A PLUNGE IN THE POOL

The annual small town winter pool competitions began while we were away in Napa so interesting to see how it was all going on our return.

In the past the Hollywood Bar had always been the Saturday venue and then for those that couldn’t get enough a quick 18 mile drive to Mancos for the Sunday competition. However, this year after Travis, the Hollywood owner, imported his lady friend in as bar manager things went decidedly pear shaped. In her first week of occupation she fired 2 of the bar staff and threw out several regulars and refused to serve others?  This did not go down well!! The net upshot of all this was the other local bar, The Riverfront,  put on the Saturday competition and so we have 2 comps within 1/4 mile of each other and of course being patrons of both, and very friendly with Travis, we were torn between the two.

So far, the Riverfront, which has finally got a cook in the kitchen, is winning out both on numbers and on ambiance due to the huge patio overlooking the river…….. and the food is 10 times better than it ever was.

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A Riverfront table ready for action

The first weekend we were back we decided to go to the Hollywood and give them the initial support. By the 10 minutes to go to start time things were not looking good for a game so we hi-tailed it to the Riverfront and paid our dues there.

Going back to August we had some people in the park from Florida and one of their many skills turned out to be custom pool cues. He had 2 for sale, both exceptionally nice, and as it was my birthday and I couldn’t think of anything I really wanted one of them became mine and Brenda couldn’t resist the other one.

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Birthday sticks ready for the 2014/15 season

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All wood for Brenda

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A very pretty cue

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….and this one in Mine!

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Drop dead gorgeous

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Signed and dated

With no competitions during the summer months mine had only had one practice session where I was on fire with it winning all 8 frames that I played.

As I’ve said before we play a standard 16 player tournament with double elimination. The first three places win the money and the first poor soul to go “out” gets a free drink. With 16 players,  in order to get your fingers on the loot, then you need to win your first 3 games as only 2 people can be undefeated at this stage. The winner of this one goes in the final while the loser plays the best of the rest who have come through the losers side of the challenge. The winner of this one meets Mr or Mrs Undefeated in the final where  Undefeated gets to break and only has to win 1 of the 2 frames.

The NEW Cue and I breeze through 3 frames undefeated and I meet one of our best players, John McEwan. Well at least I’m in the money and I have beaten John before but I’ve also only got to rack the balls against him when he has run the table on me! Today its fairly even and then I miss one and let him back in where he immediately cleans up. I now play the winner from the losers and win this one so its back to the final against John. I have to win both but get hammered in the first so the day is done and I get Second place and an entry to the main competition in December. Well done to the new cue!

The following week Brenda is much more determined, but we both lose our third round match so are now fighting up the loser’s side. We end up meeting for 4th and 5th and I win this one. My next match is going well until I fluff an easy shot, but not to worry the “leave” isn’t good and I can’t see the opposition making anything. Wrong! ……. a seemingly impossible shot is nominated and comes off and from there the game is lost. So, a 4th and 5th. Close but no cigar.

7 days click by and this time Brenda is in no mood for being Mrs Nice Guy and wins her way through to take second place to Isaac who is back on form. My showing didn’t come to much, I didn’t play badly, just didn’t play well enough!

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NOT to be triffled with today ………. 2nd place!

Saturday again and I lose an early match to Anita after beating her husband Mike who accidentally sunk the Black on his first shot. I’m playing well and win another and now I’m against Bob in the 4/5 match. I’m first on the black and play a long delicate shot and the crowd are applauding as it goes to the corner but then with about 6″ to go it rolls away as the table is anything but level! Bob was not expecting to get back in but suddenly comes alive and clears the table and then goes on to get in the final and win both frames for the victor’s slot.

Sunday and now time to go to Mancos and see what we can do. I win my first 2 games and now meet, guess who, none other than Bob. Once again I seem to have it all wrapped up but the white drops in a pocket and Bob takes over and cleans up! I play on and have a remarkable break sinking three stripes and leaving myself set up on two more. The opposition leaves me in a good position and I finish the rest. I now meet Pete who is one of the co-owners of the bar and also an ex US Navy F4 pilot. Between us we have over 5000 flying hours on this amazing aircraft and a LOT of stories to tell when provoked by the demon drink.

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The F4 operators in fierce contest

Pete is playing a lot better this year but I manage to get by him and I’m in the final where I meet Bob again. Seems Bob can do no wrong this weekend and wins to take home 2 first places at both the Columbine and yesterday’s Riverfont competition …… well done to Bob.

Six days later and we are at the Riverfront and now we are in the grip of a cold spell but still nice enough to be on the patio while the sun is up. Brenda picks the numbers and I’m No1. My first game is against one of the local girls from a group of teenagers who are learning the game very quickly. One of the problems with pool and youth is most younger players tend to hit the ball TOO HARD and today is no exception as the black gets side swiped and runs into a vacant pocket.

With an odd number of players today I get a “bye” in round 2 and now face Anita in round 3. Anita has been in top form this year and is a lot more accurate after a good session of home practice. A good win for me and now I’m up against John McEwan again who has already had 2 wins this season! Today its my time and I win this one and advance to the final.

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On the loser’s side Brenda has been going well after an early loss and is now playing Nick who has lost to her in their previous three matches. Nick wins and Brenda is in 5th again. Nick meets Anita’s husband Mike for the 3rd/4th shootout and Mike runs out the victor and now plays John McEwan for the slot in the final against me. John wins but at least Mike is qualified for the “big one” at Christmas.

John and myself (again) only this time I get to break and only need to win 1 of the 2 games. Nice break but nothing drops so John is in and elects stripes taking 2 down at the bottom rail but can’t find his way onto a third. I’m back and have a nice run of 4 but screw myself with poor cue ball control for the next. John picks off a couple of sitters  and then looks to be about done but makes a magnificent bank shot that has me appaulding. He then makes another bank shot to prove its no fluke and now has only the 9 ball left which by his standards is fairly easy. The black, however is mid way up the table and tight against the rail. My brown ball is up by the black but about 6″ out in the clear with the green and yellow balls at the other end of the table. John spends a long time looking at the shot and we are all thinking from the way he is lining everything up he must be looking to see where he wants the cue ball to be for the winning shot after taking the easy 9 ball……….. but then he fires at the 7 ball and sinks it!!!

I’m back on, and the cue ball is now down with my green and yellow balls. Study the sequence, green first to the left, then having stopped the cue ball a cut on the yellow and bounce off the rail to mid table or less for that cushion shot on the black. Perfect shot on the yellow and the cue ball position is exactly where I want it for a left hander. Remember the old saying “don’t aim at the ball, aim at the cushion beside it” ……. repeat the saying over to myself a few times and a nice accurate soft hit and the black stays glued to the rail and trundles down it to drop in for the win.

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A pleasing WIN today!

Well then, the story so far as we approach mid season and people are trying hard to qualify for “the big one”.  Brenda is in with her fine 2nd but is going all out for the coveted win. I’ve had a 2nd and now a 1st at the Riverfront and also a 2nd over in Mancos at the Columbine.

Of course in this pool game you can NEVER discount anybody at any time so every game IS important ! As we approach  Thanksgiving  and the ritual of Christmas lighting I have 9 days off from school so I expect we will try for both weekends at the Riverfront and the  Columbine………. as the sun sets over the the Dolores river as seen from the Riverfront’s pato.

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Heres my “Kincaid” with the camera from the patio

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

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