The first round of the new InterClub season was held at Eastern Suburbs in cloudy but fine conditions. However, recent rain ensured that there was a spring in the step of the challenging ESP terrain. Eighty-four players participated, including four making their debut in this competition.
Also making its debut was a newly-developed match system for the preliminary rounds. Dubbed the ‘Swissish System’, it has a greater random element than the ‘Swiss system’, but it shares a key feature in that the match-ups in Rounds 2 and 3 are determined by whether teams have been winning or losing. The important difference between the two is that this system can be run more efficiently, without the long delays between games, and it is compatible with an untimed format. It’s also much more transparent for the participants.
A major benefit of the new system, compared to the random arrangement we had before, is that it greatly reduces the ‘luck of the draw’. Now, in the morning session, no-one will get three really easy games or three really tough opponents (unless they beat the first two). Everyone gets a fair go and every position has to be earned. It will also eliminate the possibility of multiple teams winning all their games, with some missing out on the honours. Most importantly, we will see more competitive games and a lot less mismatches. The inaugural run worked as intended and was well received by the players.
On the field, the new season started with certain similarities and some crucial differences to last season. Looking at the top two steps of the podium, the faces were the same but some of the uniforms have changed.
Taking home the gold medals were the new ESP trio of Vincent Bulone – his second in a row – and Ha & Van Nguyen, who had four podium finishes from five appearances last season. Finishing in second place was another new combo, from Club d’Adelaide, featuring Giselle Whiteaker, Jean-Luc Gonnet & Dominique Pierre. Last season, one or more of these three finished with a medal in every round but one. But at least there were some new faces on the third step. Taking the bronze were Iliano Puccini, Jonathan Giddings & Gary Hosie from Novar Gardens, with Iliano and Gary winning their first Interclub medals.
Speaking of medals, the first round is also the traditional time to present medals to the most successful players from the previous InterClub season. These awards are based on championship points earned. If you’ve read this far, some of the names may look familiar. The winners for the 2022/23 season were:
Best Overall: Giselle Whiteaker (Novar Gardens)
Best Male: Jean-Luc Gonnet (Novar Gardens) and Van Nguyen (Prospect)
Best New Player: Ha Nguyen (Prospect)
Best Veteran: Bruce Lucas (Novar Gardens) and Deb Rodda (ESP)
Congratulations to all.
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