Daniel Cranston made U.S. Subbuteo history this weekend in Michigan, winning both the national title and the league crown.
Flickers from nine states made it to the Grand Rapids area on August 4 through 6. The group featured six current and former Team USA World Cup members. Action began on Friday afternoon with the first batch of second-round American Subbuteo National League matches. The draw for the following day’s Open and Veteran nationals was held on Friday evening.
Due to a few last-minute withdrawals, the Open draw had to be redone. It produced a monster “group of death” from which Mike Tillman and Dario Passadore qualified for the semifinals where they faced an inspired Tim Tumminaro and the favorite Daniel Cranston, respectively.
The Veteran tournament then took center stage. Played in its usual knockout format, Erik Haefke, Peter Alegi, and Paul O’Donovan Rossa reached the semifinals along with in-form Passadore. The Veteran semis were dramatic. O’Donovan Rossa beat Passadore on shots [Watch here.]. Alegi edged out Haefke 4-3 after Erik’s potentially tying goal came an instant after the final buzzer! [Watch here.]
The Open semis were less tense. Cranston defeated Passadore 5-2 and Tillman beat Tumminaro 5-1. In the championship game, Cranston had to pull out all the blocks to stymie Tillman’s comeback . Thanks to a 3-2 win, Cranston claimed his third national title and his first since 2011.
The Veteran final went to sudden death extra time. Momentum seemed to be with Alegi after he drew level with less than 30 seconds left in regulation. But O’Donovan Rossa chipped the Grand Rapids TSC player in the first minute to win his first Veteran title. [Click here for full results.]
A traditional dinner out was a fine way to end the day, as the champions enjoyed a well-deserved celebratory drink from the trophies.
But we were not done yet.
Sunday morning players reconvened at the Rockford venue for the last seven rounds of ASNL matches and a 5-man WASPA Courtland Cup. At the end of an exhausting third day of play, Cranston completed his impressive league campaign with 19 wins and 1 draw for 58 points out of a possible 60. Tillman placed second with 45, and Alegi third with 42. [Click here for results.] Max Ambrosio won the Courtland Cup.
What a remarkable weekend of subbuteo table soccer. Paul Pate, Joe Legatz, and Peter Alegi worked overtime to make it happen. Grand Rapids TSC would like to thank everyone who made the long journey to Michigan, and especially Tim Tumminaro for his help with equipment and ASA President Dario Passadore for financial assistance and tournament management.
See you in Denver next year!