Friday 9th November: Noda Goes Top & Breaks The Year’s High

Noda does not manage his game by standing on the sidelines sheltering from inclement weather conditions beneath a massive umbrella and keeping himself warm with a paper cup of coffee. Despite that fact that Noda has not always had its eye on the ball and that his defence was a bit dodgy and that his keeper let in a few goals earlier in the year, Noda has hit winning form just at the right moment, i.e. a few minutes before the final whistle. His team’s demolition of Ray City on their previous outing took Noda to within a few points of the top spot. This week Noda was once again in full-on winning mode, bringing all his guile to the game, and without his accustomed full compliment of refreshments while in the dugout.

The other pretender to the crown, David, started off brightly – until he was floored in a moment of distraction (was that Tim’s fault? I forget!) when he went Riichi on a Chiitoi hand but plucked the wrong Riichi-tile from the hand and so was left with no hand at all! That now puts his Chombo record for the year into double figures…

Two games later he added to his abysmal cock-up record by failing to complete a hand and so was left with his Yakitori on the table.

With David’s campaign faltering he was relying on Jaime and Kenyon to peg back the Noda charge, but they were consumed with their own problems, with Jaime plunging to -82 after just two games. Nevertheless, Jaime, who is something like the Newcastle or Tottenham Hotspurs of the Mahjong league, always up and down, began to recover from disaster and after five games he was more or less back where he had started.

With Hide’s arrival David took some time out to chat to Mama-san about the way things were in the mahjong parlours of yore. Apparently, the early tables used to dispense the walls out of the side, pushing them out like a child pushing a toy train from the guards wagon at the back. That must have been productive of many a disaster. Mama was rather disapproving of the method the old Akadenwa Mama (a Japanese voluptuary of blessed memory) used to clean the guts of the table. Whenever a table began to malfunction Akadenwa Mama would grab a can of compressed air and blast the various moving parts of the table to get rid of the accumulated detritus. I have to say that it was remarkably effective, but Kodama Mama prefers to use a whole range of customised chopsticks and wooden yakitori skewers.

The break seemed to do David’s game a lot of good as he came back and won the sixth game with enough points to enable him to finish in the black. Hide, in the meantime, provided more fodder for the unquenchable maw of Noda so that by the time he left, Noda was on +115 which put him firmly at the top of the table and in new uncharted territory with a year’s high of +485 points.

At the other end of the table, Hide sank below Ray and set a new 2007 lowest points record.

All the variation was in the middle of the table. We agreed to play one more game, and guess what – Kenyon won it!! Kenyon had earlier shown signs of reviving when Jaime revived, but he sank again, not a Ray-like defenestration into the dunghill, but more of a gradual sinking into the mire. But mire is good for growth, and plant a seed long enough in it and it will flourish. Thus we have the case, now thoroughly documented that semen homo-computerius doth flourish at the end of a long germination in the muck.

Talking of the muck, that was what Jaime found himself back in as a result of playing “the last game” (our results would be much better if we could avoid ever playing a last game). He was the chief sufferer of the ill-effects of the Kenyon Revival and ended up with his Yakitori on the table and back in the red again on the Grand Accumulated Points Chart. Actually, now I come to think of it, Jaime’s game is currently more reminiscent of Watford’s or Leicester’s, teams that bounce between promotiion to the Premiership and relegation to the Championship…

That reminds me, there were quite a few cases of people going out on the first tile tonight. That was what kept David’s game in the black. However, Jaime managed to complete what he says is his first ever successful “Double Riichi” in the first game of the evening. Of course, it only came about because he said to Tim, “It never works when I go Double Riichi”…

Noda -10, +110, +9, –, +25, -19, — = +115
David +46,* -28, -44,** -7, –, +46, -3 = +10
Kenyon -24, -22, +5, -12, -25, 0, +49 = -29
Jaime -12, -60, +30, +46, +2, –, -48** = -42
Hide –, –, –, -27, -2, -27, +2 = -54

* Chombo