POPPY SAYS: Another successful playoff was held at the Coolie Hotel to start and finished at Dolphins Hotel at Tweed Heads, our thanks go out to both venues especially to Wayne at Dolphins for saving our butts and giving us a table to finish it up on for as long as we needed it after we had to finish up at Coolie at 5pm (No fault of Geoffrey’s). 56 players turned up to do battle, and it was a great day had by all. Many old faces (some very old, sorry Captain) were there and some refreshing new faces as well, Jo Buckley came from afar (Yamba) and played really well and brought her own cheer squad which was great and will add a lot of starch to the ladies comps. Rusty Cheshire came out of hibernation, Matty and Vanessa came to the party and Vanessa played the best I have seen her play and finished equal 2nd with Anne McLaughlin behind Mel Malone for the highest placed lady.  The potential ladies team is shaping up really well with Sammy, Judy, Jamie, Kristy, and Tracey and a few more in the mix it looks to be a very competitive team.

The men’s is looking super strong with the usual culprits leading the way; away from them the depth is also really good. Super coach and mentor auntie Pat had a few harsh words with her charge Northy after he had a dismal and she failed to get her 20% cut of any prize money, (20% of zip is zip), still an early exit for the big man always has it’s benefits as the stories then come thick and fast. (It doesn’t matter that we have heard them all before because he changes them every time). Talking about thick and fast, “Taffy” Johnston did a great job to get past some very good players only to finally be snuffed out by Dickie Williams; still plenty of others have suffered the same fate. The mad pom Chris Blamfield made a comeback, and to see guys like Johnny Latta, Christian Fedley and Scotty Wright travel the kilometres to play against the better player in an effort to improve their game is gratifying and good for the future. Terry Stevens doesn’t get a mention today, what could I say, and Jamie is in grave danger of becoming Mr Beans bunny after another close encounter, (hope I got that right).

2004 NSW captain J J Spink came down from the Sunshine Coast and immediately put his hand up for captain, to which I replied are you some kind of masochist wanting to be in charge of this lot, “love a challenge” was the simple reply. Not saying JJ is simple, however wanting to be captain, hmm. So if he qualifies the other players can handball the job straight to him and I am sure that will be the go and he will excel. Some good form was shown over the day Johnny I, Watty, Mr Bean, and Tony Ivanov all played well, but the best performances were from Borgy, Deano, Dickie, and Rusty Wheeler. Dean McDonald was as hot as I have seen him for a while and it took a hotter Dickie Williams to slow him down. Borgy played Dickie in the loser’s final for the honour of trying to roll Rusty twice. Borgy had his chances but Dickie got the roll of the dice and it came down to Richard having to beat Rusty twice, probably not having played on the Dolphins tables before wasn’t ideal for Rusty, Dickie had played enough frames on them to realise he had to pull himself back a bit as the table is a lot tougher than the Coolie tables especially the end pockets at pace, having said that Dickie did the job twice and got the money in fairly comfortable style. So the day was a huge success and both the ladies and men’s NSW teams are shaping up as the most competitive we have sent to the nationals yet.

The next playoff will be at the Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay on the 14th May 12.00 start, Dickie has decided the Byron Bay air (I think it was the air) is not good for his health and will not be there, I can hear a few “god damn what a shame” being muttered. Don’t get too excited though Watty, Rusty, Damien, Dean and all the other hotshots will be there. To get the comp finished at a reasonable hour (our aim is 7.00) the numbers on the day will determine the format, probably best of 3 throughout and 1 in the back half still double elimination. Another innovation will be if a player leaves the playing area and intends to be away for a fair length of time please tell Watty, Damien, my good self, or Steve Chapman and we will work around you, if you don`t and your game comes up you will be called 3 times at 30 second intervals, if no show you will be forfeited. Watty nearly pulled his hair out (and he really can’t afford to lose too much) on Sunday trying to find players all day, I was in the same boat (it doesn’t matter to me I have none to pull out anyway) and it is really annoying, and it doesn’t help our games either (I am sticking to that story), so with only 4 tables at Byron we have to be slick and quick as the last comp there took too long.

Keep your heads down and see you at Byron. Poppy  

PS: We need all raffle books to be in the committee’s hands by the 25th April, so sell those spare tickets and please get them in to us with no delays.