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......