Harshan Lamabadusuriya has won his 6th
major UK title, taking this year's Winter Matchplay at Millton Keynes
Leading overnight, Harshan kept up the pace, clinching the title with
a win in the penultimate round rematch over Bob Linn, after Bob had just won a
tight game in the previous round. Harshan and Bob had also matched up
in the final game on Saturday in another tight game that ended in a tie.
Ricky Purnomo finished in second place, with Bob in third, making
for a strong showing by our overseas visitors, a theme touched upon
by Harshan in his winner's speech. Elie Dangoor picked up the ratings
prize for A division, with a performance 22 points above his rating.
Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, Harshan welcomed the diversity
of the players in the field in this weekend, noting that there were
players in their 20s to their 80s, players of all different colours
and players from all over the world, all brought together by a love
of Scrabble - a sentiment heartily endorsed by the other attendees.
John Matthews won division B with 12 wins, but the battle for this
division went down to the final game, with several players having an
opportunity to win in the final round. Richard Spencer had been near
the lead throughout the weekend, but in the end, he had to settle for
second place with 11 wins. Phil Kelly finished third with 11 wins, too.
Stephen Wintle and Graham Bonham also had 11 wins, but finished just
outside of the place prizes, although Stephen picked up the ratings
prize in division B with a performance 20 points above his rating.
Over half of the 18-player field in division B was still in with a
chance of winning with 3 rounds to go - a measure of just how close
this division was.
Division C was decided in the penultimate round, as Barbara Morris
clinched the division, finishing with 14 wins.
Paul Habershon took second place, with Robert Springer in third place,
continuing the strong performance of overseas players this weekend.
Pat Llanwarne won the ratings prize in C division with a performance 12
points above rating.
The tournament was run smoothly by the management team, led by Mike
Willis. In his closing remarks, Mike thanked tournament director James
Burley, computer operator David Wilson and entry co-ordinator Yoke Shin.
The prizes were presented by Steve Thomas.
An ABSP record was also eclipsed
during the tournament: the highest scoring non-bonus play.
The play was TWEEZERS, played as a nine-timer
through a ZE already on the board, scoring 180
points. It was played by Stewart Brodie, i.e. me - your webmaster himself! This beats the
old record of 153, held jointly by Brenda Northcott and Heather Laird,
originally set by Brenda in 2011 and matched by Heather earlier this year.
Co-incidentally, TWEEZERS was also formerly
the record highest overall scoring play, played by Ruth MacInerney.