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Random Thoughts from the World 8-Ball Championship

Posted 03-07-2011 at 07:47 PM by AzHousePro

Glad to be home from a loooong trip to the World 8-Ball Championship in UAE and then the Masters in Virginia. Made some random notes about the UAE trip and thought I would share them here...

Earl Strickland
The US did not have many representatives at the event this year. (They never do) One US player really stood out for his behavior at the event. Say what you will about Earl Strickland, but he wowed the crowd with an exhibition before things got started (thanks most likely go to Mark Cantrell for getting Earl out there doing exhibitions all over the US), posed for photo after photo with fans and was seen multiple times in the stands sweating the matches of fellow US players. At one time Jerry Forsyth motioned for Earl to come over and sit on the comfortable couches, but Earl declined and said he wanted to be close to sweat Shane's match. Earl was not playing Shane next or anything like that. He was actually in the stands cheering his fellow US players on.

It was unfortunate that Earl allowed a scheduling snafu to get into his head and once he had an excuse to lose, he promptly lost in the single elim stages. As we all know, Earl is his own worst enemy and he allowed it to get to him again in Fujairah.

Either way, it is a pleasure to watch when he is just playing the game and not letting things around him get the better of him.

Thorsten Hohmann
I imagine that every one of us has lost a match to someone that we were better than on paper. And the vast majority of people come away refusing to admit that they were outplayed.

Thorsten Hohmann was knocked out of the event by Takhti Zarekani from Iran. Now on paper, Tosti should be a HUGE favorite in this match. The match came down to a very tough position and Zarekani played a very creative kick shot which would either leave Hohmann in a tough spot (if he didn't make the ball) or give Zarekani the out (if he did make the ball). He made the ball and went on to win the match.

What really struck me though was the conversation that we had with Tosti at the hotel after the match. He didn't cry the blues about any bad rolls he got. He didn't pull the usual "he got lucky" lines that we always hear from players. He praised the play of Zarekani to anyone that was listening. In Tosti's words, Zarekani played "perfect patterns, perfect speed and perfect timing". Those are pretty complimentary words from a player of Tosti's talents. And also a very refreshing thing to hear from someone after losing a match.

Arab Players
On the subject of Zarekani, he finished in 5th place in the tournament. A nice upgrade from 33rd last year. This was no fluke. Zarekani, as well as a number of other players whose names don't ring a bell to any US fans, played some great 8-Ball. Zarekani, Basher Hussain, Omar Shaheene and Sahal Al Remayi are just a few players that really showed their stuff in UAE.

Don't get me wrong, none of these guys are going to come over to the states and win the US Open, but any of them could come over here and cash regularly in any of the US events.

Won Sik Ham
Some of the referees would announce the name of the player getting ready to break before each rack. "Strickland break, Archer break, etc".

I couldn't help but giggle every time Won Sik Ham was getting ready to break and the referee would announce with a straight face "Sick break".

Shot Clocks
Some of the referees were having problems with the idea of enforcing a shot clock.

The funniest example was when a player took at least 3 minutes studying a jump shot before finally shooting it.

When the referee was asked why the shot clock was not called, he replied that he didn't think they were supposed to use the shot clock on "hard shots".

Filipino Fans
Last but certainly not least were the Filipino fans. They came out in droves to support any Filipino player (especially Efren, Busty, Alcano and Orcollo).

Any player would certainly love to have the kind of support that is given by Filipino fans who would cheer loudly after every rack won by a favored player. With all of the "break and runs" in the event, just making a ball on the break was enough to generate a loud applause from the fans.

What is troubling though is that any mistake by an opposing player was also enough to generate a loud applause from the fans. This was especially on display when Raj Hundal was running out at hill-hill against one of the Filipino players (Medinilla?). Raj came back from a big deficit and played a crazy looking 4 railer for shape on the 8 at hill-hill. The cue ball stopped rolling with him dead hooked on the 8. The crowd went crazy and Raj got up from the shot and glared at the crowd.

I mentioned this whole "cheering for mistakes" thing to Jerry at the event and he said that it would take one top Filipino player to stand up and chastise the fans for this sort of thing and they might start to understand just how rude it is.
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  1. Old Comment
    DaveK's Avatar
    Thanks for the report Mike.
    Posted 03-08-2011 at 01:04 PM by DaveK DaveK is offline

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