Brisbane Masters 2016 - That's a Wrap!

If you took part in this massive competition across the three days, you’re likely still recovering. With literally hundreds of games played, 68 competitors, and emotions on a tether, it’s not so surprising that players would be utterly exhausted - physically and emotionally.

 From left to right: Stuart Thornton (2nd place), Paul Jones (1st place), Jack Hutchinson (3rd place).    Photo by Matthew Venables Photography   .

From left to right: Stuart Thornton (2nd place), Paul Jones (1st place), Jack Hutchinson (3rd place). Photo by Matthew Venables Photography.

It’s been said before, but major tournaments such as these test the stamina, focus, and nerves as much, if not more, than a players skills alone. You may be able to pull out a good game, but can you pull out a good game consistently for hours on end, against equally gifted people, and keep your wits about you in high pressure situations for prolonged periods? It’s a tough ask, but it’s also one that can provide just as much reward as it takes to slog through. The highs and the lows of major pinball competition can become a rush, which is the reason why so many people keep coming back for more punishment!

These experiences are unique to these events, and if you are lucky enough to experience the finals - where spectators follow the remaining few competitors around from game to game, dragging chairs into prime viewing position - brings yet another level of pressure to pile on, and yet another level of rush for players. It really is the pinnacle of pinball as a sport.

 Paul watches on as Stuart steps up to the machine.   Photo by Matthew Venables Photography  .

Paul watches on as Stuart steps up to the machine. Photo by Matthew Venables Photography.

The Brisbane Masters started off with a format that was new for most in attendance - the Flip Frenzy side tournament. A little baffling at first, and perhaps a tad intimidating as a result. But once the format was running for a good half an hour people started to realise it wasn’t that confusing at all, and it was actually a hell of a lot of fun - it was a little bit like organised chaos! With two people being drawn to play a machine, if you lost you stayed at the machine, if you won you moved back to the virtual queue where you await your next opponent. Rarely were you waiting very long and after a few minutes you were back in the fray on your next game and with your next opponent. Whoever won the most games (meaning you could strategically be ‘throwing’ games to keep moving) was the ultimate winner of the event.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the Flip Frenzy format is that you get to meet so many people. As someone once said - it’s like speed dating for pinball!

The final finishing positions for the top three players for the Flip Frenzy are as below;

  • 1st - Hugh Dickson
  • 2nd - Matthew Venables
  • 3rd - Andrew Ferguson
 Jack watches on as Richard fights for a spot in the top 3. Nail (or shirt) biting stuff.   Photo by Matthew Venables Photography  .

Jack watches on as Richard fights for a spot in the top 3. Nail (or shirt) biting stuff. Photo by Matthew Venables Photography.

After the madness that was Flip Frenzy on Friday, Saturday and Sunday played host to the main event - the Brisbane Masters. Saturday was reserved for five qualifying rounds consisting of seeded four player matches across three different games. Then Sunday morning for a last sixth round of qualifying to determine who are the top twenty-four players moving on to the finals, which would take up the remainder of the day. Those twenty-four were as below;

  • 1st - Jason Lambert
  • 2nd - Jack Hutchinson
  • 2nd - Luke Marburg
  • 4th - Richard Rhodes
  • 4th - Adam Clarke
  • 6th - Corey Hamilton
  • 6th - Rob Singh
  • 6th - Matthew Venables
  • 9th - Chris Jennings
  • 9th - Grant Quinn
  • 9th - Greg Jones
  • 12th - Paul Jones
  • 12th - Matt Usher
  • 14th - Zack Foster
  • 14th - Russell Dagger
  • 14th - Stuart Thornton
  • 14th - Peter Watt
  • 14th - Chris Watt
  • 19th - Jasen Mouritsen
  • 19th - Travis Bishop
  • 19th - Brett Goodwin
  • 19th - Tim Chapman
  • 23rd - Luke French
  • 23rd - Daniel Figgis

Congratulations to the top twenty-four finalists for showing immense skill and stamina to break through, as well as those great players that just missed the cut - it really was an incredibly tough field.

 Tense finals action playoff for the number one spot. Here on Indiana Jones.   Photo by Matthew Venables Photography  .

Tense finals action playoff for the number one spot. Here on Indiana Jones. Photo by Matthew Venables Photography.

It was fantastic to see the skills on offer from plenty of new faces and others you don’t see in major competition regularly. In particular Chris Watt (Peter Watt’s son), Wal Dickie, Adam Clarke, Stuart Ryan, Stuart Thornton, and many more.

As you would no doubt be aware, Paul Jones managed the big win which makes it two from two at this particular venue (having won the Australian Championship Series held not so long ago). Paul and Stuart Thornton were to battle over a best of five games, and Paul taking the win on three to Stuart’s one, meaning the last game was not needed. Congratulations Paul!

 The tension is palpable.   Photo by Matthew Venables Photography  .

The tension is palpable. Photo by Matthew Venables Photography.

Below are the final finishing positions of the top eight players.

  • 1st - Paul Jones
  • 2nd - Stuart Thornton
  • 3rd - Jack Hutchinson
  • 4th - Richard Rhodes
  • 5th - Jason Lambert
  • 6th - Luke Marburg
  • 7th - Corey Hamilton
  • 8th - Chris Jennings

There will be many stories to come out of an event like this which will be discussed and analysed for years to come. With hundreds of games comes hundreds of ‘could have beens’, and hundreds of ‘what the f***s!'. But you can be sure that every person had the opportunity to experience the very highs and lows of what competitive play is all about, and the joys of experiencing it together. What were your favourite moments? Share with us in the comments below!

 And the playoff for 3rd place goes Jack's way. Congratulations Jack!   Photo by Matthew Venables Photography  .

And the playoff for 3rd place goes Jack's way. Congratulations Jack! Photo by Matthew Venables Photography.