Three members from the Ashwellthorpe Shuffleboard Club, which meets at Ashwellthorpe Village Hall every Wednesday evening throughout the year, took part in the first ever UK- based Shuffleboard tournament against visiting players from Canada and USA at St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich from Wednesday 29 April to Friday 1 May 2015. There were twelve players from Norfolk; nine from the Wymondham club and the three from Ashwellthorpe – Alan Dawson, Gordon and Jennifer Robbie – who won three, two and two matches respectively against their Canadian and US opponents. Two of the Wymondham Club members Roger Garwood and Martin Seaman won through to the last sixteen in the tournament.
The standard of play was amazingly good and the Canadian team included some past and present world champions. We could but look on and admire once our progress had been halted in the tournament, although the three Ashwellthorpe members did very well to win against such competition – the thinking-ahead of strategy and the subtlety of shots is something we shall have to bring to our club-nights! The shuffleoard courts were very different from the ones used in Ashwellthorpe Village Hall, being of a poly-tile construction as opposed to roll-out rubber mats we use. The Norfolk competitors found them very, very fast in comparison, whereas the Americans, in particular, found them very slow compared with the polished concrete (with beads on top) used outdoors in Arizona.
The tournament was well-organised and a pleasure to attend and to meet the North American competitors – many of the Canadians spend the winter months in Florida where Shuffleboard is on the calendar every day; the Americans also mostly play in Florida or in Arizona. Many members of the public wandered in to St Andrew’s Hall to see what Shuffleboard was all about and the tournament was covered by Anglia TV and Mustard TV. Apparently, the Germans are expressing an interest in another UK tournament, perhaps also in Norwich. Ashwellthorpe will have to practise.
Jennifer and Gordon Robbie
Competitor Alan Dawson facing camera; Jennifer Robbie vs. American competitor