It was a fine relief for Cyril Umebiye over the weekend in Abeokuta after his victory at the Southwest Closed Scrabble Tourney re-confirmed his prowess in the game.
The former national captain had taken his eyes off the finicky mindgame for some periods but he now appeared to have gained momentum on returning from marital engagement.
He sustained sustained a healthy lead and showed what was to come as he maintained a 100 percent record of six wins in the first period of the 12-round tournament.
In the King of the Hill (KOTH) that followed after the 9th round, tournament top seed Hakeem Olaribigbe from Lagos state battled hard to live up to his ranking in the mist of fierce competition on Table 1 but, a twinkle turn of luck in the final round against Umebiye saw him dropped to the second position as he lost 331-456 with lesser cumulative points of 831 which was enough to keep Dipo Akanbi his teammate in third place after the trio ended the tournament with 10 wins and 2 defeats apiece.
“It’s been a while since I won a tournament, going to almost like 2 to 3years now. The terrain is tough in Nigeria even if it was a 10-man retreat, its always difficult to win. I just thank God for this title.
I’m dedicating this Southwest Closed Scrabble Tournament trophy to my Madam because her words are always challenging and encouraging me to win whenever I attend a tournament.”
“The level of competition was really, really very high especially with the tertiary students we have now in our mist as they now move up in rankings within a short time frame due to the time they have on their hands for preparations.”
“Their transition from the Opens to the intermediate and the Masters is mostly not more than a year or two. Mr Emmanuel Egbele, the South-West Zonal Coordinator has been amazing with the organisation; good playing hall, hotels, food and choosing Abeokuta for this year’s tournament made it possible for some of the players to see the city for the first time.”
In other categories, Tunde Saporu from Ogun State emerged as the best in the intermediate and fourth overall while Bukunmi Afolayan also from Ogun State picked the Best Female title.
Collins Okafor and Olabode Olabiyi won the Opens and Veterans categories respectively.
In a new turn in organised tournaments, players played a quiz game and won cash prizes.
Egbele who sits on the Nigeria Scrabble Federation board representing the zone, gave his assessments of the regional tournament.
“Preparations all started last year after the first edition in Ibadan,Oyo State. In all, I will say it went well and it lived up to expectations and we only hope it can only get better. The turnout was very impressive despite the fact that this is a regional tournament and also we have to turn down some entries due to late registration. We had close to 80 players in attendance.
This tournament will rub positively on the players who participated in this tournament ahead of the 2024 National Sports Festival as they will be representing their states at the Games.”
He gave special words to the Ogun State Scrabble Association (OSSA) led by Adekoyejo Adegbesan for being a good host.
Close to 80 players across states in the Zone featured at the one-day tournament held at the Conference Hotel.