European Pool Championships, Slovenia 2013

For the first time in many years the journey to this prestigious event was an easy one as I was travelling from my hometown of Birmingham.  The flight was only 2 hours long and the transfer journey was only 1 hour.

I arrived at the venue around 4pm and once checked in and unpacked I took a look around the venue.  This years championships was spread out over 3 hotels and the push from my hotel to the playing arena was quite along way.  The journey consisted of the outdoors, a car park, 2 corridors and 2 lifts.  At first this seemed a real pain but once you made the journey a few time it wasn’t as bad as first seemed.

The first 2 days was the 10ball event and my first match was against fellow brit Craig Welsh.  I started my campaign with a solid performance winning my match 6-0.  My second match was against Ireland’s former European Champion Fred Dinsmore.  This match didn’t live up to the standard promised however I went on to win the match 6-4.  This put me through to a quarterfinal match against German Tai Volkmer.  I really struggled in this match and at one point found myself 4-1 down.  I showed a lot of fighting spirit in this match and came back to win the match 6-5.  This put me into a semi-final match against homeboy Matej Brojkovic.  This match was nip and tuck most of the way with neither player really stamping their authority on the match at 5-4 up Matej hooked himself on the 8 ball with the 7 ball.  He made the hit but left me an easy run out and I won the match 6-4

The final was against Belgium’s Kurt Deklerk and once again neither of us took control of the match.  I did feel in this match that I played the better pool but just fell short on a few key balls, which in 10 or 9ball can be the difference.   Kurt is a great match player and won the match 6-4 showing the right temperament when required.  Obviously I was pleased to have medalled in this event but once I made the final I only had one medal in mind, next up was the 8Ball.

This proved to be the most disappointing of the week as I got put out of the event on a rule change.  My first match was against several time European Pool Champion, Henrik Larsson.  This is probably Larsson’s strongest discipline of the 3 and he demonstrated this by playing some great 8 ball taking out any open rack offered to him.  He beat me 5-0 and but for a few mistakes I had no complaints the better player won.

My next match on the losers-side was against Poland’s Michal Elusakiewicz, I won the match 5-0 playing some good pool.  I don’t practice 8Ball at home so my theory is the longer I stay in the event the more I will begin to understand the tactical side of the game.

Next up was Kurt Deklerk and time to put right the disappointing loss to him in the 10Ball final.  Kurt is a great 8Ball player and the match was a real tough draw for me.  I eventually ran out at 5-4 winner.  I felt I was really getting to grips with the tactical side of the game and my confidence was growing.

Next up was homeboy Matej Brajkovic.  Matej had a lot of support so it was important I didn’t let this distract me.  The match was close all the way through, but at 3 each Matej had a few bad rolls, which seemed to sway the match in my favor.  I went on to win 5-3.

My next match would secure me a place in the medals again and surprisingly it was against Henrik Larsson, who lost a match on the winner’s side.  The match was close until at 3-3 when my cellphone rang, I thought I’d turned it off I quickly cancelled the call and continued my shot.  Henrik went on to win that rack, then the ref came over to me and said that I will be losing the next rack as a penalty for my phone ringing which put me out of the competition.  I did challenge the decision as I felt if I was going to be deducted a rack then it should be the one that my phone rang in, but unfortunately for me the rule stood.  So we will never know how I would have done in the 8Ball event as I feel my game was getting stronger and stronger, terrible way to lose, but I didn’t get beat.

9Ball started today and my first match was against Croatia’s Eduard Karamatic.  I appeared to put yesterday’s disappointment out of my head as I won the match 7-0 playing some great pool.  Sadly, for me this is where the journey ended as I lost my next match 7-5 to Slovenia’s Matej Brajkovic and then my first losers match to Kurt Deklerk 7-6.

All in all disappointing championships for me, yes pleased with a silver medal but as always I only have one medal in mind for 9 and 10 ball.

I’ll take a week off and then back to the practice table.