The 2019 Newcastle Open had a “back to the future” feel after the two finalists were decided on Sunday, September 15th.
25 players lined up at Club Charlestown’s Patricia Room to contest the Open, divided into 7 round robin groups of 3 (playing 9 point matches) and a group of 4 (to 7 points). Whilst the large amount of 3 player groups is not ideal (as there are always 7 players “sitting out”), it does make it easy to decided the final 8 as all group winners went through to the knockout final.
Visiting players included Simon Woodhead (Qld), Greg Ash and David
Berry(Canberra) and amongst the Sydney players to attend were Taeed Athari, from the Persian Rose at Turramurra and Carol Wakelin and Ben Phillips who were able to attend after recent overseas trips. Kyle Rhoades played his first tournament after recently becoming a member of NBC and Chris Belton graced us with his presence after a 7 year absence.
To say Newcastle was well represented in the Final would be an understatement. 7 of the 8 positions was filled by locals with the odd man out being Ben Phillips who was looking to repeat his 2017 Championship win. Unfortunately for Ben he was drawn against Mick Dyett in the first round of the knockout and went out 7-2.
The Final came down to a clash of previous Newcastle Open winners, Dave Bower and Robert Disney. Whilst both being previous winners it had been a long time between drinks as Dave had won the 1994 edition and Robert, as the Honour Roll page shows, won the inaugural tournament in 1984!!
The match was evenly fought as the lead chopped and changed until it got to 5-5. Dave needed to avoid a double 4 or double 5 to save a gammon but the 4’s appeared and then his match point game backgame was thwarted by a timely 6-6 to end Robert’s 35 year win drought of Newcastle Open.
The Consolation Tournament, for those who didn’t make the Final, was won by Simon Woodhead (a slight payback for Michelle and Greg’s victories at the Queensland Championships last month) over David Berry.
Newcastle Backgammon Club would like to thank all those who travelled to play this year, Club Charlestown for their hosting of the event and the Australian Backgammon Federation for sponsorship of the Trophies.