To compensate for my lack of match time and to attempt to keep some fluency in my stroke I joined an 8-ball league.
5 players per team, 5 matches every tuesday for 10 weeks. While only 5 play on a given night, you are allowed subs, we've got 3. Players are assigned handicaps ranging from 5-10. The total team handicap can't exceed 40 which makes creating a strong team lineup a challenge. You often have to choose to play a weaker player to get 4 strong players or even 2 weaker players to play 3 stronger ones. Finding the optimal mix is the challenge and unfortunately as team captain it's my challenge
This session my team finished top of the rankings which garnered us a bye for the first round of the playoffs which started yesterday. At stake, a trip to the VNEA Vegas championship, travel and lodging covered for the week.
Let me start by saying that I don't find byes to be all that beneficial. My reasoning is that when I do get to play I'm coming in against a team that is warmed up and just come off a win.
Anyway, my team came in cold and lost our opener in the final frame. I was the anchor and never got a shot, opponent broke and ran out.
This dropped us into the B side, making the route to the final twice as long. We managed to progress through our next two matches, one we managed to win by only 2.5 balls. Our next match was against the #2 team who'd been knocked to the b side in their 2nd match. We came out on fire and broke and ran the first 6 out of 7 racks putting our opponents almost 60 points behind. They never recovered and we won handily 1/2 way through the 4th round.
This got us to the b-side finals and we were facing a very tough team. Widely regarded as the most under handicapped team in the league we were in trouble early on. Coming into the final 5 games we were 33 points down. Our first two players were our weakest so if they lost we would've been done. Both won their matches by 10-7 scoreline (each ball is 1 point, 8 ball is 3 points) leaving us 27 behind 3 games left. My team broke next (alternate break in the final set) and did just what was needed, my top ranked player justified his 9 handicap and ran out. 10-0, leaving us 17 behind, 2 games left. I played the next frame but wasn't breaking. My opponent broke and made two balls, one solid, one stripe and had a reasonable shot on. Fortunately he missed and let me in. I cleared up finishing with a table length bank on the 8 . Wasn't a straight forward bank so I was very pleased I made it. 10-1 scoreline leaving us 8 behind one frame left. Final frame we broke and our team managed to win it allowing our opponents only 1 ball. With the handicap it translated into a win by only 1/2 a ball
Anyway, that was our route to the finals. I'm on my way out now to play the finals. We'll have to beat the A side winners twice but I'm confident we can do it
Vegas here I come.....I hope
- Posts: 1466
- Joined: 05 October 2009
- Location: Toronto
- Snooker Idol: White-Hendry-ROS
- Highest Break: 147