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This month I started doing brief writeups of our Flip Out league events, mostly for my own amusement but also the feeling that pinball commentary on competitive events was missing from our hobby. I've been posting them weekly in the Flip Out Facebook group, but thought I would try posting here also - I figure if even one or two people find it interesting then maybe it is worthwhile.
Weekly league recap - 25th Nov 2021
It was November league finals night at Flip Out with a wide open playoff spot battle on the menu – plenty of contenders could still make the top 8 with one strong performance to end the month.
The stoic Swede Thomas Evrenos had been laser-focused all week resolving to guarantee his playoff berth, and it was he who dominated proceedings in the weekly league to take 1st, showing his experience in the classics by top scoring on Fireball (39,960), and putting handy scores on Nine Ball (515,920), Harlem Globe Trotters (279,830) and Robot (1.67M).
Aw put in another quality showing in 2nd place and secured his spot in the final despite coming dead last on Harlem with a paltry 43,950 – Dirty Harry (430M) and Avatar (22M) helped to overcome this.
Simpson (115M – ACDC) and Hamill (359M – Dirty Harry) took joint 3rd, with Hamill somehow sneaking into the final outright by a few points and stunning the unfortunate Neil McRae (Joint 5th, ACDC 101M) who looked to have sown up his place in the final up until the very end of the evening. Also joint 5th was Robin Kemp, top scoring on Nine Ball with 938,690. His return to fitness brought with it a welcome return to form and a nice finish in the top end of the table.
Matt Vince put in another lackluster performance by his standards to take 7th – usually an ironclad fixture in the top 2 - this month however he would have to fight his way up the playoff ladder in order to challenge for the championship.
In 8th place came James McElhatton with an excellent set of games (Nineball – 665,620). With this he did enough to claim his first ever playoff spot in the league in only his 4th attempt. James has improved significantly each month, from 38th, to 22nd, to 15th and now to 7th – it looks likely he will be a playoff contender going forwards if he continues this trend.
In other news around the league, “Combo King” Anton Stewart somehow managed 5 amazing scores (including 2 top scores - Iron Man 68M, Walking Dead 236M) and 5 very poor scores (1 last place, 3 second last). It really was feast or famine for this talented player and he finished 14th to miss out on the playoffs which he will surely be disappointed with. Defending champ David Tucker also barely squeaked into the playoffs as he was almost undone by some of the classics which were below par for him.
A shout out to John Boffin with a monstrous 3.9 million top score on Robot. John is usually found battling Ben Leigh in the bottom half of the table but occasionally he can shock you with an astounding score (he once got 1.5 Billion on Road Show in the League).
The final 8 playoff qualifiers in seeding order were:
David Fowler qualified 4th but was unfortunately unable to attend finals night meaning James McElhatton took his playoff space.
November League Playoff commentary:
5th to 8th playoff (Nine Ball) – Matt Vince, Thomas Evrenos, David Tucker, James McElhatton.
Defending champion Tucker was not at all happy with this random game selection, whilst the other competitors appeared very comfortable, having achieved high scores on this game during league. Evrenos continued his excellent play, gracefully easing his way to a massive 443000 on the first ball completing the numbered drops twice and expertly using the central post three times to extend his ball time. Vince, going last was not at all phased and made great use of multiball to promptly beat Thomas's ball 1 score! Tucker was unable to get anything going, but McElhatton forced Evrenos to play his last ball with a brilliant third ball to reach 575000. Evrenos still had work to do but calmly navigated past the danger and it was he and Vince who moved on to the next round.
3rd to 6th playoff: BK 2000 (Vince, McRae, Simpson, Evrenos)
I don't have too many notes on this game, but a stand out moment was when Flintstones was initially randomly selected as the game – McRae had asked for anything but Flintstones or Cactus Canyon proving Sod's law clearly exists(!) Due to a malfunction however, BK2000 was selected as the replacement.
Matt Vince was locked in once more returning to form as winning time was nigh – his trademark calm and control under pressure and 4M proved too much and Evrenos posted a useful but not insurmountable 1.1M to set the target for 2nd place. Simpson and McRae could not overhaul him on ball 3 so again it was Vince and Evrenos who moved onto the final.
Final - 1st to 4th playoff: Black Rose (Vince, Aw, Hamill, Evrenos)
There was an audible groan from everyone except Nick Hamill when this game was selected. Evrenos started ball 1 again looking sharp with 8M and counting, but was screwed by a “safe” return from the central rail going straight down the middle instead of to the right flipper. Not much happened for Vince and Hamill and Aw was able to put up a useful 17M with his first ball. Ball 2 was uneventful at first other than Matt starting Millions mode and looking dangerous with 1M, 2M and 3M combination shots within seconds – but an unfortunate drain ended the mode. Aw then managed to play ball 2 for what seemed like 10 minutes, consistently hitting the centre shot and accurately firing the cannon to sink two ships. Aided by 2 Jackpots as well this was enough to top 100M after ball 2 and secure his first ever monthly league title (Final score 155M).
Matt Vince came 2nd with 29M, Thomas 3rd – 12M, and Nick was unlucky to come 4th with 2 house balls not helping matters.
Thanks to everyone who took part this month in the league – and thanks also to anyone who bothered to read this!