European Championships North Cyprus March/April 2014

The highlight of the year, even more important since last year was so successful. My participation was under threat as Ireland is not an EPBF member, but this has changed and hopefully Ireland will continue and grow. However whatever happens I dont think I should be prevented from competing, ┬áIve worked too hard for too long (and been too successful) for this to happen. The wheelchair division needs to grow, in my opinion we shouldnt be governed by the same entry criteria as the stronger Men/Women divisions. In addition Ireland had the chance to have players in North Cyprus and it ended up with just me again so I think the EPBF in this case have a flawed argument, if they do what they said they will ban me (so they lose about 1300Euro) in trying to get the 5000euro for able bodied players they want to attract, this just wont happen, the standard is not there yet so this wont happen, common sense must prevail….

10 Ball:
Me V Tony Southern (GB) 6-1 win. He has become or is bordering on being a top played now, I dont know how we keep meeting early in events, but we do!!!!! This time I played nearly perfect, I think I missed one ball. A great win and a perfect start.

Me v Roy Kimberley (GB) 6-3 win. A terrible match, totally opposite to earlier, my concentration was nowhere and I was lucky it didnt backfire, which Johny, my coach reminded me about after the match!

Me v Henrik Larsson (Sweden) 6-5 win. A very controversial match, at 2-2 I snookered him, it was an easy one cushion hit so neither of us felt the need to call the ref (they are shared at this stage) he got out of it, but hit it very hard, missed it the first time, the white rebounded, hit the ball but didnt hit a rail. I picked the ball up, Henrik said it was no foul, hes not a cheat but I think he did make a mistake. Even though we didnt call the ref, he WAS looking at the shot and in my opinion should make a call one way or the other, but that it seems is not the rule which in my opinion needs to be reviewed. The technology is also there for replays in this situation and this should be used, contrary to what is said for the amount of times it is necessary in events it wouldnt take that long and would avoid unnecessary controversy. I went 5-2 down, I was fuming but somehow managed to get back in the match and won 6-5. probably under the circumstances the best match win of my career.

Semi Final Me v Aslam Abubaker 6-3 win. I was determined to win this match, Aslam is a good player but in some of his previous comments seemed to suggest he is too good for our division and concentrated on the Able-bodied tour, strange comments all things considered…. Anyway I got off to a great start and got a horrendous kick on the 8 with 9 hanging for 4-0 and the match seemed to turn, I then missed a long straight 8 for 5-1 by a mile, I did all the stuff before the shot I should do with Johny’s shot preparation but I obviously wasnt ready and missed it by a mile, STUPID. But I managed to win 6-3, I was pleased with the result.

Me v Roy Kimberley 6-0. I played very well, Roy struggled and it was the perfect result for me. Delighted to win another Major title and made even sweeter with everything that happened in the previous few months.

A couple of days off and then 8 Ball started, my weakest event, even though I won last year a medal was the target here.

First round
Me v Abubaker 5-2 win. An easy win, he conceded with balls remaining in some racks but that’s not really my problem…

Me v Leszek Blumzynski (Poland) 5-4 win. I dont know how I won this match, my concentration was terrible, I think I took him a bit for granted,which I certainly cant do in my weakest and his strongest event!!!!! I should have won 5-0 and then he deserved to win 5-4 I think some inexperience against the top players cost him here. PHEW!!!!

Quarter Final:
Me v David Himpe (Belgium) 5-1 win A match I didnt really want as I am very proud to be partly representing Belgium through BPS I love the country and the people. David got a kick in the first rack at a crucial time (kicks seemed to happen a lot in this event and I dont know why) I got two at crucial times one against Abubaker and another in the 9 Ball final. With his inexperience this seemed to effect him and I took control of the match, I hope there will be more success for David in the future.

Semi Final:
Me v Jouni Tahti 5-2 loss.
This was a strange match the score says I got battered, but I played great and only made two mistakes (and one crucial kick) this all changed the match and he won. To be fair he is a much better and cleverer 8 Ball player than me but the tactic I had was to attack and despite what the score says it actually came quite close to working. So Bronze medal but while it was the aim I was a bit disappointed as this was close to being a win against Jouni.

First Round.
Me v Leszek Blumzynski (Poland) 7-1 win.
Not the prettiest of matches, they made a mistake with the times and I got a call to my room by Anne from Belgium saying they wanted to put our match on early, I had planned to have a sleep before the match but had to go straight to venue, but I ended up not starting until just before the scheduled time which wasnt ideal, plus there was a problem with the floor and some tables were much higher at one end (tables 3 and 5 in particular) not ideal for our division. We were put on one of those tables, I asked could we change but it wasnt possible due to the scheduling error, I wasnt very happy to be on this table and I think it showed in the performance but I won fairly easy and quick so that was the important thing.

Me v Danny Luton (GB) 7-6 win. A strange match I had chances to win easy I think to go 3-0 missed it and the match turned, Danny started playing great, I think I also stupidly saw Darren watching and was equally stupidly trying to impress him so a combination of these factors dont go very well together!!!! it went 6-6 I had a break and run, a great clearance under pressure and a good win!

Me v Matt Duffy (Scotland GB) 7-6 win

Matt played an incredible match, I couldnt control it and when I eventually did I couldnt finish it, he had a simple clearance in the last rack and has he missed nearly nothing the whole match I assumed it was over, but somehow he messed up position from 7 to 8 and left a difficult shot which I still expected him to get on the basis of the way he played the match but luckily he missed it and I managed to win, or should I say he managed to lose!!! Sorry Matt.

Semi Final
Me v Roy Kimberley 7-2 win.

Normal service resumed after two difficult matches I played well and didnt really give Roy any chance to get into the match. A really good win.

Me v Jouni Tahti 7-5 loss.
Very pleased I made a strong defence of the title I wanted to keep, but even now a week or so later I still very disappointed about the way I did some things in this match. I won the first rack and on the 7 I tried to make sure I got through the ball the way I have been working on with Johny, I did this alright, the white travelled about two foot too far and only left me a tough 8 which in hindsight I should have played safe on but I didnt and missed it. A couple of things happened in the middle of the match and I made two or three really bad errors which to be honest I hadnt made since I started working with Johny and I didnt handle it well and a little bit of panic set in, also in addition we gave each other two racks this partly allowed me to get back in the match at 6-5 down, but sadly it was his break and he finished perfectly not giving me a shot so no chance to get to 6-6. I had to settle for Silver. So that was it Gold Silver and Bronze from 3 events which was the target, but the way I played I think there was the possibility of doing just a little better. But overall a great result, I am the only person (in any division) to get a medal in every event I entered. Thanks to all my sponsors who helped and supported me, Predator, Kamui, Ger Dunphy Snooker and Pool and special thanks to Pinnacle Project Partners for their sponsorship for this event.

Thanks as always to Tricia and Louis and special thanks to Connie and Johny. For sure I have no doubt that Johny and BPS have made these results possible. I hope I get the opportunity to keep playing and we can have continued success together. Even more so since I plan to open a club in Arklow, Ireland in the coming weeks with Des Quinn so I hope the future will be good!!!!!

Hopefully the Irish Sports Council will come onboard and support me at some point, they are missing out on getting some credit for a lot of great results, wake up Ireland!!!!