My pool team, Mona's Athletic Club, won the semi-final round of our season finals last night against a team from Paddy McGuire's. It was a knock-down, drag-out match that wasn't decided until the last game of the last match (aka "the rubber of the rubber," or "the double rubber," or "the MAGNUM").
Here's how it went:
#1: Dan B (4) lost to a 3 in straight games. Overconfidence combined with bad luck and an inability to hit a stop shot when he needed it. Poor Dan felt terrible.
#2: Ray D'J (5) lost to Alistair (7). Alistair is a nice guy and a fantastic shot but Ray had some chances and might have forced an upset. Unfortunately, he kept following up his amazing/lucky shots with misses on easy shots. Lots of nerves throwing off everyone all night.
#3: Julie S (3 - who should have played second but was delayed getting to the bar) defeated a 4. Obviously, this was a huge deal since at this point we were up against the wall. Julie shot well, but the clutch moment was when her opponent put the eight in the wrong pocket to lose the first game. It turned out to be the turning point of the match. Once she was on the hill and he needed 3 Julie had no problem putting it away.
#4: I played next and beat a 4 (Dwayne) in straight games. He was a good shot and it was a tough table to play on (fast felt and very tight pockets). The usual combination of focus and timely good luck put me on top at the end. I've felt like crap for the last 2 days (mild persistent headache) so it was a relief and a surprise to actually win.
#5: Jeremy L (5) faced off against team captain Tibor (5) in a tense and exciting match that ended with us winning at the last minute. Both players struggled with nerves and Julie S tried her best to keep me and Ray from talking to Jeremy during the match - ostensibly to keep him calm and focused (we weren't too offended ;-) ). In the end, Jeremy's shooter instinct took hold and he started crushing his shots, but he got a bit too aggressive and lost when he was on the hill because of a questionable decision to push for a run-out. In the last game, a timely coach from Ray prevented him from making the same mistake and he won beautifully.
The Paddy's team were gracious hosts, as always. Next week we play in the finals. Hopefully, our luck will stay strong!