Sydney Winter Masters - July 25th & 26th 1997


Peter Shaw's Report of 1997 Sydney Winter Masters

Clontarf Cottage was again the venue for this years Winter Masters Tournament, where 37 players from around Australia contested this event which is rapidly growing in stature. The representation consisted of two players from S.A., two from ACT, twelve from Vic and twenty one from the home State.

To add spice to what would be a very keenly contested event, a betting market was framed by our resident satchel swinger, where the nominal favourite was Esther Perrins at 3 to 1, and the rank outsiders of the field at 100 & 150 to 1.

At the opening of betting, there was a flood of money for likely contenders - John Holgate, Paul Cleary, Bob Jackman, Esther Perrins and Geoff Wright - which included quinellas, trifectas and other forms of exotic betting. And so the stage was set for what was indeed a stirring contest.

After the opening round, the favourite was already conceding a start along with some other fancied runners, but this is was a two day marathon and the field had yet to take shape. As we progressed towards the evening break, John Holgate had asserted himself with a winning sequence of eight straight wins, but the hounds were baying not far behind. John Barker emerged from the pack to bring John's run to an end and a huge sigh of relief was heard from the ensuing pack - not to mention the bookmaker!

After the final three games of evening play, which marked the end of day 1, Alistair Kane had captured the lead which was to change hands several times over the final day of play.

Other notable features of day one was a mammoth high game score by Joan Rosenthal of 628. Her opening play of this game was BEZIQUE for 124 points, which by definition means a "card game". I am certain her opponent in this match, namely Dianne Davis, would much rather have been playing cards than Scrabble at this juncture.

During the course of this drama and excitement we had Channel 9 film crew recording interviews with various players and film the reconstructed game featuring Joan Rosenthal and Dianne Davis, but there was still more to come. A very clever dog invaded the playing area from a nearby house and inadvertently tipped over a player's rack, exposing all his tiles which contained a blank. The player had been struggling vainly to find an anagram to fit his particular situation and after reassembling his rack out popped his seven letter play - obviously an act of god (dog).

Day two began with challenges coming strongly from the first half of the field for the coveted first four placings, but as the betting suggested the well supported runners were fighting off their efforts and were heading towards a final shoot-out called "King of the Hill", i.e. the final three rounds of the tournament were programmed so that you could play your nearest challenger twice, thereby eliminating a possible percentage luck element.

This produced a blanket finish from the top four players with quite a number of possibilities which included wins, draws, differentials and heart attacks, but out of this ruck emerged the eventual winner - Paul Cleary - who managed to stick his head out on the line and collect the spoils. Paul also won this title last year, so obviously his current form augurs well for his tilt at the World Championwhips later this year in Washington, D.C.

All place getters put in valiant winning efforts and should be congratulated for taking it right down to the wire.

It would be remiss of me not to mention all our interstate visitors who added colour to what is rapidly becoming a prestige event. We look forward to their return next year.

...and John Holgate wrote:

The Winter Masters '97 was significant in that it introduced SP Bookmaking into our game for the first time. Peter Shaw has traditionally published a detailed form guide for the event but this year he turned up with umbrella and money belt to remind us of the wilder days of old Balmain. A police raid on historical Clontarf Cottage culminating in the arrest of a certain Scottish Scrabble identity and his sidekick Bagman Bob would have made front page news, to be sure.

Not wanting to miss out on the fun I parted with my $10 and backed myself to greet the judge first at 7/2 with a $5 side bet on a Holgate-Wright quinella. After I won 8 straight on Day 1 Pommie Pete approached me anxiously over the customary pizza and garlic bread supper and asked what odds he would finish in the top 10 - I offered him 3/1 and he gave me back the $10 I had given him earlier in the day.

Eventually I came fourth and Shaw ended up in the pack at 27th so no harm was done. However, Jean Noonan would have picked the trifecta at 56/1 had Esther Perrins come third.

Interestingly Pommie Pete's 8 top fancies actually finished 1-8 (but not in order). Now that didn't happen at Augusta or Troon. Goes to show that Scrabble is more predictable than golf!

BTW I'm told the preliminary betting on the WSC has Nyman and Logan at 5/1, Boys and Sherman at sixes and The Frisco Feltster at 10/1.

Koala

Results after game 20
1997 WINTER MASTERS

Rank Player            Wins  Mar
--------------------------------
  1 Paul Cleary         15   939
  2 Bob Jackman         14  1344
  3 Joan Rosenthal      14   890
  4 John Holgate        14   685
  5 Alistair Kane       13   411
  6 Esther Perrins      12  384
  7 John Barker         12   520
  8 Geoff Wright        12    95
  9 Ivor Zetler         11   502
 10 Rod Talbot          11   230
 11 Peter Tobler        11   203
 12 Marie Knight        11    96
 13 Gwen Chadwick       11  -152
 14 Barbara Berlin      11  -266
 15 Barry Harridge      10   372
 16 Rene Chelton        10   301
 17 Gwen Lampre         10   227
 18 Carmel Dodd         10   142
 19 Ann Radan           10  -188
 20 Nicole Findlay      10  -218
 21 Jeff Chelton        10  -323
 22 Pat Warren          10  -376
 23 Gloria Gallagher    10  -462
 24 Jean McGiffen        9   248
 25 Sue Gergelifi        9     0
 26 Jean Noonan          9  -190
 27 Peter Shaw           9  -285
 28 Nancy Sparling       9  -373
 29 Dianne Davis         9  -451
 30 Ian Close            8 -622
 31 Alan Stewart         8   -62
 32 Meg Henderson        8  -217
 33 Graeme Lock Lee      8  -306
 34 Joanne Craig         8  -512
 35 Alison Rae           8  -594
 36 Audrey Newman        8  -737
 37 Sue Kyatt            7  -255
  
HIGH GAME: Joan Rosenthal     628
HIGH WORD: Meg Henderson      149
            "WIRELESS"
HIGH RATING GAIN: Jeff Chelton 96

Stats for Tournament : 1997 WINTER MASTERS

+-------------------------+-----------+---------+-----------+----------------+
| state     Name          | National  | State   |   Wins    | Rating Points  |
|                         | Old  New  | Old New | Exp  Act  | Old Change New |
+-------------------------+-----------+---------+-----------+----------------+
+Section: *MASTERS                    +         +           +                +
+-------------------------------------+---------+-----------+----------------+
| NSW Paul Cleary          |    8    5 |   3   3 | 12.5 15.0 | 1902 +40 1942 |
| NSW John Holgate         |    2    1 |   2   1 | 15.1 14.0 | 2021 -11 2009 |
| NSW Bob Jackman          |    9    8 |   4   4 | 12.7 14.0 | 1900 +20 1920 |
| NSW Joan Rosenthal       |   12    9 |   5   5 | 11.5 14.0 | 1870 +40 1910 |
| VIC Alistair Kane        |   14   11 |   5   3 | 10.9 13.0 | 1861 +33 1894 |
| NSW Esther Perrins       |    1    2 |   1   2 | 16.0 12.5 | 2030 -34 1995 |
| NSW John Barker          |   23   16 |   9   6 | 10.7 12.0 | 1817 +20 1837 |
| VIC Geoff Wright         |    7   12 |   3   4 | 13.2 12.0 | 1903 -18 1884 |
| NSW Ivor Zetler          |   58   43 |  17  14 |  9.2 11.0 | 1715 +36 1751 |
| NSW Peter Tobler :act    |   35   37 |  13  12 | 11.8 11.0 | 1783 -15 1767 |
| NSW Rod Talbot           |   19   25 |   7   8 | 11.7 11.0 | 1822 -11 1810 |
| VIC Barbara Berlin       |   16   20 |   7   9 | 12.9 11.0 | 1849 -29 1819 |
| NSW Marie Knight         |   25   27 |  10  10 | 11.4 11.0 | 1813  -6 1806 |
| VIC Gwen Chadwick        |   46   45 |  22  21 | 10.4 11.0 | 1736 +12 1748 |
| SA  Carmel Dodd          |   50   46 |   3   2 |  9.3 10.0 | 1729 +14 1743 |
| VIC Gwen Lampre          |   32   32 |  16  16 | 10.4 10.0 | 1795  -7 1787 |
| VIC Nicole Findlay       |  108   61 |  55  30 |  5.2 10.0 | 1596 +95 1691 |
| VIC Barry Harridge       |   34   42 |  17  20 | 11.8 10.0 | 1789 -36 1752 |
| NSW Rene Chelton         |  131  108 |  31  29 |  7.3 10.0 | 1545 +54 1599 |
| NSW Jeff Chelton         |  152  111 |  38  30 |  5.2 10.0 | 1501 +96 1597 |
| NSW Pat Warren           |  150  129 |  37  36 |  6.7 10.0 | 1507 +65 1572 |
| VIC Ann Radan            |  141  120 |  70  59 |  7.3 10.0 | 1530 +54 1584 |
| NSW Gloria Gallagher     |   74   82 |  21  20 | 11.1 10.0 | 1662 -22 1639 |
| NSW Jean McGiffen        |   17   29 |   6  11 | 11.7  9.0 | 1842 -42 1799 |
| NSW Sue Gergelifi        |   69   89 |  20  23 | 11.0  9.0 | 1673 -39 1633 |
| SA  Nancy Sparling       |  113  101 |   4   4 |  8.0  9.0 | 1591 +20 1611 |
| NSW Peter Shaw           |   29   44 |  12  15 | 12.6  9.0 | 1805 -56 1748 |
| NSW Jean Noonan          |  132  119 |  32  32 |  7.0  9.0 | 1545 +40 1585 |
| VIC Dianne Davis         |   75   74 |  39  39 |  9.3  9.0 | 1660  -5 1654 |
| NSW Ian Close            |  140  114 |  35  31 |  5.3  8.5 | 1531 +63 1594 |
| VIC Meg Henderson        |   57   75 |  29  40 | 11.1  8.0 | 1716 -62 1653 |
| NSW Graeme Lock Lee      |  145  143 |  36  37 |  7.5  8.0 | 1523  +9 1532 |
| VIC Alan Stewart         |   59   92 |  30  48 | 12.3  8.0 | 1715 -86 1628 |
| NSW Alison Rae :act      |  111  125 |  29  35 |  8.9  8.0 | 1593 -18 1574 |
| NSW Joanne Craig         |   45   83 |  15  21 | 13.1  8.0 | 1741 -101 1639 |
| NSW Audrey Newman        |  137  124 |  33  34 |  5.9  8.0 | 1534 +41 1575 |
| VIC Sue Kyatt            |   64  102 |  32  54 | 11.2  7.0 | 1692 -83 1608 |
|+-------------------------------------+---------+-----------+----------------+

from Bob Jackman