This year’s Scottish 9-Ball Championships took place a few weeks ago at Styx in Kirkcaldy and, as always at that particular club, a great time was had by all. As last year, a gang of Irish players (25 in total) came over for a fun weekend of pool, drinking and anything else they could (legally) get up to!

The format for the 2-day tournament was to start off with Double Elimination (meaning that, essentially, all the players had to lose twice before being knocked out – but it is too complicated to explain here fully) until there were 16 players left, then a straight Knockout format would bring us down to one winner. In the end, it was Jayson Shaw of Glasgow who beat the reigning Champion, Falkirk’s Michael Valentine, in a great final.

My weekend went very well. I started off playing Charlie Murphy of Ireland. Currently ranked number 33 in their rankings (although he was as high as number 10 about 18 months ago). I managed to get by him by 8 racks to 6. I was on 7 for what felt like an age before I managed to crawl over the line, but a win’s a win!

Next up was Darren Murray who is ranked in the top 10 in Scotland. Darren is one hell of a tough player who always give 110% in every match. Darren managed to squeeze by me by 8 racks to 7 and considering that I was 7 – 6 up late on in the match, he did very well to win especially since he hung 3 8-balls or 9-balls leaving me easy finishes. But, that’s 9-Ball – you’ve got to take the finishes when they are presented to you. The slightly annoying thing is that I had a couple of shots to win the match – especially at 7 – 7. Ach well.

The following day, I had to wait on a couple of matches being played before I found out who I had to play in the “Losers’ Bracket”. As it turned out, I had to play Jim O’Hare from Aberdeen – another of the top 10 players in Scotland (and remember, my official ranking is a lowly 52!). This time, things were a bit different. I managed to get by Jim by 8 racks to 7, but not before making a meal of it first! I was 4 – 0 up at one point before Jim started to claw his way back into the match. I even had several chances to win the match at both 7 – 5 and 7 – 6 up! Finally managed to compose myself and pocket the last 4 or 5 balls to win the match after Jim had made an uncharacteristic mistake in trying to finish off the match.

Then it was Paddy Mac Laughlin, Ireland’s number one ranked player. This was a tight match all the way, with Paddy always having the upper hand and eliminating me from the tournament by 8 racks to 6. I’ve got to say, it was a great match to play in, but I would have really liked to have had the upper hand on that one!

Still, it was a great weekend. The club was great fun on the Friday and Saturday nights with the music, the pool, the girls… I look forward to the next time we are back in Kirkcaldy.

One wee footnote, a lot of the players complain about the tables in Kirkcaldy saying that the cushions don’t bounce right, that the pockets are too tight, that the cloth should be the same colour on the bed of the table as it is on the rails, etc. My personal preference is that the tables are OK. Yes, the rails are really bouncy, but I think that the pockets are great for making you pay attention to hitting the centre of the pocket. Cheating these pockets is very difficult.

The Cardman 🙂

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