Sunday, 6 November 2011


Well I have been so busy for the past few months, I have hardly had time to think never mind post on here.....so I am going to update you all on all of the happenings since my last post to now with this post....

In August I played a GB9 event, a 3rd place and a 5th place was the outcome. I then went to Germany for the Eurotour and had a disaster, I had a real tough draw again, but eventually lost to Tony Drago in a high class match 9-7. I finished 33rd. Then septemaber started with a win at the Gb9event, I beat Jayson Shaw in the final of the pro cup and also finished 3rd in the main event. From there I went straight to Manila for the Predator 10ball event, this was a real high class field. I finished 17th.then to Hungary for the Eurotour and 2 other events sponsored by Beassy. In the eurotour I finished 9th (again), and in the other 2 events it was another 9th and a 17th finsh.
October saw the US open where I played really well, I won many matches and it took 2 of the 3 Philippinos that were there to beat me, and in my final match I ran a 7pack and still lost!....an insight rally to my season as a whole.....really playing well but just not getting the rolls at the right times! I finished 13th here.
Onto Sarajevo, one of the best tournaments of the year as far as I am concerned. I played great stuff again but came up a little short in the quarterfinal against Ralf Souquet....another 5th place finish.

.....I have 2 more trips left this year.....the first will be back to Manila were I will play 2 high profile challenge matches against none other than Ronnie Alcamo, and Francisco Bustamente. These matches will both be Televised on Star Sports as well as a live stream for all to watch. I am really looking forward to these matches and hopefully I will play well and get the victories!
After that I have the Italian Eurotour in Treviso.
Then it's feet up time for Christmas with my family.
I just missed out on the mosconi cup again which is disappointing but to be honest, it's not the be all and end all to me like it is to others......yes all top players want to be in it, but this year, even though I was close, I probably didn't deserve to be in the team....unlike last year where I was virtually robbed lol.
Getting in the 2012 team will be one of my goals, and I am sure I will achieve this.

Onwards and upwards.....

Thursday, 14 July 2011

What a difference a day makes!!

Sanjt Johan, Austria was the destination for the latest Eurotour. I arrived coming off of the back of a 5th place finish in the world 9ball championships, and a respectable 9th place finish in the world 10ball championships. I knew I was playing well and confidence was high, so I was expecting good things here.
It didn't go as planned early on, in my 1st match vs Italy's Vitorio Defalco I didn't perform at all until I found myself 8-4 down!...And Vitorio was playing as good as I had seen him play , so I had to dig deep and make something happen! I DID! It was like I flicked a swith that said "perfect" on it, cos I played near my best for the last 5racks to come through a 9-8 winner.
My 2nd match was against another Italian, but this time I was determined to start the match better and I made light work of it with a 9-4 win.

The next match turned out to be very interesting, but only after the tournament was over!...(i will explain later)...
It was the winners side qualifying match vs Richard Jones (also a good friend). It's never easy playing friends, but on this occasion I was able to focus well on the table, and when Richard made a couple of mistakes early on in the match I capitalised well and played near perfect to comfortably win 9-3.
Next up was my last32 match vs the runner up from the last eurotour, Jayson Shaw.....this was my 3rd match of the day and I had my eye in....I played extremely well again and quickly found myself 7-0 up, we shared the next 4 racks which enabled me to finish the match a 9-2 winner!

So, on the Saturday mooring it was the last16 match, and the same thing happened to me that has happened 3 times this year at Eurotour events.....basically, I played great to this stage, but then really struggle in this match. The only thing I can put it down to is sleep, or lack of it....also, I have to mention on this occasion my opponent, Christian Riemering played very well too, and beat me 9-4.
But another disappointing finish to an event where I felt I was playing as good as anybody in the event, confident, and up for the job....it's very hard to put my finger on the reason why this has happened a few times this year.......but trust me, I will find the reason, I always do! Hahaha.

So, just to finish, I mentioned about the match with Richard Jones being a very interesting one.....well, Richard came through on the losers side to qualify after I had beaten him, and then he went on to win the event. It's not often you can say you beat the winner......it's usually "I lost to the winner" hehehe
But this has happened to me before in Switzerland eurotour a few years ago, where I beat Mark Gray in the very first round, and then he did the same, goning on to win the event!

I have a couple of weeks off now, so I'm gonna have a little rest from pool, then back on it practicing hard ready for GB9, and the next Eurotour.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

World championships 2011

I arrived in Doha in very good form. Even though it didnt go to plan in Shanghia for my last event, I knew I was hitting the ball as good as ever. My 9th place finish in the world 10ball confirmed this to me, mainly because of the caliber of player that I beat there.

The draw came out and as usual this year it wasn't as easy as it could have been. My first match was against a highly regarded Singapore player, who had beaten Mark Gray 9-2 in Shanghai a couple of weeks ago, and finished 9th in that event. I had played and beat him before though, and with my confidence high I brushed him aside with a 9-4 win. My second match to qualify for the final 64 KO stage was against the Mecca's No1 player (middle east). Once again though I played near perfect and came through a comfortable winner by a scoreline of 9-4.
In this tournament there were only a couple of upsets in the group stages so nearly all the top players were on the winners side....so surely I would get a decent draw this time right?
.....no way, I got probably the toughest draw possible!! My first match in the race to 11 straight KO final 64 round was against the very person who I beat in the final match of my triumph in the 2007 world championship......Roberto Gomez of the Philippines. And, even though that 2007 fonal match was close, this one wasn't.....I tore him apart playing the perfect set of pool 11-4. So now I know for sure that I am playing great pool, I feel good on the cue and things are going well....but my last 32 match is against Fu Chei Wei, the very person that had beaten me 9-8 in Shanghai a couple of weeks before.....in that match I played well but didn't get a shot in the final rack, but in this match I played another perfect set, destroying Fu by an 11-1 scoreline!
The ball was starting to roll now and even though no tournament will ever compete with the 2007 event in Manila with the crowds and atmosphere etc, I was getting similar vibes as when I won the title in 2007.
Next on the hit list was the highly talented Ko Pin Yi (Taipei). This was a classic, a battle to the end. The match went back and forward until I found myself 9-7 down, and unlike my previous matches, I had made a couple of errors, so I needed to dig in deep and change up a gear. This I did, playing top notch stuff for the last 4 racks enabling me to come through an 11-9 winner.
So now I found myself in the quarter finals and only 3 wins away from another world crown! In my way was probably the greatest player in the world at the moment, world number1 ranked player, Dennis Orcollo (Philippines). From start to finish in this match every roll went Dennis' way, and there was nothing I could do as he played excellent too. He had done to me what I had done to all of my other opponents previous and beat me 11-4. It's not like I did anything wrong though, just one of those things, one of those matches where there was nothing I could do to change the outcome!

....after looking back at this tournament, it feels like a missed chance, because when I get to the final stages of tournaments I usually get stronger and stronger, and often finish the job by winning the thing, often, the hardest part for me is getting the ball rolling and getting to the final stages. But, having said this, on this occasion the rolls were definitely not with me, and this played every part in finishing my run.

As always, I will take the positives from this tournament just like I do with any other.....and there are plenty of positives to take from this one!
I know if I keep playing the way I am playing that there are plenty of big wins coming my way....it's just a matter of time, I've just gotta be patient and keep doing what I'm doing.

.....onto Austria next week for the next Eurotour......

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Kung fu'd by the Fu fighters!!

Shanghai, China for the China open was the scene. Coming into the event playing well off the back of my good performance in Manila.
I drew talented Venezuelan player Yousef Jalal in my first match but he didn't show, so I got a 9-0 walk over.
Next up was Taiwanese Fu Chei Wei. I played the whole match only making 1 mistake at 4-5 down, this quickly turned into 4-8 down but once again I dug in and showed real heart to pull the scoreline back to 8-8.....only to see him break and run the last rack!
But I still had another chance to get through to the straight ko stage but Fu Jian Bo of China stood in my way.
The match was close up to 4-4 then once again a single mistake from me saw me go 4-8 behind. Once again I dug in, and once again it wasn't to be....eventually losing 9-6.

Sometimes it's really tough losing when you play really well, especially when you see players around you playing poorly and still getting the win. But that's pool for you, onwards and upwards to my next event....the world 9ball championships in Doha, Qatar.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cursed in Manila

Well I just got back from Manila....the place where I won my world 9ball crown, This time it was for the world 10ball championships. The tournament set up, organisation, and venue were second to none, and as always in Manila there were plenty of supporters watching from start to finish.
In the first round I had an in form finish player call Petri Makonen, who had recently beaten Darren Appleton in the latest Eurotour. But I got off to a flyer and played strong to run out a 9-2 winner. My 2nd match was live on ESPN tv channel vs top Vietnamese player Phuc Long Ngeyen. This was nearly a mistake free match from both of us, and form from my recent events was starting to show through and I won the match 9-4. Now, because I only dropped a total of 6racks in qualifying for the last 64 players, I was seeded 3 in the draw. Normally you would think that this alone should provide me with a reasonably sweet draw, but somehow it did the opposite....in my quarter of the draw was myself, Alcano, Biado, Orcollo, Boyes, Wu, Gomez Yang just to name a few....all capable of actually winning the whole tournament! in my last 64 match I drew the highly rated Kuwait player Omar Al Shaheem, a young player who has a swagger around the table with a slight resemblance of a young Ronnie o'sullivan. It was a super match where I went 7-2 down, but showed good heart and kept my confidence high to come through a 9-8 winner. Next in the last 32 I had top USA player Shane Van Boening. This was probably my best match, I played near faultless and cruised to a 9-5 win.
Now I was in the final 16 players, playing very well and brimming with confidence. In front of me I had the very in form Carlo Biado who is the latest hotshot to come from the Philippines. I made 2 safety errors and found myself 8-1 down in a matter of minutes! I dug in deep and started to fight back. I got the match back to 5-8 but then broke dry and left the table open, he came in and ran them out to take the match 9-5.
A very disappointing end to my run as I strongly believed as the tournament progressed I was getting stronger and stronger. I guess the fact that Biado destroyed Ronnie Alcano 9-1 and also Dennis Orcollo 9-3 showed that I lost to a player at the very top of his game, and only 2 safety errors was my downfall.....that's why pool is the toughest sport in the world, mentally that is.

So, not another World title to add to my collection, but a very good tournament run, and more confidence in my bin!
My next event is the China Open in just over 2 weeks.....watch this space!

Beijing Open

As draws go, I couldn't have had a much tougher one than I got here!
The very first round I drew none other than Ralf Souquet, and even though i have probably the best record from any player against Ralf, i knew it was gonna be a real battle. I set off in the match very strong, but as you would expect a player of Ralfs calibre didn't give in easily and came back at me. At 6-6 I was pleased with my change of gear which I needed to do to win this match.....I took the match down by 9 racks to 6.
It didn't get any easier as in the 2nd round I was up against Efren Reyes. I played even better in this match than I did in my previous one, but came unstuck by a 8-9 scorline.....in the last Rack he made a miracle run out....trade mark Efren really.
So now I had to beat a very good Indonesian player to qualify for final 32, but he played the match of his life....not making one mistake and I eventually lost this match 7-9.
So not the best tourney I've ever had, but I can take plenty from it.....I played some awesome stuff, something near to my 2007/08 form so things are looking brighter for the future!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Italian Eurotour

I went to Treviso and put up a good show in the defence of my title that I won in 2010. All the practice that I have been putting in on my table to perfect the slight changes I've made to my action are now becoming more "automatic" to me, and I know that this will be all positive for the coming big events.
In Italy, I started off extremely well, sailing through the winners side to qualify with ease, and to be honest, some matches I won easier than I thought that I might, but I guess that was down to my play with virtually no mistakes.
I drew a very composed Fabio Petroni in the last 32 straight KO, and even though I was always infront and in control of the match, my form wasn't as good as earlier in the tournament. I eventually came through with a 9-5 win, and had a nights sleep to get ready for the run in from last 16 in.
I got a decent nights sleep although I could feel a cold coming on. In the last 16 I had Konstantin Stepanov, a very strong player but my record was 100% against him before this match with 3 wins from 3.
In the match I set off ok but missed a silly 8ball cut into the side at 2-3 down. I battled well to get to 6-6, and was in control of the 13th rack with only 3 balls left on the table. I then missed what I would call an unmissable 7ball and gave the rack away. The next rack I played a bad positional shot and left myself fully bridging over a ball and missed the 3 ball because of it. Then in the last rack I made another uncharacteristic error, and went on to lose the match 6-9. It was very frustrating because on a normal day at the office I could have probably won the match 9-4, but I have no idea why I played so poor in this match. I guess all I can put it down to is that we are all human, and we all have off days in life in general.

As always though, reflecting back, I can take lots of positives from this tournament, and the main one for me is that the slight changes that I have made to my cue action are now virtually concreted in so that I don't need to think about them.

My next voyage will be to Beijing for the Beijing Open, and then from there to Manila for the World 10ball championships. So until I leave it's more practice!!!