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.

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