Sunday, September 26, 2010

Caroming to Regionals

I qualified for the APA 8-ball Classic Spring Regionals today, after losing in the finals in previous qualifiers more times than I would have liked. The final match was a tough one - I wasn't shooting particularly well, and my opponent was a worthy one. I survived mostly on strategy and some reasonable safety play... but nevertheless, he was on the hill and I was playing catch up.

I don't think it was an intentional safety play, but my opponent left me in the position shown (layout is approximate - I doubt I have the angles right, just trying to get the general point across). We both had two balls remaining, his were in better position, I didn't have any decent offensive shots available and didn't really see any great defensive possibilities either (my best thought was to thin the 13-ball and leave the cue ball down on the end rail).

Anyway, given the overall situation, I decided to carom the 13 off the 7 and into the corner. I figured best case I'd make the 13 and worse case there was a decent chance the 13 would at least block the pocket... and the 7-ball would end up at the other end of the table. The complication with this carom (as if caroms aren't complicated in the first place) was that the 13 would have to make a fairly full hit on the 7 to get the proper angle which means most of its energy would be transferred to the 7. The 13 had a reasonable distance to go after the carom, so I knew I'd have to hit it firmly for the 13 to have enough energy to get to the pocket.

Well, I'm happy to say I ended up with the best case scenario. The 13 dropped, the 7 cleared, I was left with good shape on the 10, and had a fairly easy run out to get on the hill.

The final game was even uglier... lousy layout from the start, a massive cluster of stripes (my balls) along the long rail, and rolls simply weren't going my way. I was frustrated for sure, but stayed patient. My opponent put together a good run or two and before I knew it he was on the 8-ball and I still had all my balls on the table. Of course, that's not always a bad thing! I slowly but surely kept improving my position while waiting for a good run out opportunity. I hooked him very effectively at least three times on the 8, forcing him to kick at it and never really gave him a good shot. There was actually a point in the game that I wondered if I could win without sinking a single ball! Not wanting to push my luck, I finally started sinking some balls and ran all but two out and left him with yet another hook, forcing him to kick the length of the table (his 8-ball was on the short rail about a half-diamond away from the corner pocket).

He came up short on the kick, the cue ball rebounded off the near end rail and headed back towards the far corner with plenty of steam to get there on the fairly fast table. Then, he did something I doubt he'll ever do again. He scooped up the rolling cue ball and gave it to me. I looked at him in disbelief, and the referee (rightly) gave me the game. If a player is on the 8-ball and disturbs the path of the cue ball or the 8-ball in a losing situation, it's a loss of game.

To be honest, it was a lousy way to end an otherwise great match... but as I mentioned to the referee, the lesson at this level was far less costly than it would have been at regionals or even nationals. There are several qualifiers left, and I'm fairly sure my opponent will qualify in another one.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on qualifying! Keep up the great work, and the great writing!