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20/11/17: Alex wins Red Division; Ed relegated
There were twenty-four players in action on Monday, including nineteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom ten contested the twelfth phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- a DMP Tourno.
Four Premier League matches were played, and some important issues were resolved.
In Premier One a double header between Ed Turner and Cecilia Sparke at the Rainbow Casino saw honours shared.
Ed needed more, however, as the defeat signalled his relegation from the top flight, leaving Gary Plant to fight another day at that level.
And the top two in Premier Two Red also played.
Fred North could have clinched the divisional title with a win over Simonetta Herrera at Kellaway Avenue, but he lost 6-11.
Later Alex Hodge scored an 11-3 victory over Neil Young at the casino to make the title his.
He now faces Blue Division champion Chris Rogers in a play-off for the overall Premier Two title.
The news is not all bad for Fred, however, as he is strong favourite for the second Red Division promotion slot.
Only Ian Tarr can overhaul him, but two very emphatic wins are required to do this.
At the club nine members of the Bristol University Persian Society played some friendly matches alongside the DMP Tourno.
Roland Herrera won the DMP with seven wins from his nine games and takes over the AGP lead from Adam Sinclair with a margin of 25 points.
John Curran remains the runaway leader of the race to be that competition's top intermediate, but didn't quite do enough to overhaul Mathew Nicholls, who wins the DMP section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran intermediate sponsorship.
19/11/17: Premier Two Red takes centre stage
The three league matches played on Sunday were all in Premier Two Red.
Simonetta Herrera played two at the Rainbow Casino and met with differing fortunes.
An 11-5 victory over Chris Hughes was followed by a 10-11 reverse against Ismail Yilmaz.
Chris's final result means that he is one of three players at risk of playing Premier Three backgammon in 2018, although there is a strong chance that he will make the Premier Two cut.
In the other match Richard Owsley played host to Ian Tarr and lost 4-11.
That result keeps Ian's slim promotion hopes alive.
17/11/17: Steve signs off with a win
Steve Morris and Peter Thistlewood concluded their league campaigns this afternoon at the Blaise Inn.
Their Premier Two Blue encounter ended in an 11-9 victory for Steve.
17/11/17: GP30 and Blue Division titles resolved
There were nineteen players in action on Thursday, including eighteen at the Rainbow Casino, where sixteen contested the final GP30 tournament of the year.
Three Premier Two Blue matches were played -- two at the Compass, Tormarton, where Tim Line scored a brace of 11-3 wins over Pearl Foster.
And while those two matches had no bearing on important issues, the other match, between Simon Baker and Mike Smith did.
Simon had a ghost of a chance to take the divisional title with very emphatic wins in his final two matches.
His eventual 11-9 victory took that chance out of the equation, but the important objective of achieving promotion to Premier One at the expense of Stephen Little was met.
Simon finishes second behind chanpion Chris Rogers.
The perfect sixteen player draw for the GP30 tournament included two Thursday debutants -- Yusuf Adenwala and Hugh Swann, who had made their first Bristol Backgammon appearances as recently as Monday.
Yusuf added to his Monday success by taking the consolation flight with victories over Cynthia Roberts, Tim and Roland Herrera.
The main flight final will feature Simon Hughes and Ian Tarr.
Simon progressed with wins over Alex Hodge, Gaz Owen and Cecilia Sparke, while Ian got past Cynthia Roberts, Stephen and Steve Morris.
It was Simon's victory over Gaz which sealed the GP30 title in his favour.
Ironically had Simon not managed more than one win Ian would have had a chance to overhaul him, although he can still finish second by winning the outstanding final.
15/11/17: George signs off with a rare defeat
The top two players in Premier Three -- the already promoted George Georgiou and Rufus Rozelaar met at the Rainbow Casino today.
And Rufus scored an 11-10 victory to cement second place, inflicting only the fourth defeat of the season for champion George, who has now completed his fixtures.
The only important issue remaining in the division is the destiny of the third promotion place, which depends on whether or not Andy Brown can overhaul Daniel Eldridge.
14/11/17: Thirty in Monday action!
There were thirty players in action on Monday, including twenty-seven at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom twelve contested the eleventh phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- a pair of 3-point round robins.
Five league matches were played, eight members of the Bristol University Persian Society played as a group, and one new player, John McLaughlin, played some friendly games with Director Ian Tarr.
One other player sadly arrived too late for inclusion into the round robins.
In the leagues, one issue was decided, and others got closer to resolution.
Rufus Rozelaar is now assured of promotion from Premier Three, assuming he completes his fixtures, after finishing an adjourned match with Tom Chapman at the Rainbow Casino, winning 11-6.
Also played at the casino was a match betwen the two top players in Premier Two Red.
Fred North won this -- against Alex Hodge -- 11-2 and is now almost certain of promotion.
The other three league matches were in Premier One, and as a result the final relegation place now definitely rests between Gary Plant and Ed Turner.
Andy Boysan and Paul Watts removed any minor lingering doubts about their top flight safety by winning.
For Paul it was honours even in a double header with Simon Hughes.
And for Andy it was an 11-8 win over Ed, who now faces a battle to stay up.
From his final two matches -- both against Cecilia Sparke -- Ed needs either to win both or to win one out of two while substantially improving his average points difference.
In the round robins, there were two more debut players -- Yusuf Adenwala and Hugh Swann -- who encountered differing fortunes.
Yusuf won his group outright, while Hugh did not fare so well, although his play drew compliments from at least one top player.
The other group saw the spoils shared between Roland Herrera and Adam Sinclair.
John Curran extended his lead in the July to December 3-point round robin section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship and is comfortably leading the race to be the AGP's top intermediate.
11/11/17: George extends Premier Three lead
A Premier Three match at the Rainbow Casino today saw George Georgiou defeat Carwyn Jenkins 11-5 to further extend his league lead.
10/11/17: Peter wins in Redland
In a Premier Two Blue meeting at the Kensington Arms, Redland, today Peter Thistlewood emerged with an 11-8 victory over Steve Morris.
10/11/17: Tim wins November Grand Prix event
There were thirteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino for the eleventh of this year's twelve Monthly Grand Prix tournaments.
Tim Line won the main flight, defeating Simon Hughes, Ian Tarr and Daniel Eldridge en route to a final in which he beat Roland Herrera.
Roland had got past Adam Sinclair, Simonetta Herrera and Jason Champion.
Simon won the consolation flight with victories over Richard Owsley, Steve Morris and Steve Cox.
Roland has reduced Alex Hodge's OGP points lead to 46, but although he is now the only challenger in with a chance of overhauling Alex, he has 30 to discard in December, so will need to reach the latter stages of that event.
Steve Cox became, in November(!), the first locally based intermediate to contest one of these tournaments this year.
He already held the IGP lead, thanks to his Intermedates Trophy success in June, and will now be very difficult to surpass in December for that title.
07/11/17: Stuart suffers double title blow
There were three Premier League matches played on Tuesday, two of which had a dramatic bearing on the league title race.
Dave Pym and Stuart Mann played out a double header at the Rainbow Casino to conclude their Premier One campaigns.
For Dave, already relegated, it was a case of playing for honour, while for Stuart one win out of two would almost certainly mean a seventh league title triumph.
But both matches were close, and both went Dave's way, 11-9 and 11-8.
The margins being that narrow did at least resolve one thing, and that was to deny Jason Champion a chance of taking the title, since -- while he can draw level on points with Stuart -- his average points difference will not now match Stuart's.
So now it all comes down to one of Jason's two remaining matches -- the one against second placed Nick Barham.
While Jason still has second place to play for, the title equation is simple.
A victory for Nick will mean the league title is his. A defeat will hand the title to Stuart.
Meanwhile, in Premier Two Red, Phil Charlton was scoring an emphatic win at the King William IV for the second successive evening.
His victim this time was Chris Hughes, and the margin was 11-3.
Phil has finished the season with a flourish, and although automatic promotion is out of his grasp, third place is still a distinct possibility.
07/11/17: Eleven in Monday action
There were eleven players in action on Monday, including the nine at the Bristol County Sports Club who contested the tenth phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- a DMP Tourno.
The exceptions were Drew Caudwell and Phil Charlton who met for a Premier Two Red encounter at the King William IV.
Phil won 11-2 for his fifth successive league victory.
The DMP Tourno saw welcome Bristol Backgammon debuts for Azad Rafi and Stelios Choustoulakis.
George Georgiou took the honours by winning seven of his eight games.
Ian Hedges did enough to close the gap at the top of the AGP table to 15 points.
And John Curran holds a massive lead in the race to be the competition's leading intermediate.
03/11/17: Record low Handicap Trophy turnout
With some regular players away in Cyprus there were just six players in action on Thursday for the seventh of this year's eight Handicap Trophy tournaments at the Rainbow Casino -- a record low in the 79 incarnations of this event.
The fact that there were fewer than seven players triggered a round robin -- the first time this has happened in this event.
That meant a gruelling schedule of five seven-point matches for each player, but thankfully there were no slouches, and the whole thing was done and dusted before midnight.
Steve Morris swept all before him, and took first prize with a 100% record, Stephen Little finishing second.
Handicap Trophy leader Richard Owsley was hoping to extend his 50 points lead, and despite a poor tournament for him, he managed to do this by 10 points, not least because his three closest rivals were absent for differing reasons.
Steve has moved into third place.
01/11/17: Rufus almost there
Rufus Rozelaar and Tom Chapman met at the Rainbow Casino on Monday for a Premier Three encounter.
Rufus won 11-5, and will be promoted if he finishes the season on time.
He was also 5-2 ahead in a return encounter, which was adjourned.
Catching up after the news hiatus (5)
30/10/17: Monday 30th:
There were thirteen players in action on Monday at the Bristol County Sports Club, where five contested the ninth phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- a 3-point round robin.
The other eight were members of the Bristol University Persian Society, who played an informal round robin, won by Shabnam.
John Curran took the honours in the AGP round robin and now holds a very commanding lead in the July to December 3-point round robin section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship.
Ian Hedges moves into second place in the AGP table, 20 points behind George Georgiou.
Catching up after the news hiatus (4)
30/10/17: Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th at the Bristol Open:
A grand total of Ninety-seven players participated in the various elements of the seventh and latest incarnation of the Bristol Open at the Rainbow Casino over the weekend.
51 in the Masters, 36 in the Intermediates, and two in the Beginners were joined at different stages by eight others in a tournament jointly directed by Tim Line and Ian Tarr, with invaluable assistance from Carel Lindley, Daniel Eldridge and Andy Boysan.
Players who fared best were (UK players unless stated, Bristol players in block capitals):
MASTERS (double elimination): 1st Peter Bennet; 2nd CECILIA SPARKE; 3rd Andy Darby; 4th Robert Wachtel (USA); equal 5th Catalin Bucur and GAZ OWEN.
INTERMEDIATES (double elimination): 1st Mike Ireland; 2nd CHAS PERRY; 3rd SIMON BAKER; 4th MATT HOPKINS; equal 5th Shaun Goode and STEVE MORRIS.
SUPER JACKPOT: 1st CHRIS ROGERS; 2nd Eric McAlpine.
FRIDAY WARM-UP: 1st John Hurst; 2nd GAZ OWEN.
TOMBSTONE TROPHY (Sunday last chance): 1st Michihito Kageyama (Japan); 2nd Fak Laight.
BRISTOL BLITZ (Speedgammon): 1st Allen Tish (USA); 2nd Jon Barnes.
CONSULTING DOUBLES: 1st "Leroy Head" (Gary Kallos (Canada) and Allen Tish (USA)); 2nd "Rainbow" (Farzin Aarabi (Norway/Iran) playing solo).
£5 64-player 1-pointer: 1st Yan Kit Chan; 2nd Jon Barnes.
£10 8-player jackpot: 1st IAN HEDGES.
£10 4-player jackpot: 1st Farzin Aarabi (Norway/Iran).
Catching up after the news hiatus (3)
31/10/17: Sunday 29th Bristol Premier League action:
Three Premier League matches were played on Sunday alongside the main event.
Stuart Mann took a sizeable step towards another Premier One title with an 11-2 victory over Adam Sinclair which also confirmed Adam's relegation back to Premier Two.
One victory from his outstanding double header with Dave Pym will be enough to clinch a seventh top flight championship.
Adam joins Dave and Simon Hughes in stepping down, with their fourth companion in distress still to be confirmed.
Gary Plant and Ed Turner are the most likely candidates, although there is a very remote chance that either Andy Boysan or Paul Watts could be sucked into the mire.
The other two matches involved Mandy Macdonald, whose relegation to Premier Three was confirmed when she suffered narrow defeats to her closest rivals Chris Hughes and Drew Caudwell.
Catching up after the news hiatus (2)
30/10/17: Thursday 26th:
There were nineteen players in action on Thursday for the seventh and last of this year's Speedgammon Grand Prix round robin evenings at the Rainbow Casino.
The field was boosted by players from afar limbering up for the weekend's big event, including two -- Allen Tish of the USA and Garry Kallos from Canada -- who were making their Bristol Backgammon debuts.
One group of seven players and two of six made for some absorbing competition.
The seven player group saw a three way split between John Hurst, Michihito Kageyama and Chris Rogers, who each won four of their six matches.
One of the six player groups was as close as it could have been, with three players winning three -- Simon Hughes, Stephen Little and Allen Tish -- and the other three winning two apiece.
But Daniel Eldridge won the other group outright, being defeated only once.
This latter group was significant indeed, as it allowed Daniel to bridge the 30 points gap between himself and SGGP leader Ian Tarr.
So the destiny of the title was all down to tie breakers.
And as both players entered every tournament, the decisive factor was the percentage of matches won over the entire SGGP season, where Daniel held sway to win his biggest title yet.
Catching up after the news hiatus (1)
30/10/17: Wednesday 25th:
Two late results from the Rainbow Casino involved the Premier Three promotion race.
Daniel Eldridge and Rufus Rozelaar scored a win apiece.
For Daniel this signalled the end of his league campaign, and he has finished on 36 points.
Whether or not this will be enough to get him promoted remains to be seen, but the odds are in his favour.
Assuming Rufus finishes his season, and wins at least one of his four matches, he will be up.
That would leave the only other contender, Andy Brown, needing to win both of his remaining matches, improving his points difference by at least sixteen points.
The other issue to be decided was the one which most people had assumed anyway -- George Georgiou is the Premier Three champion, since Rufus can no longer catch him.
25/10/17: Gaz out of title race, Gary clings to survival hope
The Blathwayt Arms, Swindon, was the venue for a Premier One double header today.
The protagonists -- Gaz Owen and Gary Plant -- had differing but equally urgent objectives in mind.
For Gaz, nothing less than two wins would keep alive his slim championship chance.
And for Gary, a brace of wins would give him a realistic chance of staying in the top flight.
An 11-3 win for Gaz and an 11-2 victory for Gary left both players short of their targets.
The title race now involves just three players, while Gary, whose fixtures are now complete, has moved out of the bottom four, but must wait anxiously for other results to settle things.
24/10/17: Sixteen in Monday action
There were sixteen players in action on Monday, of whom fourteen were at the Bristol County Sports Club, where six contested the eighth phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- a Tric Trac Tourno.
The other eight were Roland and Simonetta Herrera and six members of the Bristol University Persian Society.
The Herreras provided tuition in the context of a modified gang tournament.
The Tric Trac was won by Ian Tarr, who only won two of his five games, but as these were a gammon and a backgammon, this was enough.
George Georgiou is the latest leader of the AGP table, but four pursuers are within forty points of him.
John Curran comfortably leads the race to be the competition's leading intermediate, and is also sure of winning the Tric Trac Tourno section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran Monday Club intermediate sponsorship.
Earlier at the Windmill Phil Charlton had scored an 11-2 victory over Mandy Macdonald in Premier Two Red.
22/10/17: Setback for Fred
Fred North's promotion aspirations encountered a setback on Friday at the Shakespeare, Totterdown, when he met Neil Young in a Premier Two Red encounter.
Neil's 11-9 win keeps Fred in second place, behind Alex Hodge on average points difference.
As far as promotion goes, however, Fred still has it all in his own hands, as his closest pursuer needs several things to happen to oust Fred from second place.
20/10/17: A sad evening for Bristol Backgammon
There were just ten players in action on Thursday for the seventh of this year's eight GP5 knock-out tournaments the Rainbow Casino.
But it was not a happy occasion for the majority of those present.
Nick Barham, who has been making headlines for all the right reasons lately, did the exact opposite this time.
Nick, normally a popular and affable opponent, has a condition which, on rare occasions, drastically alters his behaviour.
Yesterday evening was just such an occasion.
In the past, these episodes have been managed without too much damage to the evening's entertainment, which influenced Director Ian Tarr's decision to accept Nick's entry.
With hindsight this will be seen as a bad decision, and one which is unlikely to be repeated when his demeanour is similar.
Coincidentally Ian and Nick were drawn together in the opening round.
But by the time the score had reached 4-4, Ian had had more than enough of the experience, and decided to resign the match.
Richard Owsley, due to play the victor, had also seen and heard enough, and resigned without even starting the quarter-final.
These actions had the undesirable effect of propelling Nick into the semi-finals, where he defeated Tim Line.
He subsequently lost the final to Simonetta Herrera.
None of Nick's opponents enjoyed their experience, two unrelated matches relocated to a quieter environment, and another player -- who had had advance knowledge of Nick's current demeanour -- declined to even come along at all when he had been planning to.
While all his friends wish Nick the very best in managing his condition, his further participation in Bristol Backgammon events will clearly need to be closely monitored.
Steve Morris won the consolation flight, defeating Ian and Daniel Eldridge.
Ian still heads the GP5 standings, and is favourite to take the title with just one event remaining.
Alex Hodge is well within striking distance, but the only other player in contention is Steve, who would need to win the final event to stand a chance of finishing top.
18/10/17: UK Champions League knock-out phase update
(see report dated 20/07/17 for a summary of the group phase).
The sharp end of the year's UK Champions League action has seen five Bristol players continuing their quest for honours after moving through the group phase with varying degrees of success.
Sixteen of the original field of 40 qualified for the Champions Final Stage, while sixteen moved into the Challenge Final Stage.
In the elite group Nick Barham was eliminated in the round of sixteen, while Gaz Owen made it one stage further.
So our only representative in with a chance of taking the big prize is Cecilia Sparke, who faces London's Sean Williams for a place in the semi-finals.
In the consolation Challenge both of our representatives still survive.
Simon Hughes got past double British Open champion Rachel Rhodes and must play David Penn in the quarter-finals, while Steffen Nowak has already gone one step further than that, and meets Geoff Oliver for a place in the final.
Further updates will appear here when available.
18/10/17: Nineteen in Monday action
There were nineteen players in action on Monday at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom eight contested the seventh phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- two four-player 3-point round robins.
The other eleven were members of the Bristol University Persian Society, who amused themselves in non-competitive games.
The round robins were won outright by George Georgiou and Roland Herrera.
Roland moved back into the lead in the AGP standings, but George is just 1.5 points behind.
The July to December round robin section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship shows little change, with John extending his impressive lead.
13/10/17: Nick makes it a perfect week
There were just ten players in action on Thursday for the tenth of this year's twelve Monthly Grand Prix tournaments at the Rainbow Casino.
And after making Monday's headline, Nick Barham repeated the dose by claiming the tournament main flight, with the added bonus of an agreement with opponent Steffen Nowak to double up the final as a Premier One match.
That agreement was looking like backfiring on Nick when he fell 1-8 down, but Steffen was unable to add any more points, and Nick -- although not close enough to absent OGP leader Alex Hodge to pose a threat in that table -- took the major share of the tournament spoils (including the Winner Takes All pool) as well as moving to the top of Premier One.
He has one league match remaining -- against fellow contender Jason Champion -- which he would be well advised to win to keep his chances truly alive.
Stuart Mann remains favourite for the title, however.
In the tournament Nick's other victims were Adam Sinclair, Steve Morris and Stephen Little, while Steffen's path to the final came via a bye and wins over Cynthia Roberts and Jason.
Adam defeated Cynthia and Daniel Eldridge to take the consolation flight.
10/10/17: Nick is fourth Brunel Trophy winner
There were twelve players in action on Monday at the Bristol County Sports Club to contest the sixth phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- two six-player Nackgammon Tournos.
But first there was an important piece of business to be conducted.
Nick Barham and Daniel Eldridge -- the last two standing -- were there to play out the ninth round of the Brunel Trophy.
It was not necessarily the final round, however, as Nick had two lives remaining and Daniel one.
A win for Daniel would have precipitated a tenth round, which would have been a genuine final.
But a tense and close battle ended with Nick edging it to take the title, after a splendid undefeated campaign.
Nick takes first prize, Daniel second, Stephen Little and Gaz Owen joint third, and Chris Rogers fifth.
In the Nackgammon Tournos Adam Sinclair won one group outright, while the pot in the other was shared by Ian Hedges and Ian Tarr.
Ian Hedges now heads the AGP standings, being 30 points ahead of Stephen.
Adam is probably the player to beat, however, having won or jointly won all of the three events he has contested so far.
The absent Jon Organ still leads the Nackgammon section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship.
And the Drew Caudwell sponsored Nackgammon Grand Prix is still led by Roland Herrera, with just one event to go.
06/10/17: Ten contest Round Robin Grand Prix evening
There were just ten players in action on Thursday for the fourth of this year's five Round Robin Grand Prix evenings at the Rainbow Casino.
Two groups of five, playing each other in first-to-5-point matches, saw both pots shared.
Daniel Eldridge and Roland Herrera came top of one group, while Cynthia Roberts and Ian Tarr did so in the other.
Daniel is now five points ahead of Roland at the top of the RRGP standings.
03/10/17: A Monday night with a difference
There were sixteen players in action on Monday at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom just five contested the fifth phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- a 3-point round robin.
The other eleven included Roland and Simonetta Herrera, who hosted the evening superbly in Director Ian Tarr's absence.
Their "duties" included looking after nine members of the Bristol University Persian Society, who joined the evening and appeared to enjoy the experience.
The hosts and the visitors played out an informal DMP Tourno, which wasn't completed, but that didn't seem to matter.
The advertised event saw the pot shared by Ian Hedges and Stephen Little.
Stephen takes over as leader of the AGP, four points ahead of Ian Hedges.
And John has consolidated his lead of the 3-point round robin section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran sponsorship.
01/10/17: Two penalised at September 30th Premier League checkpoint
The September 30th Premier League penalty checkpoint has passed, and two Premier Three players have been penalised for being in arrears of the schedule.
The points incurred by Rufus Rozelaar (three) and John Chester (one) will be successfully clawed back when they complete the season on time.
However the conditions of the September checkpoint are subtly different, in that there is also a penalty applied to the players' points difference, which is not subject to appeal.
The effect of this has been to encourage all players in the league's other three divisions to meet all the requirements.
It is also at this point of the season that Director Ian Tarr can heave a sigh of relief because nobody can now be expunged from this season's Premier League.
01/10/17: Cecilia wins Saturday Rainbow event
There were just eight players in action on Saturday at the latest Saturday tournament at the Rainbow Casino.
Cecilia Sparke won the main flight, defeating Stephen Little, Simonetta Herrera and Tony Walters.
Gaz Owen took the consolation flight after defeating Ian Tarr and Alex Hodge.
29/09/17: Roland and Nick win Speedgammon round robins; Simon close to promotion
There were nineteen players in action on Thursday, including sixteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom ten contested the sixth of the year's seven Speedgammon Grand Prix evenings.
Five and a half Premier League matches were played, with the focus primarily on Premier Two Blue.
Simon Baker's 11-3 victory over Tim Line ended Tim's automatic promotion aspirations, but consolidated Simon's.
He has moved into the second promotion slot, but Stephen Little -- who has completed his fixtures -- will be hoping that Simon slips back to third with two defeats in his remaining matches.
But even in defeat the odds would be in Simon's favour, as scoring a total of nine points or more would see him stay second.
Steve Morris scored a brace of wins over Andrew Cobb, while Mike Smith defeated Peter Thistlewood 11-6 at the Blaise Inn.
In the parallel Red Division Neil Young beat Richard Owsley 11-2.
And a Premier Three match was adjourned with Daniel Eldridge 10-3 ahead of Rufus Rozelaar.
In the Speedgammon round robins, there were clean sweep wins for Roland Herrera and Nick Barham.
Ian Tarr never got close to adding to his points tally, but still heads the SGGP standings, with Daniel in second place.
At this point, it should be noted that there was an error in the reporting of the last of these contests.
The increase from six to seven events was accompanied in the rules by a change of the number of counting rounds from four to five.
Thus discards were reported last time when there were none at the time.
This has now been rectified.
27/09/17: Alex and Fred almost there
Premier Two Red took centre stage on Wednesday with three matches completed.
And it was a day when the promotion issues moved a great deal closer to resolution.
Neil Young was already a rank outsider in the race for the top two, but two defeats finally extinguished all hope of automatic promotion.
The first was a 9-11 reverse against Mandy Macdonald at the Windmill, and the second was at the Rainbow Casino, where Alex Hodge's 11-4 win took him back to the top of the league on average points difference from Fred North.
The other match took place at the Fire Engine, where Phil Charlton's 11-2 success delivered a swingeing blow to Ian Tarr's top two ambitions.
Ian is the only player who can now break into the top two, but this will require many elements to fall conveniently into place.
26/09/17: Chris wins at the Windmill
In a Premier Two Red match at the Windmill on Tuesday Chris Hughes defeated Mandy Macdonald 11-6.
25/09/17: Fred's run ended; Adam and Ian share Monday Tric Trac Tourno spoils
There were seventeen players in action on Monday, including sixteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom ten contested the fourth phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- a Tric Trac Tourno.
Seven Premier League matches were completed.
In Premier One Simon Hughes and Gary Plant ensured that all top flight players will hit the September 30th checkpoint with a clean bill of health, playing a double header.
Simon, already relegated, was playing for pride, and duly won the opener 11-9, but Gary hit back to win the return 11-7.
Gary retains a fair chance of escaping the drop, but will need to win at least one of his final two matches, both of which are against Gaz Owen.
Neil Young is currently involved in a flurry of activity to catch up with the schedule, and won two Premier Two Red matches, 11-8 over Chris Hughes at the Shakespeare, Totterdown, and 11-0 over Drew Caudwell at the club.
Director Ian Tarr can now rest easy, in that there will be no expungements in this year's Premier League.
And if Neil can keep winning, he may yet have a say in the promotion shake-down.
For league leader Fred North, however, there was a setback.
His 8-11 defeat by Ismail Yilmaz still sees him in pole position, but there is now a little less margin for error.
There were two Premier Three matches played, both involving Tom Chapman.
An adjourned encounter with Daniel Eldridge ended 11-7 in Daniel's favour, and this was followed by a quickfire 3-11 defeat at the hands of league leader George Georgiou.
With George already assured of promotion, the other two coveted slots will rest between Rufus Rozelaar, Daniel and Andy Brown.
In the Tric Trac Tourno the spoils were shared by Ian Hedges and Adam Sinclair, who each scored 13 points.
Roland Herrera's AGP lead over second placed George has increased by 10 points to 27.5.
24/09/17: George promoted in style; Simon one step closer
Six Premier League matches were played on Sunday.
A triple header at the Rainbow Casino saw George Georgiou clinch promotion from Premier Three.
His opponent, Andy Brown, was looking to regain third place in his quest for a return to Premier Two.
But he found his opponent in top form, and all three results went George's way, 11-5, 11-10 and 11-7.
It was the second victory which clinched George's promotion, and the third makes him strong odds on to win the title.
Daniel Eldridge thus holds on to third place, with Andy still fourth.
In Premier Two Blue Simon Baker met Andrew Cobb for a double header at the Rose and Crown, Bath.
Simon won the opener 11-6, but Andrew returned the compliment with an 11-10 victory of his own.
Simon will now need two victories from his final three matches to be sure of landing the second promotion slot, although one win could conceivably be enough.
And in Premier Two Red at the Lock Keeper Neil Young lost his first league match in six, 5-11 to Chris Hughes.
24/09/17: Paul and Jason share the spoils
Jason Champion played host to Paul Watts in a Premier One double header yesterday.
Paul won the opener 11-8, but Jason got his revenge, winning the return 11-9.
The results will have pleased Paul more than Jason, however.
Jason is now third favourite to take the title, and must win his last two matches -- against fellow contenders Nick Barham and Gaz Owen -- to stand any chance of lifting the prize.
For Paul, however, top flight survival remains a probability, as one win from his three remaining matches should see him safe.
What Paul's win did achieve, however, was to render Dave Pym's survival hopes almost non-existent.
He must hope for three miracles -- in his double header against leader Stuart Mann and Adam Sinclair's match against the same player -- to overcome a points difference disadvantage of 30.
And even then, Ed Turner or Gary Plant are very likely to render the miracles meaningless.
22/09/17: League win for Neil
A Friday morning visit to Kellaway Avenue proved a positive one for Neil Young when he scored an 11-10 Premier Two Red victory over Simonetta Herrera.
Neil still has nine matches to play, but retains an outside interest in the promotion race.
22/09/17: Adam wins GP30 tournament
There were sixteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, fourteen of whom contested the fifth of the year's six GP30 knock-out events.
The other two, Andy Boysan and Gary Plant, fought out a Premier One match, Gary winning 11-6 to kep alive his top flight survival hopes.
And Andy, with two matches remaining, would be well advised to win at least one of those if he wants to stay up too.
Adam Sinclair won the advertised event, taking full advantage of a bye, before defeating Steve Morris, Jason Champion and, in the final, Chris Hughes.
Chris had got past Roland Herrera, Fred North and Stephen Little en route to the final.
Tim Line took the consolation flight, beating Cynthia Roberts in the final after wins over Steve and Simonetta Herrera.
Simonetta still heads the GP30 standings despite her almost blank evening, but Simon Hughes has closed to within 10 points.
With just one of the six events in this series remaining, it's still possible for any of the top ten to win the title.
20/09/17: Paul ends Cecilia's title hopes
In a Premier One match at the Bristol County Sports Club this evening Paul Watts scored a stunning 11-0 victory over Cecilia Sparke.
The win moved Paul out of the bottom four, while at the same time extinguishing Cecilia's last hope of taking a second title.
19/09/17: Nick and Stuart's titanic session
The top two in Premier One met for a double header at the Rainbow Casino this evening.
And two very close matches saw the spoils split.
Nick Barham drew first blood with an 11-9 victory, which ended Stuart Mann's sequence of eight league wins and extended Nick's run to six.
That result moved Nick to the top of the league, but then it was Stuart's turn to end a winning run, when he edged home 11-10 to return to the summit.
While Cecilia Sparke and Gaz Owen retain an interest in the title race, the odds are that the top three -- including third placed Jason Champion -- will provide the champion.
19/09/17: Simon relegated; Daniel into Brunel last two; Fred goes top
There were nineteen players in action on Monday, including fifteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom thirteen contested the third phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- three 3-point round robins.
Four Premier League matches and the final match of the eighth round of the Brunel Trophy were played at various locations.
Fred North defeated Drew Caudwell at the Post Office Tavern, and now sits proudly atop Premier Two Red, so close to clinching promotion to the top flight.
At the Bear of Rodborough Simon Baker met Steve Morris for a Premier Two Blue double header, where the spoils were shared.
Simon is still poised to challenge for the second promotion slot.
At the club Simon Hughes's disastrous season has resulted in his relegation from Premier One after a 7-11 defeat by Ed Turner finally sealed his fate.
And in the Brunel Trophy the eighth round was completed by Daniel Eldridge's victory over Stephen Little.
Only Daniel and Nick Barham remain, from the forty original entrants, to contest round nine.
Daniel has one life remaining and Nick two.
So Daniel will need to win the round nine match to take it to a round ten decider.
In the round robins the five player group was won outright by Adam Sinclair, while the two four player groups saw the pot shared.
Roland Herrera retains his AGP lead, with a 12.5 points cushion over second placed George Georgiou.
John Curran did enough to take the lead in the race to be the competition's leading intermediate.
15/09/17: Gaz wins Lesters 104; Simonetta wins July GP30 event
There were fourteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, twelve of whom contested the ninth of the year's twelve Monthly Grand Prix knock-out events, a k a Lesters CIV.
Action before the advertised event consisted of a Premier Three triple header and the held over main flight final of the July GP30 tournament.
This latter match involved Simonetta Herrera and Gaz Owen.
Simonetta moved into a 7-2 lead in the first-to-9-points match, but Gaz pegged it back to DMP, only for Simonetta to clinch the prize and move to the head of the GP30 standings.
The league action saw John Chester defeat Daniel Eldridge before suffering a brace of defeats.
Daniel now occupies the third and last promotion slot, although Andy Brown has matches in hand.
In the GP main flight, Gaz was once again in the final, after defeating Alex Hodge and Adam Sinclair.
There he met Roland Herrera, who came through the long part of the draw, getting past Andy Boysan, Chris Rogers and Tim Line.
This was another match to go to DMP, Roland recovering from 3-10 in arrears, only to lose a very close race.
Simon Hughes took the honours in the consolation flight, beating Simonetta, Alex and Andy.
In the OGP it has for some time appeared as though Alex would take the title in a canter.
He still sits at the top of the pile in a very strong position, but Roland has closed to within 77 points, and thus well within striking distance.
As for the IGP, consideration may well have to be given to discontinuing this title after eighteen years of history.
Nobody seems to want to win this.
Apart from the annual Intermediates Trophy knock-out, which contributes points to this title race, there has been just one appearance by an intermediate in nine GP tournaments.
And that was by Vic Sprake, visiting from the Republic of Ireland!
13/09/17: Gaz out of Brunel Trophy
There were four matches played on Wednesday, one in the Brunel Trophy, three in the leagues.
Nick Barham and Gaz Owen met at the Rainbow Casino to fight out their eighth round Brunel Trophy encounter, and it was Nick who edged it, 11-9.
Gaz is thus eliminated, which means that only two players will contest the ninth round.
Unbeaten Nick now knows that he will have two shots at winning the title, as his ninth round opponent -- either Daniel Eldridge or Stephen Little -- will have but one life remaining.
In Premier One River City was the venue for a double header between Simon Hughes and Steffen Nowak.
Steffen won the first match 11-5, but Simon hit back to win the second at DMP, 11-9.
Steffen appears destined to finish in mid table now, while Simon really needed to win both matches to stand any realistic chance of top flight survival.
The Coach and Horses was once again the venue of choice in the Conference League, where Andrew Gay leapfrogged Mathew Nicholls into third place by winning 11-7.
Both players still have a chance to reach the crucial 20 points threshold before the season ends.
11/09/17: Jason suffers title blow; Fred still on course; Ian wins Monday DMP
There were sixteen players in action on Monday, including the ten at the Bristol County Sports Club who contested the second phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- a DMP Tourno.
Three Premier League matches were played at different venues.
In the top flight two championship hopefuls -- Jason Champion and Gaz Owen -- met at the Cat and Wheel.
Gaz, having recently slipped to outsider status, won a close encounter 11-9, a result which leaves Jason only a marginally better chance of ousting the top two, Stuart Mann and Nick Barham.
In Premier Two Red Fred North took another step towards the elite division when he pipped Mandy Macdonald 11-10 at Grounded in Bedminster.
And the Post Office Tavern hosted the other match in this division, when Phil Charlton scored an 11-8 victory over Drew Caudwell.
Back at the club it was Ian Tarr who took the pot, winning seven of his nine games.
Roland Herrera moves to the top of the AGP table, while the absent Jon Organ still leads the race to be the competition's leading intermediate.
James Calver made his competitive Bristol Backgammon debut, but sadly for us his next action is likely to be in the capital after he leaves Bristol in a few days.
11/09/17: Rules decide Brunel eighth round line-up
The eighth round of the 2017 Brunel Trophy double elimination knock-out is up and running.
Usually there is a draw, but on this occasion the pairings were dictated by the rules.
Since Gaz Owen has already met two of the other three survivors, he must now play Nick Barham, the only player with both lives intact.
Daniel Eldridge and Stephen Little meet in the other match.
The round should be completed by October 5th.
10/09/17: Spoils shared by Ismail and Ian
Ian Tarr and Ismail Yilmaz met at the Rainbow Casino this afternoon for a Premier Two Red double header.
And honours were even after Ismail's 11-7 win and Ian's 11-4 riposte.
Ismail's hopes of filling one of the two promotion places are all but over, but the session did little to further Ian's claims either.
Alex Hodge and Fred North remain favourites to land the coveted slots.
08/09/17: Simonetta wins Handicap event; Chris out of Brunel Trophy
There were twenty players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, seventeen of whom contested the sixth of the year's eight Handicap Trophy knock-out events.
The seventh round of the Brunel Trophy was concluded, and three Premier Two Red matches were played.
In the Brunel Trophy Nick Barham maintained his unbeaten record in the competition by eliminating Chris Rogers.
Just four of the forty starters go forward to the eighth round draw, and Nick is the only one with both lives remaining.
In the Red Division Phil Charlton defeated Ismail Yilmaz, while Simonetta Herrera suffered mixed fortunes.
She defeated Chris Hughes, but was unable to convert a 9-7 lead from her adjourned match against Mandy Macdonald into another win.
In the advertised event, however, it was Simonetta who prevailed.
Victories over George Devlin, Chris Hughes (again) and Richard Owsley were the precursor to a final win over Steve Morris.
Steve had reached the final by eliminating Roland Herrera, Mandy and Chas Perry.
Ian Tarr took the consolation flight with wins over John Curran, Daniel Eldridge and Tim Line.
06/09/17: Six in Wednesday league action
Four league matches were played on Wednesday.
In Premier One the Phoenix, St Pauls, became the latest new Bristol Backgammon venue when Simon Hughes and Gaz Owen met up.
And Gaz pipped Simon 11-10 to keep alive his last vestige of title hope, while pushing Simon closer to the relegation abyss.
Phil Charlton and Simonetta Herrera met for a Premier Two Red double header at the Wellington.
Phil won the opener 11-3 before succumbing 10-11 in the return.
And that regular Conference League venue, the Coach and Horses, played host to league leader John Curran and Andrew Gay.
Andrew's 11-5 win moved him to half way towards the 20 points threshold for Premier League qualification.
06/09/17: Which Bristol players fared best the UKBGF Open?
The country's flagship tournament took place at Coombe Abbey, near Coventry, at the weekend, and as usual many Bristol players made their presence felt.
But the success stories came not necessarily from those who might have been expected to provide them.
The main event was the Masters category, where 88 players contested this double elimination competition.
And pride of place went to a player not seen much in Bristol in recent times, due to work commitments.
James Newman's promise has never been in doubt, but his exploits at the weekend outstripped anything achieved so far, when he took third place.
Not far behind him were Simonetta Herrera in equal fifth, and Julian Fetterlein -- another infrequent visitor to Bristol of late -- in equal seventh.
In the Advanced category, also a double elimination event, Adam Sinclair came in third of the 52 entrants.
And others to register noteworthy achievements were Seb Wilkinson (Speedgammon semi-finalist), Tim Line (Super Jackpot semi-finalist), Vic Sprake (Masters Sunday Consolation (Abbey Cup) semi-finalist), and Luke Owen (Saturday Social Swiss champion).
06/09/17: Dave and Gaz share spoils at the Blathwayt
In a Premier One double header at the Blathwayt Arms, Bath, yesterday Dave Pym and Gaz Owen wrapped up the business in just one hour twenty minutes.
It was a case of honours very much even as they clocked up a win apiece, Dave winning the opener.
Dave will almost certainly need to win his final two matches to stand a chance of surviving in the top flight, while for Gaz his championship hopes are now all but gone.
05/09/17: Gaz suffers Brunel defeat
There were nineteen players in action on Monday, including seventeen at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom fourteen contested the opening phase of the Monday Club Autumn Grand Prix -- three 3-point round robins.
Meanwhile at the Rainbow Casino Dave Pym and Cecilia Sparke were playing out a Premier One double header.
Cecilia had the better of the exchanges, winning 11-9 and 11-5 to move into fourth place, while Dave remains in great danger of relegation.
Back at the club, Daniel Eldridge was scoring a Premier Three victory, 11-6 over Tom Chapman.
Daniel is now best placed to threaten the third promotion slot, currently occupied by Andy Brown.
In thr seventh round of the Brunel Trophy Gaz Owen lost his unbeaten record, going down 6-11 to Stephen Little.
The match was evenly poised at 6-6, but a double backgammon put a stop to that.
Only Nick Barham, of the five survivors in this competition, is now unbeaten, although Chris Rogers will be looking to change that.
A new player, James Calver, got some one to one attention from both Gaz and Ian Tarr.
In the advertised event there were outright group wins for Daniel Eldridge and Stephen Little, while the other group saw the spoils shared between George Georgiou and Roland Herrera.
Daniel is the AGP's first leader, while Jon Organ leads the race to be the leading intermediate.
05/09/17: Nick and Tom are doubles champions; Stuart scores vital win
There were twenty-one players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, eighteen of whom contested the annual Consulting Doubles Championship.
Beforehand Stuart Mann and Gaz Owen met for a crucial Premier One clash, and it was Stuart who came out ahead, 11-5, to move back to the top of the league.
The defeat leaves Gaz with little or no margin for error on the run in if he is to challenge for the title.
A Premier Three match was adjourned with Daniel Eldridge 7-5 ahead of John Chester.
In the main event there was a debut appearance for Milo Devlin, summoned at the last minute by father George Devlin to enable all willing contestants to take part by bringing the field up to an even number.
The draw saw reigning champions Gaz and Luke Owen drawn into the only first round match, where they succumbed to Roland and Simonetta Herrera.
But it was the Weston-super-Mare combination of Nick Barham and Tom Chapman who won the title.
They scored victories over Tim Line and Steve Morris and Stephen Little and John Curran, before defeating Mandy Macdonald and Milo in the final.
In the consolation flight the honours went to Steffen Nowak and Simon Hughes, who beat the Herreras and Tim and Steve.
03/09/17: Gary wins at the Alma Tavern
In a Premier One match at the Alma Tavern today Gary Plant beat Andy Boysan 11-7 to keep alive his top flight survival hopes.
30/08/17: League wins for Gaz, Jason, Andy and Steve
Four Premier League matches were played on Wednesday.
In the top flight Gaz Owen defeated Steffen Nowak 11-8 at River City, while Jason Champion and Andy Boysan shared the spoils of a double header at the Prince of Wales.
And in Premier Two Blue at the Compass Steve Morris pipped Pearl Foster.
29/08/17: Ian stays in promotion contention
Two of the top three players in Premier Two Red met at the Rainbow Casino on Tuesday.
And league leader Alex Hodge lost a close encounter with Ian Tarr 11-9.
The result leaves the race for the two promotion places still in the balance.
27/08/17: Nick tops Premier One; Ian wins Sunday Rainbow event
There were just nine players in action on Sunday at the Rainbow Casino, of whom seven contested the eighth of the year's Rainbow weekend 1-day tournaments.
With hindsight, the choice of the August Bank Holiday weekend for the event may have been inadvisable.
The two not involved in the tournament were Nick Barham and Paul Watts, who played out a Premier One double header.
And Nick's 11-8 and 11-5 victories propelled him to the top of the league, while emphasising that Paul is not yet clear of relegation worries.
The tournament saw success for Ian Tarr, whose victims were Tim Line -- a fortuitous 8-cube game providing the matches turning point -- George Georgiou and Sean Jones.
Sean had reached the final via a bye and a victory over Gaz Owen.
Gaz took the consolation flight, defeating Stephen Little and Tim.
25/08/17: Steve earns GP5 plaudits
There were fourteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, of whom ten contested the sixth of the year's eight GP5 tournaments.
Four Premier League matches and one Brunel Trophy match were played before or alongside the advertised event.
The last of the sixth round Brunel Trophy matches was played, and Daniel Eldridge survived to the next round at the expense of Marcus Evans, whose fine run in the competition thus ended.
Just five players remain, and the draw -- browseable here -- was kindly performed by Marcus, two weeks ahead of schedule.
In Premier Two Red Ismail Yilmaz suffered a blow in his pursuit of the top three when he went down 6-11 to Phil Charlton.
Meanwhile in Premier Three Carwyn Jenkins and Andy Brown played out a triple header.
Carwyn won the opener emphatically, but Andy struck back to win two close matches, and is well placed in the third promotion slot.
Steve Morris swept all before him in the GP5 event, defeating Tim Line, Nick Barham and Alex Hodge before despatching Daniel in the final.
Daniel had beaten Ian Hedges and Stephen Little en route to the final.
Ian Tarr took the consolation flight with wins over Marcus and Tim.
He still leads the GP5 standings, but Alex has cut his lead to 25 points.
24/08/17: Victory for Cecilia at the Arnolfini
The Arnolfini played host to a Premier One match on Wednesday.
And Cecilia Sparke scored an 11-9 win over Andy Boysan.
22/08/17: League wins for Gaz, Adam and Fred
There were three Premier League matches played on Tuesday.
In Premier One there were two new Bristol Backgammon venues.
Gaz Owen defeated Steffen Nowak 11-8 at River City in Cumberland Road to escape the bottom four.
And Adam Sinclair kept his top flight survival hopes alive with an 11-6 victory against Cecilia Sparke at The Social, Cheltenham Road.
The King William IV in Staple Hill saw Fred North's impressive Premier Two Red form continue when he scored an 11-6 win over Phil Charlton.
22/08/17: Gaz wins Monday Tric Trac Tourno
There were fourteen players present at the Bristol County Sports Club on Monday, of whom eleven contested the final phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a Tric Trac Tourno.
Making her competitive debut was Debbie Duncan-Curtis, while Marion Brazier came along to get a feel for the scene and played some friendly games with Ian Tarr.
Gaz Owen won the Tric Trac Tourno, scoring thirteen points from his ten games, one more than Adam Sinclair.
George Georgiou scored just enough points to pip Stephen Little for the SGP title, adding 2.5 points to his tally to wipe out his pre-tournament deficit of 2.33 points.
0.17 points is the narrowest winning margin in the history of the event.
John Curran won the race to be the competition's leading intermediate, and also heads the Tric Trac Tourno section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran sponsorship.
20/08/17: John extends Conference lead
In a Conference League match at the Coach and Horses on Saturday John Curran extended his league lead to six points with a hard fought 11-9 victory over Mathew Nicholls.
17/08/17: Ian wins Speedgammon event
There were fifteen players in action on Thursday, including thirteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom just seven contested the fifth of the year's seven Speedgammon Grand Prix evenings.
Three Premier Two matches and one Brunel Trophy match were played before or alongside the advertised event.
Dave Pym became the latest casualty in the Brunel Trophy sixth round, succumbing to Chris Rogers.
In Premier Two Blue Stephen Little completed his campaign with an 11-6 victory over Peter Thistlewood.
Stephen holds second place, but whether or not he can stay there depends on the outcome of remaining matches involving Tim Line and Simon Baker.
While Chris Rogers has already made sure of one of the promotion places, Tim's chances of overhauling Stephen depend on him winning all four remaining matches by an average score of 11-4 or better.
Simon has the better chance, as four wins from his seven matches will clinch second place.
Earlier, in the same division, Mike Smith had defeated Pearl Foster 11-4.
In the parallel Red Division leader Alex Hodge suffered a setback when he lost 6-11 to Ismail Yilmaz.
While Alex remains favourite for the divisional title, his pursuers -- Fred North, Ian Tarr and now Ismail -- will be encouraged by this result.
In the Speedgammon there was a welcome return to action for George and Pam Jakeway.
The pair last appeared together in July 2010, although George has visited twice in the meantime.
This event was won outright by Ian Tarr, who won all six of his matches to wrest the SGGP lead from Daniel Eldridge.
17/08/17: Andy wins at the Alma Tavern
The Alma Tavern was the stage for a Premier One match on Wednesday evening.
And Andy Boysan's 11-6 win over Adam Sinclair has given Adam little margin for error in his final two matches.
15/08/17: Adam and Ian win Monday round robins
There were eight players present at the Bristol County Sports Club on Monday to contest the penultimate phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a pair of four player 3-point round robins.
These were won outright by Adam Sinclair and Ian Tarr.
Of the four leading SGGP contenders, only George Georgiou did enough to add to his points tally, but by not quite enough to overhaul leader Stephen Little.
The gap is down to less than 3 points, and since he now has a score of 35 points to discard George will need to score at least 38 points from the final session of the competition next week to stand a chance of hitting the top spot.
13/08/17: Bristol "A" so close to national title
Saturday saw the staging of the annual UK Clubs Championship at the Priory Centre, St Neots, Cambridgeshire.
Nineteen teams of five players each represented various clubs from around the country in a tried and tested format.
St Albans and Worcester managed to muster three teams apiece, and Bristol two.
The Bristol team line-ups were: “A” team: Gaz Owen (captain), Roland Herrera, Simonetta Herrera, Alex Hodge and Ian Tarr. “B” team: Tim Line (captain), Drew Caudwell, Chris Hughes, James Lintell-Smith and Cynthia Roberts.
The first phase of the competition consisted of World Cup style groups of five teams (except one group, where there were only four).
The top two in each would progress to a main knock-out, while the remainder would contest the consolation knock-out.
Bristol “A” – one of four top seeds, along with London Hippodrome, St Albans “A” and the North West League -- were in the smaller group, and got through convincingly, winning all three matches by four 5-point matches to one. The “B” team did manage one fine victory, over Ealing – but were consigned to the consolation, where they defeated Lowestoft before succumbing to eventual consolation winners, Liverpool.
Meanwhile the “A” team were vanquishing Holland Park and St Albans “B”, earning a final meeting (featuring 7-point matches) with St Albans “A”.
Gaz and Roland won their matches, which left one of Alex, Simonetta or Ian the opportunity to score the match clinching point.
Alex led 5-4 against Chris Hamilton, Simonetta had a 6-0 lead against Dave Brown, and Ian was 5-2 ahead of Eric McAlpine.
Unfortunately none of the three was able to finish the job and bring the title back to Bristol.
So near and yet so far, although the team did cash.
And Gaz won every one of his matches to win the individual £20 pool.
13/08/17: John achieves promotion from the Conference
Redwood Farm was the venue on Friday as John Curran scored a momentous Conference League victory over Thomas Preece.
Apart from moving John into the lead the 11-8 win brought his points tally for the season to twenty, the number which qualifies a player for Premier League status.
John is the first player in this year's league to achieve elevation via this route.
11/08/17: Ian Hedges wins August Grand Prix event
There were eighteen players in action on Thursday, including seventeen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom fifteen contested the eighth of the year's twelve monthly grand prix tournaments events.
Five Premier League matches and one Brunel Trophy match were played before the advertised event.
At the Old Colonial, Weston-super-Mare, Gary Plant was visiting Nick Barham for a Premier One double header.
And Nick scored a pair of wins to push himself right into the sharp end of the title race.
The defeats have serious implications for Gary's top flight survival, as he will need good results on the run in.
In Premier Two Blue a casino double header between Peter Thistlewood and Tim Line ended with honours even.
Tim needed better than that to press his promotion claims.
And Pearl Foster continued her recent revival with an 11-7 victory over Steve Morris.
Richard Owsley became the latest Brunel Trophy casualty when he succumbed to Stephen Little.
Two more sixth round matches remain, after which the seventh round line-up will include just five survivors.
The starters for the advertised event included a welcome guest from Yorkshire.
2003 BIBA British Open winner Ian Shaw, briefly working in the area, took advantage of his visit to sample the delights of a Bristol Backgammon Thursday session.
Ian Hedges performed the draw, and managed to sort himself out the only available first round bye.
Maybe he won't be asked to repeat the process for a while.
Victories over Stephen and Steve got Ian through to the final.
There he met Tim, who progressed via victories over Adam Sinclair, Jason Champion and Ian Tarr.
And Ian duly took the final after some interesting cube action.
Nick won the consolation flight, defeating Richard, Adam and Ian Shaw.
The absent Alex Hodge had his OGP lead cut to "only" 131 points by second placed Roland Herrera.
Meanwhile, the total absence of intermediate contestants meant that Steve Cox maintains his IGP lead.
Ian's tournament win assures him of a place in the 2018 Bristol Masters, the fourth player to confirm a place.
And the other side effect of Ian's win is a Winner Takes All pool rollover to the September event.
09/08/17: Adam has real cause for optimism
In a Premier One double header at the Rainbow Casino this evening, there was a lot at stake for the protagonists, Adam Sinclair and Dave Pym.
Both players were in need of good results in their respective quests for top flight safety.
And it was Adam who got them -- 11-8 and 11-5 victories.
These propelled him to the heady heights of fifth in the league, although that is a trifle deceptive as most playera have matches in hand on Adam.
The reality is that he should still be looking for at least two wins from his final three matches to stand a good chance of remaining in Premier One for another season, a scenario which did not appear likely before his current run of five successive wins.
For Dave, things have taken a turn for the worse.
Losing five out of six means that he will be looking to win the majority of his last six matches to stay up.
08/08/17: Tuesday action in Bristol
Four matches were completed on Tuesday evening.
Adam Sinclair and Gaz Owen met at the Cotham Brewhouse for a match and a bit.
Their adjourned Premier One match needed to be completed, and Adam took this 11-10, keeping his survival chances alive while blunting Gaz's title aspirations.
Their sixth round Brunel Trophy match followed, and Gaz maintained his 100% record in the competition, which means Adam is the thirty-second player to lose both lives.
Another league match to be completed after an adjournment was the Conference League meeting between Mary French and Andrew Gay, where Mary pressed home her 8-1 advantage to win 11-2 at the Coach and Horses, a victory which took her to the top of the league table, ahead of John Curran on average points difference.
And the outstanding consolation final from the July Grand Prix tournament took place at the Barley Mow.
Ian Tarr pipped Simon Hughes in that one to consolidate his fourth position in the OGP table.
08/08/17: Tim reached a World final, too!
Further to Cecilia Sparke's exploits in Monte Carlo, Bristol later had another finalist at the event.
Brits in big finals used to be a rarity, but now it's happening all the time, and our very own players are playing their full part.
In the Doubles final, there were three Brits.
Londoners Jon Barnes and Eric McAlpine, who won the UKBGF Doubles title in 2015, went one better in Monte to become World Doubles champions.
But our own Tim Line, partnered by Sergey Erokhin, made it to the final and also cashed handsomely.
The UKBGF report on the event has now been updated to include Tim's achievement. (See the entry on August 5th).
08/08/17: Eleven in Monday action
There were eleven players present at the Bristol County Sports Club on Monday, nine of whom contested the latest phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a Tric Trac Tourno.
The other two -- Mary French and James Timoney -- completed a Conference League match they had started the previous week.
James won this 11-7, his first league victory.
In the Tric Trac Tourno, it was a close run affair, with the top four players covered by just two points.
George Georgiou shaded it to put pressure on Stephen Little at the top of the SGP table, with just two sessions remaining.
John Curran retains the lead in two races, the one to become the competition's leading intermediate, the other to take the Tric Trac Tourno section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran sponsorship.
06/08/17: Cecilia's World title defence ends in the narrowest of failures
At the World Championships in Monte Carlo, Bristol's Cecilia Sparke has just missed out on retaining her World Ladies title.
After last year's triumph, two successive victories would have been a very special achievement, and this looked likely when she reached the final -- an all-British affair against Anna Clarke.
However, it was Anna's turn to be Ladies World Champion, winning at DMP to become the third Brit to win this title recently, after Zoe Cunningham and Cecilia.
Here's a link to the report on the UKBGF website. See the entry on August 5th.
04/08/17: Maiden league win for Thomas
Just signed up for the Conference League, Thomas Preece has wasted no time in registering his first league victory.
Redwood Farm, Cribbs Causeway, was the venue for his 11-9 victory over league leader John Curran.
03/08/17: Brunel sixth round draw done a week early
The draw for the sixth round of the Brunel Trophy was performed a week earlier than scheduled after the completion of the last of the fifth round matches.
With nine players still surviving a bye had to be allocated, and this went to Nick Barham as the only unbeaten player not to have received a bye in previous rounds.
Gaz Owen is the only other unbeaten player, so there will be either three or four more players eliminated this round.
Matches are to be completed by Thursday September 7th, the date of the next draw.
03/08/17: Roland and Ian take round robin honours
There were fourteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, of whom twelve contested the third of the year's five Round Robin Grand Prix events.
The final of last week's Handicap Trophy main flight was tidied up beforehand, Richard Owsley defeating Daniel Eldridge to open up a 60 points lead in the HT table.
And the last of the fifth round Brunel Trophy matches was also played, Dave Pym suffering his first defeat of the competition at the hands of Marcus Evans.
In the round robins, comprising two groups of six players playing first-to-3-points matches, the groups were won by Ian Tarr and Roland Herrera, who both won four out of five matches.
Roland moves to the head of the RRGP table, just five points ahead of Daniel, and another ten above previous leader Nick Barham.
01/08/17: Six penalised at July 31st Premier League checkpoint
The third of the year's five checkpoints passed at midnight and six players have incurred penalty points, all of which can be clawed back by complying with the terms of the September 30th checkpoint.
Gaz Owen of Premier One incurred three penalties, Steve Morris of Premier Two Blue incurred one, and Andy Brown of Premier Three also incurred one penalty point.
Premier Two Red was the division most affected, with three players falling foul of the rule.
Neil Young and Phil Charlton incurred three points each, Simonetta Herrera one.
01/08/17: Fifteen enjoy seminar and Monday Club action
There were fifteen players present on Monday, either to benefit from an excellent seminar by Roland Herrera or to play either a league match or the twelfth phase of the Monday Cub Summer Grand Prix.
Eleven arrived at 6pm for Roland's "Five Moves" seminar, where students chose their best move and had it assessed with the help of eXtremeGammon.
Afterwards thirteen -- including debut players Vassos Soteriou and Andy Zographou -- contested 3-point round robins, one of five players, the others of four.
Each group had an outright winner -- Pearl Foster in the five player group, Simonetta Herrera and Stephen Little in the others.
With three SGP sesions remaining, Stephen has built a 26 points lead over second placed George Georgiou, with Roland close behind.
John Curran extended his lead in the race to become the competition's leading intermediate.
A Conference League match was started, and was adjourned with the score at 6-5 in favour of James Timoney against Mary French.
And the good news for that league was that both Andy and Thomas Preece have signed up, bringing the number of contestants to nine.
31/07/17: Jason closes on top flight lead
At the Prince of Wales last night Jason Champion made inroads on the Premier One leadership.
A brace of victories over Ed Turner moved him to within three points of Stuart Mann and he has one match in hand.
Ed is just outside the bottom four, but having played more matches than those around him, he will need some positive results in his last four matches to remain in the top flight.
30/07/17: Two whitewashes at the Drapers Arms
Another new venue for Bristol Backgammon saw a pair of contrasting matches when Steve Morris met Mike Smith at the Drapers Arms in the Gloucester Road on Sunday.
This Premier Two Blue clash saw things go very much Mike's way in the first match, which ended 11-0.
The nature of the contrast was not in the score, however, merely the change of ascendancy as Steve returned the compliment, in what may well be the first Premier League double header to end in a whitewash apiece.
29/07/17: Adam wins Saturday Rainbow tournament
There were just ten players in action on Saturday at the Rainbow Casino to contest the seventh of our weekend one-day knock-out tournaments.
And Adam Sinclair took the honours, defeating Tony Walters, Gaz Owen an Simonetta Herrera before despatching Carwyn Jenkins in the final.
Carwyn, whose matches were all extremely close, had beaten Cynthia Roberts and Ian Tarr en route to the final.
Cliff Blofield won the consolation flight, with victories over Tony and George Georgiou.
After main flight semi-final elimination, Simonetta and Ian took the opportunity to play a Premier Two Red match.
Ian won this 11-10, after trailing 2-9, to stay in promotion contention.
28/07/17: Chris promoted; Fred a big step closer
Two Premier Two matches with a bearing on promotion issues were played on Friday afternoon.
The elevation of Chris Rogers has been expected for some time, but an 11-8 victory in his final Blue Division match against Peter Thistlewood at the Rainbow Casino sealed the deal, as only Simon Baker can now catch him.
Meanwhile, the Christmas Steps was the venue for the meeting of second and third placed Red Division contenders, Fred North and Ian Tarr.
Fred won this one 11-10 and is now very well placed to make the top flight for the first time.
28/07/17: Daniel and Richard make Handicap Trophy final
There were thirteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, of whom eleven contested the fifth of the year's eight Handicap Trophy knock-out tournaments.
Just one league match was played -- a top of the table Conference match between John Curran and Mary French.
This could hardly have been any closer, Mary emerging as the 11-10 victor.
A win would have moved John past the 20 points threshold guaranteeing qualification for next year's Premier League, and would have extended his league lead.
Mary, however, has moved into second place just three points behind John.
In the advertised event, James Timoney -- who has also signed up for the Conference -- made his Thursday debut.
Daniel Eldridge and Richard Owsley reached the main flight final, which will be played at some later date.
Richard benefitted from a bye before despatching Steve Morris and his daughter Lily Owsley.
Daniel, also a bye recipient, made it past James and Jim Green.
Simonetta Herrera won the consolation flight, beating Adam Sinclair in the final.
Richard has taken the overall lead in the Handicap Trophy, and can extend his lead over Nick Barham from 25 to 60 points if he can defeat Daniel.
Nick has the lead in the Side Pool Grand Prix.
26/07/17: Wednesday afternoon wins for Mike and Ian
A couple of Premier Two matches were played on Wednesday afternoon.
A seventeen game encounter occurred at the Victoria Park Tavern, Bedminster.
This Blue Division meeting between Mike Smith and Peter Thistlewood resulted in a narrow victory for Mike.
Peter, having been given special dispensation to continue his season by working around a serious operation, has bounced back remarkably after a six month lay off.
He was given his own set of criteria to get him back on schedule by the end of September, but has now caught up well in advance of that by playing ten matches in a fortnight.
The other match, at the Windmill, saw Ian Tarr stay in contention for Red Division honours by beating Mandy Macdonald.
25/07/17: Sixteen in Monday action
There were sixteen players in action on Monday, including fourteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom ten contested the eleventh phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a pair of five player Nackgammon Tournos.
Four Premier Two matches were played.
In the Blue Division Pearl Foster and Peter Thistlewood met at the Compass, Tormarton, and Pearl scored an 11-5 victory.
In the same division Stephen Little and Simon Baker played a double header at the club.
A win apiece kept both players in promotion contention.
In the Red Division Alex Hodge and Chris Hughes finished off an adjourned match, Alex winning 11-2 to consolidate his divisional lead.
James Timoney came along from Swindon and played some friendly games with Ian Tarr.
He acquitted himself very well and will be back for more.
In the Nackgammon Tournos, there were outright group wins for Chris and Roland Herrera.
With discards beginning to bite, neither Stephen nor George Georgiou scored enough points to add to their overall SGP tallies, so Stephen retains his narrow lead.
Roland has closed to within striking distance, however, and John Curran is still the competition's leading intermediate.
In the Drew Caudwell sponsored Nackgammon Grand Prix Roland has extended his lead to 29 points, with Stephen in second place.
And in the Nackgammon section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship Jon Organ retains his lead despite arriving too late for admission to the competition.
23/07/17: Simon and Peter share the spoils
In a Premier Two Blue double header today at the Rainbow Casino Simon Baker and Peter Thistlewood shared the spoils.
Simon took his league winning sequence to eight when he won the opener 11-5, but Peter ended that run by winning the return 11-7.
Since everyone in the Blue Division bar Chris Rogers and Simon has lost at least six matches, Chris will ensure automatic promotion should he defeat Peter in his only remaining fixture.
21/07/17: Red Division wins for Neil and Fred
Friday saw two Premier Two Red matches played.
Neil Young visited Kellaway Avenue and came away with an 11-2 win over Simonetta Herrera.
Later at the Compass, Tormarton, Fred North cemented his hold on second place with an 11-3 victory over Chris Hughes.
21/07/17: Roland wins Masters and July Grand Prix
There were twenty-one players in action on Thursday, including twenty at the Rainbow Casino, of whom twelve contested the fourth of the year's six GP30 knock-out tournaments.
There was a flurry of league activity, plus the tieing up of some loose ends.
Foremost amongst the loose ends was the final of the 2017 Bristol Masters, a tournament held no less than fifteen weeks previously.
That such a match should be shelved for such a long time does little justice to an important competition.
Nevertheless Roland Herrera and Gaz Owen sat down to contest the match, each player hoping to improve on his history in the competition.
Not that they had done badly on previous occasions -- Roland was in his fifth Masters final, Gaz in his third. Nobody else has appeared in more than two finals.
The hoped for improvement concerned the actual winning of the event, since Roland had one win under his belt and Gaz none.
And it was Roland who took the title -- the fifth player to triumph twice.
Earlier in the day he had won the held over final of the July Grand Prix event, a domestic affair between himself and Simonetta Herrera.
This win had cut Alex Hodge's mammoth OGP lead to 156 points.
The league action involved no fewer than thirteen matches -- one of them adjourned.
Cecilia Sparke had completed a top flight win over Simon Hughes, picking up at 8-5 ahead from a previous session.
In Premier Two Blue two double headers saw the spoils shared.
At The Farm, St Werburghs, there was a win apiece for Tim Line and Mike Smith, while at the casino Cynthia Roberts concluded her league campaign against Peter Thistlewood.
Richard Owsley and Ismail Yilmaz also had one victory apiece to show for their Premier Two Red session.
Four Premier Three players registered five results between them.
Daniel Eldridge and Andy Brown had successful sessions -- Rufus Rozelaar and Carwyn Jenkins less so.
There was also a fifth round Brunel Trophy match played -- Chris Rogers defeating Stephen Little, a result which leaves both players with one life remaining.
In the GP30 event Simonetta and Gaz fought their way through to the final, Gaz benefiting from a bye before despatching Steve Morris and Stephen Little, while Simonetta was defeating Cynthia, Tim and Ian Tarr.
This final was held over for another time.
The consolation flight saw Cecilia and Chris make it through to the end, and they adjourned to Portland Square, where Chris was the victor.
Simon's GP30 lead was cut to 15 points, but Simonetta will take the lead if she can defeat Gaz.
20/07/17: UK Champions League update
The first half of the year saw the completion of the group stages of this year's UK Champions League, and Bristol's seven representatives met with mixed fortunes.
The forty players drawn from the higher echelons of the UK's leagues had been split into eight World Cup style groups, where the top two would progress to the Champions Final Stage, and the third and fourth to the Challenge Final Stage.
Two of our seven were eliminated -- Andy Boysan and 2015 competition runner-up Stuart Mann.
Simon Hughes and Steffen Nowak are in the Challenge, while Nick Barham, Cecilia Sparke and Gaz Owen are all still in the mix for the big prize.
All of their round of sixteen matches are to be completed by the end of August.
18/07/17: Pearl off the bottom
The worst sequence of Pearl Foster's league career ended today at the Compass, Tormarton, when she recorded an 11-3 Premier Two Blue victory over Peter Thistlewood.
The win hauled her off the bottom of the league table at Peter's expense.
18/07/17: Nineteen players in Monday action
There were nineteen players in action on Monday, including fifteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom ten contested the tenth phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a pair of five player 3-point round robins.
Eight Premier League matches were played.
In a Premier One double header at the club, honours were even between Simon Hughes and Dave Pym, although Simon's 11-2 win was more beneficial for him in terms of points difference than Dave's subsequent 11-10 success was for him.
The Rose and Crown, Larkhall, was the venue for a Premier Two Blue double header between Andrew Cobb and Peter Thistlewood, where Peter took the spoils.
And in the same division Cynthia Roberts scored an 11-5 victory over Pearl Foster at the club.
Premier Three saw a new venue for Bristol Backgammon when Molloys, Baldwin Street, hosted a triple header between John Chester and George Georgiou.
Things all went George's way here, and he has opened up a lead over second placed Rufus Rozelaar.
A new player, Miguel, turned up and played some friendly games with Ian Tarr. He will hopefully be back for more.
Both of the round robins saw the pot shared -- between George and Roland Herrera in one group, and Adam Sinclair and Stephen Little in the other.
The SGP seems to have developed into a two horse race between Stephen and George, where Stephen holds a marginal advantage.
John Curran remains the competition's leading intermediate.
16/07/17: Stephen closes on top two
Three matches were played on Sunday.
At the Larkhall Inn, Bath, Andrew Cobb and Stephen Little fought out a Premier Two Blue double header.
Stephen won both matches to keep alive his hopes of finishing amongst the two automatic promotion slots.
Meanwhile at the Rainbow Casino Adam Sinclair was defeating Richard Owsley in the fifth round of the Brunel Trophy.
Both players have one life remaining.
14/07/17: Herreras in monthly grand prix final
There were nineteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, including the sixteen who contested the seventh of the year's twelve monthly grand prix knock-out tournaments.
Four Premier Two matches were completed.
In Premier Two Blue Peter Thistlewood was back in action after his hospitalisation with complications has rendered his season dormant for nearly six months.
He lost narrowly to Chris Rogers, and has several more matches lined up this month.
For Chris the probability of promotion to the top flight became even greater -- it will take something special to thwart him now.
In the same division Tim Line came out on top of a double header with Andrew Cobb, winning 11-10 and 11-5.
And in the parallel Red Division Ismail Yilmaz stayed in contention with an 11-7 win over Mandy Macdonald.
The advertised event saw a draw conveniently occupied by sixteen players.
The finals of both flights were held over for another day.
In the main flight Roland Herrera and Simonetta Herrera fought their way into the final, which will no doubt be played at home in the very near future.
Simonetta overcame Mandy, Richard Owsley and Daniel Eldridge to reach the final, while Roland was defeating Tim, Steve Morris and Chris Hughes.
The consolation flight saw Simon Hughes and Ian Tarr making it through to another final which will be scheduled soon.
View the latest OGP and IGP standings.
12/07/17: Cecilia and Nick share Premier One spoils; Ian exits Brunel Trophy
Three matches were played at the Rainbow Casino on Wednesday.
Ian Tarr, beaten 11-4 by Daniel Eldridge, became the thirty-first player eliminated from this year's Brunel Trophy.
And Cecilia Sparke's 11-9 Premier One win over Nick Barham was cancelled out by Nick's 11-6 return win.
Nick moves to third in the league table, and Cecilia is still not out of the title reckoning.
11/07/17: League wins for Cecilia and Fred
Two Premier League matches were played on Tuesday.
At the Bristol County Sports Club Cecilia Sparke hauled herself out of Premier One's bottom four at Gary Plant's expense by defeating Gary 11-4.
Meanwhile, at the Rainbow Casino, Premier Two Red leader Alex Hodge suffered a rare league defeat at the hands of second placed Fred North.
11/07/17: Stuart pushes on at the top
There were ten players in action on Monday evening, including the eight at the Bristol County Sports Club who contested the ninth phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a DMP Tourno.
The odd two were Simon Hughes and Stuart Mann, who contested a Premier One double header just around the corner at the Ship.
Stuart scored another two victories, and he is now the player to catch, having established a nine points lead.
Simon, rooted at the foot of the league, now has little margin for error if he is to reach safety.
In the DMP Tourno, where Thomas Preece made his competitive debut, the pot was shared between Simonetta Herrera and Mathew Nicholls.
Stephen Little's SGP lead has been cut to five points by George Georgiou, while Mathew has taken over the lead of the DMP Tourno section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship.
There was a curious anomaly to the evening.
The event was (mostly) advertised as a Tric Trac Tourno evening, but an administrative error resulted in the DMP scenario.
To compensate for this, the August 21st evening -- hitherto advertised as a DMP evening, will now be a Tric Trac session.
09/07/17: Cliff ends league season on a high, but exits Brunel Trophy
Four matches were played on Sunday.
Cliff Blofield played two matches at the Brunello Lounge, Weston-super-Mare.
The first was his final Premier Three match of the season, a campaign ended deliberately early to accommodate an overseas adventure later in the year.
It has been a frustrating league season for Cliff, but his final match showed a glimpse of what might have been, when he eclipsed Tom Chapman 11-0.
And his involvement in the Brunel Trophy was also concluded, by a 4-11 defeat at the hands of Nick Barham, who retains both of his lives.
The other two matches came at Brookhouse Farm, Swindon, where Gary Plant and Paul Watts fought out a top flight double header, Paul winning 11-7 both times.
07/07/17: Gaz gets Brunel Trophy bye
The draw for the fifth round of the Brunel Trophy was performed by Steve Morris at the casino on Thursday.
With eleven players remaining in contention for this double elimination event, the first task was to decide the recipient of the bye.
This fell between Gaz Owen and Richard Owsley -- both unbeaten, and both having a total of six victories by their opponents -- and the draw favoured Gaz.
Of the five ties, four involve an unbeaten player against one on his final life, while one -- the match between Daniel Eldridge and Ian Tarr -- will be a sudden death affair.
07/07/17: Stuart tops Premier One; Alex takes GP5 honours
There were sixteen players in action on Thursday, including fourteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom twelve contested the fifth of the year's eight GP5 knock-out tournaments.
Four Premier League matches were completed.
Andy Boysan and Stuart Mann met at the Pump House for a Premier One double header, and Stuart's victories -- by 11-9 and 11-4 -- have made him the latest player to move into pole position.
Chris Rogers moved a step closer to clinching promotion from Premier Two Blue by defeating Pearl Foster 11-2.
Daniel Eldridge and Tom Chapman took advantage of early elimination from the tournament to fit in a Premier Three match, which Tom won 11-3.
The GP5 tournament saw Alex Hodge adding to his litany of 2017 tournament wins, defeating Daniel, Cynthia Roberts, Nick Barham and Adam Sinclair in the process.
Adam's route to the final took him past Tim Line and Simonetta Herrera.
Steve Morris took the consolation flight, defeating Roland Herrera and Tim.
Alex's win moves him to within 40 points of GP5 leader Ian Tarr, and 110 points clear of the remainder of the field.
05/07/17: Wednesday's Premier League action
Three Premier League matches were played on Wednesday.
Andy Boysan and Steffen Nowak played out a Premier One double header at the Pump House, and both matches finished with an 11-7 scoreline -- Andy drawing first blood before Steffen returned the compliment.
And John Chester defeated Cliff Blofield in a Premier Three encounter at the Old Fish Market, also by 11-7.
04/07/17: Jason and Stuart go first and second
The closest Premier One title race ever took a couple of new turns on Tuesday.
A win for Stuart Mann and two for Jason Champion moved them ahead of yesterday's leader Steffen Nowak into second and first places respectively.
Stuart's 11-3 win over Paul Watts at the Bristol County Sports Club was trumped by Jason's brace of 11-6 victories over Simon Hughes at the Prince of Wales.
04/07/17: Andrew and George win Monday round robins
There were just fifteen players in action on Monday evening, including thirteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, where eight contested the eighth phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a pair of four player 3-point round robins.
Ye Shakespeare, Victoria Street, was the venue for a Premier One match, league leader Steffen Nowak falling to a narrow defeat against Cecilia Sparke.
There was also league action at the club, where Alex Hodge kindly broke off from an intended Premier Two Red double header with Chris Hughes to make up the round robin numbers.
Alex won their first match 11-7 and adjourned 9-2 ahead in the second.
A double header which was completed was the one between Tom Chapman and Carwyn Jenkins in Premier Three.
Here the honours were shared, albeit with Tom improving his points difference at Carwyn's expense.
In the round robins both groups had outright winners with three wins out of three.
George Georgiou won one group, and has closed to within eight points of SGP leader Stephen Little.
The other winner was Andrew Gay, who thus became the initial leader of the July to December 3-point robin section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran intermediate sponsorship.
Thomas Preece made his debut appearance, and played some friendly matches with Ian Tarr.
01/07/17: Andy is twenty-ninth Brunel casualty
The Old Colonial, Weston-super-Mare, was the venue for the last of the fourth round Brunel Trophy matches today.
Andy Brown was narrowly defeated by Nick Barham to become the twenty-ninth player to exit the competition.
That leaves just eleven, of whom five still have both their original lives intact.
The fifth round draw is scheduled for Thursday.
30/06/17: Steffen tops Premier One; Tim takes Speedgammon honours
There were eleven players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, including the eight who lined up for a Speedgammon Grand Prix round robin.
Four league matches were completed.
In Premier One Steffen Nowak and Ed Turner scored a win apiece from their double header, and Steffen has become the latest player to top the league.
Richard Owsley continued his Premier Two Red revival with an 11-7 win over Chris Hughes.
And John Curran extended his lead in the Conference League by defeating one of his closest challengers, Mary French, 11-8.
There are many ways for intermediates to secure Premier Status for next year, and John's win means he is very close to achieving that via his league campaign.
Should he win one of his next three league matches, he will cross the 20 points threshold to get the job done.
In the Speedgammon the number of contestants dictated the most gruelling schedule possible under the rules of the event.
And eight player round robin meant a tough evening, with seven first-to-5-point matches to be completed, and it took around four and a half hours to finish the event.
Tim Line scored his second tournament win in five days by winning six of his seven matches.
Daniel Eldridge was closest to Tim, and he takes over the lead of the SGGP table, being level on points with Ian Tarr, but with a fractional advantage on the third level of tie break (the percentage of wins over the season's SGGP events).
28/06/17: Cliff defeats Carwyn
In a Premier Three clash at the Rainbow Casino today Cliff Blofield beat Carwyn Jenkins 11-6.
27/06/17: Roland wins on low key Monday
There were just seven players in action on Monday evening at the Bristol County Sports Club to contest the seventh phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a DMP Tourno.
Roland Herrera took the honours with five wins out of six.
Stephen Little has extended his lead over second placed George Georgiou in the SGP table to 28 points.
No intermediates were present, so the status quo is maintained in terms of the intermediate elements of the competition.
26/06/17: Gaz knocks Jason out of Brunel Trophy
In a clash of two previous Brunel Trophy champions Gaz Owen defeated Jason Champion 11-10 yesterday evening, a result which sees Gaz remaining unbeaten in the competition, while Jason has lost his second and final life.
Because of time constraints -- Gaz is off on his honeymoon -- and the risk of contagion -- Gaz has a nasty cough -- the pair were given special dispensation to play the match online.
The only fourth round match outstanding is the one between Nick Barham and Andy Brown.
Nick is unbeaten, but Andy has just one life remaining.
Depending on the outcome of that match there will be either eleven or twelve players in the fifth round draw.
25/06/17: Tim wins Sunday Rainbow event
There were eleven players in action on Sunday at the Rainbow Casino for the latest of our one-day weekend events.
There were two welcome debut players -- Shaun Goode and Andrea Hope -- who usually play in Worcester, while Lily Owsley was making her first appearance for a year and a half.
Tim Line took the honours, making light of the lack of a bye, defeating Shaun, Stephen Little and Lily before despatching Roland Herrera in the final.
Roland had beaten Richard Owsley and Graham Smith to get there.
Tim also took first prize in the £20 side pool.
Also making his first appearance for a while was Seb Wilkinson -- October last year saw his last visit -- and he won the consolation flight, having overcome Andrea and Simonetta Herrera.
23/06/17: Steve wins Intermediates Trophy; Nick tops Premier One; Ian Hedges wins satellite
There were just twelve players in action on Thursday evening at the Rainbow Casino, taking part in a variety of events.
There were three league matches played, as well as the annual Intermediates Trophy and an Intermediates satellite for October's Bristol Open.
Nick Barham is back at the top of Premier One after a very tight double header with Ed Turner.
Ed edged the first match 11-10 after being well in arrears, but Nick struck back to win the return encounter 11-8.
In Premier Two Red Richard Owsley scored an emphatic win over Simonetta Herrera.
The sixteenth Intermediates Trophy attracted the bare minimum of entrants -- just four -- but at least this had the benefit of making it a well balanced event.
Both semi-finals were tough affairs, John Curran and Steve Cox eventually overcoming, respectively, Michael Clarke and Jim Green.
Michael was returning to action for the first time in just over two years.
But if the semis were gruelling encounters, the final was a total contrast.
All over in just one game, with an eight cube, Steve won a see saw game to take the title.
Satellites for the Bristol Open had been advertised for both Masters and Intermediate categories.
There was, however, insufficient interest in a Masters satellite, but a handy four stepped up for the intermediate version.
Ian Hedges took the honours here, and is fully paid up for the October event thanks to an outlay of just £20 and wins over Daniel Eldridge and Simon Hughes.
22/06/17: Tim eases relegation fears
A brace of Premier Two Blue victories over Cynthia Roberts in Stoke Bishop have given Tim Line's league campaign a timely boost.
He has moved out of the potential relegation zone to a comfortable mid-table slot.
21/06/17: Lifeline for Adam; Marcus knocks Tony out of Brunel Trophy
Adam Sinclair's worrying run of eight Premier One defeats came to an end at the Brewhouse and Kitchen this evening.
He inflicted a pair of defeats on Ed Turner to give himself at least some hope of extricating himself from relegation strife.
The defeats brought Ed's recent revival to a halt.
Tony Walters is the latest player to be eliminated from the Brunel Trophy, having lost to Marcus Evans.
20/06/17: Ten in Monday action
There were ten players in action on Monday evening at the Bristol County Sports Club, including the nine who contested the sixth phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a pair of 3-point round robins.
Tom Chapman and Carwyn Jenkins fitted in a Premier Three match before the advertised event, and Carwyn registered an 11-3 victory to keep the fight for the third promotion place wide open.
In the round robins Stephen Little won the smaller group outright, while the larger group saw the pot shared between George Georgiou and Roland Herrera.
Stephen has preserved his eight point lead over George in the SGP table with the chasing pack a further 39 points back.
No intermediates were present, so John Curran remains the competition's leading intermediate.
And this also rendered the final leg of the January to June 3-point round robin section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran intermediate sponsorship a non event.
John has taken the prize.
18/06/17: Richard still unbeaten in Brunel Trophy
The fifth of eight fourth round Brunel Trophy matches took place at the Old Fish Market this afternoon.
The tie was the only one of the round to feature two unbeaten players, and Richard Owsley stayed that way when he defeated Cliff Blofield.
The fifth round of this double elimination competition could feature anything between eleven and thirteen survivors, with between three and five of those unbeaten.
16/06/17: Richard wins Handicap event
There were twenty players in action on Thursday, including the eighteen at the Rainbow Casino who contested the fourth of the year's eight Handicap Trophy tournaments.
At the Pump House Dave Pym maintained his unbeaten record in this year's Brunel Trophy when he defeated James Lintell-Smith, a defeat which signalled James's exit from this double elimination competition.
And at the casino, before the advertised event, Daniel Eldridge and Carwyn Jenkins had time to fit in a Premier Three encounter, which Carwyn edged 11-9.
There were two welcome newcomers in the handicap event, and Jen Owsley and Suzie Walters each won a match in their maiden event.
But it was Jen's husband Richard Owsley who took the honours by winning the main flight, defeating Simon Hughes, Chris Hughes, Tom Chapman and Adam Sinclair in the process.
Adam had made the final by eliminating Roland Herrera, Daniel and Ed Turner.
Roland won the consolation flight with wins against Steve Morris, Suzie and Carwyn.
Nick Barham did just enough to wrest the HT lead from Tim Line, while Richard and Cynthia Roberts are right in the mix.
In the unique Side Pool Grand Prix associated with this competition, Nick and Tim are well ahead of the field.
13/06/17: Daniel and Adam take Monday plaudits
There were twelve players in action on Monday evening at the Bristol County Sports Club, including the ten who contested the fifth phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a DMP Tourno.
The two exceptions were Daniel Eldridge and Roland Herrera, who fought out their fourth round Brunel Trophy match.
This was an extremely tight match, which Daniel edged at DMP.
Roland's interest in the competition is thus ended for another year, while Daniel has one life remaining.
Adam Sinclair pipped George Georgiou to the DMP Tourno pot, Adam winning eight and George seven of their nine matches.
The top three in the SGP table all had mediocre evenings, which allowed George and Simonetta Herrera to concertina the leading pack of five into just a 29 point span.
Stephen Little heads George by eight points.
John Curran still leads the race to be the competition's top intermediate, but Jon Organ is close behind.
Steve Cox takes over as the leader of the DMP section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship.
09/06/17: Cecilia wins monthly grand prix tournament
There were sixteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, of whom fourteen contested the sixth of the year's twelve Monthly Grand Prix tournaments.
One Premier League match and two Brunel Trophy matches were also played.
Before the tournament Chris Rogers and Tim Line met in Portland Square to contest their fourth round Brunel Trophy match, which Chris edged.
A second Brunel match was played later, Adam Sinclair defeating Ian Tarr.
Of the four in Brunel action, only Tim exited the competition, the other three having one life remaining.
Adam had earlier lost a Premier One match 4-11 to Paul Watts.
In the tournament the honours went to Cecilia Sparke, whose victories over Ian Hedges, Jason Champion and Stephen Little took her to the final.
In the other half of the draw Tim was whitewashing Alex Hodge, Roland Herrera and Chris.
The final was played later in Portland Square, and Cecilia won it 11-1.
Alex won the consolation flight with wins over Cynthia Roberts, Ian Hedges and Nick Barham.
This extended his OGP lead to a massive 176 points over second placed Stephen.
Vic Sprake still leads the IGP as the only intermediate to attend one of these tournaments so far this year.
The IGP table will hopefully be less sparsely populated soon, when the Intermediates Trophy, which contributes to the IGP standings, is contested soon.
Hopefully some intermediates will be there for that one.
06/06/17: Thirteen in Monday action
There were thirteen players in action on Monday evening at the Bristol County Sports Club, including the eleven who contested the fourth phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a pair of 3-point round robins.
There was also a league match played alongside the advertsied event.
In Premier Two Red Ismail Yilmaz edged home 11-10 against Chris Hughes.
The smaller, five player, group saw outright victory for Simonetta Herrera, who won all of her four matches.
The six player group, however, saw a totally different outcome, with four players sharing the pot, having won three matches each.
One of those, Stephen Little, has thus extended his SGP lead to nineteen points, with Alex Hodge in second place.
Another of the four, John Curran, has taken over as the competition's leading intermediate, and also now leads the January to June 3-point round robin section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship.
03/06/17: Seventeen in Brunel fourth round draw
The draw for the fourth round of the Brunel Trophy was performed on Thursday at the casino, and can be viewed here.
The third round reduced the field from thirty players to seventeen. This would have been eighteen had Derek Clew and Cecilia Sparke not failed to play their match.
As both players had one life remaining, this meant that both were eliminated.
The first bye of the competition went to Stephen Little.
As one of those seven players with two lives left, Stephen took this honour on countback, with his three opponents so far having recorded a total of four victories during the first three rounds.
Assuming all matches are played before the fifth round draw on July 6th, that draw could feature anything between ten and fourteen players.
Three ties -- Marcus Evans versus Tony Walters, Tim Line versus Chris Rogers, and Daniel Eldridge versus Roland Herrera -- will definitely end in elimination for somebody.
On the other side of the coin, the tie between Cliff Blofield and Richard Owsley will definitely end with both players still involved, as neither has lost a life yet.
01/06/17: Sixteen in Thursday action
There were sixteen players in action on Thursday, including fourteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom thirteen contested the second of the year's five Round Robin Grand Prix evenings.
Two league matches and one Brunel Trophy match were completed.
In the Brunel Trophy Adam Sinclair defeated Andy Brown, leaving both players with a single life remaining.
Stephen Little began what was a good evening for him by beating Tim Line 11-6 in Premier Two Blue.
Meanwhile, at the Coach and Horses, Mary French was moving into second place in the Conference League at Mathew Nicholls' expense by beating him 11-6.
For the round robins the field was split into two groups -- one of seven players, the other of six, all playing first-to-3-point matches.
In the larger group Stephen took the pot by winning five of his six matches, while the smaller group saw the pot split between Nick Barham and Tim.
Nick leads the RRGP league table, closely followed by Daniel Eldridge and Roland Herrera.
01/06/17: Chris's penalties firmed up; three others incur initial penalties
The May 31st Premier League checkpoint passed at midnight, and four players were affected.
In Premier Two Red Chris Hughes failed to claw back the two points he incurred in March, and has a further initial penalty point, which can be clawed back by complying with the terms of the July checkpoint.
Incurring two initial penalty points each (which can also be clawed back) were Simon Hughes in Premier One, Tim Line in Premier Two Blue and Carwyn Jenkins in Premier Three.
30/05/17: Ian wins at the Lock Keeper
Ian Tarr defeated Chris Hughes at the Lock Keeper on Wednesday evening in a Premier Two Red encounter.
30/05/17: Wins for Neil, Phil, Andy and Mary
Ian Tarr's sequence of league victories stopped at six when he was defeated 11-10 by Neil Young at the Black Castle today.
The win lifts Neil out of the Premier Two Red relegation zone.
Later, in the same division, Phil Charlton beat Chris Hughes 11-6 at the Lock Keeper.
In the top flight Andy Boysan closed on the leaders with an 11-10 win over Paul Watts at the Pump House.
And in the Conference League Mary French scored an 11-7 victory over Andrew Gay at the Beaufort Arms.
29/05/17: Tom and Andy share the spoils
At the Rainbow Casino Tom Chapman and Andy Brown fought out a Premier Three double header today.
The spoils were shared, Tom winning the opener 11-7 before Andy struck back with an 11-2 victory.
29/05/17: Andy goes third
On Sunday at the Old Fish Market Cliff Blofield met Andy Brown for a Premier Three encounter.
Andy shrugged off an early deficit to win 11-8, a result which moved him into third place.
27/05/17: Simon presses promotion claim
Saturday was a great day for Simon Baker, who fitted in three Premier Two Blue matches at the Rainbow Casino.
The first two of these were a double header with Chris Rogers, and Simon scored 11-7 victories in both.
He followed this up with an 11-10 win against Mike Smith.
The results put Simon in a great position to press on into one of the automatic promotion slots.
Promotion is something which has appeared to be a formality for Chris for some time.
However, with only three matches left for him to play, it seems he will need to add to his tally of points to achieve that aim.
26/05/17: The recovery starts here for Neil
There were three Premier League matches played on Friday.
Neil Young was the most active player, fitting in two Premier Two Red matches at the Shakespeare, Totterdown.
His first visitor was Fred North, who lost narrowly, 9-11.
Next came Mandy Macdonald, who also succumbed, 8-11.
The wins will have come as a major boost to Neil, whose season had not started well.
The other match was at the Pump House, where Ed Turner -- another player recovering from a poor start to the season -- defeated Andy Boysan 11-6 in Premier One.
26/05/17: Ian wins GP5 event
There were eighteen players in action on Thursday, including sixteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom thirteen contested the fourth of the year's eight GP5 tournaments.
Four Premier League matches were played, plus one in the Brunel Trophy.
Carwyn Jenkins became the latest player to exit the Brunel Trophy, losing to Tim Line, who still has one life remaining.
In Premier One Ed Turner scored a brace of much needed wins over Dave Pym.
Stephen Little beat Tim 11-3 in Premier Two Blue, while the Post Office Tavern played host to the Premier Two Red meeting of Drew Caudwell and Neil Young, which Drew edged 11-9.
In the tournament Ian Tarr took full advantage of a first round bye, going on to defeat Cynthia Roberts, Simonetta Herrera and Daniel Eldridge to win the main flight.
Daniel had got past Ian Hedges, Tim and Alex Hodge to reach the final.
Steve Morris won the consolation flight, via a bye and wins over Roland Herrera and Ian Hedges.
Ian Tarr has extended his lead in the GP5 table to 115 points over second placed Alex.
24/05/17: Fifth to first and back again for Nick!
There were three Premier One matches played on Wednesday.
A double header at the Rainbow Casino saw an unusual occurrence in terms of leagye standings.
Nick Barham began the evening in fifth place, but shot into pole position when he defeated Simon Hughes 11-9.
The return encounter, however, saw him whitewashed, and he slipped back to fifth place as his average points difference took a hit.
Gaz Owen was thus restored to the lead, with the best difference of the five leaders, who all have 24 points.
Although Nick now has the worst difference of the five, he does have the advantage of a match in hand on all his rivals.
The other action saw Andy Boysan playing host to Adam Sinclair in Clifton.
Andy won 11-5.
23/05/17: Tuesday league action
There were seven league matches played on Tuesday.
The Old Plough, Kingswood, was the venue for a top flight double header, which saw Andy Boysan, aided by a double backgammon, defeat Gaz Owen 11-2, only to be pegged back by a 7-11 reverse.
This win was just enough to return Gaz to pole position in the Premier One title race, which gets ever more fascinating.
At the Bristol County Sports Club there were two matches, Stuart Mann defeating Paul Watts 11-6, while Gary Plant notched a resounding 11-1 victory over Cecilia Sparke.
In Premier Two Red Ian Tarr beat Neil Young 11-7 at The Black Castle.
And at the Coach and Horses, Clifton, there were Conference League wins for Steve Cox and Andrew Gay over Caroline Boulton and league leader John Curran respectively.
23/05/17: Alex wins Tric Trac; Simon out of Brunel
There were eleven players in action on Monday evening at the Bristol County Sports Club, including the nine who contested the third phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a Tric Trac Tourno.
There was one third round Brunel Trophy match played, and Marcus Evans inflicted an 11-8 defeat on Simon Hughes, who becomes the latest player to exit the competition.
Marcus has one life remaining.
Alex Hodge won the Tric Trac Tourno, scoring four more points than second pkaced Nick Barham.
Stephen Little takes over the lead of the SGP table from George Georgiou, while the absent Jon Organ remains leader of the race to be the competition's leading intermediate.
John Curran has moved into the lead of the Tric Trac Tourno section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran sponsorship.
There was time for an additional event afterwards.
And a seven player DMP Tourno saw the pot split three ways between Marcus, Simonetta Herrera and Ian Tarr.
22/05/17: Simonetta is latest Brunel casualty
Early Monday action featured one Brunel Trophy match and one from Premier Two Red.
The game at Kellaway Avenue saw Simonetta Herrera depart from the Brunel Trophy, losing 8-11 to her visitor, James Lintell-Smith.
James has one life remaining.
The league match was at the Windmill, where the theme of away wins was maintained when Fred North left with an 11-5 victory over Mandy Macdonald, which consolidates his second place in the Red Division.
21/05/17: Alex wins Saturday Rainbow event
There were just eight players in action on Saturday at the latest of our monthly one-day tournaments at the Rainbow Casino.
Alex Hodge took the plaudits, defeating Cynthia Roberts, Simonetta Herrera and Gaz Owen.
Gaz had got past Anna Price and Ian Tarr to reach the final.
George Georgiou won the consolation flight when he beat Cynthia and Anna.
Since there was plenty of time available five players then played out a round robin of first-to-5-point matches.
Ian won this without the need to play his final match.
He then contested a Premier Two Red match with Simonetta, which he won 11-6.
19/05/17: Roland wins truncated GP30 event
There were thirteen players in action on Thursday, including ten at the Rainbow Casino, of whom six contested the third of this year's six GP30 tournaments.
One Brunel trophy and six Premier League matches were played.
Mandy Macdonald was the latest player to exit the Brunel Trophy, when she lost to Dave Pym at the Windmill.
Dave is one of many still retaining both lives in this competition.
At the Star and Dove Steffen Nowak and Gary Plant scored a Premier One win apiece.
This was just enough to move Steffen to the top of the league at Jason Champion's expense.
In Premier Two Blue Andrew Cobb scored a brace of victories over Cynthia Roberts.
And Richard Owsley and Phil Charlton shared the spoils of a double header in Premier Two Red.
The turnout for the GP30 event was an all time low at just six players.
This triggered the first ever round robin in this competition's history, with the players playing each other in first-to-5-point matches.
There would have been a four way tie, as three players won three out of five matches, but the tie break system uses the match scores in these circumstances.
This gave Roland Herrera the overall victory with Simon Hughes in second place.
Simon takes over the lead in the GP30 table.
18/05/17: Rufus goes top
The White Hart, Bedminster Parade, was the venue yesterday as Rufus Rozelaar moved to the top of Premier Three.
He achieved this by twice defeating John Chester.
17/05/17: Premier One updates
Two matches omitted from the Monday report and one just reported from yesterday have affected various regions of the Premier One league table.
The double header on Monday occurred at the Prince of Wales, where Steffen Nowak scored a brace of victories over Jason Champion, which pressed his own title claims while denting Jason's.
Yesterday's action was at the Cotham Brewhouse, where Cecilia Sparke and Adam Sinclair were both trying to halt a run of defeats.
It was Cecilia who managed to do so.
16/05/17: Tuesday wins for Jason and John
Two matches were played at the Bristol County Sports Club this evening.
In a match where both players were playing for their Brunel Trophy survival, it was Jason Champion who prevailed against Paul Watts.
And in the Conference League John Curran scored an 11-6 victory over Steve Cox to move three points ahead at the top of the league.
16/05/17: A good night for Stephen and Steffen
There were ten players in action on Monday, including just eight at the Bristol County Sports Club, who contested the second phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a pair of four player 3-point round robins.
Stephen Little didn't fare particularly well in the advertised event, but he did score two significant wins beforehand and afterwards.
The held over main flight final of Thursday's Monthly Grand Prix tournament saw him defeat Ian Tarr before the tournament, a win which moves him into second place in the OGP, albeit 160 points behind leader Alex Hodge.
And later his third round Brunel Trophy encounter with Ed Turner also ended in victory.
Ed thus lost his second and final life, while Stephen's lives are both still intact.
The round robins saw pots shared -- one split two ways, the other three.
George Georgiou takes over from Stephen at the head of the SGP standings.
12/05/17: Mandy beats Phil at the Windmill
In a Premier Two Red meeting at the Windmill today Mandy Macdonald scored a much needed 11-6 win over Phil Charlton.
11/05/17: Stephen and Ian reach monthly grand prix final
There were eighteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, of whom seventeen contested the fifth of this year's twelve monthly grand prix tournaments.
A third round Brunel Trophy match was completed before the tournament.
Richard Owsley defeated Jim Green, a result which means Jim is eliminated, while Richard retains both lives.
Cecilia Sparke and Simon Hughes got a fair way through a Premier One match before adjourning for the tournament with Cecilia 8-5 ahead.
In the main flight of the tournament Stephen Little and Ian Tarr fought their way through to the final, which will be played on another day.
Stephen defeated Steve Morris, Daniel Eldridge and Alex Hodge, while Ian's victims were Simon, Adam Sinclair and Roland Herrera.
Steve Morris won the consolation flight, overcoming Steffen Nowak, Cynthia Roberts and Tony Walters.
Alex's semi-final defeat was his first in a monthly tournament since January.
Despite his disappointment, he still scored enough points to consolidate his lead in the OGP.
Depending on who wins the final, he will take a lead of either 149 or 160 points into the June event.
Vic Sprake still leads the IGP.
His March visit from Clonakilty makes him the only intermediate to contest a monthly grand prix tournament this year, so at this rate the fifty points he earned that night could be enough to give him the IGP title!
11/05/17: Maiden league win for Steve
Steve Cox scored his first ever league win yesterday at the Coach and Horses.
His 11-4 Conference League victory was at the expense of Andrew Gay.
09/05/17: Paul scores Premier One win
The Bristol County Sports Club was the scene of a Premier One encounter this evening.
Paul Watts defeated Cecilia Sparke 11-2.
08/05/17: Jon and Stephen take Nackgammon honours; Alex out of Brunel Trophy
There were ten players in action on Monday at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom nine contested the first phase of the Monday Club Summer Grand Prix -- a pair of Nackgammon Tournos.
One Premier Two Blue match was played before the tournament.
Stephen Little defeated Pearl Foster 11-7.
And one Brunel Trophy third round match was played during the tournament and afterwards.
Two games during the event saw Ian Tarr into a 2-0 lead, but that gave no inkling as to the single game which followed the tournament.
A sixteen cube saw Ian home! He has both lives remaining, but Alex Hodge is eliminated.
In the five player Nackgammon Tourno Stephen took the pot, while Jon Organ was a comprehensive winner of the four player group.
Stephen is the initial leader of the SGP table, while Jon is the first leader of the race to be the competition's top intermediate.
Jon also takes the lead of the Nackgammon section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran intermediate sponsorship.
In the Drew Caudwell sponsored Nackgammon Grand Prix Alex and Roland now share the lead, with Stephen just behind.
07/05/17: Weekend league round-up
Four Premier Two matches were played at the weekend.
On Saturday Simonetta Herrera clocked up a pair of Red Division victories at different locations.
Visiting Richard Owsley in Clifton, she left with an 11-8 win, and later she entertained Alex Hodge at Kellaway Avenue.
This time the winning margin was 11-5.
Sunday's action was a Blue Division double header at the Rose and Crown, Larkhall, Bath.
Andrew Cobb scored an 11-10 win, but Mike Smith got his revenge in the return encounter, winning 11-7.
05/05/17: Nick wins Brunel local derby
The Old Colonial, Weston-super-Mare, was the venue today for a third round Brunel Trophy match between two of Weston's finest.
Nick Barham defeated Tom Chapman 11-6 after leading 10-0.
That defeat spells the end of Tom's participation in this year's competition, while Nick still has both lives intact.
05/05/17: Nick and Stephen take Speedgammon honours; Alex's league run is over
There were twelve players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, of whom ten contested the third of this year's seven Speedgammon Grand Prix evenings.
In the third round of the Brunel Trophy the only meeting of two undefeated players saw an emphatic win for Gaz Owen over Daniel Eldridge, aided in no small measure by a somewhat fortuitous double backgammon.
And the only league action of the night was a Premier Two Red double header between Alex Hodge and Richard Owsley.
This was Alex's second successive league double header evening at the casino.
And it started just as it had done yesterday against Phil Charlton with an 11-0 whitewash in Alex's favour.
And just as yesterday Phil got a lot closer in the return, Richard followed suit, and it even appeared likely he would replicate Phil's 7-11 defeat when Alex moved 10-7 ahead.
Richard had other ideas, however, and overturned the deficit to register a satisfying 11-10 win.
This was Alex's first league reverse of the season, so he still looks very strong for the divisional title.
It also brought to an end two noteworthy sequences.
Combined with his last league season -- in Premier One -- it ran to eleven successive victories, while purely in terms of Premier Two matches the winning run was fourteen, dating back from the tail end of 2014.
After Adam Sinclair's heroic sixteen match run last year, that sequence is the second best in Premier Two history.
The Speedgammon saw two round robin groups of five players, each of which had an outright victor.
Stephen Little won all four of his matches to take the pot in one group, while Nick Barham's three out of four proved enough to achieve the desired effect in the other group.
Nick draws level with Ian Tarr at the top of the SGGP standings, while Daniel and Simonetta Herrera are close behind.
03/05/17: Alex extends Red Division lead; Roland scores Brunel win
In a Brunel Trophy encounter at Chris and Cecilia's flat, visiting Roland Herrera scored an 11-6 win over Chris Rogers, which means both players have a single life remaining as they look forward to the fourth round draw.
Meanwhile at the Rainbow Casino Alex Hodge extended his lead of Premier Two Red to nine points when he scored a pair of victories over Phil Charlton.
His 11-0 and 11-7 wins make it a nine match winning start to the league season.
03/05/17: Steffen out of Brunel Trophy as Cliff marches on
The first of the fifteen third round Brunel Trophy matches was played at the Star and Dove yesterday evening.
And Cliff Blofield -- hitherto unbeaten in this competition -- maintained that record with an 11-2 victory over Steffen Nowak.
That means Steffen has lost both his lives in this double elimination knock-out, reducing the number of active participants to twenty-nine.
02/05/17: John hits the top
In a top of the table Conference League clash at the Coach and Horses on Monday, John Curran scored a resounding 11-3 victory over Mathew Nicholls.
And the winning margin was enough to see John hit the top of the league on average points difference at Mathew's expense.
30/04/17: Four in weekend league action
There were three league matches played over the weekend.
At the Beaufort Arms on Saturday Mathew Nicholls scored an 11-6 victory over Andrew Gay to extend his Conference League lead over second placed John Curran to four points.
And there was a new Bristol Backgammon venue on Sunday evening, when Cliff Blofield and Carwyn Jenkins met for a Premier Three double header at the Brunello Lounge, Weston-super-Mare.
Cliff won the opener 11-4, but Carwyn struck back with an 11-5 win.
28/04/17: Thirty in Brunel third round draw
After two rounds of the annual double elimination extravaganza known as the Brunel Trophy the field of forty starters has been whittled down to thirty.
The third round draw, made at the casino last night by a poker player named Mandy, sees some interesting pairings.
Only one of the fifteen ties sees two players -- Daniel Eldridge and Gaz Owen -- who are both guaranteed a place in round four.
Six of the ties will definitely eliminate one of the participants, while the other eight pit a player with two lives and against a player with just one.
The ties are to be completed by Thursday June 1st, the date of the fourth round draw.
28/04/17: Nick wins Handicap event
There were fifteen players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, of whom twelve contested the third of this year's eight Handicap Trophy tournaments.
There was another welcome debut player -- Pes Freeland, who is hopefully the first of several friends of Richard Owsley who are due to be taking their competitive plunge.
Three Premier Two Blue matches were played.
Chris Rogers returned to the summit of the division with an 11-5 victory over Pearl Foster, while Cynthia Roberts and Mike Smith shared ths spoils of a double header.
In the advertised event, Nick Barham took the main flight with wins over Cynthia, Ian Tarr, Pes and Simon Hughes.
Simon had benefitted from a bye, before defeating Stephen Little and Daniel Eldridge.
Nick's win over Pes was the narrowest, with a timely double six seeing him home.
Pes's debut had been a memorable one, making the most of his 4-handicap to whitewash both Simonetta Herrera and Alex Hodge.
Tim Line won the consolation flight, defeating Richard, Stephen and Roland Herrera.
That run was enough to see Tim stay at the top of the HT standings, just five points ahead of Nick.
27/04/17: Pearl and Rufus are last Brunel second round casualties
The nineteenth and twentieth of the twenty second round Brunel Trophy matches took place at the Bristol County Sports Club and the Windmill yesterday evening, and in each match both players were fighting to retain their final life.
At the club it was Cecilia Sparke who survived, at Pearl Foster's expense.
And at the Windmill Derek Clew put Rufus Rozelaar to the sword.
Which all paves the way for the third round draw at the casino this evening.
25/04/17: Jason loses a Brunel match
There were thirteen players in action on Monday at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom ten contested the fifteenth and last phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of five player 3-point round robins.
Other matches played on the day were one Premier One match, one in the Conference League, a Brunel Trophy second round match, and the held over final of the Sunday tournament.
This latter match was contested by Roland Herrera and Simonetta Herrera in the comfort of their own home, and it was Roland who prevailed.
The Premier One match saw a victory for Steffen Nowak over Paul Watts.
In the Conference the winner was John Curran over league debut player Steve Cox.
A further Conference result also came to light.
Mary French scored a very narrow victory over Caroline Boulton at the Coach and Horses on Saturday.
There was a shock result in the Brunel Trophy, where Carwyn Jenkins scored an 11-1 victory over reigning chapion Jason Champion, leaving both players with one life remaining when Thursday's third round draw is done.
In the round robins, one group saw the pot shared between Steve and Roland Herrera, while the other was won outright by George Georgiou.
Since this was the final action of the SGP, a decision had to be made about the one match outstanding from the April 3rd round robins.
As George left the event early, and Chris Hughes has shown no particular desire to tie up the loose end, Director Ian Tarr made the decision that the match will not need to be played.
Steve thus takes the prize pot, while the points awarded have been adjusted to reflect the actual results.
Alex Hodge went into last night's event with a lead over second placed Ian which only stood a chance of being overturned if Ian was playing in a six player group.
He wasn't, so Alex takes the title -- his third of these Monday accolades.
The race to finish as the competition's leading intermediate had an interesting conclusion.
Mathew Nicholls started the evening less than two points ahead of Mary.
But since Mathew was a no show, the way was clear for Mary to overtake him.
And she did just enough to improve her score by five points, thus taking the prize.
Having previously won the corresponding title in last year's Summer Grand Prix, Mary has made use of one of the many routes to achieving Premier Status for 2018 -- the first player to achieve this in 2017.
In the Roland Herrera and John Curran Monday intermediate sponsorship, Steve has taken the lead in the 3-point round robin section.
23/04/17: Phil wins at the King Billy
In a Premier Two Red encounter at the King William IV this evening Phil Charlton scored a narrow victory over Neil Young.
23/04/17: Herreras take Sunday plaudits
There were twelve players in action on Sunday at the Rainbow Casino to contest the fourth of this year's Rainbow weekend tournaments.
A welcome debutant was Wieland Eckler, a Spanish resident originating from Germany.
The main finalists, who will play the match at home at some convenient time, were Roland Herrera and Simonetta Herrera.
Roland, who came through the heavy side of the draw, defeated Alex Hodge, Stephen Little and George Georgiou to reach the final, while Simonetta's victims were Drew Caudwell and Cynthia Roberts.
Alex won the consolation flight, defeating Wieland and Chris Rogers.
22/04/17: Yet another title for Alex
The held over final of the April Grand Prix tournament was played at Kellaway Avenue on Saturday.
And Alex Hodge continued his outstanding run of form by defeating Roland Herrera 11-6.
There have been eleven Thursday knock-out tournaments concluded so far this year, and Alex has now won five of these, including the last three monthly grand prix tournaments.
His OGP lead now stands at 160 points, and even at this stage of the year it is clear that it will take something exceptional to oust him from pole position.
21/04/17: Alex wins again
There were sixteen players in action on Thursday, including fourteen at the Rainbow Casino, where twelve contested the third of this year's GP5 knock-out tournaments.
At the Coach and Horses Caroline Boulton defeated John Curran in what is becoming the most wide open Conference League race ever.
The seventeenth of twenty second round Brunel Trophy matches saw Paul Watts narrowly beat Tony Walters, ensuring that both players make it to the third round draw with a single life remaining.
The advertised event saw Alex Hodge score his fourth knock-out main flight win of the year when he got past Steve Cox, Richard Owsley and Ian Tarr before despatching Cynthia Roberts in the final.
Cynthia had progressed to the final via a bye and victories over Simon Hughes and Tim Line.
Steffen Nowak won the consolation flight with wins over Daniel Eldridge, Steve Morris and, in the final, Simon.
Ian Tarr increased his GP5 table lead to 70 points.
19/04/17: Fred defeats Chris in Hungerford Newtown
The Tally Ho, at Hungerford Newtown, was the venue today for a Premier Two Red match.
Chris Hughes was the visitor to Fred North's territory, and it turned out to be a home win, by 11-5.
17/04/17: Daniel deals George double blow
In a pair of Premier Three matches at the Rainbow Casino on Sunday Daniel Eldridge scored a brace of victories over George Georgiou.
George's position at the top of the league still looks good, but Daniel has now moved into the third promotion slot after a slow start to his season.
15/04/17: Jason tops Premier One; Alex reaches third successive monthly grand prix final
There were twenty-two players in action on Thursday, including nineteen at the Rainbow Casino, where seventeen contested the fourth of this year's Monthly Grand Prix knock-out tournaments.
Six league matches were completed.
The Wellington was the scene of Jason Champion's successful double header against Gary Plant.
Jason's 11-4 and 11-10 wins have moved him into pole position in Premier One.
Fred North moved into the Premier Two Red promotion bracket with a hard fought 11-10 victory over Drew Caudwell at the casino.
Drew had led 10-3 at one stage.
Rufus Rozelaar created a new Premier Three record sequence of eight wins when he defeated Cliff Blofield twice.
He and leader George Georgiou are looking difficult to catch.
And Andrew Gay made it four wins out of four in the Conference League when he beat Mary French 11-6 at the Coach and Horses.
In the grand prix tournament Alex Hodge, the winner in both February and March, made it three finals in a row by getting past Steve Morris, Cynthia Roberts and Tony Walters.
There he will meet Roland Herrera, who made light of being in the only first round match by scoring wins over Cliff, Daniel Eldridge, Steffen Nowak and Mandy Macdonald.
Stephen Little took the consolation flight, defeating Cliff, Ian Hedges and Daniel.
Alex has racked up an impressive OGP lead of 125 points over second placed Jason, and this would rise to 160 were he to win this latest final.
Roland, however, can move into third place by winning.
The IGP continues in its lowest profile ever, as there has been just one appearance by an intermediate in the first four events.
Vic Sprake, who visited from Clonakilty in the Irish Republic for the March tournament, is thus far unchallenged for this title, having scored 50 points in that event.
Surely someone will push him before the year is out?
13/04/17: George stays in Brunel Trophy; and so does Mandy
In a second round Brunel Trophy match at the casino yesterday George Georgiou defeated Simon Hughes.
Meanwhile, at the Windmill, Mandy Macdonald beat Marcus Evans.
All four players take a single life into the third round draw.
11/04/17: Three more eliminated from Brunel Trophy
There were fifteen players in action on Monday evening, including eleven at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom nine contested the fourteenth and penultimate phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a Tric Trac Tourno.
One Premier League match and six Brunel Trophy matches were played.
The league match saw Nick Barham move into second place in Premier One when he defeated Steffen Nowak 11-8.
This was a part of a double header at the Rainbow Casino -- Nick having beaten Steffen earlier in the Brunel Trophy.
Cliff Blofield was also a Brunel winner at the casino, Drew Caudwell being his victim.
At Ye Shakespeare Stephen Little beat James Lintell-Smith.
And three more Brunel matches at the club saw wins for Daniel Eldridge, Roland Herrera and Ian Tarr -- over Chris Hughes, Miles Farren and Simonetta Herrera respectively.
The defeats of Drew, Chris and Miles signalled the end of their involvement in this year's epic double elimination competition, while Steffen, James and Simonetta live to fight another day.
In the Tric Trac Tourno SGP leader Alex Hodge just pipped Ian Tarr to win the pot, a result which makes it almost certain that Alex will win the title.
With just one 3-point round robin session remaining, the only player who can overhaul Alex is Ian, but he needs three things to come together to do so.
He first needs to be drawn into a group of six, then he needs to win it outright, and he also needs Alex to score less than 55 points himself on the night.
Mathew Nicholls still holds a tenuous advantage over Mary French in the race to finish as the competition's leading intermediate, as neither player was present on the night.
10/04/17: Simon wins GP30 final
At Kellaway Avenue today Simon Hughes defeated his host Roland Herrera to win the held over final of last month's GP30 tournament.
09/04/17: Four in Sunday Premier League action
There were two Premier League double headers played on Sunday.
Jason Champion played host to Adam Sinclair in Premier One and scored two victories -- by 11-7 and 11-8 -- to move him well into championship contention.
And the Old Fish Market was the venue for the Premier Three meeting of Cliff Blofield and Daniel Eldridge.
Here Daniel was the double victor, with two narrow margins -- 11-10 and 11-9 being the scorelines.
08/04/17: Late news: Jim beat Bob in the Brunel
A Brunel Trophy result from Wednesday has just come to light.
Jim Green and Bob Markham were both fighting to preserve their only remaining life, and it was Jim who survived to the third round with an 11-5 win.
07/04/17: Gaz and Roland make it to the Masters final
There were twenty-six players in action on Thursday, including twenty-two at the Rainbow Casino, of whom sixteen contested the seventeenth Bristol Masters knock-out.
There were seven league matches and two Brunel Trophy matches played.
Gaz Owen and Roland Herrera will contest the final of the Masters.
They will now be the two players most familiar with that experience, Gaz making his third appearance at this stage, while Roland is making it a record five appearances.
Gaz got past Stuart Mann, Steffen Nowak and Jason Champion, while Roland was defeating Simon Hughes, Simonetta Herrera and Nick Barham.
The date for the final is not yet decided.
In Premier One Gaz had suffered a setback earlier, losing to Nick for the second time in seven days.
Gaz, Nick and Stuart, who defeated Adam Sinclair, are beginning to emerge from the pack as the front runners.
There was a Premier Two double header, which saw Steve Morris and Cynthia Roberts sharing the spoils.
Daniel Eldridge suffered a 9-11 defeat to Cliff Blofield in Premier Three, still struggling to translate his knock-out form into good league results.
Meanwhile, at the Coach and Horses -- the most frequent venue for Conference League matches this season -- there were wins for Andrew Gay and Mary French.
Andrew edged home against John Curran, while Mary emphatically beat league leader Mathew Nicholls.
The Brunel Trophy action saw Adam score a lightning win over Tim Line, while Ian Hedges became the fourth player to exit this double elimination competition when he succumbed to Chris Rogers.
05/04/17: Alex goes six points clear
The Windmill was the venue today for a Premier Two Red encounter.
Alex Hodge, visiting Mandy Macdonald's home terrain, came away with an 11-7 victory which stretches his unbeaten start to the league campaign and increases his divisional lead to six points.
05/04/17: Andy is the latest to exit the Brunel
In a second round Brunel Trophy match at the Pump House yesterday Dave Pym defeated Andy Boysan 11-8.
The result eliminates Andy from the competition, while preserving both of Dave's lives.
04/04/17: Twenty-one in Monday action
There were twenty-one players in action on Monday, including nineteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom fifteen contested the thirteenth phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- three five-player 3-point round robins.
Two Premier League matches were played.
At Brimsham Park, Yate, Ian Hedges concluded his Premier Two Blue campaign on the ninety-fourth day of the 334 day season!
His 11-7 win over Pearl Foster moves him back to the top of the league, but whether or not his final points tally of 36 will be enough to see him into the second automatic promotion slot remains to be seen.
In the Red Division Chris Hughes defeated Drew Caudwell 11-6.
Ismail Yilmaz became the second player eliminated from the Brunel Trophy when he suffered a lightning 11-1 defeat at the hands of Gaz Owen.
And in the same competition Ed Turner beat Tom Chapman to leave both players with a single life remaining.
The round robins included a welcome Bristol Backgammon debut for Jon Organ, who was to perform with distinction.
Adam Sinclair won one group outright, while Jon shared the pot with Simonetta Herrera in another.
The third group was not finished, however, when George Georgiou decided to leave before playing his final match, leaving the outcome hanging, both in terms of the cash prize and SGP points.
Alex Hodge's SGP table lead over second placed Ian Tarr has been reduced to 21 points.
The race to finish as the competition's leading intermediate gets closer and closer with less than two points separating Mathew Nicholls and Mary French.
Mathew still leads the 3-point robin section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship.
02/04/17: Four penalised at March Premier League checkpoint
The first checkpoint of the Premier League season passed at midnight on Friday, and four players have picked up penalty points for being in arrears of the requirements of the penalty avoidance schedule.
In Premier Two Red Phil Charlton and Neil Young have incurred three penalties, while Chris Hughes has incurred two.
And Daniel Eldridge of Premier Three has been docked a single point.
All of these penalties can be clawed back by compliance with the terms of the May 31st checkpoint.
No penalties were incurred in either Premier One or Premier Two Blue, although in the latter division Peter Thistlewood is currently three matches behind the requirement.
Bristol Backgammon Director Ian Tarr has, however, declared Peter exempt from penalties for the duration of his recovery from major surgery.
31/03/17: Seventeen in Thursday action
There were seventeen players at the Rainbow Casino on Thursday, including the nine who contested the second of this year's Speedgammon Grand Prix evenings.
There were five Premier League and two Brunel Trophy matches played.
In Premier One leader Gaz Owen suffered a setback, losing 9-11 to Nick Barham, while Ed Turner scored a much needed victory over Paul Watts.
A Premier Two Blue double header saw the spoils shared between Stephen Little and Ian Hedges, while Steve Morris scored an 11-9 win over Tim Line.
Ian has now played all bar one of his league matches, so will end the season with either eleven or twelve victories.
Whether or not this will suffice for a top two place remains to be seen.
In the second round of the Brunel Trophy Steve Morris became the first player to exit this double elimination competition, when he was defeated by Andy Brown.
And in a match where the players were hoping to keep both lives intact it was Richard Owsley who prevailed against Alex Hodge.
The Speedgammon field of nine was split into groups of five and four respectively.
Simonetta Herrera won the smaller group outright, while in the other group the pot was shared between Nick and Ian Tarr.
Ian edges ahead in the SGGP table, with Nick, Simonetta and Daniel Eldridge all close behind.
30/03/17: Andrew off the mark
Andrew Cobb's slow start to the season took a turn for the better at the Compass, Tormarton, yesterday.
His 11-5 Premier Two Blue victory over Pearl Foster didn't quite lift him from the bottom of the league, but it was a step in the right direction.
28/03/17: Gaz setting the pace
In a Premier One season where nobody has been setting a blistering pace, Gaz Owen seems bent on changing that.
Yesterday at St Georges Hall he came from 0-6 down to defeat Paul Watts 11-6, and today he was at the Brewhouse and Kitchen to beat Adam Sinclair 11-5.
Gaz is now top with matches in hand over his closest pursuers.
Another comeback occurred today at the King William IV, Staple Hill.
Ian Tarr recovered from 0-7 in arrears to pip Phil Charlton 11-9 in Premier Two Red.
28/03/17: Simon's Monday win at Yate
Seven days on from his 11-3 victory over Pearl Foster at Brimsham Park, Yate, Simon Baker repeated the dose yesterday to maintain his strong start to the Premier Two Blue campaign.
28/03/17: Seventeen contest Monday DMP Tourno evening
There were seventeen players in action on Monday at the Bristol County Sports Club to contest the twelfth phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of DMP Tournos.
The nine player group saw victory for Roland Herrera who lost only one of his eight games, while Adam Sinclair mirrored that feat in the slightly smaller group.
Alex Hodge still heads the SGP table, albeit with a slightly reduced lead of 36 points.
With just three events remaining, however, and discards biting hard, that is a very useful lead.
Mathew Nicholls still edges the race to be the competition's leading intermediate, with Mary French in second place.
And Mary heads the DMP section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship.
26/03/17: George beaten but still on course
The Old Fish Market played host to a Premier Three double header today.
Cliff Blofield began with an 11-4 win, but George Georgiou struck back with 11-10 and 11-5 wins of his own.
The defeat was George's first in league action, but with nine wins out of ten he remains favourite for the divisional title.
26/03/17: Cecilia wins Saturday event
There were thirteen players at the Rainbow Casino on Saturday to contest the third of this year's weekend one day events.
Cecilia Sparke took the honours, defeating Jack Armorgie, Cynthia Roberts and Chris Rogers before despatching Adam Sinclair in a close fought final.
Adam had arrived there via a first round bye, followed by victories over Ian Tarr and Simonetta Herrera.
Jack, playing in only his second event, won the consolation flight, taking the scalps of Alex Hodge, Graham Smith and Ian.
24/03/17: Ian wins at the Windmill
Ian Tarr visited Mandy Macdonald at the Windmill this evening and came away with a hard fought 11-9 Premier Two Red victory.
24/03/17: Tim wins Handicap event
There were twenty-seven players in action on Thursday, including twenty-five at the Rainbow Casino, of whom eighteen contested the second of the year's series of eight Handicap Trophy tournaments.
Nine league matches and one Brunel Trophy match were played.
In the league's top flight Paul Watts met Ed Turner and came out on top with an 11-4 victory.
The majority of the league action centred around three double headers in Premier Two Blue and the chasing pack will be encouraged that the division's two leaders both suffered a brace of defeats.
Mike Smith had started the season with four defeats, but could hardly have kicked things off in a more impressive manner than he did with 11-6 and 11-10 wins over title favourite Chris Rogers.
Meanwhile Ian Hedges was the other leader to hit a setback, losing his two encounters with Tim Line, for whom this was to be a good day.
And Simon Baker made it four wins out of five after his belated start to the campaign, when he defeated Cynthia Roberts twice.
In the Conference League the two back markers scored much needed wins -- Mary French by 11-7 over John Curran at the casino, and Andrew Gay by 11-5 over Caroline Boulton at the Coach and Horses.
And the first round of the Brunel Trophy Tony Walters managed a seesaw win over Carwyn Jenkins to complete the round.
After leading 10-0, Tony had been pegged back to 10-10 before finally succeeding.
The draw for the second round was made later in the evening by Alex Hodge, and can be seen here.
In the tournament Tim continued his good run on the night to reach the final, while Simonetta Herrera was getting through the other half of the draw.
And Tim won that match to take a share of the overall Handicap Trophy lead with Cynthia, while taking the outright lead in the Side Pool Grand Prix.
His victims were Adam Sinclair, Simon Hughes and Carwyn, while Simonetta was getting past Richard Owsley, Mandy Macdonald, Cynthia and Daniel Eldridge.
The consolation flight was won by Nick Barham, who beat Ian Hedges, Richard and Alex to prevail.
One loose end was tied up later in the evening.
Simon and Ian Tarr played their held over consolation flight final from the Lesters Trophy tournament a couple of weeks ago.
Ian had the breaks and won 5-1.
22/03/17: Wednesday wins for Tom and Ian
Two matches were played on Wednesday.
In the first round of the Brunel Trophy Tom Chapman pulled off a surprise 11-1 victory over Cecilia Sparke.
And Ian Tarr visited the Christmas Steps for the second day running, once again coming away with a Premier Two Red victory, this time over Fred North.
21/03/17: Tuesday's Premier League action
There were four Premier League matches played on Tuesday.
In the top flight Gaz Owen met Simon Hughes at the Coronation Tap, and his 11-5 win moved him to within three points of the lead.
A Premier Two Blue top of the table double header took place at the Rainbow Casino, and it was Chris Rogers who prevailed in both matches against Ian Hedges -- narrowly in the first, not so narrowly in the second.
Chris now appears to have a commanding lead.
And the Christmas Steps was the venue for a Premier Two Red match, Ian Tarr scoring his first league win of the season at Chris Hughes's expense.
21/03/17: Alex regains SGP lead
There were fourteen players in action on Monday, including twelve at the Bristol County Sports Club, where ten contested the eleventh phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of 3-point round robins.
Earlier, at Brimsham Park, Yate, Simon Baker had defeated Pearl Foster 11-3 in Premier Two Blue.
At the club Alex Hodge maintained his unbeaten start to the league season with an 11-8 win over Drew Caudwell.
And Gaz Owen scored an 11-0 whitewash over Jim Green in the first round of the Brunel Trophy.
That, however, was a scoreline which did scant justice to Jim as -- at 0-6 down he had a significant chance of a match winning backgammon with the cube on four.
In the round robins Alex Hodge and George Georgiou were the group winners.
Alex has regained the leadership of the SGP table.
Mathew Nicholls is still the competition's leading intermediate, and also still heads the 3-point round robin section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran intermediate sponsorship.
19/03/17: Andrew scores first league win
In a Conference League match played today at the Coach and Horses Andrew Gay defeated Mary French 11-9 to register his first win in Bristol Backgammon competition.
18/03/17: Simon starts with a win and a loss
All forty-three Premier League players now have their campaigns under way.
The last to get his dice rolling was Simon Baker, who met Ian Hedges at the Bristol County Sports Club this afternoon.
Simon took the first of the two Premier Two Blue matches 11-8, and led the second 7-4.
Two games later, however, he had lost, courtesy of two backgammons.
17/03/17: Roland and Simon to contest GP30 final
There were twenty players in action on Thursday, including eighteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom sixteen contested the second of the year's series of six GP30 tournaments.
Six league matches were played.
In Premier One there were wins for Gaz Owen and Simon Hughes, over Stuart Mann and Cecilia Sparke respectively.
In Premier Two Blue Chris Rogers scored a brace of wins over Andrew Cobb, while Cynthia Roberts defeated Pearl Foster.
And there was another Conference League match at the Coach and Horses, where John Curran's 11-8 victory over Mathew Nicholls closed the gap between the two of them at the top of the league to just two points.
In the advertised event, where the all-time GP30 participation record was equalled, Roland Herrera and Simon fought their way through to the final, which will be played at a later date.
Roland got past Alex Hodge, Simonetta Herrera and Bob Markham, while Simon's victims were Gaz, Ian Tarr and Stuart.
Cynthia took the honours in the consolation flight, beating Chris Hughes, Steve Morris and Gaz.
January tournament winner Alex still heads the GP30 table, but the eventual winner of the final will close to within 10 points.
15/03/17: Chris keeps Brunel lives intact
The Rainbow Casino was the venue yesterday for a first round Brunel Trophy match.
And Chris Rogers defeated Bob Markham to keep both of his lives intact for the next round.
15/03/17: Mathew closes on Premier Status qualification
In a gruelling Conference League match at the Coach and Horses yesterday evening Mathew Nicholls scored an 11-9 victory over Mary French.
The victory consolidates his leadership of the league, and he is now six points from becoming the first player this year to secure Premier Status for 2018.
13/03/17: Stuart tops Premier One; Ian wins Monday DMP Tourno
There were nineteen players in action on Monday, including thirteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, where eleven contested the tenth phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a DMP Tourno.
Four Premier League matches and one Brunel Trophy match were played.
In Premier One Stuart Mann scored a brace of wins over Ed Turner at the Bridge Inn, Yatton, overhauling Dave Pym at the top of the league.
And at St Georges Hall, Redfield, Paul Watts won a DMP bear-off by just one pip to defeat Gaz Owen.
At the King William IV Fred North continued his good early season form with a narrow Premier Two Red victory over Phil Charlton.
And at the club Simon Hughes won his first round Brunel Trophy match against Rufus Rozelaar.
The DMP Tourno was notable for the fact that every one of the eleven contestants won at least four of their ten games.
Ian Tarr's seven wins gave him enough to take the pot outright.
He also takes the lead in the SGP table, moving 21 points ahead of Alex Hodge.
Mathew Nicholls still leads the race to be the competition's top intermediate, while Mary French is now in pole position in the DMP section of the Roland Herrera and John Curran intermediate sponsorship.
12/03/17: Weekend action round-up
Three matches were completed at the weekend -- two on Saturday and one on Sunday.
The Crown Inn, Churchill, saw two recent Premier League champions locking horns on Saturday.
The first item on the agenda was the conclusion of a match tantalisingly adjourned in January, with Gaz Owen 10-9 ahead (post Crawford) against Cecilia Sparke.
Cecilia won that, but hit the buffers in the return, losing 1-11.
And the fifteenth of the twenty first round Brunel Trophy results occurred at the Rainbow Casino today, when Richard Owsley defeated George Georgiou 11-9.
10/03/17: Ian and Drew share the spoils
The Post Office Tavern, Westbury-on-Trym, was the venue this evening for a double header involving Drew Caudwell and Ian Tarr.
The opener was their first round Brunel Trophy match which Ian won 11-6.
Drew struck back, however, to win the return -- a Premier Two Red match -- 11-9.
10/03/17: Alex wins again
There were twenty players in action at the Rainbow Casino on Thursday, including the fifteen who contested the third of the year's series of twelve Monthly Grand Prix tournaments.
Five league matches were played, and two other results -- one in the league and one in the Brunel Trophy -- came to light.
The historical results came from Stephen Little, now back from his travels.
While in Clonakilty for last weekend's Cork Open he took the opportunity to finish an adjourned Premier Two Blue match with Cynthia Roberts.
This was a win for Stephen, as was his Wednesday night Brunel Trophy meeting with Paul Watts.
Paul was also in action last night in a Premier One double header with league leader Dave Pym, where the protagonists registered one victory apiece.
In the Blue Division Cynthia succumbed narrowly to league leader Ian Hedges.
And a Premier Three double header saw Andy Brown and Daniel Eldridge share the spoils.
Last month Alex Hodge registered his first monthly grand prix victory in twenty-eight attempts -- a surprising statistic.
This month he made it two in twenty-nine with victories over Steve Morris, Roland Herrera, Jason Champion and Derek Clew.
Derek had defeated Ian Tarr, Cliff Blofield and Stephen Little in reaching the final.
The final of the consolation flight was adjourned until another time, and will feature Simon Hughes and Ian Tarr.
There will be no Winner Takes All pool rollover to April as Alex had the foresight to back himself in this.
And monthly grand prix winners will now find it a tad easier to ensure that they qualify for the 2018 Bristol Masters thanks to Alex's double success.
09/03/17: Jason's Brunel defence starts with a win
The reigning Brunel Trophy champion, the eponymous Jason Champion, yesterday began his defence of that title.
And it was a winning start as he defeated Adam Sinclair at the Cotham Brewhouse.
08/03/17: Chris and John also win on Tuesday
Two more results from Tuesday have come to light.
In Premier Two Red Drew Caudwell met Chris Hughes at the Christmas Steps (formerly known as the Three Sugar Loaves), and it was Chris who got the victory, 11-7.
And in the Conference League John Curran won his third successive league match, defeating Caroline Boulton 11-8 at the Coach and Horses, a new venue for Bristol Backgammon.
07/03/17: Cecilia bounces back
Tuesday saw three matches played.
Just a day after suffering her worst top flight session Cecilia Sparke was "back on the horse" with a double header against Stuart Mann.
This meeting of the last two Premier League title winners took place at the Bell, Hillgrove Street.
And Cecilia bounced back from her disappointments against Jason Champion by scoring 11-8 and 11-0 victories.
The division is beginning to look tighter than ever, with all but two players now either breaking even, or winning one match more or less than losing.
The evening's other action was at Andy Boysan's, with visiting Marcus Evans securing an 11-10 first round Brunel Trophy win.
06/03/17: Steve cashes on first visit
There were sixteen players in action on Monday, including twelve at the Bristol County Sports Club, where ten contested the ninth phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of five player 3-point round robins.
Three Premier League matches and one Brunel Trophy match were played.
Cecilia Sparke and Jason Champion played a Premier One double header, which was enacted at two different venues.
Jason won the first -- at the Prince of Wales, Gloucester Road -- 11-1.
But if Cecilia was hoping for a change of fortune when they moved to Bishops Tavern for the return encounter, she was to be disappointed -- suffering a whitewash.
In Premier Three Tom Chapman met Rufus Rozelaar at the Rainbow Casino.
And Rufus kept up the pressure on leader George Georgiou by scoring an 11-6 victory.
In the first round of the Brunel Trophy Steffen Nowak and Roland Herrera did battle alongside the round robins.
And it was Steffen who prevailed.
One of the round robins had an outright winner, Simonetta Herrera taking the pot, while the other was shared by Pearl Foster and welcome debut player Steve Cox, who lives close to the club.
SGP leader Alex Hodge was absent but still holds the overall lead, although both Simonetta and Ian Tarr are very close in second and third.
Mathew Nicholls is the new leader of the race to be the competition's leading intermediate, and has also consolidated his lead of the 3-point round robin section of the John and Roland intermediate sponsorship.
05/03/17: Alex at the double
Four matches were played on Friday.
Alex Hodge met Ismail Yilmaz at the Rainbow Casino and scored a brace of 11-2 wins.
The first moved Alex to the top of Premier Two Red at Ismail's expense, and the second was a first round Brunel Trophy match.
Other Brunel matches to be completed saw victories for Simonetta Herrera over Pearl Foster at Kellaway Avenue, and for Cliff Blofield over Derek Clew at the White Hart, Ford.
03/03/17: Ian wins GP5 tournament
There were eighteen players in action at the Rainbow Casino on Thursday, including the fifteen who contested the second of the year's series of eight GP5 tournaments.
Six other matches were played -- three Premier League matches, and three from the first round of the Brunel Trophy.
In the latter competition there were wins for Dave Pym, Daniel Eldridge and Andy Brown over Miles Farren, Ian Hedges and Chris Hughes respectively.
Steffen Nowak and Dave contested a Premier One double header, where the honours were shared.
And Rufus Rozelaar narrowly defeated Carwyn Jenkins in Premier Three.
In the advertised event Ian Tarr won the main flight with victories over Steve Morris, Richard Owsley, Daniel and Roland Herrera.
Roland's route to the final took him past Chris, Rufus and Simon Hughes.
The final itself featured an interesting climax.
Ian led 6-4 Crawford, but faced a very likely backgammon and defeat with eight men on Roland's one point. Escaping all was unlikely, so a hit was needed.
It came, and the backgammon was somehow turned into a single point to seal Ian's win.
Nick Barham won the consolation flight, beating Steve, Chris and Carwyn.
Ian Tarr now has a 30 points cushion at the head of the GP5 table.
01/03/17: Phil makes winning return; Pearl wins at the Compass
In a Premier Two Blue encounter at the Compass, Tormarton, this afternoon Andrew Cobb and Pearl Foster fought out a close match, Pearl winning 11-9.
And later Phil Charlton made a very welcome return to action, defeating Neil Young 11-9 at the Black Castle in a Premier Two Red match.
28/02/17: Pearl wins at the Folly
Premier Two Blue leader Ian Hedges met Pearl Foster at the Folly, Westerleigh, this afternoon, and suffered a heavy defeat.
Pearl's 11-3 victory maintains her 100% league record for the season, albeit that she has only played two matches thus far.
28/02/17: Alex and Ismail share Tric Trac honours
There were eighteen players in action on Monday, including sixteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, where eleven contested the eighth phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a Tric Trac Tourno.
The Prince of Wales, Gloucester Road, was the venue for the night's only league activity -- Jason Champion and Dave Pym scoring an emphatic Premier One victory apiece.
Also present at the club were four welcome newcomers from the University of Bristol Persian Society.
Amin, Shahriyar, Alex and Jim didn't enter the tournament, but were given some helpful hints in some friendly games by Pearl Foster and Ian Tarr, and will hopefully feel ready to enter competitions very soon.
In the Tric Trac Alex Hodge took full advantage of SGP leader Ian's unavailability to forge his way back into the overall SGP lead.
The 60 points gained for sharing the pot with Ismail Yilmaz moved him to the top by a margin of 51 points.
Mary French still heads the race to be the competition's leading intermediate, and also holds the lead in the Tric Trac Tourno section of the John Curran and Roland Herrera sponsorship.
26/02/17: Simonetta wins the Rainbow Sunday tournament
There were seventeen players in action at the Rainbow Casino on Sunday to contest the latest of our series of weekend tournaments.
Amongst the field were Bristol Backgammon debutants Jack Armorgie, Brendan Bensley and Graham Smith.
Simonetta Herrera took the honours in the main flight, defeating Sean Jones, Jack, and Rosey Bensley, before her final victory over George Georgiou.
George had eliminated Garry Jones, Ian Tarr and Brendan en route to the final.
Tim Line took the consolation flight with wins over Garry, Alex Hodge and Roland Herrera.
24/02/17: League wins for Fred and Mathew
Fred North visited Simonetta Herrera for a Premier Two Red match today, and he came away with an 11-8 victory.
And Mathew Nicholls later extended his lead in the Conference League with an 11-5 win over Andrew Gay at the Beaufort Arms.
24/02/17: Twenty-three in Thursday action
There were twenty-three players in action on Thursday, including nineteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom fifteen contested the first instalment of the Round Robin Grand Prix.
Five league matches and the first three of this year's Brunel Trophy were played.
In the Brunel Trophy there were wins for James Lintell-Smith, Tim Line and Nick Barham, but of course their opponents -- respectively Ed Turner, Mandy Macdonald and Steve Morris -- stay alive thanks to the double elimination aspect of the competition.
The encounter between James and Ed was at Ye Shakespeare in Victoria Street.
Tim also kick started his Premier Two Blue campaign with a narrow victory over Steve.
In the parallel Red Division Richard Owsley and Drew Caudwell scored one win apiece in their double header, while Ismail Yilmaz moved to the top of the league by pipping Neil Young.
And in the Conference League Mary French secured her first league win of the season at the expense of Caroline Boulton at Chums Bar.
The fifteen round robin contestants -- including a first domestic appearance for Martin Barkwill of Newcastle, and a welcome return to action for Dave Cank -- were drawn into three five player groups, playing first-to-5-point matches.
Nick and Daniel Eldridge won their groups outright to share the early RRGP lead.
The other group saw the pot shared between Roland Herrera and Chris Hughes.
22/02/17: John wins in Clifton
The Beaufort Arms is rapidly becoming the hub of this year's Conference League programme.
John Curran met Andrew Gay there yesterday evening, and he came away with an 11-5 victory.
21/02/17: George and Ian win Monday round robins
There were twelve players in action on Monday, including ten at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom eight contested the seventh phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of 4-player 3-point round robins.
Five Premier League matches were played.
Nick Barham and Dave Pym met at the Rainbow Casino for a Premier One double header, and it was Dave who prevailed, winning both encounters 11-9.
At the club Stephen Little had the better of a Premier Two Blue double header with a brace of wins over Mike Smith.
And Ismail Yilmaz consolidated his improved league form with an 11-2 victory over Chris Hughes in Premier Two Red.
The round robins saw outright wins for Ian Tarr and George Georgiou.
Ian edges ahead of Alex Hodge at the top of the SGP table, while the absent Mary French still leads the race to be the competition's leading intermediate.
Mathew Nicholls heads the 3-point round robins section of the newly consolidated John Curran and Roland Herrera intermediate sponsorship.
17/02/17: Brunel Trophy draw online
2017 is the fourth year of our year long double elimination knock-out tournament, the Brunel Trophy.
The draw for the first round was performed during last night's awards ceremony, and can be viewed here.
Matches are to be played before the second round draw on Thursday March 23rd.
17/02/17: All the news from Awards Night
The Bristol Backgammon Annual Awards Night was held at the Rainbow Casino on Thursday, with thirty-three present, although six of these concentrated on a high stakes chouette in the bar rather than attend the ceremony!
A total of 92 prizes -- either permanent trophies, or mementoes, or envelopes containing cash -- were scheduled to be dispensed by Bristol Backgammon Director Ian Tarr.
But as is always the case, a few sponsors and prize winners were unable to attend.
The evening, however, was about those who did attend, and photographs by Roland and Simonetta Herrera give a great flavour of the occasion.
The usual league and knock-out awards took up most of the presentation, but of course there was the element of mystery surrounding the "surprise" awards.
Daniel Eldridge won the Rookie of the Year award (sponsored by Paul Gilbertson; the Gaz Owen sponsored Most Improved Player prize went to Rufus Rozelaar; Simonetta Herrera's Sports Person of the Year award went to Mary French; Shadow Hamilton's Rankings Jump prize was won by the absent Warner Solomon; and there was also a 2,000 to 1 prize (sponsored by Andy Boysan) for another absentee, Paul Watts.
Before the event there was some Premier League action.
A Premier Two Blue double header between Stephen Little and Steve Morris could hardly have been closer, with each player claiming an 11-10 victory.
Alex Hodge built on his good start to the Premier Two Red season by defeating Drew Caudwell, while Simonetta suffered mixed fortunes, losing to Ismail Yilmaz but finishing off an adjourned match with Drew in victory.
In the same division Chris Hughes kicked off his campaign with a resounding win against Richard Owsley.
Rufus won the evening's only Premier Three clash, against Cliff Blofield.
After the ceremony, there was a nine player DMP Tourno, which was won by Simonetta.
16/02/17: Gary's double in Swindon derby
Brookmans Farm Inn, Swindon, was the venue for a top flight double header yesterday.
Two of Swindon's finest battled it out, and Gary Plant came out on top on the day with a brace of wins over Dave Pym.
14/02/17: Andy and Dave share the spoils
Dave Pym visited Andy Boysan in Clifton Wood this evening for a Premier One double header.
And after two emphatic wins the spoils were shared, Andy's 11-4 victory was cancelled out by Dave's 11-2 response.
14/02/17: Thirteen in Monday action
There were thirteen players in action on Monday, including twelve at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom ten contested the sixth phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of 5-player Nackgammon Tournos.
League action centred entirely on Premier Three, where the players are setting a fine example to the rest of the league in terms of making progress.
Four matches were completed, the first of which was at the Rope Walk, where Rufus Rozelaar defeated Daniel Eldridge.
Daniel moved on the the club, where he suffered a further defeat, this time at the hands of Carwyn Jenkins.
And Tom Chapman moved into second place with a brace of victories over John Chester.
Both Nackgammon Tournos saw the spoils shared -- Roland Herrera and Alex Hodge sharing the pot in one, while intermediates Mary French and Mathew Nicholls did likewise in the other.
Alex extends his lead in the SGP table to 46 points, while Mary is the competition's leading intermediate.
Mary and Mathew share the lead in the Nackgammon section of the John Curran intermediate sponsorship and they also share the lead with Alex and Roland in the Drew Caudwell sponsored Nackgammon Grand Prix.
11/02/17: Andy goes second after double success
A Premier Three double header at the Bristol County Sports Club today went the way of Andy Brown.
His 11-9 and 11-3 victories over John Chester moved him up to second in the league table.
10/02/17: Alex's rich vein of form continues
There were twenty-one players in action on Thursday, including nineteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom seventeen contested the second of the year's twelve Monthly Grand Prix tournaments.
Five league matches were completed, and one adjourned.
In Premier Two Blue Cynthia Roberts recovered from a previous adjournment at 3-10 down to Stephen Little to score a stunning victory.
But she was on the wrong end of an 11-10 scoreline later against Ian Hedges, who moves to the top of the league on his own.
Her return match against Stephen was also adjourned, this time with Stephen 4-2 ahead.
In Premier Three Carwyn Jenkins was stunned by a whitewash against Rufus Rozelaar.
And two matches in the Conference League were significant in more ways than one.
11-9 wins for Caroline Boulton and John Curran at the Beaufort Arms and the casino, respectively against Andrew Gay and Mary French give the league table a little more balance.
But the matches ensured that the threshold for a new Bristol Backgammon initiative was breached.
All five players signed up for the competition so far have now registered at least two results, which has triggered a £25 addition to the prize pot.
In the main event it was Alex Hodge who came through to win, building on his outstanding string of results this year.
Victories over Ian Hedges, Tony Walters, Stephen and Rufus gave him the spoils, and also ensured that there will be no Winner Takes All pool rollover to the March tournament.
Rufus had reached the final via victories over Steffen Nowak, Ian Tarr and Cynthia.
Jason Champion won the consolation flight, beating Andy Boysan, Daniel Eldridge and, in the final, Derek Clew.
Alex and Jason now jointly lead the OGP table, but the slightly worrying scenario in the IGP is that no intermediates have yet contested a monthly grand prix tournament this year.
09/02/17: Honours even for Stuart and Jason
The Prince of Wales, Gloucester Road, was the venue for a Premier One double header yesterday evening.
And honours were even as Stuart Mann and Jason Champion each won a match emphatically.
It was 11-0 to Stuart and 11-2 to Jason, results which move Stuart into pole position.
08/02/17: Cecilia kicks off with a win
Having almost played one whole top flight match, tantalisingly adjourned at 10-9 post-Crawford, Cecilia Sparke finally registered her first league result of the season tonight at the Cornubia.
Her 11-5 victory over Steffen Nowak moves her off the bottom of the Premier One league table.
07/02/17: Fourteen in Monday action
There were fourteen players in action on Monday, including twelve at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom eleven contested the fifth phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of 3-point round robins.
In the leagues, there were wins for Drew Caudwell, narrowly over Mandy Macdonald at the Windmill in Premier Two Red, and Carwyn Jenkins, over John Chester at the club in Premier Three.
Making her Bristol Backgammon debut in the round robins was Leonie Laws, a renowned local musician.
The group of six players saw a three way split for the pot between Simonetta Herrera, Carwyn and Stephen Little, while the five player group was won outright by Jim Green.
The absent Alex Hodge still leads the SGP table, but his lead has been cut to 28 points.
Mary French, another absentee on the night, still heads the race to be the competition's leading intermediate, while Mathew Nicholls leads the 3-point round robin section of John Curran's intermediate sponsorship.
05/02/17: Andrew close to debut win
Andrew Gay made his Bristol Backgammon debut today at the Beaufort Arms, Clifton.
And his Conference League match against Mathew Nicholls ended in the narrowest of defeats.
03/02/17: Alex consolidates Red Division lead
Alex Hodge visited Mandy Macdonald at the Windmill on Friday and came away with an 11-6 victory.
The win puts him three points clear at the top of Premier Two Red.
03/02/17: Daniel and Ian take Speedgammon honours
There were twenty players in action on Thursday, including eighteen at the Rainbow Casino, of whom twelve contested the first of the year's seven Speedgammon Grand Prix evenings.
Eight league matches were completed and two more were adjourned.
Paul Watts scored his first Premier One victory of the season at the expense of Adam Sinclair.
In Premier Two Blue Chris Rogers and Ian Hedges maintained their fierce pace by scoring doubles over Cynthia Roberts and Steve Morris respectively.
The pair jointly lead the division with seven wins out of eight and identical differences.
A Red Division double header saw honours even between Fred North and Richard Owsley.
And the Conference League provided Bristol Backgammon with another new venue, Chums Bar in Chandos Road.
It was here that Mathew Nicholls regained the league lead with a win against Mary French.
The Speedgammon round robins consisted of two groups of six players, and each saw one player making a clean sweep.
Daniel Eldridge and Ian Tarr are thus the first leaders in the SGGP table.
01/02/17: Eight in Tuesday league action
Six league matches were played on Tuesday.
In Premier One Gary Plant visited Stuart Mann for a double header at the Bridge Inn, Yatton, but came away empty handed.
Andy Boysan met Paul Watts at the Pump House, and won 11-8.
The Ram, Widcombe, was the venue for a Premier Two Blue double header, where Ian Hedges got the better of Andrew Cobb to edge ahead of Chris Rogers at the top.
And Caroline Boulton made a winning Bristol Backgammon debut at the Beaufort Arms, Clifton, defeating Mathew Nicholls in the Conference.
31/01/17: Ian wins Monday Tric Trac
There were fifteen players in action on Monday at the Bristol County Sports Club, including the eleven who contested the fourth phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a Tric Trac Tourno.
Five league matches were completed.
In the top flight Ed Turner edged home 11-10 against Simon Hughes.
And John Chester and George Georgiou came out on top of Premier Three double headers against Cliff Blofield and Carwyn Jenkins respectively.
Ian Tarr took the honours in the Tric Trac Tourno, just ahead of Chris Hughes, Ismail Yilmaz and Alex Hodge.
Alex now holds a 58 points SGP lead over second placed Ian, while third placed Mary French is 55 points ahead in the race to be the competition's leading intermediate, and leads two categories of John Curran's intermediate sponsorship, having won the incomplete 3-point round robin from last week, where John Curran lost the outstanding match to George.
28/01/17: Chris wins Saturday event
There were fifteen players in action on Saturday, including the thirteen at the Rainbow Casino who contested the first of the year's weekend one-dayers.
There were three players making their domestic Bristol Backgammon debuts -- Max Devlin (son of George), and Worcester's Jones brothers, Garry and Sean.
Chris Rogers won the event, defeating George Devlin, Chris Hughes, Alex Hodge and, in the final, Cynthia Roberts.
Cynthia had received a bye, before victories over Sean Jones and Tim Line.
George Georgiou won the consolation flight, beating George Devlin, Ian Tarr and Simonetta Herrera.
In action at the Wellington were Gary Plant and Adam Sinclair, who left with honours even after their Premier One double header after providing pre-match entertainment for Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town supporters.
On Friday there was most of a Premier Two Red double header, when Drew Caudwell visited Simonetta.
Simonetta won the opener 11-5, but the second had to be adjourned with her leading 9-7.
27/01/17: Cynthia takes Handicap Trophy lead
There were just twelve players in action on Thursday at the Rainbow Casino, including the nine who contested the first of the year's eight Handicap Trophy tournaments.
Two league double headers were also played.
In Premier One Steffen Nowak scored a brace of 11-7 wins over Adam Sinclair, while in Premier Two Blue Chris Rogers suffered his first defeat of the season.
Chris beat Steve Morris 11-2, but then fell to defeat by the same score in the return.
In the advertised event Cynthia Roberts -- the highest handicapped player at just two -- made light of being one of just two players not to receive a bye when she won the main flight, defeating Ian Tarr, Simonetta Herrera, Tim Line and Richard Owsley in the process.
Richard had made the final via victories over Nick Barham and Steve.
Alex Hodge won the consolation flight by defeating Ian and Nick.
Cynthia is thus the early Handicap Trophy leader, while Alex holds the lead in the Side Pool Grand Prix.
25/01/17: Ed and Gary do battle at the Wellington
Gary Plant and Ed Turner met at the Wellington this evening for a Premier One double header, and after two closely fought matches honours were almost even.
Ed started the ball rolling with an 11-9 win, but Gary struck back to win the return 11-8.
25/01/17: Conference up and running
The seventeenth season of our feeder league, the Bristol Conference, finally kicked off at the Bristol County Sports Club this afternoon.
And Mathew Nicholls defeated John Curran to become the year's first leader of the competition.
25/01/17: Spoils shared at the Star and Dove
Stuart Mann and Steffen Nowak began their 2017 Premier One campaigns at the Star and Dove yesterday evening.
And they scored one victory apiece -- Stuart winning the first match 11-5, Steffen returning the favour with an 11-9 victory.
24/01/17: Rufus opens Premier Three account
The Ropewalk, Bedminster, was the scene of a Premier Three match this afternoon, making it the first time in almost ten years that it has hosted Bristol Backgammon action.
And Rufus Rozelaar edged home 11-10 against John Chester to score his first Premier League win.
24/01/17: Sixteen in Monday action
There were sixteen players in action on Monday, including fourteen at the Bristol County Sports Club, of whom eleven contested the third phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of 3-point round robins.
There was league action aplenty.
At the Rainbow Casino Nick Barham extended his Premier One lead by inflicting an 11-6 defeat on Jason Champion, who was returnng to top flight action for the first time since 2006.
Back at the club, Pearl Foster scored the narrowest of Premier Two Blue wins over Stephen Little, while in the parallel Red Division Drew Caudwell and Ismail Yilmaz were sharing the spoils of a double header.
In Premier Three George Georgiou continued to set a break-neck pace with a brace of wins over Tom Chapman, having also defeated Daniel Eldridge the previous day at the casino.
He has started his league career with five straight victories.
In the round robins the six player group ended in a four way tie, while the five player group is not yet over, George having left without realising he had a match against John Curran to play.
This omission will hopefully be dealt with next Monday, John needing a win to share the prize money with Mary French.
Alex Hodge, one of the four joint winners of the first group, now holds a 52 points SGP lead over second placed Pearl.
Mary is the front runner in the race to become the competition's leading intermediate, and also leads the 3-point robin secion of John Curran's intermediate sponsorship.
22/01/17: Friday league wins for Chris and Alex
Two Premier Two matches were played on Friday.
The Hen and Chicken was the venue for a return match between Tim Line and Chris Rogers, and again Chris was the victor, building on his impressive start to the Blue Division campaign.
And Alex Hodge played host to Ian Tarr in the Red Division -- a match which came to an abrupt end in Alex's favour with an eight cube finale.
19/01/17: Alex wins GP30 event
There were twenty-one players in action on Thursday, nineteen of them at the Rainbow Casino, where twelve contested the first of the year's six GP30 tournaments.
Eleven league matches were completed.
In Premier One Andy Boysan played host to Simon Hughes and inflicted a pair of 11-3 defeats on him.
Earlier, in Premier Two Red Mandy Macdonald visited Simonetta Herrera and suffered a 7-11 defeat.
From there Mandy went on to the casino, where she shared ths spoils of a double header with Richard Owsley.
Fred North was that division's other winner, edging home 11-9 against Ismail Yilmaz.
And Chris Rogers made his Bristol league debut, rattling off three Premier Two Blue victories -- two against Stephen Little, one against Tim Line.
Ian Hedges suffered mixed fortunes in two close matches, losing to Peter Thistlewood and defeating Mike Smith.
In the tournament Chris almost made it a clean sweep of victories, but succumbed in the main final to Alex Hodge after wins over Stephen Little (again) and Steve Morris.
Alex had fought his way through the long half of the draw, getting past Cynthia Roberts, Jason Champion and Simonetta.
Ian Tarr won the consolation flight, beating Nick Barham and Drew Caudwell.
Alex takes a handy 50 points lead in the GP30 table.
18/01/17: Nick top after brace of victories
Andy Boysan played host to Nick Barham in Clifton yesterday for a Premier One double header.
And Nick came away with two wins to move to the top of the league table at Adam Sinclair's expense.
17/01/17: Fifteen in Monday action at the Bristol County Sports Club
There were fifteen players in action at the Bristol County Sports Club on Monday, including the fourteen who contested the second phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of DMP Tournos.
One league match was played -- Neil Young defeating Ismail Yilmaz 11-6 in Premier Two Red.
In the DMP Tournos, Alex Hodge scored a clean sweep in one of the seven player groups, while Stephen Little did enough to take the other outright.
Alex leads the SGP table, holding a 38 points lead over second placed Roland Herrera, while Jim Green takes over the lead in the race to be the the competition's leading intermediate, and also leads the DMP section of John Curran's intermediate sponsorship.
16/01/17: George's league debut is a good one
George Georgiou and Rufus Rozelaar met up at the Rainbow Casino on Sunday for a Premier Three double header.
And George's first taste of league action was a sweet one, as he scored 11-6 and 11-7 victories to lead the embryonic Premier Three table.
14/01/17: Adam and Nick share top flight spoils
Nick Barham and Adam Sinclair returned to the Rainbow Casino today to fight out a Premier One double header.
Adam shaded the first match 11-10, but Nick struck back to take the return 11-7.
Adam extends his early season leadership, although in fairness it should be mentioned that only six matches have been played thus far and he has been involved in four of them.
13/01/17: Jason takes early OGP lead
There were eighteen players in action at the Rainbow Casino on Thursday, including the fourteen who contested the first of the year's twelve Monthly Grand Prix tournaments.
In league action before the tournament there were Premier Two Blue wins for Ian Hedges and Stephen Little, and a Premier Three victory for Tom Chapman.
The main event saw Jason Champion capitalise on a first round bye by defeating Steffen Nowak and Richard Owsley to reach the final.
In the other half of the draw Ian Tarr made it through at the expense of Adam Sinclair, Roland Herrera and Daniel Eldridge.
In the final Ian found himself 0-8 in arrears after two games before mounting a recovery to 7-10 post Crawford.
Jason closed out the next game, though, to become the year's first OGP leader.
Steffen won the consolation flight, defeating Rufus Rozelaar, Nick Barham and Adam.
The turnout of fourteen for the year's first monthly grand prix event was disappointing, espacially given the £130 Winner Takes All pool rollover.
And when non-WTA investors Richard and Daniel progressed well, hopes for a further rollover were high.
Their semi-final demises ended that, however.
Jason becomes the first player to stake a claim for a 2018 Bristol Masters place, although the small entry could still count against him.
10/01/17: Fifteen in Monday action at the Bristol County Sports Club
There were fifteen players in action at the Bristol County Sports Club on Monday, including the ten who contested the first phase of the Monday Club Spring Grand Prix -- a pair of 3-point round robins.
Five league matches were played, the highlight being a great top flight debut for Adam Sinclair, whose brace of victories over Simon Hughes have put him top of the embryonic Premier One league table.
In Premier Two Red Ismail Yilmaz began his season with an 11-4 win over Mandy Macdonald.
And Cliff Blofield shared the spoils of a Premier Three double header for the second successive day, this time against Tom Chapman.
The round robins both had an outright winner -- Roland Herrera and Alex Hodge taking the pots to share the initial SGP lead.
08/01/17: Honours even in first Premier Three session
The first two matches of the new Premier Three season took place at the Old Fish Market on Sunday.
The double header, featuring Cliff Blofield and Andy Brown, ended with honours virtually even.
Cliff's 11-1 was met with a 4-11 reverse.
08/01/17: Alex starts with a win
Alex Hodge has celebrated his return to league action with a win.
His Premier Two Red match with Simonetta Herrera at Kellaway Avenue yesterday ended 11-4 in his favour.
06/01/17: Rufus wins the year's first tournament
There were fifteen players in action at the Rainbow Casino on Thursday, including the fourteen who contested the first of the year's eight GP5 tournaments.
The one piece of pre-tournament action featured the first match of this year's Premier Two Blue campaign, where Ian Hedges defeated Peter Thistlewood 11-5.
In the main event Rufus Rozelaar took centre stage, becoming the year's first GP5 leader by winning the main flight, Mandy Macdonald, Stephen Little and Ian Tarr being his victims en route to the final, where he beat Andy Brown.
Andy had benefitted from a first round bye before wins over Daniel Eldridge and Richard Owsley.
Ian Hedges won the consolation flight with victories over Daniel, Roland Herrera and Adam Sinclair.
05/01/17: John admitted late to Premier Three
The resignation of Horst Stenzel from this year's Premier Three has had an unexpected sequel.
John Chester has offered to step in, and Director Ian Tarr has accepted him into the league on the basis that "the more the merrier" is a good maxim.
02/01/17: Ill health forces Horst's resignation
Horst Stenzel has regrettably been forced to resign from this year's Premier Three before a match has been played.
He has been a long time sufferer with emphysema, and over the festive period these symptoms have worsened to the extent that he has had to rethink certain aspects of his life.
He has thus decided to curtail his backgammon activities to the extent that taking part in the league this year will not be an option.
He hopes, however, to come along to Monday sessions where he has been a regular as and when his symptoms permit.
Horst is a very popular player, and the epitome of a true gentleman.
This writer feels sure that the whole Bristol Backgammon community would like to wish him the very best for the future.
Hopefully on some Mondays these wishes can be expressed on an individual basis.
News items from 2016 (second half)
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