Team Hurricanes has won the 2023 Mindgames Scrabble Premier League Division A title while D’Warriors claimed the Division B title to gain promotion to the elite level.
Both teams’ status in both divisions were confirmed over the weekend at the Golfview Hotel, Lagos where the concluding 19 rounds of games on Matchday 4 and 5 were played.
Tekena Drones who led the six-team table going into the final weekend with former African champion Peter Moses as captain, suffered some setback as the rounds wore on.
They would surrendered their lead to the powerful force of the Hurricanes with team captain Cyril Umebiye, African champion Enoch Nwali, Olabiyi Olabode, Adeyemi Adeosun, Timilehin Doko, Wasiu Hassan and Lukeman Owolabi pulling points their way in the end.
Their players’ combined 138.5 wins would separate them from the rest after they were tied on 30 wins and 20 defeats with The Supremes (135) and Tekena Drones (134.5) trailing in second and third positions respectively.
Bulldozers and Phoenix came 4th and 5th while bottom-placed Wordcraft were relegated.
“It wasn’t an easy task especially coming from the back with 5 games down from Benin, we had to come from behind. It was God!,” stated Umebiye captain of Hurricanes who was a member of Team Blazers who won the inaugural season. He further revealed that “the magic for us was Timilehin Doko who has been kept away from the team by his school activities as a Pharmacy student in University of Lagos. It was a miracle for us indeed knowing the quality of our rivals. I have to just thank God ” he concluded with a smile as they went home with 1.5 million naira and a golden trophy.
His teammate Nwali won the Most Valuable Player in the division with 36 win with just 14 defeats and a massive 3626 cumulative points.
It was a different situation in Division B as D’Warriors ushered themselves into their dreamed reality at the top with two rounds of games to spare.
D’Warriors controlled the race right from the first weekend in Lagos, before guarding their position in Abuja, Benin and finished well in the final weekend in Lagos with a record of 37 team wins, 18 losses and 4,992 cumulative spread.
Sterling Bombers boosted their way to the second spot with 33 wins and 22 defeats same as Anagrammers but were separated by difference in players win while Striplings, FPC Titans, Aires, Bayelsa Virtuoso, Airpop Falcons, BSP Rangers, Great Achievers, Encore Flamingos and High Flyers complete the 12 team table respectively.
“I’m the happiest man on earth at the moment because this is our third attempt in the league, on our first try we came fourth, in our second season we came fifth and now we are winner. I’m very proud about it!”
“This season we took some management decisions and rejigged the team, we brought in players of like minds and remained disciplined. One of our key decisions which put us in good stead was in Benin, Edo State when we allowed our captain Qamar Adebowale to rest and it paid off. We spent more on the players by way of incentives, camping and encouraging them with bonuses once they do well at individual tournaments. I have to appreciate our co-owner Akeem Akanni and once again say congratulations to my wonderful team, our admirers and fans as well” he said.
In the Patrons Cup which is a side tournament to the MSPL, 2022 runner-up Anthony Odok took a step further this year to win the title.
At an elaborate Gala Night after the two-day event, deserving individuals including the founding fathers of scrabble in Nigeria Gen. Eburu Gold (retd) and Segun Adegbenro were rewarded and appreciated for their role in the development of the MSPL.
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