JPML Update (North Kanto & Women’s League)

The first half of the 2009 season is over and players are celebrating, consoling, reflecting and making plans for next season. Let’s see how the North Kanto League and the Women’s League fared in September.

North-Kanto League

The final session of the first-ever North-Kanto League was held in September and the finalists of both leagues were decided!

Pro League

Kaori Shimizu finishes in first place with 132 points followed by Tomohiko Kishibe. They will be joined by Nobuaki Motoki and Yusuke Ohki for the first North-Kanto championship. The other 20 players will have to try again next season, which will start in October.

3rd ReachMahjong.com Cup winner Naoya Ogawa and American Jenn Barr had a disappointing showing, placing 21st and 22nd respectively. They both started out with strong positive scores, but 2 big negatives for each of them ended their chances at moving on this season. Veterans Yukio Yoshida and Tomo Fujisaki will also be looking for vengeance in the 2nd season of this new league. Rumor has it that RM.com columnist Shintaro Konno will also be joining the league next season, so look for more pro’s in Gunma.

Open League

Akane Iwai led the mixed league with 195 points followed by 3rd ReachMahjong.com winner, Naoya Ogawa. The top 4 pro’s and the top 4 amateurs will move on to the semi-finals and with 140.7 and 140.2 points young gun Tetsuya Ogawa and veteran Yukio Yoshida will be joining their fellow JPML-ers.

Altogether 29 players participated in the open league including 11 amateurs and 18 members of the Japan Professional Mahjong League. Tomo Fujizaki fell just short coming in 8th place overall (6th in the pro ranking) and Nobuaki Motoki narrowly missed a shot at 2 finals coming in 9th place.

Cherry Blossom (Women’s League)

A-League

With one more session to go the contenders for the 4th Cherry Blossom cup are almost in place. Leading the A League is none other than the 2-year defending champion’s older sister, Rumi Nikaido. Also in the top 8 are Yukiko Izumi, Kaori Shimizu and Emi Hojyo. Akane Iwai, Rookie Cup champion Makoto Tenne, and the first Cherry Blossom champion, Yuki Michi, will be looking for a big score in the 5th session to stay in for the play off. Uncharacteristic is Kozue Miyauchi in 20th place with 4 negative postings in a row. Showing nothing but strong results in the co-ed professional league, we’ll expect Miyauchi to stay at the top next season.

B- League

Five players will move up to A-League next season and the battle is close at the top with 3rd – 9th place within 20 points of each other. Anyone in the top 10 can still take it and you can expect the heat to be on in the final session. Chinese native, Zhen Fang Wang is in 5th place right now with 71 points and will try to hold that position.

Unfortunately, after an absence in the 3rd session and 2 more negative postings to go with it, Jenn Barr is at the bottom of the league this year.

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