Thursday, 9 December 2010

Warmer in Spain

Well, guys, just got back from SpIn where I played the Eurotour and also attempted to defend my title in the international 8ball event.
First the Eurotour, after yet another tough draw with the likes of Dimitri Jungo in the 2nd round, I still came through the early rounds unscathed, playing very well with confidence and style. Then cruised through the last32, and met Marcus Chamat in the last 16. This was the match of the tournament, with Marcus only making 1 error, and me making none!....I came through a 8-7 winner. I eventually lost in the quarters to Darren Appleton, and even though I broke much better, and played to about an identical standard, the balls were against me.....not only off of my break shot, but also because I got 2 massive kicks at big points in the match. So even I couldn't overcome this bad luck, especially when Darren played as good as me. Still a decent result finishing 5th. You just have to take the rough wih the smooth in this game.....good rolls and bad ones......there coming to us all.

In the international 8ball, I didn't qualify, mainly due to feeling very much under the weather.....it seemed to be something going around as I know for a fact that Mark Gray was very I'll also. This was a shame for me, because I rate my 8ball game at the highest level, and thought I was one of the favs, with a real good chance to defend my title.

King of Blackpool......again

I've only just had chance to update my blog due to my travels and being so busy.
On the 26-28th November, GB9 held another superb event at the tremendous Blackpool Royal Imperial hotel. After winning the Pro event there back in March, I wanted to continue my domination in my home town by repeating that performance. Well, after playing some great pool I managed to succeed again. I relatively strolled through the earlier rounds without much retaliation from my opponents, beating the up and coming Dave Nelson 9-6, and ever consistent James Kay 9-3 in the quarters, before defeating fellow "Blackpooler" Karl Boyes 9-6 in the semis. In the final I found myself up against Mark Gray for the umpteenth time. It wasn't the best final that we ever played against each other to be honest, but after I took the lead early on, I always felt really good during the match as I did all weekend, and eventually came through with a 9-8 win.
So yet another title to add to my impressive haul. In the main event I was cursing along nicely until the quarter finals where I met Imran Majid. The match turned out to be very scrappy and not of a decent standard at all, the table played very funky for some strange reason, and Imran seemed to handle it better than I did. But all in all, a very constructive weekend for me, and having my own table in my house is already bringing my game and confidence back up. It's nowhere near the point when I won the world title a couple of years ago, but I am 500% sure it will be there very soon!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Mosconi Cup here I come.....2011

Well, I ended up missing out in this years Mosconi Cup despite having a pretty good season. I won quite a few tourneys including 2 out of the 7 Eurotours, and I topped the Eurotour ranking in April, may, and June. But after Karl Boyes had a good run earlier in the year he pipped me to the number1 spot on the "mosconi cut-off date", and then Darren Appleton won the US Open meaning that I was the one that had to miss out this year unfortunately for me. There has never been 3players play the Mosconi from the same country in previous years anyway (since 5man teams were introduced), so I sort of knew that I would miss out after Darrens super victory in USA....even though I knew I deserved to be in.
It was a wierd feeling watching Darren win, because I was pleased for him obviously, but at the same time I was gutted for myself because I knew what his win would mean with regards to Mosconi Cup.
....so I put all my own feelings to one side in order to give Darren his deserved congrats, and I was the first person to congratulate him on his win. We had a great night after with all the celebrations etc. Then the next day I felt sick.....and not from the drink lol.
That's how it goes when we have so many great players in the Uk now, and after having chance to weigh it all up, I know this will make me stronger and more determined to get in next years team.

After the US Open, I went to Portugal Eurotour to try and defend my title. I had just about as tougher draw as I could have got......when you think, I am seeded number2 and my draw was koshavoy (very talented Ukranian), followed by Sascha Teige (won German Eurotour this year), followed by Raj Hundal ...... And that was just to qualify for last 32!
Then I draw Darren Appleton in last32 who's is on a high after his win in US the week before, but I play something near to when I won my world 9ball crown and come through a convincing 9-2 winner, only to lose to a lesser known German called Marco Vogel in the last16 early the following day. This was the only match I had played at morning in this event and may have still been a little jet lagged from US....meaning it was still 4am where we had just come from! Still it's no excuse for a player of my experience and I have to give Marco credit as he played some good pool to beat me.

So, GB9 event in my home town next for me, followed by Spain Eurotour. I'll update my blog after these events.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Sarajevo Open

Just got back from sarajevo Open event....one word.....EXCELLENT! The tournament was ran to perfection, and the hospitality was second to none. We were made to feel very welcome, and to be perfectly honest I can't wait to go back there. The people were great and I made lots of new friends which is always a good thing.
The semis and final were played live on Bosnian TV, and the crowds were very enthusiastic.
Ralf Souquet won the tournament beating Raj Hundal in the final. I lost in the quarter final to Raj, who was playing better than I have seen him play for a long time. I had brushed a number of opponents aside unto the semis, but I played a couple of bad safeties in the first few racks, and before I knew it I was 8-1 down....not ideal in a race to 10 with alternate breaks! But I hung in there and started to perform like I can, and got the score line back to 8-9 behind, only to make another silly safety error, and that was my last shot in this event. All in all I am pleased with my overall form and i am looking forward to the US Open which I fly to on Thursday.
On another very positive note, I got my table fitted in my house today, so I now have somewhere to practice for the first time since March when my local club closed down!
So watch out! Lol
I will give an update of the US Open after the event.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Chinesed in China!

Just got home from a long hard trip to Asia. First was Manila as mentioned below, then I went onto china for the china open. I lost twice in the double ko stage, 11-8 to Marcus Chamat, and also 11-10 to the eventual winner Zhang of taipei. I played really well against Zhang, only to find that at 10-9 up I broke and didn't have a clear shot at the 1 ball, so I played a very strong safety where he only had 1path to the 1 ball....he played the kick shot perfect, re-hooking me where my only option was to jump....I made contact but left a shot on, and that was my last visit as he ran out, then broke and ran the last rack.....something that I have done to players many, many times over the years, so you have to take the rough with the smooth and carry on regardless.
Although it's starting to hurt losing so many matches on the hill, and also I seem to keep losing to the eventual winner of the tournament.....although this may be a good thing as it shows that it's taking a player in great form to beat me! That's how I look at it anyway, always taking the positives where ever possible.
Well, the next event for me is the Sarajevo open, followed by the US open, but a week or so off until then.

Until next time........

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Disapointment for WCoP

Well guys, it was a very disappointing result for Karl and myself in the recent world cup of pool in Manila. We beat Qatar 8-7 in a match that was full of mistakes, and then it got worse as we went don't to France 8-6 in an error stricken match. The biggest disappointment was because we had been playing so well in practice. But, we are not the first top team to suffer and we won't be the last. Scotch doubles is a funny old game and it can be easy to fall into the trap of over analyzing on shots and I think that's what happened.
On a better note though, I stayed on in Manila for a week and played some golf. Awesome courses and really enjoyed it....got the hunger back for the game so might try to play a bit more than I have been over the last few months.
Onto china now for the china open, I will update you all on my progress after the event.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Eurotour Finland

Well guys, just got back from Finland. I finished 5th eventually losing to the winner, Nick Van Den Berg. I did well to qualify for last 32 after losing my opening match 8-5, after that i won 5 matches in a row to qualify for the KO stages. I drew Ralf Souquet, probably the worst draw posible, but played perfect and romped home 8-2. I followed this up with a very similar performance against good friend Chris Melling, winning 8-2 again. In the quarters agains Van Den Berg i got kicked in-off twice off of my break...and that was it basically....i didnt do much wrong and lost 8-2. Thats the way it goes sometimes in this game, you have to take the rough with the smooth.
Karlos Boyes finished 2nd and nailed the first place in this years Mosconi Cup by finishing number 1 on the rankings, so well done to him for this, and also a great season in general.....a well deserved spot for sure!
I finished 2nd on the rankings well clear of 3rd place, and i was the only player to win 2 events in the series so i am well in the mix for one of the other spots, and because the European players (except for Karl) have not performed further afield this season, it should make my 2 Eurotour wins a big factor in the remaining places.
But lets just wait and see what happens with that.....

Next up is the World Cup of Pool in Manila where Boyzi and myself will be trying to make more history in the pool world!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Up coming events and Preperation

Well, both me and Karl have been putting plenty of time in on the table, trying to get as ready as possible for the World Cup of Pool on 7th-12th September in Manila. For any of you that dont already know, this event is a Scotch doubles event (alternate shots), with 32 countries participating. Its promoted by Matchroom Sport, and is televised and broadcast around the world. The event is invite only, so for us English players its very hard to make the team because we have so many good players now-a-days, and its pairs so only 2 players get the nod.

Anyway, practice has been going really well, we were going to alternate between my house and Karls but my table has not arrived yet so i have been going up to Karls place. He has a nice tight Dynamic table in his purpose built room, and it makes you knuckle down because anything touching the rail on its way to the pocket wont drop!
We have been mainly focusing on our timing and gelling around the table, because there is a shot clock in this event, speaking though experience its best not to get bogged down with too much talking inbetween shots. It sounds simple enough to do, but when slight doubts come in on certain shots is when it gets hard. Anyway, things are progressing well, and we will be fine tuned ready for this big event. We went out earlier today to pick up our attire for this event, i wont say too much about it, but we could be in with a shout for the $1,000 prize for the best dressed team! lol

Before then, we both have a big event in Finland...the Finland Eurotour. Its more important for Karl and myself than most because we are ranked 1 and 2 on the rankings after winning 3 from the last 6 events between us (Karl 1 and me 2), and the player who finishes number 1 after this event is guaranteed a place on the European team for this years Mosconi Cup.
The only other player who could possibly finish number 1 is Niels Feijen, but both Karl and i would need to have a nightmare event and also niels would need to win it to acheive this. What ever happens in Finland though, all 3 of us are very much in the mix for the remaining places.
Obviously, if we can pull a win off in Manila (World Cup of Pool) then this wouldnt do us any harm towards the call up either!

After the World Cup of Pool in Manila, i will be staying on there for another week to play some golf and basically chill, before moving on to Shanghai for the China Open. This is another major event which was won last year by Thorsten Hohmann. Its an excellent event which also has a seperate Ladies China Open event running along side it, where all of the top ladies are in attendance.
This event is also Televised, so there will be more chance to gain great exposure for my sponsors.

After this i then go onto Sarajevo for the Sarajevo Open (also Televised by local TV). I am very much looking forward to this event as i have heard so many good things about it from other players. There is a ring game which i am in before the main event, and this is held in one of the cities top casinos.

I could go on and on about events after that such as th U.S Open and portugal Eurotour etc, but i will go through those a little nearer the time.
I will also update you on my results in the events mentioned above as i play through them.

So all in all, my preperation is going very well, and i have a pretty busy schedule over the next few months. Its a little like the waiting for a bus......one minute there are none, then they all come at once!
Nothing new in the life of a Professional Pool Player!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

10 letters to remember.....



Now i will go through them one by one....

Never get disheartened during matches, i know its hard sometimes when luck seems to be going against you, but its just like anything else.....the more you practice staying determined in your head, the better and more consistant you will get at it.

Try to realise your own ability, and where you can improve your game through practice. Try to put more time into the more inconsistant parts of your game.....dont just practice the things that you are already good at!

Always respect your opponent, even if they are a much weaker player than yourself. Not doing this is how matches are lost, when things are taken for granted.

Sounds funny doesnt it? Well someone once told me that when you travel to foreign countries, try eating a local plain yogurt before you do anything else. This will help prevent bacteria taking over your body....help prevent the old dodgy tummy etc.

When your playing in matches, you have to know your limits. Why risk handing the table over to your opponent by taking on a shot that you are not 100% that you will make? I see a lot of players trying to "keep up" with their opponents, and losing because of it. Learn to play your own game, and dont get intimidated into taking on a shot that you shouldnt be.

Speaks for its self really. Keep positive thoughts running through your head at al times. And just like Determination.....practice makes perfect.

Its true what they say, there is no substitute for experience, so try and play as many events that you possibly can, it will give you good seasoning, and in the end it will hold you in good stead.

You see this a lot on facebook..... John Smith "athlete". Well, if you look at the majority of the top players, they all keep in shape. Obviously some take it further than others, but i strongly believe that keeping fit helps your pool game.

It goes without saying that a pool player need to have excellent concentration skills to acheive his/her goals. But this skill doesnt come naturally, it takes practice just like everything else in order to acheive the highest concentration skills. I practice this more than most things as i am a strong beleiver in "the zone" !!

You hear players coming off the match table saying "he played his A game, i couldnt do a thing!" Well, the reason why this guy has just acheived his "A game" is because he managed to gel all his ability, concentration, skill, positivness, experience, and determination all together at the same time. When this happens, it doesnt matter who you are playing, and trust me, its an awesome feeling!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Thanks for checking out my new blog.

First of all, thanks for checking out my new blog.
I hope that you enjoy it.
I will be posting many stories about my pool over the coming months, from practice drills, to tournament preperation, and from tournament results and form to my expectations in the game. In fact i will be posting on almost everything to do with me and my pool game.

So please keep coming back to check out what mt latest news is.

Thanks again,