Date: 31st June - 2nd July, 2023 Location: White Horse Inn, 1 Market Street, Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, CB24 4QG, UK It’s the end of June, so that means we’re back in the small Cambridgeshire village of Swavesey for the annual Pinball Weekend. As is customary, the venue is the White Horse Inn on the village square. The host for the Swavesey Pinball Weekend – the White Horse Inn The event is organised by local resident, Mark Squires, also known as the Dr. Pinball for the machine repairs and restorations he undertakes at his Pinball Surgery business, as well as for his appearances on the TV series Salvage Hunters: The Restorers. This is certainly a small show, but intentionally so. The social aspect is of catching up with old friends is probably just as important as the pinball playing, although combining the two over a pint makes for a very relaxed vibe right across the show’s three days. The main bar at the White Horse Inn There’s also a large beer garden and covered seating area for those enjoying a rest between all the pinball action and for eating meals from the inn’s kitchen. The White Horse Inn’s beer garden Phil, Aid and Mark in the beer garden The other key aspect of the long weekend is raising money for the show’s nominated charity through a mix of direct donations and buying tickets for the famed raffle. This year the beneficiary was UKPIPS, the charity for raising awareness of, and improving the lives of those suffering with, Primary Immune Deficiency. Details of the show’s chosen charity, UKPIPS Posters featuring a QR code for donations were located throughout the building. One of several posters featuring a QR code for online donations The pinball machines are set up in the inn’s tap room at the back of the building with the bulk of the games arriving throughout Friday. The long row of pinballs is set up Apart for two which are normal residents of the tap room, all the machines are brought to the show by private collectors. Nobody takes any compensation for their time or expense in transporting their games to Swavesey, while nearly everyone also contributes cash and/or items to the overflowing table of prizes for the traditional charity raffle. Keith sets up his Devil Riders The Batman 66 from Pinball Heaven arrives The thirteen machines at this year’s event were: Future World from Mark SquiresOperation Thunder from Steve LockwoodHook from Nick ClarkLocomotion from Claire and David BoweryBatman from Phil DixonGodzilla Pro from Wayne JohnsTotal Nuclear Annihilation from Thomas CalvertFish Tales from Mark SquiresRoad Kings from Mark SquiresDevil Riders from Keith WithnallFoo Fighters Premium from Neil McRaeBatman 66 Premium from Pinball HeavenRadical! from Phil Docker Enjoying the games at the White Horse Inn Batman 66 and Radical! are both always popular games The Foo Fighter Premium had only recently arrived in the country With everyone in the back playing pinball, the front of the pub was pretty quiet. The front bar area Throughout the weekend, guests would add more and more items to the table of prizes for the raffle, or to the overflow box below. Meanwhile, Diane Bush and Vin Jauhal would always be ready to sell everyone plenty of raffle tickets at £5 for a strip of 5 tickets, with the draw taking place on Sunday afternoon. Prizes for Sunday’s raffle draw Many more raffle prizes The raffle is one traditional event at the Swavesey Pinball Weekend, but there are several others. One is the Saturday evening group dinner, held in the inn’s dining room. With no other pubs or restaurants in the village, it’s a popular option for show attendees in need of sustenance. Who ordered the chicken? As usual, once all the dining had ended, a friendly poker game took place in the same area. There was only time for a single game before the inn closed for the night around midnight. On Sunday, eating a meal from the restaurant was swapped to burgers from a barbecue, which was set up in the beer garden. Sunday’s lunchtime barbecue Having a more casual barbecue rather than formal dining fitted in better with another of the traditional Swavesey event, Sunday’s UK Pinball Cup tournament run by Martin Ayub. Last year’s UK Pinball Cup winner, Nick Hamill, gets some practice in More conventional practice in the tap room The UK Pinball Cup is deliberately designed to be as inclusive and unpressurised as possible. It is not an IFPA-sanctioned event in order to maximise both the fun and charitable elements, with competitors encouraged to either donate through the charity collection tin or to purchase raffle tickets in lieu of any entry or sanctioning fees. Sign-up began at midday and continued until 1pm. Thirty six players put their name down on the sign-up sheet and collected their numbered player badge. The registration desk with trophies and prizes for the top four In the first round, twelve groups of three players were drawn at random using large numbered balls. Each group then played three four-player games on three different machines, with the winner of each game getting 9 points, the second place 5 points, the third place 2 points and no points for coming last. Play gets underway in the UK Pinball Cup Some chose to wait outside for their turn to play When all three games had been played, the player with the lowest number of points dropped out, while the other three continued to the next round. Everyone who dropped out could help themselves to Kellogg’s cereal bars as consolation. The first round of the UK Pinball Cup The second round followed the same format as the first, except there were eight groups of three this time. Again, the lowest scorer dropped out to leave the final sixteen. Before the tournament moved on to the next round, the draw for the prize raffle took place. As winning numbers were called by Diane, the lucky ticket holders could walk up, show their number and select any prize they wanted. Raffle draw time With so many prizes available and so many tickets sold, it took around twenty minutes to call out all the winning numbers and finally clear the prize table. For the UK Pinball Cup play-offs it was sudden-death, as players were paired-up and played a single game on a randomly-drawn machine. The winner continued; the loser dropped out. That process continued, reducing the sixteen qualifiers to eight quarter-finalists, then four semi-finalists, and finally the two finalists. Playing the semi-finals The play-offs The final came down to a single game of Total Nuclear Annihilation contested by Matt Vince and Stan Simpson. The adjacent Road Kings was used for a 3rd/4th place play-off between Mark Squires and Nick Marshall. Both machines were chosen to ensure neither player had played them so far in the play-offs. Matt sets the lead on Total Nuclear Annihilation Matt began the final. He built a slight lead through the first ball with a score of 95K, but trailed to Stan after ball two by 391K to 414K. Stan edges ahead on ball two On ball three Matt edged ahead with an end-of-game score of 525K. It was a slight lead, but proved enough when Stan drained his third ball early with a game total of 453K. Stan and Matt embrace after the final is decided The 3rd place play-off was won by Mark, with Nick in fourth. There were trophies and vouchers for £100, £50 and £25 of parts and accessories from Retro Arcade Specialists for the top three, while the fourth place prize was a trophy and a whole box of cereal bars. The winner also got to take possession of the perpetual Nigel Hill Memorial Trophy for a year. Trophies and prizes were presented by Tournament Director and Pinball News Editor, Martin Ayub. Winner of the UK Pinball Cup 2023, Matt Vince Second place, Stan Simpson Third place, Mark Squires Fourth place, Nick Marshall Here are the final results of the UK Pinball Cup 2023: PositionPlayer1stMatt Vince2ndStan Simpson3rdMark Squires4thNick Marshall5th=Wayne Johns5th=Martin Ayub5th=Phil Dixon5th=Martin Bedford9th=Vin Jauhal9th=Aid Cooper9th=Neil McRae9th=Pete Bennett9th=Greg Mott9th=Nick Clark9th=Conrad Chambers9th=Chris Christoforou17th=David Bowery17th=Keith Withnall17th=Roy Smith17th=Tony Molloy17th=Brad Attwood17th=Paul Woollard17th=Andy Netherwood17th=Claire Lickman25th=Jim King25th=Di Bush25th=Helen Swaffield25th=Dan Lewell25th=Chris Miller25th=Georgia Heron25th=Barry Parsons25th=Marc Gatward25th=Graham Swaffield25th=Nick Hamill25th=Vickie Molloy25th=Clive Bush The end of the tournament was also the end of events at the Swavesey Pinball Weekend 2023. Most games were soon broken down and packed away for their journey home, while those machines remaining could continue to be played. The Swavesey Pinball Weekend 2023 draws to a close After all the in-person and online donations were counted, £1043.82 was raised in cash at the event while £739.52 was donated to the UKPIPS charity online, for a record-breaking grand total of £1783.34 ($2,339.34/€2,083.14). As those figures help to confirm, it was another hugely successful three days. Friendships were rekindled, plans made to meet again later in the year, games – both classic and brand new – were enjoyed throughout, and everyone had a great time. Plus, the weather held up with warm and (mostly) dry summer conditions out in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. Definitely a thoroughly relaxing and uplifting way to spend a weekend.