Trans-Tasman Challenge - November 21st-23rd 1998


Report to caspa mailing list from Bob Jackman

I wish I could offer a reasonable explanation as to why Australia went down in the Trans-Tasman Challenge in Auckland last weekend, but I can't. The fact is they did it without their fourth seed, Mike Sigley, who had to withdraw for health reasons at the last moment. Admittedly, we were without Geoff Wright, and Glenys Lawrie also declined an invitation, but we fielded a very strong side despite the fact we all had to get there and back at our own expenses.

The rot started in Round 4 on day one. Out of 12 games, Australia could only manage one win, so from that point on we had to play catch up Scrabble. We got to within five difference early on the final day, but the Kiwis must have sensed something and pulled away for a convincing victory.

John Foley was suffering from sciatica most of the time, and played most of his games in the kneeling position. In fact, he nearly didn't make it to Round 1, as he had taken a morning walk for exercise, and found he was unable to complete the return journey.

Angela Van Niekerk, despite winning least games, performed remarkably well. Her drawn game with Nigel Richards will be one she will remember for a long time.

Jimmy Scarff served noticed that he is on target for a major win on Australian soil. Clearly the top performing Aussie for the event, he would have come in third had I won my last game against Jeff Grant. How I lost that game after establishing an early 100 point lead I will never know.

A few notable plays from the Kiwis were Patric Carter's PLAGUIEST, wrapped a round a GU already on the board, Nigel Richards CASUISTIC, wrapped around ST, and David Lloyd's SUBROUTINE by placing the SUB in front of ROUTINE.

The Australian team was treated to marvellous hospitality and generosity at the hands of the New Zealanders. John Foster, team captain and organizer, prepared a gift pack for each player which included a personalized tile bag, a special Trans-Tasman key ring and heaps of other goodies. A splendid lunch was provided each day in the dining room of the Ellerslie International, and the subsidized presentation dinner on Monday night was superb. All of this would not have been possible if it were not for the generous financial support provided by Mattel New Zealand.

Howard Warner, player and journo, organised good local newspaper coverage, ABC radio featured interviews with some of the players and Channel 3 included a short piece in their news.

The announcement was made at the end of the tournament that the next Trans-Tasman will be staged in Melbourne, in 2000. For us Australians, that is how long we will have to wait until we have the opportunity to avenge the defeat at the hands of our New Zealand friends.

Final Results

TRANSTASMAN TOURNAMENT
	after game 24

    NAME		W        SPREAD

PETER SINTON	NZ	18	958
NIGEL RICHARDS	NZ	17.5	1707
JEFF GRANT	NZ	16	984
JIMMY SCARFF	AUS	16      817
HOWARD WARNER	NZ	15	513
KENDALL BOYD	NZ	15	492
BOB JACKMAN	AUS     14.5	486
PATRICK CARTER	NZ	14	912
LYNNE POWELL	NZ	12.5    -81
JOAN ROSENTHAL	AUS	12      192	
ROGER BLOM	AUS	12      120	
ESTHER PERRINS	AUS	11.5	-42
PAUL CLEARY	AUS	11      306
JOHN HOLGATE	AUS	11       -5  
JOHN FOLEY	AUS	11     -455		
GLENNIS HALE	NZ	11     -483
ALISTAIR KANE	AUS	11     -597
DAVID  LLOYD	NZ	10     -402
JOHN FOSTER	NZ	10     -438
CARMEL DODD	AUS	10     -1374
STEVE SUNTER	AUS	9       -370	
LYNNE BUTLER	NZ	9       -441
SHERYL DAVIDSON	NZ	6.5    -1055
ANGELA VAN NIEKERK  AUS	4.5    -1744
NZ 154.5 Aus 133.5