Just back from Norfolk and then off to Derby for the Jock McGregor. Arrived at the Conservative Club just as Peter Cooper and Clive Scott Arrived so at least I am at the right place.
It's a nice club with 4 tables, 3 downstairs. This is the sort of club I like playing at they always have a friendly atmosphere. Clive kindly explained who Jock Mcgregor was and how he left a trust fund to the EABA to play matches in his memory. The trophy is a lovely train as he always travelled by train to play his matches with bottles of red wine which was his favourite drink.
I am always amazed how Billiards enthusiasts are so different from Snooker players they are just a different breed. They are just so caring about the sport, its not even the winning just the taking part. It's a little like football fans verses Rugby fans. Football supporters just care about winning, Rugby supporters care about the Game if they win that's nice but if they don't they are still happy as along as it was a good match.
We kicked off on time and I played Liam Clark ( 10 year old still in nappy's ) my god he could play though. He had every shot in the game. His runs throughs and drop cannons were a dream. His long potting was fantastic with a lovely cue action. His Dad refereed the match it was clear right from the outset I was outclassed he was very aggressive in his play and simply out scored me from the start I was receiving 25 points but it was not enough. I lost 195-263. I was quite pleased in a way to have just kept with him until about 10 minutes from time when he ran in 25 and 31 to pull away. If this is the standard of the the young players coming up into the game then this sport will keep growing and go from strength to strength. Well done Liam.
I played a lad called Paul Bennett in the plate. I had not seen him before but he could pot anything, he was mainly a snooker player but did play billiards in his local league. I was getting 65 start which I was happy with. I had got my arm going after my first match but I was struggling with the lights on the table. They were normal light bulbs and with my glasses and stance they were glaring, I think the shades would be better a little lower. I did win by quite a margin 181-59. I finished with a 20 and a 29 which cheered me up.
I played an old chap called Branson Hoole who was giving me 40 start. He played the usual very tidy old style game. I knew right away he could out play me, but I tried to keep my start and attempted to score a few at every visit even if it meant potting his ball. I managed to stay ahead of him and with 10 minutes to go I was 50 ahead. He then knocked in 30 and was unfinished on 12 when the clock went off. He beat me by one point with his last stroke of the game. Damn!!!!.
Still it was a good game he was the better player by a mile. 141-140. Just looked him up in the rankings he is 42 so I should not be surprised.
I enjoyed the tournament I realise after playing so much in the past week that I am a capable potter and can play the half ball shot quite well but I really need to work on the positional side of the game. Controlling the balls is absolutely critical. Most of the players who beat me were not better than me at potting, hitting the ball or playing with side. They simply know where the next shot was going to be. When I play a loser around the pink spot I have no idea where the red is going to be, it's just luck if I have another shot. Certain shots I can predict and get the result such as a middle loser or a cross loser.
I have to make an effort to play my losers softly with plain ball and control where the ball ends up. There must be no hitting hard unless I am trying to force the balls in the pocket. Break building and control of the balls must be my target over the next few months.
I am getting a high percentage of shots such as the short jenny which I have spent hours practising I even played the shot several times in my matches.
When I am near the cushion I am still struggling with my glasses but I am due another eye test soon I will see if my eyes have got worse or my glasses need to be changed.