Dominguez leads Morra 35-29 after Day One of TAR 16

Oscar Dominguez

Wow, what a day one. I haven't seen anything like this in a long time.

We started off about 7:30 pm central. In John's pre-game interview his prediction was the final might be within 15 games.

The table they played on was Table 6 at Hard Times, a Gold Crown with 4" pockets. There was some additional money put up after Oscar got ahold of Ken Shuman and said he wanted to put another 3 on it. He forks over 3,000 and it was mentioned to John that Oscar had put in another 3. John forks over 300.00 and, Ken with a laugh, said no, 3000.00. John quickly came back with 3000.00 and the prize is now around 26k. They both agreed that the 10 ball made on the break in any pocket, would not count, it would spot up. 3 fouls loss of game and cueball fouls only.

TAR's setup was fantastic as usual. There are 3 cameras. 1 showing each direction lengthwise and 1 overhead. The view is fantastic, as you can see not just the table, but you can see the players in their chairs. Which means you can pick up on their demeanor while their not shooting. The quality is very good and the camera operation was smooth. We got many different angles from 1 of the cameras operated by one of the crew. Closeups of each player while studying a shot, while they're down on a shot, while they're in their seat, the crowd, the balls and the racking. We had not one problem with the feed all night. 10 hours of coverage and not one hiccup.

In the booth, we had Ken Shuman and Andy Chen briefly, then Frank the Barber joined Ken for the 1st few hours. After that, we had Ken Shuman and Jay Helfert for several more hours. They left about 2 in the morning and Frank the Barber came back with Kent Davis from Kdcues. I really, really enjoy Ken and Jay's commentating. Ken and Jay fit very well together and they both tell it like it is with plenty of stories and they both respect each other's accomplishments as well. I like it when the commentators can be honest about when someone flat out dogs a shot or takes a bad shot selection. They both had a lot of fun in the booth and that is evident in their banter. Thanks much guys, I really enjoyed that!

The match started off with John reeling off 5 wins in a row. I think John had a couple of break and runs there after reading my game summary so I adjusted my stats to include 2 additional break and runs for John in Game 3 and Game 5. Oscar was missing some easy shots in the beginning and would thruout the match. By Game 14, it was all tied up and from then on, it would be within 2 games almost the entire night. Towards the end of the night, Oscar would get up to a 6 game lead. Oscar also won 2 games by having John commit 3 fouls in a row.

Oscar - Oscar started off slow, missing some easy shots badly. He was jumping up on some shots. He seemed to have a real problem with cut shots, especially down the rail. He was missing them by cutting them too much. Oscar seemed safer of the 2, by playing many shots with a safety, as opposed to trying to run out. There was a lot of shots that would get out of line on him and he would end up having to play safe. His safety play was very good and he executed safeties well and got out of them well. His composure was very good thruout the whole night. After missing many very makeable balls, he would not not get upset and seemed to be able to move on and forget about it.

John - John started out strong after winning the lag. He didn't have nearly the number of easy misses as Oscar did, but overall they both had about the same. John seemed to be slightly more agressive of the 2, he would attempt a tougher shot, that play safe. He has a very smooth stroke and came up with some nice straight in long shots. John did very well in the safety department too, played them well and got out of them well. John kept his composure intact, especially since he was not only dealing with the tight table, but he was on the short end of the "rolls" on the Day 1. He was getting bad rolls when he was shooting and would also get the bad rolls from when Oscar was shooting.

The Table - The table beat them both down and was a clear winner last night. I havent' really seen either of these 2 play but I believe both players regular game was not evident last night. The table had them both playing safeties rather than going for runouts. There were alot of balls that hung up in the pockets. Even though they were hit softly they would still hang up. Neither player would do much pocketing balls with authority. Most of the shots were rolled in and a lot of position play was taken away by not being able to punch balls in or cheat pockets for shape. The table had both players shooting with some fear and hesitation.

The Break - Neither player was breaking with any kind of success. 34 games out of 64, started with no balls pocketed on the break. The most balls pocketed on the break, were 2. There were not many breaks that were spread wide open. There were not many breaks that had the breaker with a look at the 1 ball. It's not as if the tight pockets were much of a factor either, not like they were jiggling in the pockets, they just didn't seem to head for the pockets. They tried breaking from all over, but no one ever found a sweet spot. The cueball was not squatting for either player. Watching a breaker, like Shane, you can see how that could be such a weapon.

Overall, their were 4 Break and Runs for John and 1 for Oscar. Their weren't too many run outs at all. Most games were break, make nothing or 1 ball, shoot several safeties until you had a easy look or ball in hand. Run several balls, get out of line or miss, someone cleans up. They both had about the same number of misses and balls made and balls pocketed on the break.

My hats go off to both players for not getting dejected and upset from the play of the table or the rolls not going their way. Both players spent all night seemingly fighting against everything. It seemed to be a constant battle to pocket balls, to look at a tied up table, to not ever seem to really get rolling, to always be looking at being hooked and having to kick. This match could very well prove to be a test of who wants it more than the other and who can hold up to the constant pressure the longest.

Complete stats are here - Click on the TAR poster for this match.

For those of you that missed Day 1, you now have a story line, so go buy the PPV and see how it turns out! I know there are alot of streams that can put a bad taste in your mouth and turn you off to them, but TAR puts on a top notch stream with top notch equipment. Your also going to have 2 great commentators again tonight, with Jay and Ken.

Go here to purchase the PPV...

Special thanks to TAR 16 sponsors OB Cues, Delta-13, CSI (CueSports Internantional) and the host room Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA.