After half a term of waiting the intercollegiate league had finally begun. We had drawn quite a nice first game against Queens 2, although it was an away game and their tables are… interesting. 4 of us met at the P’lodge to head over, Mike, Alex, Phil and me. Mike was keen to get his first match done as the new captain, and although there was a bit of a potential issue with people running late, it looked to be well organised and ready to go. After a chilly walk over, where we discussed how crap all the tables at other colleges were, and a little of how crap ours was, we arrived to what seemed to be a still inexperienced and naiive Queens 2 team. Last season we beat them 5-4 in what was one of our few wins of the season and now that the team had matured and grown a little I had some high hopes for the match (Costa and Phil being a couple of particularly promising freshers). Queens has 2 tables in their bar, which is good for the speed of the game, but one issue is, they both play completely differently. The best analogy is as if there’s a valley which they’re on either side of, meaning a practice frame is all but useless for 50% of the games. They also had no chalk.. a rookie mistake. Costa wanted to play first so that he could disappear off to watch Portugal play Sweden, (a worthy reason, given the match). Mike put him and Phil up for the first two singles. Phil played well, dominanting the lack of experience of the other player to secure a 1-0 lead for the team. meanwhile Costa had a confusing match where neither player ever had the upper hand until with 2 of his colour left over pockets Costa was gifted 2 shots. he swiftly pocketed the first, and then played an odd shot to leave him with an awkward black, which turned out to be very missable. Fortunately after a quick bout of “safety” Costa secured our 2nd frame on the board. Alex started his singles match as Costa and Phil started their doubles. I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch the doubles, but apparently we won that so I can only assume that we utterly outclassed them in every respect (or scraped a win, either way it’s a success). Alex’s game was looking very good, He’d potted all but the black with the man from Queen’s having potted only 2. But as I’ve seen happen only to often in my own games, potting that last ball can be the greatest struggle. He’d finally set up a nice black only to watch the quirky Queens man clear up and take the win. This left us with a 3-1 lead, promising, but not home and dry yet. Costa had now long gone, but Niral had arrived, meaning we’d have all 6 players to play. Next up in the singles were Mike and I. Given last season, my singles hopes weren’t high going in, and that wasn’t benefited by the potless break followed by a pot of the white. I was yellow, playing their captain at red. He had the better layout, and had potted three before I got a chance. I scrapped a couple away after a few abysmal attempts at a cut, and then ended up with 5 yellows to his 3 reds, 2 of which tied up with 3 of my yellows. He ended up breaking them up and I still hadn’t found my rhythm leaving him to pot another couple. At this point though, my yellows were spread out as far as the eye could see, and with some very simple angles culminating with a bit of spin to get on the black I managed to get the 6 ball clear up. Play stopped on the other table for Mike to stand with his mouth open at my having won a frame. He was within sight of a win himself, where he’d got down to 2 balls. But his opponent didn’t give up too quickly, he potted all but the black and left it over the pocket. It was, as we like to call it a “do or die moment”. Mike got down for a full table attempt, and sunk it. the black was a triviality afterwards and we’d done it! 5-1 and the win was ours. Now it was time to punish them as much as possible. Mine and Alex’s doubles match was more even than it should have been but we secured a win fairly swiftly, thanks to a nice 3 ball break by him, and quite a nice cut if i do say so myself. Niral was up in the singles on the other table. In his characteristic year long match style he dug deep and won with about 4 of their balls still on the table. leaving us 7-1 up going into the final frame. Niral and Mike doubled up and much like their opposition, never quite got it fully together. Their safety play, as ever, was very good, and they managed to get themselves into a winning position with what looked like a ball over the middle pocket. Unfortunately the white went in, the yellow stayed out and the other team managed to save some dignity by potting the black. All in all it was a very nice evening of pool with some sterling performances, and a great start to the league.