European Championships, Vale do Lobo, Portugal. April 2015

The big one! it doesn’t really matter what happens in other events, this is the one that matters.

We started with 10 Ball which I won last year, and I really wanted to defend it!

Me v Henrik Larsson (Sweden) 6-4 win.

Nice easy starter since I was number 1 seed so to meet the current World 9 Ball Champion in the first round probably wasn’t what either of us wanted.  It was a strange match, I couldn’t settle but neither could Henrik and luckily I got a grip about half way and managed to get it done.

Me v Manfred Gattinger (Germany) 6-1 win.

He has improved a lot.  I think we were surprised to see he was the player selected to represent Germany, but his results proved he deserved the selection.  It was an easy win but I think that was mainly because I was able to bully him early on and there wasn’t much he could do to turn the match.  He did however play an amazing one handed jump shot when I thought I had him in huge trouble, he was very unlucky with this particular shot.

Me v Eduard Karamatic (Croatia) 6-1 win.

I was a bit lucky to get a lead in the match as I didn’t play great, but when I got ahead there was only really one winner, but like a couple of other players he has really improved and the Croatian federation should be very proud of the way Eduard played throughout the Championships.

Semi Final

Me v Kurt de Klerck 6-5 loss.

I had a chance in the decider but I played a deep screw very badly and Kurt made a good clearance.  Unfortunately other things that happened outside my control during the match made it a very disappointing night.  Bronze medal it was…..

8 Ball

Me v Craig Welsh (Wales GB) 5-1 win.

I was pleased to get this win, as I was still very rattled by the events of the previous night.

Me v Tony Southern (England GB) 5-3 loss.

Another result and situation that left me very disillusioned, and I was proven to be correct when I saw it back on Kozoom recording.  However I put a post up on Facebook in frustration that was misunderstood by EPBF and as I have previously said to them I am sorry for this but it was a genuinely honest misunderstanding and I deleted it when I saw the way it was being misinterpreted. I clarified it with Gre as early as I could.

Me v Daniel Lee (England GB) 5-4 win.

I really wasn’t in the mood to play this match but I put on a professional performance against a player with great potential.  I was 4-2 down took a time out to try ease my frustration and luckily it worked I didnt miss a ball from there and won 5-4 with a great clearance.

Me v Matej Brajkovic (Slovenia) 5-2 win.

Another dangerous player, a proven medal winner, this was a tough draw.  Again I didn’t play particularly well but managed to put in another professional performance and got an easy win, but that was helped by Matej missing a couple of balls he shouldn’t.

Me v Roy Kimberley (England GB) 5-4 win.

This draw was getting silly now! ANOTHER match against a proven champion.  I missed a simple 8 Ball for 2-0 and that seemed to give Roy the belief he could win and I couldn’t shake him off.  It went to a decider and again I played a great break and finish.

Semi Final:

Me v Kurt de Klerck (Belgium) 5-4 win.

A repeat of the 10 Ball semi final, but thankfully there were no repeats of the previous problems.  I was starting to settle into the tournament again, but the fact is he is a better 8 ball player than me and again I was 4-2 down but really I had only made one mistake.  It was a great match, again I took a time out and got composed again and reminded myself I hadn’t really done anything wrong and the score was mainly down to him playing well, which I knew I was too.  Again like the match with Lee and Kimberley I didn’t miss from then and won 5-4 with a great break and finish.

Final:

Me v Danny Luton (England GB) 5-2 win.

I was confident I could/would win this match, but when Danny plays well he is an incredible player, and also a very difficult player  to play.  He made a great clearance in first rack, I thought I was going to have a major problem.  He beat me in the 10 Ball final a couple of years ago and played an amazing match and I thought he was about to do the same again! Luckily I managed to stay with him and then get ahead and took control and made some great finishes, even if I could land right on the 8 Ball at all! I was delighted to win this title and after all the problems it confirmed how mentally tough I have become (most of the time) thanks to Johny but for sure much more work is needed in this area and we both know this.

9 Ball:

Me v Danny Luton (England GB) 7-1 loss.

I was so flat after the 8 Ball win, I felt ok all day and was prepared and wanted to do well (win) 9 Ball also.  However everything I touched went wrong, Danny played well and honestly from 4-0 down I really didn’t have any fight left.  He was a deserved winner for sure.

Me v Klusakiewicz (Poland) 7-0 win.

Hes a really difficult player to play and honestly I just wanted to win as quick as possible and go back to the hotel.  I didn’t play well but the result speaks for itself.

Me v Daniel Lee (England GB) 7-2 win.

Again this was always going to be a tough match when he had nothing to lose.  I think we were about 2-2 and trading blows, but he then missed a couple of balls and I was able to win easily, I don’t think this was as easy as the result suggests though.

Me v Henrik Larsson (Sweden) 7-2 win.

I knew he was having a nightmare event and was under serious pressure and when I took charge of the match this was obvious.  An easier than expected win!

Quarter Final:

Me v Danny Luton (England GB) 7-3 win

A fairly easy win, I think I took control of the match brilliantly.  We were put on a shot clock at 6-3 which was a bit strange considering the score, I had never had a shot clock and didn’t really know how to handle it but luckily I won the next rack so the match was over and the shot clock was only for about 5 minutes which was strange.  This was however a good win.

Me v Jouni Tahti (Finland) 7-5 loss.

This was an incredibly disappointing loss, I  was 5-3 down when I should not have been and again I took a time out to try compose myself like the other times, I spoke to Johny and we worked out a “plan” that I executed perfectly, I got it back to 5-5, I think Jouni was actually a little rattled, I had a chance for 6-5 played the correct shot but the table rolled off and left me chinese snookered in the middle of the match, it was impossible to hit, and it wasn’t my fault, so unlucky, but in the cold light of day I should have made sure something like that couldn’t happen by playing in a different position but at the time I thought I did the correct thing by making the shot easier under pressure.  In the next rack when I was 6-5 down Jouni missed a shot by a mile and snookered me! I tried to be too clever I should have just made sure I didn’t foul, He cleared then.  He’s a great guy, and a brilliant player clearly the best of all time but I think he will admit he got lucky this time! :-)

So thats it, 1 Gold and 2 Bronze (the colour I hate)! I think this was SO SO close to being an amazing result, certainly winning 2 gold but it wasn’t to be, under the circumstances I think I can be very proud of this outcome.  For sure I was happy to get home!!!!!

A huge thanks to Predator Cues, Volturi Cue Cases, Ger Dunphy Snooker & Pool, and special thanks to Cheqio and Darren Appleton for their support in this event.  Thanks also to Martin Kirwan and SIPF for his ongoing work with EPBF I hope and trust together we can cross the remaining hurdles Ireland faces.  Huge thanks as is usual in the last two years to BPS and Johny Vanrijkel, his help was even more important than ever here and I really appreciate his help and support and for making me the player I am becoming (I won’t say have become as there is still a lot to improve).

As always thanks to Tricia and Louis for all their support, its a pity we were apart for Easter and the EC this year, hopefully it’ll be different next year (but Louis still won’t be there)  :-(