Friday was league, obviously, and my opponent this week was none other than JIM BUSS!  I knew he hung out at C&C, but wasn’t quite sure if he ever played up there. I had never seen him shoot anything other than the breeze with other locals. I admit, I was a little extra nervous going into this match.  

Normally, matches start at 7, but since there were only 2 matches, and everyone was there, it was decided to go ahead and start at 6:30.  That’s awesome, but that’s also the time I eat dinner (aka, drink my protein shake).  So, I guzzled down my shake and we started up.  I was worried how this might affect my play, and I think it did have something of an affect the first 30-45 mins of the match.

Jim’s rated an “A” player, while they have me as a “B” player (which is a little surprising, since I was a 4 (on a scalre to 2-7) in the tournament I played in there), but perhaps it’s relative the other players skills.  Anyway, this means that Jim gives me 2 games on the wire in a race to 9.

I win the flip, he racks (rather quickly), I break and send the wing ball into the corner… followed by the 9. He said “Whoa, I don’t like the way this has started!” So now I’m up 3-0.  He breaks the next rack (alternating break, remember) and notes that the 9 didn’t really move.  Well yeah, cuz I rack ’em good. We trade innings back and forth, but he gets that rack.  Then he gets the next 2 as well, since I keep missing good shape on the 7 ball.  So, now it’s an even race to 6.

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that he likes to talk a bit. Not terribly a lot, but when he misses, he tends to explain what he was trying to do.  I find that extremely odd – since that’s something I generally only see from younger/beginning players.  Hell, I still do that once in a while.  But, I try to block it out, without being rude, since he doesn’t talk while I’m actually shooting, just during the transition from his table to mine.

Neither of us is shooting particularly well and no one ran an entire rack, but still we literally trade games back and forth the next 10 racks.  That means it’s now hill-hill – and I’m breaking.  I smash ’em pretty good, but come up a little dry.  Jim commented several times through the match “[he] doesn’t like how much [I] get the 9 moving”.  He runs a few balls and there’s a 5-9 combo laying there. It’s not a hanger, the 5 is above 18 inches from the 9 – which is about 8 inches from the pocket.  There’s not much cut to put on the 5, but he’s still gotta hit is clean.  He doesn’t.  The rattles and hangs just out the pocket.  The 5 comes across table to rest about 1 diamond below the side pocket, about 1/2 diamond off the rail.  The cue ball bounces off the bottom rail and gets a little rub off the 6 balls, which sends it directly into the side pocket.  Now, I have ball in hand, with 5 balls on the table, in a pretty easy layout.  Or I have the 5-9 combo that involves sending the 5 four feet to cut the 9 into the pocket.  It’s not a hard combo, but there’s distance, and anything can happen.  I thought long about the combo, long about the runout.  I decided to shoot the combo for one reason: Jim fired at the cheese nearly every chance he got – including a long-rail position carom.  So, I decided that I wasn’t going to risk the runout.  The 8 wasn’t in a bad but it wasn’t exactly a hanger with given position either.  I put the cue ball behind the 5, lined up the cut on the 9 and sent it. *clink clink thump*


And that was that. I had won, defeating Jim Buss – only because of the spot – and the few games he gave me by missing the 7 or 8 ball.  So, I’m now 3-0 at league, and I’ve won against the only two A players.  That means I play everyone even, or give weight the rest of the first round. (we play everyone twice)  There is one D player, and I’ll have to give him 4 games going to 9.  That will be tough to fade, but we’ll see how it goes.

My “super-shot of the match” is this sequence.  He breaks dry, leaves the CB dead straight on the 1 into the top corner.  The 2 has 1 pocket, the opposite side pocket.  But, the 2 and 9 are pretty close together, with a possible chance to make the 9 in the side.  The layout is below – click through the three pages to see my shot diagrams. I fire the 1 with a bunch of draw, and the CB comes flying back, bounces off the long rail and lands almost perfect for the combo.  I look at it and while, until my brain says “yep, that’s right, now shoot it!”.  I get down and focus on cutting the 2.  Immediately after the cut, I see the 9 rolling and it’s heading toward the pocket! As it gets closer, I see it’s a little bit wide, I was thought for sure it’d hit the point and hang up, but nope, it hit just inside the point and dropped into the hole.

As for the tournament I mentioned, I was reminded that this Saturday, at midnight, Ride the Rail is having a Midnight Madness Tournament.  It’s a BB 9-ball tournament, $10 entry.  I missed the last one, but have no reason to miss this one – finally. I’m looking forward to it actually. We’ll see how it goes – and of course, I’ll be updating here.