Last Thursday marked an historic day, my Friend and mainly snooker player Mark Carrington finally took the plunge and had his first Billiard Match other than practicing with me.
I had a match over in Macclesfield which left Stalybridge short of a Billiard player as there was no way I make both matches as they were 35 miles apart, normally I have managed to play both but the distance was just to great. He was playing at the Parkbridge institute which has the Victorian Snooker room with the Coal Fire.
So Mark stepped in and I missed the game. He has been playing really well in practice lately his control of the balls in particular around the black spot is impressive so I was hoping for a win. He was giving 70 start to a young player and slowly found his feet when he got into positive scoring he came alive and had a 30 and a 20 to win a great first win.
Well done Mark a few more months practice and a few matches and you will be giving up the snooker.
I popped over to Silktown, Macclesfield and only just made the game as both the first games were really quick. I played a potter he was on the same handicap as me and all he wanted to do was pot. He reminded me of Wayne Holbrook a few months back or indeed myself when I first started playing.
He keep potting and made the odd little cannon and managed to get about 50 in front before he left me anything. I stuck to the task and kept getting small breaks around the 15 mark. He was on 130 and I just made 100. I decided to change tactics as I did in the last EBOS event against Brian Moffat and after a few minutes formulated a new game play.
This was the first time I had really come up with a set plan, this being if I am playing a great potter then the way to stop them potting is to not leave the red in an open position. So I deliberately played the red on to the cushion and played inoff his white ball.
I am quite happy playing in off all day in the middle and top but he had hardly played an inoff all through the match. So I stuck with the task and played off his ball and ignored the red unless I could get a small cannon onto the ball.
If there was no shot on I would not pot his ball but leave the balls spread apart. He then thought it would be a good idea to play safe as well, So I played safe for about 15 shots. I then thought why not go for long distance cannons as well all round the angles.
I did this several times and as the red was close to the side cushion it makes the cannon quite easy as you have a large area to play at.
After 15 minutes of this he was really struggling he simply had no idea how to respond. He started potting my ball but of course that leaves me in the D so I have lots of positional choices for a cannon and loser. He also started to miss a few pots as he got frustrated. I looked at the scoreboard and after only a few minutes realised I had scored 90 mainly in 8-10s and fouls where he missed double baulks and needed 4 to win he was on 162 I rang in the 4 in two losers and won.
He commented after the game that I had not left him anything for 40 minutes and I pointed out there was simply no future in potting and that he really should learn the half ball. I have only ever seem 50-70 breaks made to extensive use of potting and they a few and far between.
Once you understand that you can get a inoff or cannon almost anywhere on the table a potter should not trouble you to much no matter how good they are.
The win was nice but it was pure tactics that got me going. I never realised the power of tactics in this game. It was only after advice from people like Phil Davis, Michael White and Roger Morgan that I have started to put together tactics in any real effective pattern, it has taken 10 months to develop my game to the stage where I have been able to compete/score and included any form of defensive play. This was another of those turning points I have experienced it's another thing to add to my billiards game.
I have been approached by a Sports Psychologist with a view to some mind sessions in particular dealing with nerves and match tension. After reading Geets rather strange book which has a couple of hidden gems tucked away maybe this is the next stage to tackle. I have learnt as much as I can about Billiards in the last 10 months maybe the next stage is the mental side of the game. Most people believe that Billiards is 15-40% in the mind. There does seem to be something in this so I have decided to take up his offer and will fully report every detail on the blog for the everyone. Who knows maybe breaking down on 55 in a match was due to nerves or lack of concentration.
Full report over the next four weeks.
High Break in practice now 91 getting very close now.