Who has them?
I've got some Ray!
First off, 15 years of the WCC. Truly a great milestone.
Starting off with the main event of singles, I look at the main contenders in the field as the "Fab 5". (Brian Cook, Justin Slater, Ray Beierling, Jason Beierling and Jon Conrad) These are the last 5 to win the singles title and also held the top 5 spots at the end of last year's event. Their dominance in crokinole has been evident for the last 3 years. So much can be said about these 5, that I won't go anymore into it.
-I was about to throw Fred Slater into the mix (due to the great form he has shown in the NCA), but hesitated because I don't think we have seen his best work in Tavistock yet. (And if we are going to see it on June 1st, . . . look out.)
Outside of these 5 are a select group that I like to refer to as dark horses, and they could easily upset the mix of talent at the top. These include Roy Campbell, Greg Matthison, Nathan Jongsma, Robert Bonnett, Louis Gauthier and any member of the PEI crew.
-For me, Roy Campbell has clearly been the most improved player in the NCA. He only started competitive play 2 years ago, but won the B in Hamilton, finished 4th in London and made the A group in St. Jacob's. He also has some playoff experience in Tavistock, and can get on ludicrous roll in 20 shooting.
-Greg Matthison is clearly poised for a breakthrough. He is often his harshest critic, but has played superb at times in tournaments and was consistent enough to be the top London player this year.
-If I am not mistaken, Nathan Jongsma finished 5th in 2010 and 6th in 2012. He does not get much of a chance to play many other tournaments in the year, but that can work to his advantage coming up as an unknown. Sooner or later he will crack the top 4, perhaps 2013 is the year.
-Robert Bonnett (twice the recreational champion), doesn't know how good he really is. He is one of the smartest players around, and can surprise a lot of people.
-Out of all of the dark horses though, my money would be one Louis Gauthier. His level of skill on angle ricochets can really help him get out of any trouble, and the number of 20's he scores is always very high. If he plays his best, I am confident he'll be in the top 4 and looking for more.
-Lastly is the news that there will be as much as 10 players from PEI attending this year. Seeing them play first hand, I know they have a large talent pool to draw from, and if they adapt quickly to the change in boards and strategy, they will be among the best in the World.
Of course there are many others, it would be foolish to really rule out anyone. It would also be foolish to say that these predictions held any merit or were formed with any real validity. But if we are looking for bold predictions, I'm willing to make them for the fun of it:
1. Brian Cook
2. Jason Beierling
3. Ray Beierling
4. Louis Gauthier
What does everyone else think?
15 years indeed is a great milestone. 20 would be the most ideal for crokinole though.
I will follow your lead and make my top 4 prediction for the singles. I base my picks primarily on what I have seen in the NCA Tournaments this year and the NCA/WCC history books. I will predict the top four in no particular order and they will be no surprise to the crokinole world. I predict that for the first time in WCC History, the top 4 from the previous year will contend for the title again.
If I have to predict a winner, Justin Slater would be my choice. His 20 shooting is remarkable and he destroyed me in the final in St. Jacobs. He pounced on every oppurtunity presented and will be really tough to beat.
Dark Horses. So many. Any give WCC could produce a new winner.
I think Louis Gauthier and Matt Brown from the East could contend. Nathan Jongsma and Nathan Walsh could get on a roll and crash the party. Rex Johnston had a good year topping the Joeseph Schnieder Haus Tournament. Finally, Fred Slater and Jason Beierling (not really dark horses) could also rise to the occasion and spoil my top 4 prediction. It would not surprise me to see players outside the NCA in the top 16, but cracking the top 4 would shock me.
On to the doubles....
The 15th annual World Crokinole Championship is now in the books.
Time to evaluate the results. I chose a repeat of last years top 4 in the singles and it was possible due to the ranking in the top 16. 2 of the 4 made it. Raymond Haymes and Tom Johnston rounded out the top 4. In the end Jon Conrad stole the show for the second straight year. Conrats Jon!
A few new faces cracked the top 16 leaving a few familar ones on the outside looking in. This will only make the competition stronger in years to come.
Justin Slater made a run at the Preliminary points record set last year by Jon Conrad last year, but came up two points short. Due to the humidity, the 20s race was hampered and held totals to below 100. Only 3 players managed to crack 90 20s and a shoot off was needed to break the tie a top the heap.
In the doubles action, the Slaters edged out last years champs by a single point. This gave Justin Slater the triple crown of the WCC, becoming the second player to accomplish the goal. It also gave Fred his first WCC Title that he has been working so hard to get.
Congrats to all the other winners in the Cues, Rec and Junior Divisions. Winning at any level takes skill, patience, practise, precision and even a little sweat! Looking forward to the postin of all the results and the 16th installment of the WCC!
Off to practise....