GTSA’s Malcolm Lees has become the Scottish National Champion for season 2019/20. He fought off the challenges of Tom Burns and Steve Bennett to secure the title. The third and final championship event took place in Letham on Sunday 19 January.
After two events Tom Burns led Malcolm Lees on goal difference but after three rounds of play in the third event Lees was now ahead, again on goal difference. As they started the final games Steve Bennett was also in a position to take the title. Bennett lined up against Lees, Burns against Andy Beskaby. To win Bennett needed to beat Lees and hope that Burns lost to Beskaby. Lees needed to beat Bennett and Burns needed to better Lees’ result. Everyone expected Bennett to defeat Lees, in which case Burns would only need a draw against Beskaby. Burns was definitely the favourite going into the final game.
Burns did get a draw against Beskaby, enough to put him ahead of Bennett. Burns went ahead but was pegged back. It was a close match and a fair result. It wasn’t a surprise when Lees took a first half lead against Bennett. He’d done that before. It’s just that he’d never kept that lead – ever. But today would be different. Bennett peppered the Lees goal with shots but could not make the breakthrough. Lees held on and the championship was his.
The second event of the National Championship took place in Letham on a cold Sunday 1st December. Steve Bennett returned to action, winning all four of his matches and moving straight up to third place in the National table. Tom Burns win over Malcolm Lees put him joint top of the table with Lees. Marco Bevilacqua surprised many with his third place finish on the day.
Fourteen players took part in this Scottish Circuit competition. The event was won by Gareth Christie who defeated Greg Dand on shots in the final. This consolidates Christie’s position at the top of the Scottish Championship leaderboard. Glasgow’s John Halpin finished third after a win over Tom Burns in the 3rd/4th place play-off. The final event will take place in Letham on Sunday 19th March. Players’ best three scores count towards the Championship.
Fourteen players took part in the third Scottish Circuit Event of the season. A group stage was followed by knock-out matches to determine a ranking order of players. despite the home venue only six Glasgow players took part. Tom Burns was best placed finishing fourth but four players, Barry Corr, John Halpin, Malcolm Lees and Fraser McKenzie were runners-up in their groups. The competition was a breakthrough for Fraser McKenzie who was happy with his eighth placed finish.
The final match was a repeat of the last circuit event with Gareth Christie and Steve Bennett fighting it out. Christie was again victorious although this time he had to score an extra-time golden goal to seal the win. Christie now leads the table where only two points separate the top three. With a player’s best three events counting Christie is strong favourite since he will surely better his seventh place in circuit 1.
The second Scottish Circuit Event took place in Arbroath on Sunday 15th November. Only two GTSA players made the journey north. Dave Gladman finished 6th and John Halpin 9th. The event also saw the return to Scotland from Canada of Dave JC Baxter.
The competition was won by Gareth Christie with Steve Bennett taking second. After two events Greg Dand remains in the lead.
The STFA Scottish Cup took place in the Jubilee Tavern, Burntisland on Sunday 9 August. Fourteen players took part in the competition which was won by Gareth Christie who defeated Malcolm Lees 2-0 in the final.
Five GTSA players travelled to the Fife town. For Willie Fleming it was a return to national competition after a gap of two years. Unfortunately he was drawn against Tom Burns in the first round. The new GTSA League Champion proved too strong and Fleming went down 2-0. Like Partick Thistle against Celtic the same day he claimed he was denied a penalty after a handball in the box. Barry Corr was also unlucky to play the eventual winner, Gareth Christie and he too lost, 3-0. John Halpin’s first round match was against Dave Baxter. Halpin failed to find any flow to his game and went down 2-0. Dave Gladman’s previous two matches with Martin Campbell had both been draws and it was Campbell who drew first blood in this game. But Gladman rallied and came back to get a convincing 4-1 win.
In the quarter-final Tom Burns faced John Halpin’s conqueror, Dave Baxter. After a 2-2 draw, Burns managed to get through on shots. Dave Gladman’s opponent was Andy Beskaby who had come through against Stuart Peacock. Gladman dominated possession allowing Beskaby very little of the ball but he could not score. In the ensuing shoot-out Gladman lost 2-1.
Tom Burns had high hopes of reaching the final but he could not find his best form against Malcolm Lees. Lees had gone to shots in the previous round against Greg Dand but here he won 3-1 so that he was the one to reach the final, not Burns.
Three Glasgow players entered the quarter-finals of the Plate. Willie Fleming back in a national competition had drawn Tom Burns in the first round and now, in the Plate, he had to play Barry Corr. The outcome was no better for Fleming and it was Corr who marched on to the semi-final. John Halpin, however, defeated Craig Thom 3-0 to also reach the semi where he secured a 1-0 victory over Martin Campbell and thus make the final. That final was to be an all Glasgow one as Barry Corr won his semi-final with Rob Conway. In the final Halpin scored first and led 1-0 at half-time but the match turned round in the second half as Corr netted twice.
GTSA would like to thank Martin Campbell for the organisation of a very enjoyable tournament.
The final Scottish Circuit Event took place in Abernethy on Saturday 14th March. The competition had been brought forward from the Sunday due to the Scottish League Cup Final between Celtic and Dundee United taking place that day. As it was, only 9 players attended the Saturday event. Steve Bennett had already been crowned Champion but it was Gareth Christie who emerged winner on the day. This was enough to gain him runner-up spot in the rankings and push Tom Burns into third place.
Tables ready in Abernethy
Players were drawn in three groups of three with Bennett, Christie and Burns seeded. Each won their group and they in turn entered a group to decide the winner. Christie won both his matches while Bennett edged out Tom Burns in a 9 goal thriller. Baver Bari made second place in his group, only losing 3-2 to Burns and defeating Dave Baxter 4-2. In the group of second placed players Bari lost out in a difficult group to Greg Dand and Malcolm Lees. John Halpin was drawn in a tough group with Steve Bennett and Malcolm Lees but performed well despite losing 4-1 to the former and 1-0 to the latter. In the group of thirds Halpin was victorious, winning the group on goal difference over Andy Beskaby and therefore achieving seventh overall.
In the Championship rankings therefore, Tom Burns was top Glasgow player in third spot, Baver Bari achieved fifth , Dave Gladman was seventh and John Halpin ninth.
Tom Burns and Baver Bari are the best placed GTSA players in the Scottish Championship
GTSA played host for this tournament at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew on Sunday 22nd February. This time Glasgow players made up 7 of the 17 competitors. Tom Burns once again reached the final, once again played Steve Bennett and once again lost, 4-0 being the losing margin. Burns won his qualifying group and then beat Englishman, Brian Daley 3-2 to make the final. Bennett with one event still to go, cannot be caught and therefore retains his championship. Burns is in a good position to finish runner-up. Next best for GTSA was Baver Bari. He won his group edging out Dave Gladman by virtue of having scored one more goal. Bari’s reward was a crack at Steve Bennett where Bari did score 2 goals but unfortunately conceded 6. Defeat then to Daley meant a 4th finish for Bari, an excellent performance.
Dave Gladman qualified for the 5th-8th place finals where he had a 1-0 victory over Malcolm Lees before succumbing 3-0 to Gareth Christie. Sixth place was Gladman’s best finish so far. Colin Berry and Ronnie McKenzie both finished 3rd in their groups. Berry had started well beating John Halpin 4-0 but then slumped to two 3-0 defeats to Gladman and Bari. McKenzie had lost by a single goal to both Tom Burns and Ben Staples in his group. The result was that Berry and McKenzie were drawn to play each other in the 9th-12th placings finals. Locked at 1-1 the game went to shots and it was Berry who was victorious. Berry was to finish 10th after finding Greg Dand just too strong. But for McKenzie it was another 1-1 draw and another defeat on shots, this time to Conor Bowden and he had to settle for 12th.
As already reported John Halpin lost 4-0 to Colin Berry in the all Glasgow group. His other two matches were closer but ended in single goal defeats. In the 13th-16th finals he lost to Dave Baxter but finally managed a victory when he overcame Craig Thom 2-0, thus finishing 15th. Unfortunately for Fraser McKenzie he was drawn in the ‘group of death’ with Gareth Christie, Greg Dand and Brian Daley. This meant he had the poorest 4th place finish (but by only one goal) and had to play off with Andy Beskaby who had finished 5th in the group of five. Beskaby won 2-0.
The second Scottish circuit event took place on Sunday 16th November at the Normandy Hotel in Renfrew. Disappointingly only 6 of the 16 participants were from the Glasgow club. Many thanks, therefore, are due to the travelling Tayside players. But all players enjoyed a fine day of competitive subbuteo. Steve Bennett was tournament winner defeating Tom Burns in the final by the narrow margin of 2-1. At the last event Burns had reached the semi-final only to lose to Gareth Christie. In a repeat of that semi, it was Burns who got the upper hand this time, scoring a golden goal to secure his final place.
It was also a good tournament for Barry Corr who defeated Greg Dand to reach the semi-final where he lost to Steve Bennett. Colin Day finished runner-up in his group but narrow defeats to Rob Conway and Andy Beskaby left him 8th overall. Dave Gladman found himself in what was undoubtedly the toughest qualifying group along with Greg Dand, Barry Corr and new boy Drew Orr. Gladman had to settle for third place after drawing with Corr and losing narrowly to Dand 1-0. Gladman was able to win his two play-off matches to finish 9th. John Halpin also finished 3rd in his group and won one of his play-offs to finish 11th. Fraser McKenzie found it difficult in his qualifying group but he went on to finish 13th after winning both his play-off matches. In the second match, against Martin Campbell he won on shots, scoring 4 out of 5 attempts.
The first event of the Scottish Circuit took place in Arbroath on Sunday 12th October. Glasgow took six players to the event including Baver Bari. Bari is still signed for Hot Club but will transfer to Glasgow once the FISTF dissolution of HCE is complete. The competition was won by Greg Dand who defeated Gareth Christie in the final match. It was not a great day for Glasgow players. Best was Tom Burns who won his group to reach the semi finals only to lose to Gareth Christie and then Steve Bennett and thus gain 4th spot. Dave Butler, after an absence of two years from national competitions, found himself in the ‘group of death’ with Gareth Christie and Greg Dand. Butler lost narrowly to both and finished 3rd in the group. He then, surprisingly, lost on shots to Rob Conway and had to settle for 8th position. Baver Bari and John Halpin were drawn in the same group and finished 4th and 5th, Bari having secured a 1-0 victory over Halpin. Dave Gladman and Martin Phee were in the same group as Tom Burns and they too finished 4th and 5th. Gladman, complaining of sticky pitches, could manage only 3 draws and a 2-0 defeat to Tom Burns. Gladman went on to defeat Baver Bari to finish 10th with Bari 11th. Martin Phee played John Halpin for 13th spot, with Phee winning 1-0.