I mentioned in my last post that I wasn’t planning on leaving the house, but in all reality – I fully expected to miss at least half of this match because I wasn’t to go play instead of watching people play. However, after watching the first hour on Friday while killing time, I found myself glued to the computer screen until the end of the evening! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Earl playing like a god! Meanwhile, SVB couldn’t seem to catch a break. Bad bump here, rattle the pocket there; it was just weird. I watched as Earl extended his lead to win the first day by 11 games.
Saturday day was something of a lazy for me and as the night drew closer, I realized that I really wanted to watch more of this match. So I grabbed a laptop and hooked it up to my new tv to watch the stream from the comfort of my couch instead of the computer chair. I was not disappointed. Earl, again, played fantastic and with almost no outbursts or extended rants even! However, he was now sporting earplugs AND baggage handler ear-muffs!! LOL Unfortunately, Shane’s play seemed to drop off. At one point he was down by 17 games! I was able to bring it to within 5, but still ended the night down 10 games heading into the final day with a sort of 70-60.
Sunday I decided that I couldn’t possibly miss the end of this match and so I watched the clock and fired up the stream. Earl seemed to still be in control of the table, no matter what Shane did. I watched as Shane bobbled balls, missed some shots by more than 3 inches and generally blowing position more often than not. He did, strangely enough, out-safe Earl on average. He had such tremendous speed control when playing safe, I don’t understand how he could overrun position by 2 feet on one shot, then underrun position on the next by 2 feet. It was all very odd. Once in a while, Shane would catch a gear in a rack, run-out, then scratch on the break. I only saw 2 break’n’runs by Shane, both were followed by either a dry break or a scratch on the next rack. He just never got going and it destroyed his confidence. Earl did lose it at one point, falling on the floor, throwing his 70 INCH cue down, and smashing his earmuffs. However, and this is the funny part: He had back-up earmuffs!! After that outburst, he seemed to recollect himself and continue pocketing balls like a genius. He played on that table like I’ve seen SVB play on most other 9′ tables. He made the game look easy. Shane made it look like it was an obstacle course.
Earl won the match by a substantial margin, but just the fact that Earl won is the most amazing thing. Almost no one in the pool world had picked Earl to win. Everyone assumed he’d lose it, blow up and get down 30 games before he recovered. It never happened. He led the entire match! The first score I saw on Friday was Earl up 2-0, and I never saw Shane even the score.
Even though I paid for the PPV stream, I really want to buy the DVD because I think regardless of how poorly Shane played, Earl played so well it’s worth buying again. I was pulling for Shane the whole time, but couldn’t help but feel good to see Earl doing so well. All his years of talking about how he’s the best player in the universe on a 5×10 turns out to be true. In an interview after the match, Shane said he couldn’t beat him on a 5×10 (which is something of a twist on one of Shane’s tag lines “He can’t beat me.” was morphed into “I can’t beat him.”. It’s a bit of an inside joke between SVB and TAR.). He also said he’s not sure if anyone could beat Earl on that table; however he did mention that maybe Alex [Pagulayan] could. That would be an interesting match for sure.
The next big match for Earl is the Bad Blood match between him and Johnny Archer, races to 15 in 10-ball and 8-ball followed by a race teo 150 in straight pool. That is in just 2 weeks, and Johnny had better be careful because I think this win is going to light a serious fire under Earl’s ass. However, I do know that Johnny is going to torture Earl, saying “he’s getting back 25 years of antagonizing me”.