Thursday, April 19, 2012

14th - 15th April, Witney

Society of Ancients Doubles Masters 2012

Again a one-off event, this years Doubles Masters went to the Oxfordshire market town of Witney ... very smart, in these days where the local MP is Prime Minister of the country (it was a little less polished in the early 60's when I was a village boy just down the road).   

There are very few vacant units in the prosperous town centre and more antique shops than pound shops ...

As last year, the masters was contested in Field of Glory and DBMM, and some spare space was allocated to an associated FoG-R event.   The DBMM was 500 points, themed 500BC to 476ADThe FoG was 900 points themed 450BC to 200BC.

10 FoG teams and 8 DBMM teams played for the Alexander trophy (in addition to which there was a FoG-R event) ... 34 Ancients players (after the host team had to split owing to a 'no show')

(our Parthian/Median 900 point FoG army)

Chris and I had struggled to find a suitable (easy to use and reasonably authentic) army within the highly restrictive period theme - in the end we realised that we could put out a reasonably attractive Parthian army which complied with the time thread.

 (Field of Glory)

We had a very pleasant weekend - although it started fairly slowly with a bye in the first round (despite the organisers' best efforts to get an evened-up entry) .  Our second game was against a Warring States Han Chinese army, and on Sunday morning we faced eventual winners Nik and Dave who also had Parthians.

(Parthian heavy metal ... in round 3 we came up against this lot, ably played by Nik and Dave ...)

It isn't unusual for we four to meet up on a Sunday morning - indeed we faced Nik with the same army but a different partner at Burton with out Libyans (we won that one) -  but over the years they have had the edge on us ... they often go on to do well in the final placing and we generally achieve an undemonstrative mid-table.

This event was not unusual and after what felt like a fairly even game in which we one or two weaknesses the attrition points escalated in the last couple of turns (our army broke on the last phase of the last turn).

(several teams conspired to ensure this wasn't a 'pikefest')

The final game was no more than a skirmish against a Seleucid which put all its eggs into a flank march that took all game to turn up, meanwhile packed itself in behind a wall of bronze which we could not dent.

The presence of an IC meant our shooting never built into decisive collapses, and our reserve prefered to wait for the flankers rather than impale itself on a wall of undisrupted pikes.

We took no casualties and in so far as there was a result it was decided by a unit of stragglers lost on the march.

(some games were dominated by the infantry however)

David Fairhurst presented the prizes.  We had a small membership stand at the event and took some renewals - and, no Committee members being present, I was pleased thanked the organisers on behalf of the Society (as I would have done in former times).

Lawrence Greaves and Oren Taylor won the DBMM, and Dave Handley and Nik Sharp the FoG. With the higher overall score, Greaves and Taylor were made the new
Society of Ancients Doubles Champions

(DBMM winners Greaves and Taylor - right - alongside FoG winners Sharp and Handley - with the higher overall score, Greaves and Taylor were awarded the Alexander trophy)

There is talk of changes to the formula here - possibly pairing armies in the original Doubles way ... variations to the points or table arrangement etc.   

Hopefully, the event will become 'open' again (or at least inclusive, like say Burton or Usk), rather than the recent trend towards highly restrictive periods which may not be of interest to members and enthusiasts.

Still, a lovely venue in a pretty town, good company plus two good games and a stalemate.  And the Alexander trophy goes to new winners.

Many thanks to the BHGS and Oxford club for organising and hosting the 2012 Doubles Masters.  I'm looking forward to next year - and if you have any great ideas for enhancing and improving the event, please feel free to air them (the forum is open) ...

Full scores and finishing positions can be found on the BHGS website in due course.

The Society of Ancients will be at Salute on saturday 21st April.

See you there, perhaps ..

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