Last week saw this year’s edition of the World Pool Championships taking place in Manilla in The Philippines. What a lot of you may not know is that Pool is HUGE over there. Apparrently it is a close second to Basketball in popularity! As ever Sky Sports were giving live coverage of the event, taking the broadcast feed from ESPN in Asia.
This year, Scotland had 3 players in it – Swiss-based Scot Johnny Fulcher, Glasgow’s Stevie Capaldi and Larkhall’s Pat Holtz. Sadly, none of our players managed to qualify from their groups into the last 64 knockout phase but that didn’t stop the event from being one of the most amazing tournaments I’ve watched in many years. Although Pat qualify from his group, he did manage to make another good impact in the commentary box working with Texan Jerry Forsyth, Englishman Nick Halling and Filipino Bob Guerrero. As ever, Pat proved that you can take the boy out of Larkhall, but you can’t take the Larkhall out of the boy! Last year, while talking very clear English, he slipped up my talking about the “wan-baw” (the one-ball). This year, I could only imagine Forsyth’s face when he described an up-coming match as a “hum-dinger”.
At the end of the week, the final came down to a Filipino, Roberto “Superman” Gomez, and a British player, Blackpool’s Daryl Peach. I’ve met Daryl on many occasions, mostly when I was in Blackpool for the Convention that takes place there at the end of each February, and he’s always been one of life’s good guys. It was great to see him progressing so far through such a major tournament.
Let me just interject that there was a second British player involved in the late stages of the World Championships. Karl Boyes, who also lives in Blackpool, managed to reach the Semi Finals of this year’s event before being on the wrong side of an 11-4 scoreline to Gomez (Karl was 4-0 up at one point before “Superman” took off). I had met Karl at the Scottish Championships at the end of October when he came up with his partner Lynette Horsburgh. Lynette, like Daryl, is someone I had met on numerous occasions when I was in Blackpool for the Convention. Had Karl won that match and made it an all-British final, I honestly don’t know who I would have favoured!!!
As it was, it was easy for me to favour one player over the other and so, at 6:30 on Sunday morning (yes, 6:30AM on a Sunday!!!), I switched on Sky Sports to watch live coverage of the final (it’s at times like these that I hate time differences!). The match started around 7am and, with the match being a race to 17 racks, I knew it would be a long one. I never thought it would take nearly 5 hours! But it did and, in the end, and to my joy and total disbelief, there was Daryl pocketing the final 9-ball to become 2007 World Pool Champion. It was, and is, an amazing achievement and one that finally starts to pay off all his hard work and dedication that Daryl has put into the game.
Daryl, a million and one congratulations to you! Yes, I cried as that final 9-ball was pocketed to give you the World Title you so deserve. Do I care? Not a jot!!! I could not have been happier for you. I hope you have a great year.
The Cardman 🙂