The First Annual Irish Provincial Backgammon Tournament

Clonakilty & Galway Backgammon Clubs proudly announce the First Annual Provincial Backgammon Tournament 6th April Bill Chawke's Bar, Adare Co. Limerick

The long awaited clash between the giants of Backgammon from Clonakilty and Galway took place yesterday in the welcoming and accommodating hostelry of Billy Chawke(with or without ')s in the heart of the scenic village of Adare.

It was with some trepidation that the Galway contingent set out early Sunday morning. Having been acquainted with the exotic nicknames of their opponents (e.g. "The Body", "Klingon", "The Persian Tiger") there was a fear that they would come dressed in character, or worse, we might all return with newly acquired nicknames. On that score Ray came up with a brilliant solution:- We adopted our own James Bond themed names. Thus Ray became "Goldfinger" (highly appropriate as events unfolded), Paddy became "Oddjob", Joe became "Dr. No", Jess became Bond girl "Honey Ryder" and Eamonn got the monicker "Scaramanga". Wait a minute, wasn't he tall, dark and menacing?

From arrival in Chawke(')s the hospitality and accommodation was instantly recognisable and we joined the advance party from Clonakilty for some fortifying breakfast. Soon the main West Cork contingent arrived, led by Phil "The Body" Newton. Phil, you and I have grounds to complain to the Nickname Complaints Ombudsman. Before hostilities commenced Phil presented a memento to each of the Galway 5 - each receiving a mug (was this another subtle form of intimidation?) As proceedings got underway a large crowd began to assemble in the adjoining bar - was backgammon a major attraction in Adare?. When Paddy threw an early and match crucial double 6 a huge roar arose from this audience. Unfortunately this arose from a score by Everton. So much for our aspirations of glamour and idolisation.

The competition was segregated into 2 events:- The Team event for the inaugural Interprovincial Shield with the Galway team of 5, taking on 6 from Clonakilty in a 30 match contest, and parallel to this a Round Robin for the balance 7 from Cork. Both of these would feed into the individual trophy last 8, 6 from the team event and 2 from the RR.

The team event began in tit-for-tat fashion and at half time Clonakilty led for the first time, 8-7, in a contest which never had more than a 1 point difference between the teams. At this point none of the Galway players had a perfect score! with Paddy, Ray and Joe contributing 2 points each. It was clear that Ray's aggressive (calculated) doubling tactics was having its toll on the opposition. At this stage the Clonakilty Iranian pair of Nickrooz (The Persian Prince) and Mohsen (Mossy, what else) had contributed an unbeaten 4 points to their team total. Round 4 began in emphatic fashion with Paddy, Joe and Ray completing their matches quickly. Then Eamonn took the honours in the battle of captains. No body distractions there! Mohsen, however, maintained his perfect record with a close win against Jess. 11-9 to Galway and the tide had turned. Clonakilty had no chance to regroup as Round 5 heralded a succession of Galway victories:- First Paddy demolished Philip 5-0, then Ray had another flamboyant victory against Vic, then Joe and Eamonn despatched the Persian duo. it was left to Jess to clinch the match and she duly delivered 5-3 against Bev? The trophy was Galway's with a full round to spare. The 6th and final round was all about who would win the €50 man of the match award. Paddy, Joe and all entered the round with 4 points, with Paddy holding a significant tie-break advantage. Mohsen, with 3 points, also had a slim chance. Ray quickly simplified things by winning his match in a single game, with the cube turned 3 times! Ray possesses the most worn out doubling cube in the world of backgammon! Now only Paddy could catch him, as Joe lost his final match. We may have to conduct a club enquiry as to Ray's loyalties, as he was seen visibly supporting the enemy. Paddy held his nerve to beat Mossy and edged Ray on total game points difference. Mossy was the. Clonakilty leading light with 3/5, the only Cork player to make a plus score. He and Nickrooz (despite losing his final 3 matches) qualified for the Individual Final 8 and were joined by Paddy, Ray! Eamonn and Joe.

The final match score was Galway 20 Clonakilty 10

A disastrous second half collapse for the Cork club with Galway winning 13 of the last 15 matches. So Galway become the proud holders of the inaugural Provincial backgammon shield. A word here for our opponents - competitive, sporting, generous and gentlemen, one and all. We really appreciate their initiative and their commitment to this event. I feel we have established a lasting friendship between the two clubs. However, I know that come their club night on Wednesday, they will be starting to plot their revenge. I think I overheard something about gluing Ray's doubling cube to the board!!

The second component of Sunday's event was a 7 player Round Robin among the rest of the Clonakilty contingent. "Scotty" was the early leader, winning his first 3 matches impressively. In round 5 he was caught by John "City Slicker" Casey! who then powered on to win with 5/6. Dominic made steady progress through the tournament and drew level with "Scotty" in the final round. Since the tie-break was decided on the individual head-to-head, Dominic's round 4 win over "Scotty" proved decisive. So, "City Slicker" won the €30 prize and advanced to the final 8 draw. Dominic finished 2nd, retrieving his entry fee and entering the big draw. Third was Mike DJ Wolf with 3/6, finishing with 3 straight wins. Next was father and son pair "Big Bad" John and son, 10 year old Rico who finished with 2 wins. finally Chris "Quiet Man" whose first round victory dented M Ike, chances of a placing.

So the scene was set for Philip to bring out his "Precision Bingo tumbler" to make the Q- Finals draw.


Paddy 7 Joe 5 So Paddy beating Joe and validating the Galway ratings

John 7 Mohsen 3 John giving a strong message to the selectors

Nikrooz 7 Eamonn 2 Nikrooz inflicting another defeat on Eamonn

Ray 7 Dominic 0. Ray, well doing what Ray does best

Out came the tumbler for the S-Finals draw which saw two closely contest matches


Nikrooz 7 Paddy 6 Nikrooz also doing the double over Paddy

Ray 7 John 6 John almost doing it, but giving him a final haul of 6/8


Ray 7 Nikrooz 2 Was there ever going to be any other winner? Ray becomes the

interprovincial Champion for 2014 winning a very nice trophy and

pocketing a €95 prize. Nikrooz wins €50 for runner -up.

All in all, a great day out , with two sporting teams, a well selected venue, and of course, the right result. Looking forward to 2015 already.