IT HAD all the ingredients of a competitive final with come-from-behind draws, surprising wins and clinical finishing in the end-game.
In the end St Martin’s popped the champagne to celebrate a well deserved 23-17 win over Lodge Road A to lift the 2014 National Team Draughts title at Mike Barker’s Academy in Bush Hall on Sunday night.
Diminutive Richard Grazette led the way for the team from the East with 1-0 wins against Sam Marshall and Wayne “Peg” Gill of Lodge Road A.
His finishing in a Whilter game with Marshall and a Second Double Corner line with Gill was clinical and grabbed six critical points in the keenly contested match.
Ian Callender capitalised on an end-game with Whitfield “Festus” Robinson and bagged three points for St Martin’s, who led 12-8 at the half time.
But it could have been closer as Nathaniel “Thani” Grosvenor surprised Anthony “Rat” Agard by winning the first game in a clash of Cross lines.
Agard did well to show Grosvenor that he too was a capable Cross specialist by clinching the second game.
Lodge Road A also failed to capitalise in the second round where Callender fought back from a game down to draw with Marshall. St Martin’s narrowly won the second round 11-9 but their four-point advantage from the first round proved the determining factor.
Seven teams competed in the team tournament. Last Sunday, Mike Barker’s Magicians secured third place with a comfortable victory over a much-improved Lodge Road B side.
Despite limited sponsorship, the team tournament demonstrated that draughts is on the rise, with more teams prepared to enter at a competitive level.