Drove the 200 miles downs to Luton Airport with my wife (Paula) for my first EBOS event. I was not really sure what to expect. I had been told a few details by Paul Dunning and had printed out my fixtures for the event.
I had Drawn Ron Agnew, Phil Mumford and three Austrians none of which I knew anything about.
Emanuele Stegmeier, Christian Pleshko and Stefan Knoll.
I saw a few of them were in last years draw. After a chat with Martin my plan was to beat the three Austrians and try and pull one over on Ron he was my first game so I hoped he would be tired jet lagged or similar. Paul Dunning thought I would do OK.
At Luton I quickly met a few of the players Phil Mumford Carrying his house like cue case, he was obviously taking his whole house with him. Met Roy Bacon at check in, I was a bit worried about my cue, the case is a reinforce Barracuda so it should be OK. But so many pro get their cues smashed in transit, look at Hendry for example.
The flight was on time and there were about 10 players and partners on the plane. It took off a little late but never mind. We arrived at Austria and our cues were missing but they eventually were found By Phil Mumford at another desk for some reason. Still it was in one piece.
We were met by Peter Man and a couple of drivers who kindly took us to the hotel. The IBIS is a rather poor hotel the rooms are not great and it's not cheap either. However it is located very close to the venue and the town center. We only had a few minutes to get changed before we went to the club for the presentation and opening ceremony.
I cant remember the blokes name but everyone will know the 7foot tall Army chap. What a hand shake nearly broke my wrist. I think the Austrians were hoping he would cripple us all before the matches started. The one thing that was apparent was that they were all such nice people they were all smiling and really pleased to see us. A couple of players knew me from my picture on Martins website. They were all chatting to me and most had read my blog which really pleased me. They thought I was very brave entering after such a short time playing.
After the presentation I met Guy Heys from Jersey. He invited me for a game I had forgotten my snooker glasses but managed with my normal ones. We played for an hour he was a nice chap and a good player I managed to stay with him he ran out 291 to my 200 in the hour we both played quite well.
The Austrians had roasted a pig and provided us with a strange but very tasty meal. The pork was super.
The next day we had breakfast 10 euros each! and off to the club for a 10am start. As usual Clive really does run things well, everything on time and in place super. The tables were very poor, the cloth was average but the cushions were very poor and someone had mixed up the ball and polished them. That said it was the same for all players, a couple of the tables were good 2,3 and 8 were OK 6 was a nightmare.
First match against Ron Agnew I hoped to beat him but he was just really steady I scored 10 he would get 14 all through the match for an old guy he can pot a bit as well. I lost
Next game against Phil Mumford. The less said the better he played very well no mercy for me. I did not play well but didn't really get a chance. When I did get in I scored badly my high break was about 25. His nearly 100. Lost by a lot.
My next game was against Emanuele Stegmeier a nice young lad, I managed to beat him but did not play well.
Next was a great bear of a man Christian Pleshko. What a nice guy he had me in stitch's all through the game, I won an easy game but we had great fun. All these Austrians speak very good English, they really put us to shame. Apparently Pleshko is a polish name meaning Bald man. That describes us both to a shiny Billiard Ball.
My final game was against Stephan Knoll, I set of really well and with 15 minutes to go was 85 ahead, Suddenly he knocked in 47 missing a simple red and a 40 putting him 2 ahead, he ran out a winner by a few points. I was bitterly disappointed but what a fantastic game we both really played well and enjoyed good billiards. Also what a nice lad really nice and kind to me saying he was lucky. Who ever said these Austrians can't play was wrong. Stephan played really well.
A really long tiring day I refed a couple of matches Guy and Karin 7 hours in total. Back to the hotel for a shower my wife had been out shopping all day. Then out for a Thai Meal. CW took us on the train an short walk. A few beers and a nice meal. Sat with Stephan Pleshko and CW. Had a really good time. Off to bed.
I explained to Paula that I was in the plate but playing Felix Knoll. He is one of the stronger players and would knock me out so we could go shopping. Wrong I beat him quite well I played very steady and had a 40 break mainly on the red. He was not happy. His brother came over and congratulated me which I thought was nice.
I then played Stephan Knoll and took my revenge fro my defeat the previous day. I played well again despite not having my snooker glasses.
My next match was against Patrick Stegmeier all the Austrians kept coming up to me and wishing me well and to beat him. I duly obliged running an unfinished 25 off the red again to win by 7. I received a massive cheer and lots of pats on the back. They were happy I had won some sort of dispute internally I think, politics. I was quite overcome at winning it really hit home I was in the final.