Sunday off to Leeds for the Open Classic. I arrived with plenty of time only 35 miles door to door. That makes quite a nice change from 200miles.
Cue Gardens is a nice club, with a great eating area and the tables looked quite nice a little bare on a couple and a few marks on the cloth. Met Peter Cooper and Clive both seemed happy as usual.
My first game was against Norman Whaley he beat me 237-90. He played a fluid game with a soft delicate touch to the ball. I just could not get my arm going at all. There again he did not leave me much. I only managed a 25 break. Norman is quite a character and plays some really daring shots and when he gets a fluke he is really pleased and laughs it off in a nice way. Luck of the Irish perhaps. He didn't get any big breaks but he had 3 x 40+ breaks which soon add up. It was good fun though.
I played Colin Lewis in my second match he won 186-140. Again I was a little disappointed he was not much better than me. In fact I would say overall I was the better player we were level with 11 minutes to play. When he ran in a 16 and a 17 to win the game. He also began to play very safe with a few minutes to go. He won through experience rather than being the better player but a win is a win. I had a chat with him afterwards he is also a coach at both billiards and snooker and gladly gave me advice on a few of my shot selections which cost me the game at the end.
I also refereed a match which was Geoff Brassington v S.Kothari. Geoff is a really good player he absolutely dominated the game winning 231-132. What was interesting was that he got 190 in front before Kothari had scored anything. and then for 30 minutes Geoff hardly scored.
Geoff missed a simple ball in the middle bag on 48 and missed a red pot in the side pocket on 44 whilst at prime top of the table. Certainly an exciting player to watch and deserved his win. He did qualify from his group which was the second hardest to get through.
My last match was my toughest against Rupesh Shah one of the Indian young players. He was really a class apart in the group recording 66, 90, 96, 103 in his games. He played me and instantly went for top of the table getting 103, quite a hard break he just kept missing his position and had to start again getting to the top. He then missed and ran in 66 at his next visit also with a couple of 30 and 40 breaks. Still the one thing that occurred to me is that when these top players do eventually miss a shot usually they leave you in a good position. He did just that and I managed to score 16, 25, 21 and a 37 break. taking my total to 142 for the hour which was my highest. He ran out 399 in the hour which is 100 points every 15mins. Quite high scoring.
As usual I enjoyed the day and managed to watch some really great game. I think my favourite player was Bem French. I know Mike, Roxton and Geet etc are fantastic but they play a very boring style of the game. When I watched Bem play he makes the games look visually very interesting. His ability to get long the long loser is second to none and he matches that with an uncanny knack of keeping the ball in the middle of the table. Lots of red ball play and he managed a 70+break in every game. I think these top lads should be banned from the top of the table play for more than a few goes say 20 and then play around the table. That would make the TV side of the game a little more interesting. I know the skill involved in what they do is incredible but its a thought.
I couldn't manage the plate on the Monday due to some work coming up. But I did find out about the ABC on Friday and I am also going to watch the world champs on Thursday and hopefully Saturday. Again I tried to avoid getting upset at getting thrashed every time and view this as a massive learning curve each time I play. Bem informs me he is nearly 65 and has been playing since he was 14. That just show the experience of these guys.
Funny how each player has developed their own style within the game. This is more noticeable than those playing snooker. I know you get Ronnie and Jimmy playing fast and the odd slow player. But most of the top snooker players play the same old boring style.
Rupesh Shah was interesting. He is clearly a class player with the same ability of Geet at the top of the table, but has not quite mastered the art yet. If Mike is 100 at the top, Geet 99 and Gilcrest 98 then Rupresh is around 93. He just missed out on position by half an inch every 20 shots or so. This hardly seems much but that is the only difference between the top few players.
It's good they got a chance to practice as this will help the standard for the World. I don't think the tables were very good at Bradford I saw lots of kicks and a few balls turned off the spots as they ran over them.
John Hartley managed to get the balls locked in the jaw of the pocket and ran in a series of canons across the balls in the jaw. I have never seen that in a match before. It was really nice to watch. I mentioned it to him afterwards he said its the first time he had got in that position in a match and thought he would give it a try. I think he scored about 30 before knocking the red in.