With the first sprinkling of snow on the ground and trials bikes in hibernation until Buckeye in January
time to think of all winter type things like Thanksgiving, Christmas decorations (and will those bloody
bulbs still work?) and all the local pool competitions.

Last year although I played well, I couldn’t qualify for the “Big One” as I consistently finished fourth on
just about every attempt. Brenda beat me to the punch and slipped through with a good third place and
I believe was the only lady qualifyer last year.

This year it has been a different story! First attempt at the Columbine in Mancos and I’m through with
a solid third losing to the overall winner. First go at the Hollywood in Dolores after an early loss to
Travis (the Hollywood Catering Manager, or fancy name for the cook) I came back on the losers side
beating out Travis again for third place and then needing a double win in the final. It all went very well
in the first game with some of those planned but seemingly unlikely shots coming off and finishing
with a bank shot to the middle bag. Game two was going very well and I was three balls up coming to
the black but couldn’t sink it from my first attempt letting my opposition back in to clean up and win the
day. Never mind, a very pleasing second place will do.

Going well on “stripes”

A few weeks ago Brenda had a Saturday free so we were back at the Hollywood to see if she could
qualify once more. She won her first round well, and then met up with me in round two which she
also won. However either alcohol or lack of practice caught up with her and a bit of “elbow” swinging
lost her the next two games. I won a couple more but then went out when someone almost ran the
table on me dropping me out in about 5th place.

Brenda in top form against me

Today Brenda has a long weekend and is fairly determined to get it right both at Dolores and
Mancos. There has been a lot more practice over the past two weeks so a bit more of the killer
thinking, less elbow swinging, and she could easily get the result. Lets hope so as her birthday is
only a week away!

Brenda gets a bye in round 1 and I find myself playing second fiddle to someone I should have
easily beaten. Every shot that he misses leaves me with nothing!  Quite infuriating so accept a first
round loss. Round two and no sooner has the game started and I’m going well when I see I’m
missing the Black ball? I didn’t even see it go in so I have no explanation!

Brenda meets Joe, our semi-professional, and after a good run loses this one. She then meets
Ron, who I lost to in the final a few weeks ago and her day comes to an end.

Roll, striped one, …..roll

The “Oh, so nearly look”

Well we still have Mancos on Sunday so a quick 5 frames to get in the mood, cues packed, and off
we go. We draw our numbers and Brenda is 3 and I’m at the other end on 13 so I won’t be seeing
her for sometime assuming we can win a few. Seems I have a first round bye so I can watch her
first game which she creeps through with a bit of elbow swinging.

Without the “elbow” swing

Normally if you can win 3 in a row you are assured of a good finish. I win my second round after a
bit of a struggle with the black and some poor shots along the way but a win is a win. My next game is against Brandon and despite getting to the black first I can’t sink the thing so I’m relegated to the
losers side. Brenda beats out Donny and then wins again giving her the magic 3 wins.

Another good win coming

Back on the loser’s bench I’m against Farrel, who often wins these competitions, but luckily for me he
clips the 8 in so I live to fight again. Now I’m against Donny who Brenda beat earlier and anything can
happen here as although he is an impressive player he tends to hit the ball far too hard. Today is no
exception and while trying a difficult shot the black sails in shortly after the game got under way. This automatically puts me into the third place where I get to play the loser of the so far undefeated Brenda
and Brandon match.

Three wins in a row

Brandon wins so its Brenda and myself guaranteed at least 3rd and 2nd with the winner playing
Brandon in the final. A fairly close game with spouse and the crowd definitely on her side but I slip
through and will meet Brandon in the final.

Racking up for the family duel

As I’m coming from the loser’s bench I have to rack and also win two games. Game one goes well
and I avenge my earlier defeat.

Red, then black, for the win

Three balls up, just the tricky bank on the black

The final game and I’m well ahead and get to a tricky bank shot for the black and the match. If I
make it then a no argument victory, but if I screw it up then Brandon’s remaining 3 balls are all
conveniently positioned, and barring mistakes he should be able to run them in my opinion. My
shot is worth a try but requires an offset bank. The strike is good but it does a “jaw rattler” and
hangs over the pocket edge! The crowd gasp…… but it would appear unless Brandon makes a bad
mistake I won’t be getting back to the table which indeed was the way it went.

Overall a very pleasing Sunday afternoon with a 2nd and 3rd …… maybe a 1st and 2nd would have
been too much! No matter, we are now both qualified at Mancos and I’m already good at Dolores so
Brenda just has to shoot a good one there and all will be well. Now I have to find a “very special”
present for her birthday and the week will be good despite our first snowfall last night.


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