Sue McRae with one of her scrabble boards. PHOTO/ELI HILL

Eli Hill

Scrabble strategists and word lovers will have the chance to play competitively and share their love of the game from the end of October due to the launch of the Masterton Scrabble Club.

Despite setbacks – including its launch being cancelled twice because of covid-19, club organiser Sue McRae said there is good interest in the club.

“I’ve been out of the scrabble scene for a while, but I used to play in a club in Wellington.

“When I started living here in Wairarapa I started looking through the club lists online, looking for a scrabble club. The last recorded story about scrabble was in 2007 or something.”

So McRae thought she’d have a go at setting up a club.

“And everything was going swimmingly, I approached the library and they said ‘Oh we’ve just built this lovely learning centre next door’ – that was in April and we were going to do it in May, then of course covid-19 happened.”

In August she had another go at trying to set the club up.

“Then of course we went back to level two and the library decided they weren’t running any events.”

Before the lockdown she’d set up flyers around Masterton and found that about 25 people were interested.

“The funny thing I found was through lockdown I rang a few people who were interested in it… and because there was no law against playing in your home I invited these strangers into my home.

“Half a dozen of them showed up and we played scrabble, so we’ve been meeting every Thursday night at my house which isn’t ideal but at least we get to play scrabble.”

The people who attended the sessions at her house hadn’t played scrabble in clubs before and McRae said they went through what she calls ‘seven stages of denial’ when she showed them her two and three letter word lists.

“A lot of people say no, these can’t be words! Shock, horror, but eventually they learn to play with them.

“One woman has been coming all the way from outside of Martinborough – she drives 45 minutes on the backroads and brings her dog to my house to play scrabble – because she just loves the game and there’s nowhere else to play scrabble.”

The Masterton Scrabble Club will be affiliated to the New Zealand Association of Scrabble Players and become one of about 30 clubs in the country.

Being part of the NZ association means players will have access to great tips and advice from expert Kiwi players, plus free word lists, carefully vetted by the World English Scrabble Players Association.

This eliminates any arguments about which words are acceptable.

A list of meanings for some of the more obscure words will be on hand for anyone interested.

  • The Masterton Scrabble club will launch on Wednesday, October 28, from 2-5pm, at the Masterton District Library, 54 Queen St, Masterton.
  • The plan is to play weekly, if people can’t come to the launch they can contact Sue McRae on 027 4490 601 or sue.mcrae.nz@gmail.com.


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