Thanks, I think it would be a big boost for my game if I could play in events like that a few times a year--you're exactly right.Cory, first of all, congratulations on playing in a tournament which undoubtedly had a very strong field. That experience will serve you well in your One Pocket future.
Now to your comments in bold. You said Appleton tried some "very hard shots" which sold out more times than not. This is not power One Pocket, this is Uncontrolled Aggression. One of the first lessons to be learned with all pool games is to know yourself and play within your present capabilities. Missing shots and selling out is not power One pocket.
Another game you stated Bird missed an out ball and Darren ran out with balls all over the table. This ability is what makes Darren dangerous. Knowing your opponent is capable of running balls so well applies great pressure and has a way of turning lions into kittens. Players who rely solely on defensive skills rarely win against players with formidable offensive skills but lack strong defense. Darren has both but failed to use the one as much as he should have. As you said, "he overreached". Overreaching means playing beyond ones capabilities. It rarely if ever wins.
The game still requires eight balls to be pocketed into a single hole to win. Though you didn't say so, I'd wager Bird has some firepower of his own. The difference being is he controlled his urge to shoot and found solid moves to stymie Darren. He probably saw impatience in Darren and exploited that flaw with a waiting game.
Keep in mind that there is a big difference between heads up action and tournament play. Gambling by the game is typically far more aggressive and offensive because the players know there is always another game which the player can recoup his loss. Not so with a tournament match.
thats exactly what happens when you are the weaker playerIn my match against Adam, who won the whole thing, I could really feel the pressure that you and Billy talk about. For stretches, I would move pretty good, but each inning the table would steadily get worse for me and better for him, and the shot I would have to pull off to escape would get harder each turn. Eventually, I would blow it, and Adam would collect his reward and run a bunch of balls.
Moral of the story: I can add maintaining confidence in my execution no matter the opponent to my list of things to work on.