Monday, 2 May 2011

Off to Sofia, Bulgaria in 2011

It seemed like only yesterday. Now plans are in place for participation in the 2011 European Snooker Championships being held this year in the lovely Sofia, Bulgaria. Of course there will be an online blog to outline the trip thus keeping family and friends updated. Should be a great tournament and I am looking forward to meeting some old friends again. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Adventure is over

Like all good things, it has to come to an end and my tournament finishes with last 16 place. Had an epic match with Guy Heys from Jersey, I fought back from 3-1 down only to lose the final frame when Guy potted a lovely long pink into the bottom left pocket, but not too disappointed given that this was only my second European event, again reaching the last 16, even more so that I finished as 4th seed and topped my group. I was right with my prediction anyway, Darren Morgan again delivering the goods defeating Joe Delaney 6-0 which in reality was not a true reflection of the match, my friend Joe is a much better player than that score line suggests.

Life in the ol' dog yet eh Brendan? At least I have a target for next year, one year older but one year wiser might be in question lol. Bring on the Whirlwind Saturday night, should be a great end to what has been a good event.

A quick word about my compatriot Alister Wilson from Northern Ireland who defeated Kuldesh Johal in the last 32, who was one of the tournament favourites and current joint highest break holder with David Hogan. Imagine 141 break on the board but out of the tournament. Such is the life of an amateur snooker player. Good work Alister, the only Northern Ireland player left in the event.

With regards to my missing laundry bag I blogged yesterday, how efficient is the Rin Grande Hotel, Bucharest?  It has only shown up again in my hotel room, empty and 6 hangers of freshly cleaned shirts, boxers and tshirts hanging in the wardrobe...with a nice bill for 173 Lei

Not much left on the snooker front then for me, maybe still help out with some coaching as Poland, Germany and Russia are still in the tournament. Having said that Irish coach PJ Nolan suggests I concentrate on my own game and leave the coaching to the professionals, which is probably good advice, but you know I am always available to lend a hand, thanks again PJ!

Have to say that I am at a lose end now, snooker season is over for me until September 2010 when I should be back in Cookstown playing for Mitchells Snooker Club, what a strong team we should have. I have a few spare days until the closing ceremony on Saturday night, and would like to see some more of the old town with my new buddy Greg White who is the smoothest, coolest customer on the planet, and then its back to the airport and ariva derchi Bucharest.... gonna miss u girl.
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The heat is on - Serious Snooker

Day 7 of the championships and another hot day in Bucharest, our group is now down to the last 24 with final 16 playing this evening. As one of the group winners I have been seeded 4 for the tournament which means I am automatically through to final 16 and play the winner of Guy Heys from Jersey and Daniel Bontea from Romania at 7pm this evening, Will try and take in a few of the matches before getting ready for the game, can't wait.

As I have been here a couple of weeks, enough to say I have a large quantity of laundry which I have been putting away in the laundry bag as you do. Problem being I have just noticed that it is missing, no idea where or when it has been taken and I can only hope it will be returned nicely cleaned and pressed!

 Pretty in Pink - Natascha Niermann

Had another visit to the local 'sports bar' as we like to call it, food is good and the service second to none. On this occasion we arrived just as a local TV programme was taking place, right outside the bar, live music, TV cameras, audience and a strange collection of musicians in colourful dress, and was it loud! Following this it was back to the hotel and a couple of quiet drinks in the bar, well as quiet as it gets when there are a few of us in the vicinity, managed to 'sell' Joe Delaney a travel adapter (I think we agreed 30 Lei, or was it 40 Joe?) and met Brendan's wife Maria who arrived from Ireland, lovely lady.

No doubt another visit to the Palace Casino is on the cards, expecting a VIP reception this time, being that I am the owner of a small hamburger chain. Just hope Vlad is working the bar as he is always good for a bit of banter, however will have to arrive early and get the lamb chops ordered before Doron Lavi arrives, either that or hide the ham toasties.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Day 6 - Final group games

Was really looking forward to this match after having about 5-6 hours practice yesterday. Woke up this morning to discover I trapped muscle nerve in my neck from 'overdoing' things.

Managed to overcome my opponent Ovidiu Iane from Romania easily enough, he had a few loose shots, a 49 break in the opening frame set the tempo for the match and I came through 3-0 happily enough. But boy was it painful, two anadin numbed the pain a little bit but its still very sore and I am worried it will work its way down my back, gonna take it easy today with a little warm up at the academy, shower and bed.

Knockout tomorrow so cannot wait.

Monday, 31 May 2010

2010 European Snooker Championships
Northern Ireland Players (Gary Crawford, Allister Wilson, Michael McDonald

Had an early start yesterday (Sunday) with a match against a tough Romanian snooker player, the fourth match of my tournament group. Although I won the match 3-0 it could have been so much worse, I just cannot seem to find any control and it feels like my cue arm has a life of its own, so delighted with the win, as my game cannot get much worse the only way is up I suppose. We are all paying close attention to the group results as group winners are seeded into the next round, second place in group will play off against third place players.

Received our tournament programme this evening, looks good. Janie Watkins from Global Snooker has added some great photographs of the venue and the team players and it is well worth a look, the venue is massive and conditions are just perfect.

After the Snooker it was off to the Casino with my 'brother' Brendan Thomas and what a nights craic that was, especially when Doron Levi from Israel turned up, what a character he is. Enough to say Doron enjoyed his food and fries which were ordered without telling us, and then had the cheek to nick our sandwiches once we ordered ours, nice one Doron. Before I forget, well done Brendan - a fantastic 111 Break in a major European Tournament, not bad for a ol' fella!

The Palace Casino is some spot. A courtesy cab took us direct from the hotel, and once there we could have whatever we wanted from a well stocked bar and extensive hot food buffet area, pure quality.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Romania Snooker Academy & The Old City

A great day Saturday, won my group game 3-1 against Tomáš Náhlík from the Czech Republic, a really nice guy and good attacking player, I think he will push for qualification from our group. Then it was time for some more practice, went back to the Snooker Academy and had a good session with Ewa Pawińska who is the Poland national ladies champion, probably one of the best potters of a straight ball in the ladies game.

After the snooker it was off to the Old City in Bucharest, with Clinton, David, Greg and Tatiana, and what a location it is. We checked out Bordellos and St Patricks Bar before heading off to a club for a 'quiet' drink with Greg, pity the other lads couldn't stay but both had important matches this morning so certainly the right choice, especially for David Hogan, a nice 141 break in his match today. Nice work.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Tournament conditions - Great leveller

Day 2 of the championships and everything is going to schedule, had a quick chat with Phil Williams and he commented on the pockets being a little 'generous' and that this would be a 'great leveller' for the tournament. Time will tell although it is hard looking past his compatriot Darren Morgan who again looks the man to beat this year.

Managed to win my second group game against Doron Lavie from Israel, a player I really like and respect given his attitude to the game of snooker, he plays the game the way I play which I like a lot. Doron was really unlucky not to win the 4th frame, having played a great safety shot with just blue, pink and black remaining, he could only watch as I come off side cushion to fluke the blue along the rail and then pot long pink and long black to get over the winning line. Doron will be back in the knockouts, no doubt.

Still haven't ventured into the city centre, given everything we need is catered for between the EBSA and Rin Grande Hotel so will try and take in the sights over the next couple of days. Having said that had a great wee meal with Brendan Thomas and Joe Delaney this evening, get this: Dutch beer, eating authentic Italian Spagetti Bolagnese in a Bulgarian restaurant served by a Romanian waiter talking about Argentian steaks the next time we visit!