Border Challenge - August 8th & 9th 1998


Report from Steve Sunter, Victoria

The Border Challenge is the only major team event featuring on the Scrabble calendar. It is a cross between "State of Origin Football" and a "half-way house". Both Victoria and NSW each nominate 14 top players and there are two "reserves" divisions. It is a bit difficult to have a full head-to-head state clash - many of the players involved have crossed the border at least once. At least four players on each team have "altered states". However, everyone gets into the spirit of the event and one-eyed barrackers soon emerge from the woodwork.

A total of 56 players converged on Wagga Wagga in rural NSW. Wagga is around 435 km from Melbourne and a shade further from Sydney. It turned out to be quite a lot further for some Sydney players. They were forced to make a lengthy detour via Harden after a horror bus smash near Yass closed the Hume Highway overnight before the tournament. The railways were rather more punctual - with the tournament geared around train timetables.

Victoria had won the inaugural teams encounter the previous year and started hot favourites to retain the Border Shield. As defending champions, Victorian reps sported badges with a big "V" on their chests.

Victoria began strongly but NSW was able to snatch back some big swings. After just three rounds, the Victorian captain, Sue Kyatt, became quite ill and was unable to continue. She was ferried back to the hotel for much needed bed rest. Despite having an uneasy night afterwards, she recovered just enough to participate in the final three games on Sunday. She preferred to play rather than mope around and watch from the sidelines.

The six games Sue was unable to play on Saturday were shared between both teams, as happened in a precedent set in Wagga the previous year. Despite Sue's absence, the Victorian team steadied and ended the day with a solid lead. By round 13, NSW needed to win all of the remaining games to catch the favourites. Victoria finished with 89.5 wins vs 72.5 wins for NSW.

The individual performances produced a few upsets and aslo some bold runs. Bob Jackman continued his strong form with just three losses. However, Simon Foskett finished with a better winning spread to be awarded the Best Individual Player prize. Although Simon has been playing strongly in Victorian Masters for a couple of years now, this was his first interstate tournament. Barbara Berlin and Derek Mackenzie both finished with long winning sequences. Derek clearly confirmed he has arrived as a major force in the scene. Graeme Lock Lee and Betty Foreman also confounded computer predictions to record strong ratings gains.

There were 12 players in the Round Robin event. Honours were shared between States. First place went to Kerry Constable (ACT player). She finished a win clear from Gwen Chadwick, a Victorian stalwart. Third was won by Audrey Newman (NSW).

ACT recorded a clean sweep in the Open event. Tim Reddan and Phil Moore played well to grab 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. Susan MacGillivray finished more than a point clear, with 10 wins from 12 games.

All games were plyed in the belly of Wagga Wagga RSL. This proved to be most convenient. Excellent, terrific value food was laid on upstairs. And several players enjoyed a refreshing ale or two during and after proceedings. My five-month old boy Zachary found Scrabblers and staff to be a friendly lot. He even had a short spell behind the counter with a bar girl. But he still preferred Wagga Zoo to the Scrabble boards.

Regards... Steve

Results after game 12
ROUND ROBIN

Rank Player            Wins  Mar
--------------------------------
  1 Kerry Constable      9   232
  2 Gwen Chadwick        8   452
  3 Audrey Newman        7  -11
  4 Alison Rae           7   339
  5 Ros Gibbons          7   -43
  6 Nicole Findlay       6 -144
  7 Margaret Warmington  5   44
  8 Harry Malcolm        5   34
  9 Judy Hay             5  -185
 10 Cheryl Michler       4  -215
 11 Zina Costanzo        4  -418
 12 Ann Radan            3   -85
HIGH GAME: Harry Malcolm     474
HIGH WORD: Margaret Warmington  149
            "PANTRIES"
           Nicole Findlay  149
            "MARKINGS"

Results after game 12
OPEN SECTION

Rank Player            Wins  Mar
--------------------------------
  1 Susan Macgillivray  10   772
  2 Tim Reddan           8  814
  3 Phil Moore           7  387
  4 Jean Balmer          7   248
  5 June Stephenson      7   242
  6 Mary Craven          7    59
  7 Gary Pollard         6   122
  8 Cath Catmull         6   -34
  9 Stephen Teah-wilson  5 -412
 10 Athena Sheehan       5 -431
 11 Michael Adler        5   166
 12 Pearl Gillott        5    18
 13 Daphne Bezuidenhout  5  -240
 14 Heather Sorensen     4  -383
 15 Yvonne Pollard       4  -485
 16 Merriss Adler        3  -843

Stats for Tournament : BORDER CHALL 8-9/8/98

+--------------------------+-----------+---------+-----------+---------------+
| state     Name           | National  | State   |   Wins    | Rating Points |
|                          | Old  New  | Old New | Exp  Act  | Old Change New|
+--------------------------+-----------+---------+-----------+---------------+
+Section: *BORDER CHALL                +         +           +               +
+--------------------------------------+---------+-----------+---------------+
| VIC Simon Foskett        |   26   19 |  15  11 |  6.9  9.0 | 1740 +43 1783 |
| NSW Bob Jackman          |    1    1 |   1   1 |  9.5  8.5 | 2014 -10 2004 |
| VIC Barbara Berlin       |   36   26 |  20  14 |  6.5  8.0 | 1709 +32 1741 |
| VIC Geoff Wright         |    7    7 |   3   3 |  7.9  8.0 | 1850  +2 1852 |
| NSW Derek McKenzie       |   31   21 |  11   7 |  5.6  8.0 | 1729 +49 1778 |
| VIC Steve Sunter         |   13    9 |   7   4 |  7.6  8.0 | 1814  +8 1822 |
| NSW Graeme Lock Lee      |   92   47 |  27  15 |  3.4  7.5 | 1568 +98 1666 |
| VIC Alistair Kane        |   11   13 |   5   7 |  7.6  7.0 | 1821  -7 1814 |
| NSW John Barker          |   28   23 |   9   9 |  5.6  7.0 | 1736 +27 1763 |
| VIC Roger Blom           |    5    4 |   1   1 |  8.6  7.0 | 1904 -25 1879 |
| NSW Betty Foreman        |  135   78 |  37  25 |  2.5  7.0 | 1490 +110 1600 |
| NSW Jean McGiffen        |   24   22 |   7   8 |  5.8  7.0 | 1752 +24 1776 |
| NSW Joan Rosenthal       |   10   11 |   5   5 |  6.9  6.5 | 1826  -7 1819 |
| VIC Sal Costanzo         |   46   45 |  26  25 |  6.4  6.5 | 1672  +5 1677 |
| VIC Jimmy Scarff         |    8   10 |   4   5 |  8.0  6.0 | 1850 -30 1820 |
| VIC Linda Findlay        |   21   25 |  13  13 |  7.0  6.0 | 1766 -19 1747 |
| VIC Sue Kyatt            |   23   27 |  14  15 |  7.2  6.0 | 1758 -21 1737 |
| VIC Audree Clifton       |   42   43 |  24  24 |  6.4  6.0 | 1690  -5 1685 |
| VIC Barry Harridge       |  120  100 |  62  54 |  4.0  6.0 | 1513 +40 1553 |
| NSW Marie Knight         |   25   29 |   8  10 |  5.8  5.0 | 1748 -15 1733 |
| NSW Gloria Gallagher     |   82   70 |  25  23 |  3.6  5.0 | 1589 +28 1617 |
| NSW Paul Cleary          |    2    6 |   2   4 |  8.3  4.5 | 1922 -61 1861 |
| VIC Gwen Lampre          |   20   35 |  12  19 |  7.2  4.0 | 1778 -61 1717 |
| NSW Joanne Craig         |   51   54 |  17  18 |  4.5  4.0 | 1660 -11 1649 |
| VIC Jim Warmington       |   44   56 |  25  30 |  6.4  4.0 | 1682 -45 1637 |
| NSW Peter Sheehan        |   68   69 |  21  22 |  4.0  4.0 | 1621     1621 |
| NSW Liz Jackman          |  134  149 |  36  38 |  2.5  1.5 | 1490 -20 1470 |
| NSW Jean Noonan          |  132  154 |  35  39 |  2.5  1.0 | 1494 -30 1464 |
+-------------------------------------+---------+-----------+----------------+

Note: Ratings for Sue Kyatt, and those assigned a draw to Sue Kyatt are not 
adjusted in the above.

Stats for Tournament : ROUND ROBIN

+--------------------------+-----------+---------+-----------+---------------+
| state     Name           | National  | State   |   Wins    | Rating Points |
|                          | Old  New  | Old New | Exp  Act  | Old Change New|
+--------------------------+-----------+---------+-----------+---------------+
+Section: *A                           +         +           +               +
+--------------------------------------+---------+-----------+---------------+
| NSW Kerry Constable :act |  204  128 |  52  34 |  4.0  9.0 | 1373 +126 1499 |
| VIC Gwen Chadwick        |   85   81 |  46  45 |  7.7  8.0 | 1584  +8 1592 |
| NSW Audrey Newman        |  167  136 |  44  38 |  5.2  7.5 | 1441 +49 1490 |
| NSW Alison Rae :act      |  185  162 |  48  43 |  4.2  7.0 | 1395 +58 1453 |
| NSW Ros Gibbons          |  178  156 |  46  41 |  4.3  7.0 | 1406 +55 1461 |
| VIC Nicole Findlay       |   91   97 |  50  53 |  7.3  6.5 | 1572 -14 1558 |
| VIC Margaret Warmington  |   93  107 |  52  59 |  7.5  5.5 | 1571 -38 1533 |
| VIC Harry Malcolm        |   95  105 |  53  58 |  7.2  5.5 | 1570 -33 1537 |
| NSW Judy Hay             |  152  158 |  39  42 |  5.6  5.0 | 1466  -9 1457 |
| VIC Zina Costanzo        |  160  171 |  83  84 |  5.3  4.0 | 1454 -25 1429 |
| NSW Cheryl Michler       |  150  168 |  38  46 |  5.4  4.0 | 1468 -26 1442 |
| VIC Ann Radan            |   69  118 |  37  61 |  8.2  3.0 | 1619 -102 1517 |
+-------------------------------------+---------+-----------+----------------+
+Section: *WAGGA OPEN                  +         +           +               +
+--------------------------------------+---------+-----------+---------------+
| NSW Susan MacGillivr:act |  394  332 |  97  81 |  6.3 10.0 | 1059 +84 1143 |
| NSW Tim Reddan :act      |  372  341 |  93  83 |  6.8  8.5 | 1094 +37 1131 |
| NSW Phil Moore: act      |  224  256 |  55  61 |  9.9  7.5 | 1328 -71 1257 |
| NSW Jean Balmer          |  368  377 |  92  94 |  8.0  7.0 | 1100 -18 1082 |
| NSW June Stephenson      |  361  366 |  89  91 |  7.9  7.0 | 1115 -15 1100 |
| NSW Mary Craven :act     |  558  479 | 138 113 |  3.4  7.0 |  875 +78  953 |
| VIC Cath Catmull         |  325  371 | 121 141 |  9.1  6.0 | 1154 -60 1094 |
| NSW Gary Pollard         |  299  328 |  73  79 |  8.7  6.0 | 1199 -53 1146 |
| NSW Stephen Teah-Wilson  |  555  556 | 136 137 |  5.6  5.5 |  878      878 |
| NSW Athena Sheehan       |  622  609 | 153 149 |  4.9  5.5 |  819 +12  831 |
| NSW Pearl Gillott        |  715  678 | 173 163 |  3.6  5.0 |  738 +28  766 |
| NSW Daphne Bezuidenhout  |  744  688 | 179 167 |  2.8  5.0 |  712 +45  757 |
| NSW Michael Adler :act   |  333  391 |  81  97 |  9.1  5.0 | 1143 -79 1064 |
| NSW Heather Sorensen :ac |  798  782 | 190 187 |  3.3  4.0 |  663 +14  677 |
| NSW Yvonne Pollard       |  651  671 | 160 162 |  5.0  4.0 |  794 -20  774 |
| NSW Merriss Adler :act   |  947  910 | 239 227 |  1.6  3.0 |  544 +28  572 |
+-------------------------------------+---------+-----------+----------------+