Dwayne Campbell it was the second straight year he’d just miss the cutoff for the top 4. Fortunately for Jon Conrad and Jason Beierling they advanced and earned their 6th and 3rd top 4 appearances respectively.

In Pool A, 3 players quickly found themselves at the top of the leader board fighting for the 2 spots in the top 4. Justin Slater ended up finishing first with 42 points, and Ray Beierling was 2nd with 36 points, edging out Andrew Hutchinson who also scored 36 points, but missed out due to the 5-3 head-to-head victory for Beierling.

Going all the way back to 2009, Justin Slater’s 42 points in the top 16 is the 4th highest points score of the last 10 years. He also owns the 3rd highest score (43 points in 2012) and the 2nd highest score (44 points in 2014). The highest belongs to Nathan Walsh who scored 45 points out of the exact same pool as Justin Slater in 2014.

Also going back to 2009, Andrew Hutchinson sets record for most points ever in the Top 16 without qualifying for Top 4. In the last 9 championships, his 36 points would have easily been enough to qualify for the Top 4 in 13 of the 18 pools (Pool A and B in each year). Previously the record for most points without qualifying for the Top 4 was held by numerous individuals at 34 points. These include: Ray Kappes and Ron Haymes in 2009, Ray Beierling in 2014, Rob Mader in 2015 and Eric Miltenburg in 2016. This is also a stark contrast to last year when Nathan Jongsma set the record for lowest ever qualifying total as he scored 30 points and had the edge in a 3-way tie over Dwayne Campbell and Justin Slater.

Final 4 
So the final 4 was set, and for the first time featured both-halves of a doubles team, and included only former world champions as Jason Beierling (2006), Ray Beierling (2011), Jon Conrad (2012, 2013) and Justin Slater (2010, 2015, 2016) met in the round robin to compete for spots in the World Championship final.

In game one, Jon Conrad scored an 8-0 victory over Ray Beierling, while Justin Slater won 6-2 over Jason Beierling, setting up both Conrad and Slater quite well to advance. Jason Beierling made a strong push for the finals in game two with a 6-2 victory over Jon Conrad, and Justin Slater scored another victory beating Ray Beierling 5-3.

So with one game remaining it was a 3-horse race with Justin Slater out in front with 11 points, Jon Conrad at 10, and Jason Beierling at 8. Conrad and Slater played a high quality game that was won by Conrad 5-3, while Jason Beierling scored a 5-3 victory over his brother Ray, but it wasn’t large enough to make the top 2.

Finals
In the 3rd place game, the brothers and World Doubles Champions, Ray and Jason Beierling squared off, with higher prize money, NCA points, and the all important brotherly bragging rights on the line. It was quite a game of momentum with Ray winning game one 6-0, Jason grabbing game two 6-0, and Ray winning the match in game three 6-0. It was Ray Beierling’s 5th time finishing 3rd out of his 10 top 4 appearances, and Jason’s first time finishing 4th after his 1st and 2nd place finishes in his two previous top 4 appearances.

But of course all of the attention was on the championship final between Jon Conrad and Justin Slater. It was only the third ever championship rematch as Conrad and Slater had met previously in a thrilling final in 2012 when Conrad won game 3 in a 5th-round-tiebreaker. The first of the other finals rematch was between Brian Cook and Bruce Hartung, where Hartung won the initial 2005 meeting, and Cook won the 2007 rematch. The only other finals rematch saw Justin Slater beat Brian Cook in 2010, and Cook win the rematch in 2014.

Conrad was looking for his 3rd World Singles title after victories in 2012 and 2013, and a defeat in the 2017 final, while Justin Slater was in the hunt for his 4th title after wins in 2010, 2015 and 2016, and loses in 2012 and 2014.

Game one of the best-of-3 included a few mistakes from Conrad, but for the most part Conrad had the lead due to superior 20 scoring and he came through in the first few high pressure moments of the match as he won the 5th round to take game one 6-4.

Slater had the hammer advantage in round one of game two, but overhit his final shot trying to takeout a hidden Conrad disc. He was able to make the takeout, but lost the shooter to make it 1-1 in game two with an early edge to Conrad. Conrad held his hammer to solidify the advantage at 3-1 and move two points from the world title, but Slater responded very well winning the next round comfortably to make it 3-3. In the 4th round Conrad had the hammer and it was Slater needing a victory to extend the match. With only two shots left and a tied 20 count, Slater faced two opposing discs and made back-to-back takeout-20 conversions, which was just enough for the 5-3 game 2 victory when Conrad’s last open 20 bounced out of the hole, sending Slater fist-pumping to the other side of the board.

In game three, Slater was down 2-0 and Conrad was threatening to steal 2 more points against the hammer, until Slater got a hangar opportunity and scored a takeout-20 to tie the round. But Conrad put the pressure on making the next open 20, and Slater missed to make it 4-0 Conrad, moving him just one point away from the match.

Round three started well for Slater as he made his first 3 20s and had an edge, but gave up 2 tough takeout-20 opportunities. Fortunately for Slater, Conrad couldn’t quite make the conversion and it was 4-2 Conrad. 

Round four appeared to be going Slater’s way in a comfortable fashion, until an ill-advised combination takeout went awry. This caused Slater to look skyward as he had given an open 20 shot for Conrad that could have been the definitive edge. Conrad’s 20 attempt went just long allowing Slater to stay alive, but good disc placement and a well-strategized and well-executed double-takeout-peel left just one Conrad disc on the board, far on his own side. Needing the two points in the round, Slater was forced to have to shoot over the 20 hole to make the hit-and-stick to stay in the match. Allowing enough time to compose himself, and for enough tension to fill the air as spectators looked on, Slater eventually took the shot and made it to perfection as on-lookers applauded. Game 3: 4-4.

And just as the players gathered their discs Slater could be heard saying “dejavu of 2012” as in that year Conrad led 4-0 in game 3, and Slater tied it to 4-4, sending it to a one round winner-take-all. Only this time Slater was hoping to come out victorious, but faced an uphill battle as Jon Conrad had the hammer advantage due to his higher finish in the final 4 round robin.

2018 WCC Singles 2nd Place - Jon Conrad
In the 5th round, Slater made his first open 20 and Conrad left a hangar, which Slater converted for a 2-0 20 edge. Expertly and spectacularly the players went back and forth scoring their open 20s with everything on the line. Amazingly Justin Slater went 8-for-8 winning the World Championship with a perfect round and taking the victory in what is certainly in the conversion as the greatest crokinole match of all time.

For Conrad, it was his 2nd straight final loss after also losing a terrifically well played final in 2017. The match will sting for awhile for him, but the brilliant 2nd place he earned at the 2018 World Championships will be remembered.

And for Justin Slater, the 4th World Championship title, tying the record of Brian Cook is just one of several records set or matched in the historic crokinole season that he had:
  • At the Hamilton event he extended his own record for most 20s made in a round robin (adjusted to 145 20s in 10 games)
  • In London, claimed the NCA record for most NCA tournament victories with 20 (now extended to 22)
  • In St. Jacobs, claimed the NCA record for most singles tournament victories with 17 (now extended to 18)
  • Claimed the NCA record for most NCA Tour Championships with 4
  • Claimed the record for most Ontario Singles Championships with 8

In sports, or if you want to be petty, games it is often difficult to live up to the hype and expectations, and for the 20th edition of the World Championship, there were a few. But with record attendance and a terrifically well organized event, it is safe to say the WCC committee and volunteers lived up to the hype. And with some fine sportsmanship and prodigious performances on board, it is safe to say the players lived up to the hype of the 2018 World Crokinole Championship.