Bit lost with the Team Picker Cup this year?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this year hasn’t been the easiest when it comes to who’s playing, who’s not playing and whether anyone has won the damn thing yet.
But don’t fret! We’re here to give you a brief rundown of the tournament so far, complete with mini reviews of the games which have been played!
TPC 2016 may be remembered for the number of games not to have been played, rather than actual games played, but we’ve witnessed some delights in the tournament’s fifth year. Once again we’ve since new challengers emerge, old favourites being toppled and we will be guaranteed a brand new champion – something of a tradition in the TPC.
So back in the summer when the days were longer and the midges were happily nipping our bronzed flesh in the hazy twilight, the opening game of the tournament pitted debutant Peter Jenkins against Michael ‘The Burglar” Van Birgelen. Although it was full of vigour and spirit, the game wasn’t the spectacle we were hoping for and Pete did enough to get through in second gear.
Next up William Collins hoped he could overcome Paul Smith and reach the TPC Final for a second time. However despite hooking himself up with the two Dans he succumbed to the resilient Dr. Smith, who seemed to ride the storm and take the victory. There’s a Lost in Space gag I can make here somewhere, but I can’t quite pull it off… (Danger Danger! Will Robinson)
Next up the reigning champ was in town and Mr Powell wasn’t ready to give up the crown (not to mention his mug which had obscenities written all over it after the last SLODBN). Andrew Long was tipped to do well in this tournament with his direct managerial style, but he wasn’t able to upset one of TTFE’s most reliable game-changers and Karl made it into the next round.
In the final last 16 match which was played the confident Chris Phillips brushed aside Rhys Morgan’s team in one of the lop-sided games in TPC history, winning 19-7 (the most one-sided TPC match which was recorded will come later). Chris has been on the end of a hammering in the past, most notably in the 2013 tournament losing to Gareth O’Neill, but he was right on top here against Rhys, who lost out in the picking and had a mountain to climb at the very start.
Joe Newbury, Kalyd Owen, Daniel Pato and Daniel Wakeham all progressed due to the Forced Forfeit role.
Chris Phillips continued his rich vein of form against Joe Newbury in the Quarter Finals, by once again picking well. Joe’s decision to opt for a strong defence proved to be his undoing as Chris had the firepower to overwhelm his opponent and see him enter the semi finals for the first time since that game against Big G mentioned earlier.
Peter Jenkins, Paul Smith and Daniel Pato all progressed due to the Forced Forfeit role.
So last week saw the first Semi Final of the 2016 and it was between the two organisers, Peter Jenkins and Chris Phillips. Until now Chris has cruised through the tournament, whilst Peter laboured in his opening match and received a bye into the semis. Both players lead from the centre, are vocal, respected, and place a lot of emphasis on the picking; this had the ingredients to be a right belter.
And in the end? Chris’ team lacked the balance across the field to stay in the game with a well-drilled, high-pressing team led by Pete. As Chris’ striker Dale played what seemed to be the marooned John Hartson role in an old Welsh team adopting a hopeful 4-5-1, Pete’s team, which had pace and cohesion, counter-attacked with glee and caused havoc for Chris’ defence. Although at half-time the score was only 7-2, Chris’ team continued to make silly errors and lost possession too easily and at critical moments, which cost them goal after goal. Pete may have lost the toss, but he won what really mattered – passage into his first TPC Final.
The next semi-final will be contested between Paul Smith and Daniel Pato, guaranteeing two new finalists and therefore a brand new winner of the title.