Thursday, April 24, 2008

First pool tournament...

I went to my first 9 ball tournament tonight. Each series was to be played to the best of 3 games, so there was no margin for error. I get there, and I see players with nice looking cues. Hmmm... difficult...

First I played this guy that was not very skilled. I won two games in a row, one finishing with a cross side shot, hit hard, that went down dead center, and another one with 4 consecutive shots that cleaned the table. Basically he didn't play at all.

Then I played this guy that really knew his business. He started playing and now I was being left out of the table. But, when he was going for the run out, he made a mistake. I had 3 balls to go. I sunk two and got an impossible to miss setup on the 9 ball. Which I immediately proceeded to miss, and that cost me a game. So now I was down by 1.

No more margin for error now. The next game starts and again he gets lucky with balls going into pockets almost by accident. Then, he misses and this time I sink the 9 ball with a soft straight stun shot. 1-1.

We start playing the deciding game and it gets complicated. I really needed to stay on the table because all the remaining shots were easy, and the 3 ball which was next in the sequence was in this impossible position: next to a side pocket but out of reach past the middle of the table, the corner pocket in front of it blocked by the 8 ball, and the cue ball set for a straight in shot into the corner pocket that was busy. An up and down shot was out of the question due to traffic and the cut angles. So I went for the just as tough cross corner shot. To make it more difficult, the 9 ball was bothering near the other corner pocket. I decided to hit it really hard with follow so that the cue ball might push the 9 in after the recoil. The 3 ball went in, and the 9 ball almost made the combo too. It was this close.

The game continues. Next up, the 5 ball with a corner pocket blocked by the 7. I went for the combo shot. It was the only thing to do. As I was setting up for doing the 7 with the 5, they asked me if I was planning to sink them both. I said I didn't know. They laughed. Both went in side by side.

Two balls on the table, the 8 and the 9 ball. I missed the 8, and the other guy had a chance at the 9. And, although he missed and it was back to me, he left me this horrible leave. I had this shot across the full diagonal length of the table into a corner pocket, but with the danger of scratching on the other one. I hit it with a lot of draw, the 9 ball went in, and the cue ball missed the pocket on the long rail. 2-1, and a win. Phew...

Then on to the final game, against someone who was billed as not being very talented. And still I wondered if I wouldn't make a silly mistake... after all, I had taken advantage of that in the prior round. He comes to me and says "I am so much going to lose". I don't pay attention... the game still has to be played.

So we go through the first game. He gets a chance at the 9 ball but misses and leaves me something familiar. I won that game with another hard cross side shot.

The next game plays on, and he scratches trying to go for a win. In the end, I had this table long straight in shot, so drawing it was almost impossible because the cue ball just would not stop. I go for the slow shot... and I miss it badly. He makes it, it's 1-1, and again a lot of tension. No more errors allowed.

The next game starts and he gets on a roll. Oh dear, now he is also confident and making the shots he was missing before. The crowd is behind him too. And again, we get to the 9 ball. He tries with a bad leave, and he misses. What shot was left? The same diagonal shot that had to be hit with draw, only this time longer and with more scratch danger. Oh well I thought, I better make it. I hit it harder and with more draw. The 9 ball went in dead center. Then I move my eyes to the cue ball. It had recoiled backwards, but was it enough? Slowly, it backpedaled away from the corner pocket and into the long rail. After that, it took a short bounce and came to rest on the table.

So I won the tournament. That was an experience! And, for the pain and suffering, I also got a nice gift card at a sports store. Good stuff!

Now, back to the normal schedule. I predict the fundamentals book will get past 100 pages this weekend...

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