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Scrabble on the Isle of Wight

The Island's Scrabble Clubs

The Island possesses two Scrabble Clubs, now known as Newport (Isle of Wight) Scrabble Club, and Ryde (Isle of Wight) Scrabble Club. As will be seen from the history, both Clubs, in their present form, sprang, originally, from the same source. Large numbers of players attend both Clubs, and both Clubs have had to find solutions to the same sorts of problems when deciding on their playing formats, so it should not be surprising that both are very similar. Both meet at 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start, the Ryde Club on a Monday evening, and the Newport Club on a Tuesday. Both play three games of Scrabble until 10pm. Both contain two main groups; an "A" group, playing "Matchplay" Scrabble using tournament rules taken from the ABSP, and a "B" group playing less competitive Scrabble for beginners, or simply for the more socially-minded.

In addition to its basic Club Championship between September of one year, and August of the next, based on every Tuesday’s results, the Newport Club runs an annual Knock-Out Tournament, within the Tuesday-night framework, which culminates in a Finals’ Night in the following September. The Knock-Out trophy was made by Bill Stock, the founder of Island Scrabble, and is the Island’s oldest trophy. On this evening, each year, the previous season’s trophies are also awarded. February has now become the month for a once-a-year one-day Tournament in honour of the memory of Bill Stock.

The Autumn sees the Island make its contribution to the national Scrabble scene, by organising the popular annual "Isle of Wight Open Matchplay", a weekend event run under the auspices of the ABSP. This event, which attracts players from all over the country - the World even! - has twice been won by Mark Nyman, the World Champion in 1993, and former Executive Producer of Channel 4’s "Countdown" television programme, and twice by the 1994 National Champion, Alan Saldanha, who was also the runner-up in Countdown’s "Supreme Championship". It has also, we should add, been won by three Islanders! The 2002 event was attended by 176 players.

Teams from both clubs take part in the Southern Counties’ League.

The Southern Counties' League

This is a nearly all-year-round competition for teams of 4 Scrabble players. It is probably the largest and best-established league in the country, and it covers the South-East, between Bournemouth and Canterbury, and as far North as Oxford. It is assumed that it is the better players who are the keenest, and the most-willing to travel, so that it has one First Division, with Second, and Third, "feeder" Divisions which are more regionally-based. Generally, there are 7, 8 or 9 teams in a division, and each team plays every other team once, during the year. Roughly half the fixtures involve travelling to the opposing team’s home. Fixtures are arranged home or away, by the League’s organiser, who endeavours to ensure that if one team travels to another, one year, then, the next year, the other team will repay the compliment. The home-team must provide tea for all, and this is taken to be as im