POPPY SAYS: NSW 8ball singles championship.
The NSW 2006 8ball singles title was played on Sunday 18th June at the Coolangatta Hotel. A pretty handy field of 24 runners contested the best of 15 games event, 23 males and I female in Joe Buckley turned up to play which was great to see (Mel Malone is still overseas after the world titles so was unavailable). Joe was outed in the first round by a rampant Oscar Wild but a $100 consolation event for first game losers was played and that saw her go through to the final only to be touched out by Dean Heremia.
Most of the early matches went as expected with only the seeds Damien Smith 5th (outed by Tony Ivanov) Dean Heremia 7th (Terry Stevens) and Barry Kitchener Snr 8th (Poppy) falling by the wayside early. “Mr Bean” Johnstone who has been practising the house down lost a leg on the day, and danger man Peter North didn’t show is usual flair, newcomer Joe Servic played well to have his chances with Watty but fell out of position at crucial times to give Pete a victory. Keith Jarvis was another newcomer but didn’t worry the scorers. Terry Stevens went very well again but couldn’t get past Dicky Williams in the quarters the same fate that met Rod Bechaz in the 2nd round.
The top 4 seeds really cruised into the semis, where the standard went up another notch. Barry Kitchener Jnr was just too solid for 2005 winner Peter Watt although after being 7-2 up wandered a touch but then closed out 8-5 in good style. The other semi was filled with drama, against Dicky Williams, Rusty Wheeler quickly found himself down 4 zip, got on an easy black to claw one back and missed and on closer inspection realised his cue had no tip, 5 zip. Borrowing Matty Farrell’s cue he proceeded to get back in the game and won the decider at 7all.
On to the final I was getting a bit tired by this stage and thought another hour and a half to go will I make it?, well I didn’t have to worry about that. I have always thought Richard Williams demolishment of Andy Gilson in the final of the Hervey Bay classic back in the late 1990s, was some of the best pool I had ever seen and the fact it was on tight 8x4 tables it still is, but Rusty performance to take young Barry Kitchener Jnr apart is way up there, Barry Jnr played great pool to reach the final but was just shell-shocked and had no answers after the first few games. Barry Jnr got the biggest applause when he won the 8th game but Rusty closed it out 8-1 in an awesome display. I didn’t get the chance to stay tired as it was great pool and riveting to watch. It was simply Rusty day and he was a much deserved winner of the 2006 NSW 8ball title. A great effort also by Barry Jnr who was unlucky to bump into a white hot Rusty.
Apart from a fine trophy Rusty received return airfares to Rockhampton and a one-way bus ticket from Rocky to Darwin as the prize.
However I suppose we will have to make it return airfares to Darwin so his lovely wife and biggest supporter Sam can travel with him and keep an eagle eye on him.
Another great day thanks to Geoff Atkinson and the Coolie Hotel for their support. The next and last playoff is on the 9th July at the Coolie, see you all there.