Report by Brugge’s team captain, Michel Lamote.
Last Monday, 30 April, the 4 Cubes 2012 competition entered the second stage. Leuven, with a win over Brussels under their belt, delegated 4 players to Brugge in an attempt to make a strong bid for victory. For Brugge, ruffled after a surprising home loss against Hasselt, only a convincing win was good enough. A second consecutive loss would surely mean the end of all Four Cubes dreams.
Here is how it went. The Brugge team:
- Michel Lamote
- Paul van Dijke
- Guy Van Middelem
The Leuven team:
- Patrick De Wilde
- Johan Segers
- Marc Van Haverbeke
- Toon Van Herreweghen
First Round :
Michel Lamote – Toon Van Herreweghen 1-0
Guy Van Middelem – Marc Van Haverbeke 1-0
Paul van Dijke – Patrick De Wilde 0-1
Michel was able to brush off Toon in no time : 7-0 in less than half an hour. Leading 4-0 and with the cube on his side of the board on 2, Michel managed to secure a match winning gammon with 66 and a last roll 44, leaving Toon stunned.
Guy had no easy time against Marc who fought hard but could not turn the match around.
All eyes now focused on the match between Paul and Patrick. Patrick took what looked to be a decisive lead (5-1), but Paul refused to lie down. At 3-away 2-away some uncertainty seemed to creep into Paul’s play as he seemed to miss a couple of strong doubling opportunities and played his checkers in a slightly anxious way. In the end, both players ended up with 2 men on their deuce point and Patrick doubled. Paul made a world class decision in passing this treacherous cube. It is indeed a schoolbook Money take, but a monstrous quadruple blunder take at this score. Paul then won the 3-away 1-away Crawford game and both players started the DMP game with less than 30 seconds on the clock. Paul had the best of the opening and emerged a 85% favourite : all he had to do was survive an indirect shot (7s). Patrick ruined it for him by rolling a crushing 43. Paul immediately entered on Patrick’s 5-point board, but had an awkward 1 to play. A slight hesitation in time trouble can of course be fatal : Paul pondered too long and lost on time. A crucial win for Leuven, who put all the pressure back on Brugge, who lead 2-1 after Round One.
Second Round :
Michel – Johan 1-0
Guy – Toon 1-0
Paul – Marc 1-0
Round Two produced very concentrated match play from all players involved. Guy was the first to grab another vital point for Brugge (he beat Toon) and moments later Paul got his nose over the line against Marc. Marc, trailing 4-away 2-away, was huge favourite to take the match to DMP, but Paul managed to come up with a last-roll double to secure the match. Bad luck for Marc at a crucial moment.
Michel could make the Third Round into a formality if he could beat Johan. Good dice gave him an early 4-0 lead, but he still had to struggle till the end to take the point. These 3 victories sealed the win for Brugge : they lead 5-1.
Third Round :
Michel – Patrick 0-1
Guy – Johan 1-0
Paul – Toon 1-0
Final score : 7-2.
With this win, Brugge is back in contention. All eyes are now focused on the next Four Cubes encounter : on Friday 11 May, at 8 PM, the holders Ghent receive Brussels at the Sandeman Club in Gent…