After participating in the Scenic City Crokinole Tournament on Saturday November 24th 2018 in Owen Sound, a few questions were bouncing around in my thought holder. The questions with the most bounce were how many unique or first time winners exist on the National Crokinole Association (NCA) Tour and how long does it generally takes before one’s first victory occurs? Also, who will be the next first time winner? These questions were triggered based on Andrew Hutchinson’s much deserved first victory on the Tour. Since then I have looked back on some tournament stats that I have compiled over the years, and came up with some answers.
1.There have been 29 unique winners in 125 events since the Tour started in 2008. That stated, every year the tour has seen at least one first time winner.
2.First wins have come anywhere from 1 to 29 events, according to the stats. There seems to be a good balance of players who have achieved their first victory in the 1–10, 11-20 and 20-29 events played range.
To analyze the player that triggered the bouncing, Andrew Hutchinson claimed his first victory competing in his 22nd event on Tour. When he joined the tour in 2015 he had just converted from a strictly cues player to a fingers player. He had great success in cues, and had grown fond of the game, but realized that the World Crokniole Championship was pretty much the only cues event around. For Andrew to play more crokinole, he had to switch to fingers. By playing cues at the highest level, Andrew had a step up on most newcomers to the game. He had a great understanding of shot selection and strategy. In his first competitive fingers tournament (fittingly enough in Owen Sound) he placed 9th and followed that up with a 2nd place finish in Hamilton. He became an instant threat and top contender. Now on everyone’s radar, Andrew placed 2nd in London proving that he was not a random take out, bounce off two posts, twenty, kind of player. He is the real deal. He rounded out the season with a 7th in St. Jacobs. In the 2016-17 Season, Andrew played in 6 tournaments with an average finish of 4.2. An incredible achievement for a 2nd year player. This season included three 5th place finishes, which led to a little inside joke in which several players would ask who made the top 4 and who was 6th? During the 2017-18 season Andrews finishing average slipped a little, but not deterred, he has found his form in 2018. He has only missed the top 4 once, (yes, a 5th place finish at Tavistock) and has found victory circle in Owen Sound.
Can Andrew win again? Yes. The real questions are when and how many times? With the 4th best average finishing position in Tour history (minimum 10 events) of 5.3, a passion for the game and now this huge confidence boost, “The Hutch” is a threat to win every event he enters.
Who else took around 20 events to claim their first victory on the NCA Tour? Andrew Hutchinson is in elite company with names like, Ab Leitch (19), Jon Conrad (19), Robert Bonnett (20), Jason Beierling (23), and Roy Campbell (27).
3. Based on the numbers and looking at players who are hunting for the elusive first win, Jeremy Tracey has the best overall average finish at 6.7 and so far this season has a 5.2 finishing average. Right behind him would be his son Reid. Reid has shown steady improvement and earned his first top 4 in Owen Sound. There are plenty of other notables and anyone can win at any given event, I have just been looking at the numbers.
With these questions answered, I feel both a little relief and more intrigue.