Friday was the first day of the next league session.  Considering I haven’t played in nearly a month; save the 3 times in the week prior to Friday, I have to be pretty happy with my performance.  Nothing extraordinary, but there was one shot that I think was my best shot of the night.  It’s a 1-rail kick, and I don’t do well with those – and especially through traffic off the short rail.  

When my opponent missed the 4 and left me double-hooked, I was a little bit at a loss for what to do.  The 4 couldn’t be made kicking off the short-rail behind the 6 and the 8 was blocking the simple kick off the long rail.  My only option was to go downtable off the far short rail and come in behind the 6… but I wasn’t sure if the 5 was in the way.  I measured it twice and it looked like it should go… but I also know that I don’t always kick the way I see it.  But, I took my time, calmed down, and just focused on hitting the end rail where I wanted, with no accidental english at around pocket speed.  Once I watched the cueball pass the 5 without hitting it, I though maybe I had hit it too short and it was going to hit the 6.  Then I stood up and saw it sort of drift towards the long rail, as kicks/banks so often do… It trickled in behind the 6, knocked the 4 in and just floated out behind the 6, letting me see the 5.  I was shocked – and so was my opponent – and the table next to us.  That took a few minutes to recover from before trying to hit the 5.

Overall, the match was close.  I gave up 2 games on the wire in a race to 9.  I, as usual, fell behind early at 2-5, then was able to come back and tie it up.  He and I traded games the rest of the set until I got to the hill first with him still needing 2.  I thought I had it. I should’ve had it actually, but I missed a fairly standard 9-ball. Oh well. hill-hill matches are more entertaining.  However, I still managed to almost give it up… he scratched on the 8 ball, but also missed the 8 ball. So, with ball in hand, I play the 8 in one corner and get position on the 9 in the diagonal opposite corner… except I underhit it and left the cueball about a ball off the long rail, 6 feet from the 9 ball. I just have to laugh now, because well… what else is there to do?  I took a deep breath, got down and fired that 9 dead in the throat of the pocket to win the match.

So, I’m starting off on the winner’s side of the league, but I *need* to practice more.  There’s a couple of new players this session and they’re big guns.  I have no delusions of getting out on them, but I still want to put pressure on them. We’ll see.  This should be a good session. 🙂