Lacy's Cue, Day 3 of one pocket

1andDone

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January 10, 2016
Lacy’s Cue Pro One Pocket Event, Day 3

Due to a prior obligation I was unable to attend day 2 of the festivities at Lacy’s Cue in Chalmette, Louisiana. For Saturday, day 3, however, I was there, and what a day it was! The players and spectators had piled in! The Mardi Gras Open 9-ball event was filling up and the Pro One Pocket event had cut the field to half of its original eight players. Poolactiontv.com was there and Ray Hansen had the reins. Tony ‘T-Rex’ Chohan and Justin Hall were playing on the T.V. table for the hot seat. Danny ‘The Shredder’ Smith and Josh ‘The Beast’ Roberts were on table 4. Theirs was the bubble match as the winner would move into the money rounds and the loser was out. I found a nice seat for myself and settled in for what would be one of the most exciting days of one pocket I had ever experienced!

Last winter I had followed Danny Smith as he stayed in action on Poolactiontv.com. He defeated the World Straight Pool Champion, Darren Appleton at Lacy’s Cue, Jeremy Jones at Buffalos Billiards in Metairie, Louisiana, and finally, the absolutely epic battle with Josh Roberts, again at Buffalos. I knew this match today would be just as dramatic.

Josh won the lag and first break of the race to 7 match. It was one of those breaks all of us who play one pocket dread when we see it happen. The cue ball caught the corner ball and instead of scratching, hit the side rail first doubling the corner and back into the stack leaving a couple of balls for Smith to shoot straight in to his pocket. Needless to say, game 1 did not last very long! The Shredder had broken serve the very first game and was preparing to break game 2.

Game 2 was another flawless game by Smith. The Shredder held The Beast at bay by keeping him on his heels then banking balls which were not supposed to be banked. All the while doing things with the cue ball which just seemed impossible! I remember one long rail bank in particular where the object ball had to be cut thinly. To those of us amateurs, the shot looked to be a dead sell out even if the inevitable scratch could be avoided. Danny shot the bank, avoided the scratch, and killed the cue ball just off the rail! The cue ball did not go anywhere! Roberts approached the table shaking his head in disbelief trying to figure out how what he had just seen could have happened! I remember Appleton looking like that for most of their match last year!

Game 2 was in the books as a win for The Shredder and this play continued for 3 more games. With a lead of 5-0, it appeared Smith had the match in the bag. Roberts was visibly frustrated and just could not do anything with the moves of Smith. Even on the rare occasion Josh would get a shot at his hole, he was not able to capitalize on the opportunity.
After a short break, game 6 was underway. Josh must have had a pep talk with The Beast, because suddenly, The Beast appeared! Smith had become complacent and left a few opportunities for Roberts. Finally, Roberts laid down a good trap, jamming The Shredder, and got himself on the score board breaking serve in game 6!

In game 7 Smith again found himself in a bad spot and was unable to shoot his way out of it. The Beast was back, firing balls in like he does. Later, he said he was embarrassed and he felt he had to show the fans why he was there. He was afraid they were thinking, “This guy can’t play! What’s he doing here? He’s supposed to be a pro?” And show them he did! He delivered blow after blow on The Shredder. The 5 game lead was whittled away little by little. We had a match on our hands! Roberts, down by 5 games, won 6 in a row showing the heart of a true pro!

Game 12 was Smith’s break, and it was a beauty! The whole game was as good as the break! Roberts fought his way out of the break. Smith would then execute one of his almost magical moves. Josh would find a way to kick out of it, or take foul and force Danny to be the aggressor from a bad spot. This was one pocket! It was not “power one pocket,” shooting high risk shots and ramming the cue ball through the stack to try and get out every time. This was true, beautiful, well executed, old school one pocket! Both players showed an extreme respect for the other’s ability and picked off a ball at a time. Down to the last ball, and Smith pocketed it to send the match to double hill!

Game 13 of another epic battle between these two champions was underway. Roberts had the break giving him a slight edge over his opponent. Danny found a hole in the break and immediately caged The Beast! From that point there was never much Roberts could do except shoot escape shot after escape shot. Then, the dreaded scratch! Smith, needing 1 ball, scratched giving Roberts an opportunity to get back into the game! Roberts had been spending the entire game just trying to stay alive and had not been able to shoot at his own hole but for a couple of short banks. On what should have been at least a game tying run, Roberts hung the 2nd ball! Smith opted to simply give the ball to Roberts. With 5 balls on the table and Smith needing only 2 of them, we had another moving game on our hands. Balls were lagged toward a pocket, then kicked out by the other. Suddenly, Josh lost his cue ball, finding it in the bottom of the side pocket. With a ball close to Roberts’ hole, Danny had to shoot a spot-shot with inside English to hold the cue ball low. He held the cue ball, but missed the shot! It was back to dodging and weaving! A few shots later, Roberts again scratched leaving Smith the spot-shot which had to shot awkwardly. This time however, Danny hung the ball. Josh had no choice but to give Danny the hill ball. Again, the lagging and kicking was underway. Josh made a good shot, leaving a ball by his hole and protecting it. Smith shot what I would call an aggressive safety, losing his cue ball and selling out! The first 3 balls were going to be easy for Josh. The 4th and 5th balls might have been a little tricky! The first ball is pocketed, then the second, almost straight in on the 3rd. With the momentum back in his favor, Roberts committed an unbelievable error! He missed the shot and when the balls came to rest, Smith was straight in on his out ball! Possibly out of frustration, Roberts conceded the game and match to Smith!

If Ray Hansen could foresee the future, I’m sure he would have put the Roberts/Smith match on the T.V. table. As it turned out, the hot seat match between Chohan and Hall was, for the most part, uneventful. Hall, who is known for his astounding banking abilities, was just unable to defend against the moves of T-Rex and lost 7-0 in a relatively short match. This sent J-Hall to the losers’ side awaiting the winner of Smith and Roberts who, at the time, had a long while to go before finishing.

The semi finals match; Smith vs. Hall was held on the T.V. table. Hall won the lag, taking the first break. Smith found himself with an extreme cut on the 3 ball which had come out on Justin’s break. Danny took the opportunity, made the ball, and pocketed 5 more, leaving Justin in a really, really bad spot! An inning or so later, game 1 was Smith’s.

Game 2 started much the same as game 1. Hall did not shoot the corner ball, but started with a bank leaving Smith in jail. Hall kept control of the game pocketing 6 balls before Danny could get any air. Danny fought his way back, one ball at a time until there was only one ball left on the table. On a simple safety which was shot slowly, the cue ball veered hard to the left making contact with the object ball on the opposite side from which Danny wanted to hit it, selling out the game to Hall. Score: 1-1.

In game 3, Smith was still visibly frustrated at the way the T.V. table was playing. He conceded game 3 to Justin after another bad roll with Justin still needing 4 balls! They decided to take a short break at this point and Smith had to regain his focus.

After returning from their break, game 4 was underway with the score 2-1 in J-Hall’s favor. Danny had vented his frustrations and was ready to play. He concentrated on not leaving anything for the deadly banker to bank. He moved like only he can do, and proceeded to fire up The Shredder! This strategy was working well as Hall stalled out at 2 games and Smith won 4 in a row. The table was not playing any better, but both players being the champions they are, were making adjustments for the unpredictable T.V. table.

A scratch by Smith in game 7 led to win number 3 for Hall. With a wide open table Justin was able to shoot balls in and make a few banks. Smith took the hiccough in stride and came back in game 8 just as strong as or stronger than before. Countless times Hall approached the table with the same look of bewilderment we see quite often on the faces of Smith’s opponents, shaking his head while being forced to just try to escape from a trap instead of shooting at his hole.

Aside from the first 3 games, this match was fairly uneventful as well. Hall did not seem to put up much of a fight against Chohan or Smith, relying solely on his banking abilities which he did not get to use very often. Both Chohan and Smith kept him places where he was not able to fire long rail banks at his hole, and just simply out moved him. Danny Smith won the match by a score of 7-3 in what was also a relatively short match. Justin Hall went out in third place collecting the $3,000 prize.

Today, at noon, the action resumes with the finals between Chohan and Smith. Chohan is undefeated and Smith must win 2 sets at a race to 7 to beat Chohan. This match will be broadcast on the Poolactiontv.com live stream. Unfortunately, I will not be there for today’s action as I have a tournament of my own to run in Gulfport. Best of luck to both players! In my opinion, the two best players in the tournament are playing for the cheese! As I am partial to one, I have the utmost respect for the other, but c’mon Shredder! Get that cheddar! No offense, T-Rex, you deserve to be there, too!

Kelvin Greenleaf
Gulf Coast Poolplayers Association
 
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