Tasmania day 3
I seem to have trouble defeating Richard Jeremy, and on this occasion he got me again. He floated an E for a modest score, then dumped two more vowels before bingoing through the E; struggling with G, C and V combos, I had difficulty in pulling back against his endgame power tiles. Before lunch I faced Carmel Dodd – quite a fortunate game, with UTILIZER available through her opening Z, then a blank delivering ANTEFIXA fairly soon to negate her URODELE. The second blank enabled me to lock it in despite swallowing ABMMQ at the end.
I think at this stage, Alastair and Esther had taken the lead over me by half a game, and I was unable to assail them again due to the pairing format. After lunch, they occupied tables one and two, taking on Joanne and Carmel (Cheah, seated next to me, observed: “The ladies have swarmed up!”). I took on a nervous-seeming Graham Lock Lee; his seven-tile change delivered a nice CODICES but luckily I had BLANCHES through it to keep a lead. Then a late J and blank enhanced my spread at the end.
Esther lost to Carmel, putting me back in second where I faced the troublesome Rod Talbot. He opened with a seven starting IRONIE… – I hoped for an S rather than an R, and it duly appeared which gave me SHEDLOAD, followed straight away by GUILTIER. I was incautious enough to verbify UPTICK on move four with a phony past participle, and sadly when it came off the floater gave him ENHEARSE to take a small lead. But as the board got harder to colonise, a late pair of blanks secured my win. Incidentally I would probably have started with IRONISE, permitting the front S-hook. Meanwhile Carmel had also done the honours to beat Alastair, so for the final game I was back on table one after a rather seesawing day; a win would guarantee the title, whatever Alastair did.
John Hamilton had popped up into the top ten at this stage, and it was my lot to take him on. The only point of interest from my point of view was my third rack FLPRSY? – was hoping to get FLYSPRAY (or FLYTRAPS or PALFREYS) down, but it was not to be. Apparently he overlooked a spot for CITRATE, so while I was unable to use my blank for ages, I was pretty much in control of the board. And that was the tournament. I had a little more than my fair share of blanks, nabbing 56 bingoes in 24 games.
We had a superb prizegiving banquet that evening, far better than Canberra’s mean show last year. The seafood starter was copious and delicious (oysters, smoked octopus, salmon etc), the carvery main was excellent, and the pecan pie was memorable. Next year we venture to the Gold Coast in sunny Queensland.