2019 UK Pinball Open Final – Craig Pullen V Roberto Pedroni
After an incredible journey and three days of flipping at the 2019 UK Pinball Open held at Flipout in London, the final came down to World 27th ranked Roberto Pedroni and World 167th ranked Craig Pullen. The final would be set over three games, with the winner being crowned Champion of the 2019 UK Pinball Open Final. All images come from Neil McRae’s channel on twitch which will upload the stream shortly, make sure you check it out.
Ball 1 and 2
I will be completely honest here, there really was not much to talk about on ball one and two, neither player really getting a flip on the game and the scores remaining very low. After ball one, Roberto ending on 8.5 million and Craig left on just 600,000. Ball 2 with Roberto on 12.8 million and Craig on 3 million.
On ball three Roberto made an exquisite left ramp to start his Khan mutliball, draining straight out of it with 166 million, the multiball ended there and the ball shortly after it. Craig now knowing exactly what was needed to win the first game.
Craig clearly aware of that shot left loop shot and holding the flipper up would go straight into Khan and matched up appropriately. A multiball as all multiballs had been the whole weekend, finished swiftly with a score of 71 million. As Roberto had found out shortly before, with one ball drain comes another shortly after. Craig drained in a finishing the game with the scores 166 million to 91 million. First blood going to Roberto. 1-0 in the 2019 UK Pinball Open Final.
Next Up – Dialled In
Roberto stepped up to play Dialled In first, with a fast drain at 5,100 points, leaving him relieved to see his ball save in action. Lighting his mode a missed shot to the phone, he drained out quickly to just 7,890. Craig stepped into the flippers, having had a few games on Dialled in already. I had admired earlier as he put 500,000 or so on in the day, no mean feat when considering how all of the games in this competition were playing. Craig worked through the game, opening up a mode, but a fast drain out for 106,940. Craig had however, edged into a solid lead considering the first ball each player had.
Roberto struggled to hit the phone and moved the ball unconvincingly around the table, falling out with 11,710 after bonus. Craig made short shrift of getting to his multiball on his second ball, taking his big bang and rocketing his score to 348,00 in multiball. Down to one ball he headed straight back into a mode. The confidence that Craig had on the game from earlier play clearly coming into effect. Moving the game up the 532,000 before a flipper fumble cost him his ball.
Roberto started the ball with a big move before making it into a mode, increasing his score to 70,000 with another big move. The game wanted it’ drain however, and like a magnet the the right out lane claimed its prize. Craig not needing to step up the scores t 532,000 to Roberto’s 70,000.
Could there be a more fitting way to end the 2019 UK Pinball Open Final other than a tie break at 1-1?
This game had been playing tough all weekend, with the out lanes hungry, and the machine moving super fast. What a fitting end to an incredible tournament. At one a piece, it all came down to this.
Roberto was first to the fore choosing Thunderstruck as his mode. Getting into the cannon but wisely choosing not to take his million shot. Roberto quickly moved into multiball at 5 million points. Jackpotting out and stacking with tour he made it seem easy. Moving up to 28 million with seeming ease. As tough as this game was, Roberto was making it look effortlessly simply. A double drain at 40 million, with two in bonus set a tough act for Craig to follow.
Craig took to the machine, choosing Hells Bells as his mode, nailing his combos for a quick entry into Jam multiball. Craig was unfortunate though and dropped out at just over 4 million, beginning his work on tour multiball and then focussing on jam once more. A cannon shot into the bell created a seemingly un-saveable centre drain, leaving Craig out of ball one for 11 million. 32 million behind Roberto.
Roberto changed tactic moving to Rock and Roll train, working his left and right ramp unlocking Jam and then that hungry out lane quickly pounced, leaving Roberto on 49 million points. Craig composed himself, stepped up and began flipping into Jam multiball once more. Another short multiball for Craig unfortunaly left him working once more towards Jam. A harsh reject led to some excellent flipper control before opening it up again and working the jackpots. A flurry of jackpots led to a break, Craig trapping up for air at 43 million with two balls on his right flipper. This game had showed all weekend though, a calm comes before a storm. With bonus, the scores were unbelievably even.
Roberto knew he would need something special. Coming to the flippers with Jam multiball lit gave some assurance, that was where to start. On seemingly his first flip, Roberto was in a making moves towards his super jackpot. Disaster struck with a seemingly out of nowhere drain, Roberto was showing flow by now. Pinball has a funny way and his ball save may have stopped flashing, but that grace period said this wasn’t over. Jackpots followed by super jackpots, to ensure Roberto was surpassing 76 million. A 13 million jam left Roberto on 84 million, before hitting a 13 million super jackpot. Followed by another 20 million super jackpot. Roberto sat back and took a break at 134 million before ramping back out into Jam multiball. Roberto trapping up, hitting the jackpots and making the points flow. Another 20 million super jackpot followed by an add-a-ball. A 12 million super followed a drain, leaving Roberto on 210 million to Craigs 50 million.
That was a huge ball on this machine, but was it the stuff of a champion?
Craig changed song to Rock N Roll Train, following Robero’s lead. If he was going to win this, it was going to take stamina. Craig started his last ball a bit shaky, before nailing his shots. It had to start somewhere, and that somewhere was Tour Multiball. The Jackpots began to flow pressing Craig up to 61 million and trap. A missed shot however sent back to single ball play and a drain to the that hungry out lane. Craig had played valiantly, and second place was nothing to be sniffed at. In this duel though, it left Roberto the winner.
Congratulations to Craig on an incredible weekend of pinball – and to Roberto for taking home the title. An excellent all round event and I know I for sure look forward to competing against such amazing opposition again next year.