OK, I think I've coined a new term using the "blind date" analogy. Blind Scotch is hereby defined as going into a scotch doubles tournament without a partner and matching up with whomever you can find similarly standing around, available, and looking for a partner. I did that today - and while we didn't finish in the money, I met someone new, had a good time, and think we did respectably well.
Today's 8-ball Scotch Doubles tournament at the Las Vegas Cue Club kicked off the new season for the Vegas Billiards Tour. As mentioned in previous posts, I joined the tour last year because I knew there were a lot of really good players in town that I wasn't getting exposed to. I felt rubbing shoulders with them at least once a month would help me improve, and I have to say that it has. Even though I didn't join the tour until Stop #4 last year, I accumulated enough points to finish in the top 25% or so of the standings and qualified for the final event at the end of the year. My goal, of course, is to do even better this year!
Unlike most of the Vegas Billiards Tour events, this stop was un-handicapped... relying solely on the skill level cap to keep the teams reasonably well matched. My partner and I fell a couple points short of the cap, but I think we were close enough to be in the mix. We got off to a rocky start, dropping the first match 4-2 (the race was to 4 on the east side of the bracket and 3 on the west side). I don't think we were all that out-gunned, we each just made a couple mistakes at critical times and perhaps more importantly played a team that appeared to be very familiar with each other's play. My partner and I were obviously at the other end of the spectrum in that regard, having only met minutes before and not even getting much chance to warm up together prior to the start of the tournament.
On the west side of the board, things came together for us and we rolled up a strong 3-0 victory in the first match. Our second match on the west side was against a strong team comprised of the 2010 Vegas Billiards Tour Champion paired up with Ms. oN a miSsioN (who assured me she'd make another post soon so I'm helping her out by putting it on the record).
It was a tough match, going hill-hill, with a defensive deadlock endgame in the last game. Their last ball was blocking a corner pocket, but we had a ball snugged up close to it so they weren't able to sink it from the vast majority of the table without fouling and likely giving us the game and match. We had another ball on the table that we were able to poke around defensively, allowing us to continue making legal hits. I think overall we had the upper hand at that point, but we all knew that it'd come down to whoever made the first mistake.
Unfortunately, my partner fouled while attempting to position our free ball for a breakout on the other ball... giving them ball-in-hand and the victory. He commented that we was glad that he was the one that made the mistake, and since he was the stronger player on our team I can understand his point - he didn't want it to end on a sour note for me, and I appreciate that. Overall, I was happy with our play, and I'd have no problem playing with him again. I got the feeling that he felt the same way, so it's all good.
Oh, and I learned something else today - bloggers live in glass houses - LOL. Shortly after my last match, a very observant onlooker (and good friend) declared that I was guilty of using my old rail bridge as opposed to my new rail bridge for at least one of my shots (not a break shot, since we were following BCA rules and I was therefore opting to break from just off-center of the head string rather than my usual spot near the side rail). The comment was well received, of course. I guess the new bridge isn't quite ingrained yet, and the old one came out in the heat of the moment. I'm pretty sure I made the shot anyway, but I definitely need to queue up some more practice to get that old bridge out of my system.
1 day ago