Tarrington Scramble ... or 'the monkey writes Shakespeare'.
Yes we do get around. A couple of weeks after the 2018 season finale in Portsmouth and the DBA circuit was off to Herefordshire and the first event of the 2019 calendar (yes, it runs from English Open to English Open) and Shows North was there.
Eventually. I had a little excursion courtesy of a truck on the M6 ... so I lost my bearings and my junction (and temporarily, a wing mirror). Thankfully no serious damage and after a short interlude, and a bit of wayward navigating, I was able to continue my journey - but not on the original schedule.
As I was half way there, with no other plan for the day - I decided to carry on. Host and Umpire Martin M offered to play my games till I arrived ... however, it would mean his substitute army ('Three Kingdoms Chinese') would be entered rather than the one in my car ... Early Imperial Roman.
You see, the format for Tarrington is a 'scramble', so you enter an army and play against it in the first round and with it in the last. In between, it is random and you play with other people's submissions. So 'Three Kingdoms Chinese' it was.
Martin had already won two games by the time I arrived, so had set up a winning position. What could possibly go wrong?
(my first game ... African Vandal vs Alemanni)
Well, quite possibly, a lot! In my first game I contrived not to win with an army of knights (African Vandal) against an army of Warband (Alemanni) ... Richard P managed to beat me into the lee of a favourable BUA and then tangle me up as I tried to get at him. And, as ever in such circumstances, the harder I tried to force the issue the worse it got.
So who would have thought that in the next game I could beat Sassanids with Picts? Well not me, that's for sure. The world turned upside down.
(Next: Picts vs Sassanid Persian)
I guess this should have been as tough as riding down warbands should have been easy. On the other hand, it is DBA (so anything might happen) and, also, I have a Pre Feudal Scottish army (which is not altogether different) which I have used frequently (at the English Open, even) so I did have some ideas. They worked. Well.
The next game had 'challenge' plastered all over it ... what turned out to be the event's most challenging army (lowest points scoring), Chimu (see below*), against one the the circuit's best players, Mark S, who regularly has my scalp hanging from his belt.
(Chimu vs Tarascans)
Mark had drawn, fairly appropriately, Tarascans, and I felt that that, at least, gave me some chance. And I had a plan - and again it worked. For a change I seemed better able to judge and work the flank opportunities than Mark!
So it all came down to using the Chinese, sight unseen, against Burmese. Now I always seem to lose games involving the Burmese - whether with them or against them. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the game. It had been a long day.
As I say, normally I make a mess of these games ... anything with elephants, really. But this time I got lucky. Indeed, that was my plan and tactic, summed up in a word. Take whatever shooting and combat opportunities were going, make the best of them and hope to get lucky! OK, I know you were expecting more from me than that but ...
Anyway, although I hadn't realised it, this game was also for the tournament ... and, courtesy of the head start Martin gave me, and me only messing up one of the remaining games, Myers/Steele topped the table at the end of the afternoon.
It remind me of that old saying that if you leave a monkey randomly bashing away at a typewriter for an infinite amount of time it will eventually and inevitably write the 'Complete Works of William Shakespeare'.
Well, I can be a bit of a monkey at times and have now played quite a few of these DBA events. I am nevertheless very proud of the achievement.
Of course, it was not 'unaided' so although I have been credited with the win outright, we have agreed to adjust the points for the UK League to reflect the fact that I didn't play all the games myself. Just in case, this time next year, it turns out to be an issue.
Exciting stuff, though. Results:
1: Phil Steele, Three Kingdom Chinese (15); 2: Mark Skelton, Aitolian League (13); 3 Arnaud Marmier Alemanni (13); 4: Richard Pulley, Sub-Roman British; 5: 10 Scott Russell, Burmese ... then, Tony Green, Aitolian LHG; Colin O'Shea, Chimu; Matthew Davison, Carolingian Frankish; Neil Mason, Tarascan; Martin Smith, Frisian; Mark Johnson, Sassanid Persian; Craig Allen, Galatian; Tim Rogers, Picts; Alan Davison, African Vandal.
I'll not shirk this one ... here's the winner getting his trophy, edited into a picture of the all the players taken while I was elsewhere ...
Indeed, we had lots of winners ...
In amongst that lot, we presented prizes for the UK DBA League that had concluded at Portsmouth with the English DBA Open ...
SOCIETY OF ANCIENTS UK DBA LEAGUE 2018
Here's the final standings ...
- Arnaud Marmier – 93 points (4 tournament wins)
- Martin Myers – 82 points (1 tournament win)
- Richard Pulley – 81 points (3 tournament wins)
- Colin O’Shea – 67 points (1 tournament win)
- Mark Skelton – 62 points (1 tournament win)
- Martin Smith – 61 points
- Mark Johnson – 56 points (2 tournament wins)
- Terry Ellis – 50 points
- Scott Russell – 49 points
- Oli Curant – 37 points
Then ... Phil Johnson – 35 points, Phil Steele – 35 points, William MacGillivray – 31 points (1 tournament win), Lindon Paxton – 31 points, Denis Grey – 31 points, Graham Fordham – 28 points, Simon Wilson – 27 points, Peter Ellis – 26 points, Matthew Bennett – 20 points, Andrew Wilkinson – 19 points, Tony Green – 18 points, Phil Barrington – 18 points, Chris Cale and Peter James – equal on 16 points, Steve Aspinall – 15 points ... a further 41 players took part.
Juniors (top 3) 1: Tamara Fordham; 2: Reece Bettison; 3: Jamie McManus
(here's our Junior winner, who couldn't make the Open, receiving her trophy later that week)
Army Performance at the Tarrington Scramble.
*1 Frisian, 2 Carolingian Frankish, 3 African Vandal, 4 Alamanni, 5 Picts, 6 Sub-Roman British, 7 Three Kingdom Chinese, 8 Tarascan, 9 Aitolian LHG, 10 Sassanid Persian, 11 Burmese, 12 Aitolian League, 13 Galatian, 14 Chimu