As is also tradition, Season 14’s Captains Cup provided fantastic entertainment for all in attendance. There were 23 players that registered to represent 23 teams, and each was randomly placed into one of four groups. Then the round-robin qualification round began.
For the uninitiated, a round-robin competition involves every player playing each other, with 10 points to the winner and a point for each ball potted to the loser.
This style of game made a really exciting spectacle as the quick-fire frames started and finished, and the scores rapidly changed with each frame.
On Monday there was an added edge however – the main TV displaying the results was displaying the schedule, and the points scores were largely unknown until the final frames.
Only the top two players from each group would progress, and the atmosphere was often electric during the games with loud cheers and clapping punctuating the music at Black Pearl.
Group A included captains from two of Division A’s top teams, and both Riky from Black Sheep and Harry from Shot Bar progressed to the quarter finals. There was strong competition from Andy Moore playing for Islander A and host Dave from Black Pearl Bar, and it was the deciding frames that determined which two players would proceed to the next round.
Group B provided a super example of just how competitive and close this scoring system can be.
Four players ended with 40+ points, but in the end it was Black Bull’s Andy and White Hart’s Jig going through.
Jig had the highest points score of all qualifying round players, just three points shy of the maximum 50.
The tide turned many times in Group C, and Otis from Future Bar and Richard from Pita Bar managed to sneak through to the quarters.
Pita Bar’s Richard had started disastrously when he thought he potted off the break and carried on potting until his error was noticed. Despite that he still managed to take top spot in the group. Top-ranked female player Pang ran the break to put Gero out of the running, but Otis just pipped her to the post by two points.
The last group included one less player, but no less competition.
The final two players making their way to the quarters would be Philipp from Division B winners Roses Bar and Noi from the all-girl Pink Sheep team.
Mango Bar’s Gregg looked certain to progress, only to fall when Pink Sheep’s Noi ran the table off the break.
Moving into the quarter finals the format changed to straight elimination, race to two frames. The atmosphere was still flourishing and spectators started to support their favourite players.
Harry played Otis in the opening quarter final, and the Shot Bar captain produced a solid 2-0 performance. The second quarter final saw Noi and Andy square off.
After taking the first frame Noi tried to play safe, but not safe enough and Andy promptly cleared up.
Luckily for Noi, she still managed to take the deciding frame. Riky played Richard next in an intriguing battle.
Both players missed balls as the pressure grew in a very tactical match.
In the end Black Sheep’s Riky played better to win 2-0.
The last quarter final allowed White Harts Jig to really show his skill and experience – he played some great pool to beat Philipp 2-0.
The semi finals retained the same format, and the two matches pitted Harry against Noi and Riky to play Jig. With captains of Division A’s top three teams making it to the last four, expectations were indeed high that some quality pool would be on display.
In her first frame Noi uncharacteristically missed pots she would sink any other day, and Harry happily took advantage to finish the first frame off. Harry then really entered the zone and played some exceptional positional shots to clear the table for a 2-0 victory. His opponent was being decided on the next table in an epic battle between Riky and Jig.
This was a tactical battle, with the balls not sitting nice for either player off either break in the first two frames. Riky managed to salvage the first frame with some solid potting, but Jig came straight back with some great shots to level the score 1-1. The last frame was probably the most entertaining of the night, with Jig once again coming back strong by potting four balls in a row but he fell out of position and the crowd was stunned. Next came an amazing shot to the middle pocket to give Jig a new hope, but he missed his final ball. This gave Riky the opening, and he put Jig out with some flawless shots to go through to the final.
The final was a race-to-3 frames, and the experience of both finalists was obvious with some very rapid play.
Frames were conceded where easy shots were left for the opponent, and in the end it was several uncharacteristic misses by Harry that allowed Ricky to claim the Season 14 Captains Cup.
Well done to Riky who played some very efficient pool throughout the night.
– Gregg Bremner and Richard Hearne
A special thank you to Black Pearl for hosting the event, and to main RPL sponsor http://www.ThailandPoolTables.com.
If your bar would like to join Season 15 please visit http://www.rawai-pool-league.com/join.php.