After Birmingham’s embarrassing performance at the Cambridge Open tournament, we embarked upon some protracted soul-searching and forum-debating to see what we could do better. A common theme was that we didn’t play in teams enough; didn’t practice together; played as individuals for personal glory rather than collaboratively to win games.
We tried shuffling in more team games, as picked by seeding, so Black Stabbath would play the next three rated players, but it quickly became apparent that it wouldn’t really benefit anyone.
Eventually, we agreed to form three new teams, comprised of one ‘a-‘, one ‘b-‘ and one ‘c-level’ player. In theory it would create three roughly equal teams who could play against each other a few times at every meeting, driving standards relentlessly upwards.
We went to the Spotted Dog one night after polo to do deals and form teams. They were as much based on pragmatism and people’s lifestyles as ability, so the young students joined together to form Ill Pigs, the lefty/veggie/co-op types set aside their principles and recruited a sausage-obsessive to form Drill Collins, and the mortgage-paying professionals formed Scouting for Goals.
It’s looking like the first time any of these lineups will play at a tournament is at the London Open, potentially Birmingham’s first (and long overdue) three-team turnout. We may even persuade a few more people to form teams and make the journey to Hackney, who knows…
Black Stabbath isn’t dead yet, though – we’ll still occasionally use that name when we can’t get the numbers for our other teams.