On Sunday, I played in the final SAPPA (Scottish American Pool Players Association) American Billiard Company 9-Ball Tour event of the year, which took place at Riley’s in Stirling. The club’s always a popular one on the SAPPA tour with decent tables and good staff.

As ever with SAPPA events, this was a double elimination format until 16 players remained, then it would resort to Single Elimination (straight knock-out) with the matches being races to 6 on both sides and being increased once the Single Elimination phase had started.. Only 48 players turned up to play, which is a shame as American Pool is about to have its biggest year ever with the introduction of the International Pool Tour (IPT) and its multi-million dollar prize funds (I’ll post about that later).

When the draw was made, I found myself up against Edinburgh’s Cameron Bowes, a good player who I’ve only played once – I won that one. This time, sadly, was very different as I could not get my game head to “kick in” with anything and everything interrupting my concentration. After the 6-3 defeat, I was not exactly a happy bunny. I knew that I could play much better and would have to do so in my first losers’ bracket match.

My opponent in that one was another of the Edinburgh “posse”, Barry Scott. This one went a lot better as I found my self 3-0 up before I knew it after 3 fairly scrappy racks. Barry managed to pull one back. Then at 3-1 up, I had the chance to run the rack out and get to 4-1 but a huge miscue meant that Barry cleared the table up and as quickly as I was 3-0 up, I was 4-3 down (didn’t help that I hung the 9-ball to lose one of those!). Time to dig in and start playing. I pull back to 4-4, then Barry hangs a 9-ball to put me “on the hill” (in other words, one rack from victory). Scrappy seems to have been the key word to describe this match, as the 10th rack ended up being yet another scrappy ones with a couple of clusters on the table and no easy balls to use to break them up. Somehow, I managed to get a chance to clear the table, which I took, and I managed to advance to the next round.

Next up was Dave Tait, aka “The Fud”, a pal of mine from the club in Glasgow. I hate having to play against pals, but on this tour you have to! I didn’t start too well, missing a fairly easy shot and gifting Dave the first rack. I then had to sit and watch as Dave broke and ran the next game to make it 2-0. I was starting to fear the worst with this one. However, after a dry break and a scrappy third rack, I managed to get a rack back. Then followed one of those things that don’t happen that often. I broke and didn’t make a ball. Dave came to the table and ran the rack out to go 3-1 up. Dave broke and didn’t pocket anything and I responded by running the rack out. We did it again! All of a sudden, it’s 4-3 to Dave and the only shots missed were the breaks! I broke hoping to stop the run of empty breaks and made a couple of balls. Sadly, one of those was the white and Dave came to the table to play a table-length 1-9 combination to go to the hill at 5-3.

Rack 9 saw Dave make a couple of mistakes and saw me getting a bit lucky with position on a couple of shots. However, while I was running the last few balls out, I over-hit position from the 5-ball to the 6 and could only watch as the cue ball headed straight towards the corner pocket. Dave didn’t make any mistakes in finishing off the last few balls and my tournament was over placing me in the 25-32 bracket (again!)

I don’t know what that will do for my rankings. My aim was to get into the top 40 by the end of the year and I hope I’ve done enough to do that. Next season’s aim is to get into the top 32. Only time and hard work will tell if I can do that.

The Cardman 🙂

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