North Team takes early Patriot Cup lead

Tony Robles and Mika Immonen

The first official matches got underway on Saturday with MC Scott Smith officiating. The first matches began with Scotch Doubles 9-Ball and the first pairings were the Viking North's Immonen/Putnam against Image Que South's Hohmann/Morris. The Northerners wiped out the Southerners 3-0. Then Archer/Schmidt hit back with a 3-1 win over Davis/Nelson. Williams/Sakai blew their chances with a 3-0 loss to Robles/Basasvich.

After that, it was time for the 6-on-6 Scotch Match where all 12 players were in the arena playing alternate shot format. After a lot of coaching and heckling from both teams, the North had the lead 2-1. At one point while the North were up at the table discussing the strategy for awhile, the whole South team stood up and loudly hummed the tune of Jeopardy to emphasize the slowness of the North. Unfortunately, when the South had their chance, Williams made a position error after the 8 Ball and left Schmidt a tricky 2 way shot for the 9-Ball in the side which he overcut, hitting the point but leaving Mika a tough shot off the rail. The 2x Patriot Cup MVP came with the shot for a 3-1 victory.

Next came the Woman vs Woman match-up with Sakai playing against Nelson. Sakai had a chance to take first blood, but missed a routine 7 Ball and from there Nelson played strong including a terrific air bridge masse draw shot sweeping Sakai 4-0. Sakai admitted to "being very nervous this first time playing in a team atmosphere with so many great players".

Dinner Break
The Viking North 13 Games and 4 Matches leading the Image Que South's 4 Games and 1 Match.

After dinner, it was time for the Break Contest and the Image Que South put up their 2x Undefeated Break Champion Charlie Williams against Viking North's rookie Mike Davis. The Break Contest rates each break on a point system measuring power, balls made, and cue ball control. 1 point for every ball past the headstring, 1 point for every ball pocketed, 2 points for cue ball not hitting a rail. Each player traded breaks, with 5 breaks each from the right side table, 5 breaks each from the left side, and then 5 breaks breaking from the box using no rails. Each 5 breaks, the winner would get a game won with 3 games max win for their team and most games won equals the match point for their team.

The right side came first, and Davis won the first break, then Williams won the next turn. Then Davis won the next 2 breaks to win the Right Side 3 breaks to 1 and the first game. Williams started off with a great break from the left side to win the first point, but then followed up with 0 points when he scratched on the next. Davis went on to win 3-1 again to win 2 games for the North and secure the match point. Williams needed to win a game to help the South, and did so finally as he won 3 breaks in a row from the box to get 1 game towards his team. Davis won the break contest and unseated the Korean Dragon.

The One Pocket division had the North put up Putnam and the South decided to use Schmidt. Putnam won the lag and first break, but Schmidt came with the first great shot of many and banked a ball off another to caron into the rack , off the rail, and slide into his hole and started a 5 ball run. Then Putnam came back with an amazing backwards cut, combo, carom shot into his hole and made 4 ball run. From there it was all moving until Putnam made a bad error and scratched leaving John an easy two balls for the first game. The next game John broke, but after a few back and forth maneuvers, Schmidt went for an aggressive 2 way shot that sent balls flying to his hole and the cue ball around the table 3 rails for a reverse safety, but left Putnam a makeable combo that turned the tides. This eventually led to a win for Shawn. Score 1 to 1. The next 2 games were full of great shots, especially terrific banks from Putnam who seemed he could have been used in the banks division as well (though Mika is 2x champion there already), while Schmidt seemed to be way off his banks missing some routine banks by a large margin. Schmidt was able to maneuver the cue ball better though and this led to a stalemate score of 2-2. The last game was a long one as both players refused to be the attacker. It was a cat and mouse game coming down to the last 2 balls. Schmidt had a chance to win needing only one ball with a medium cut shot into his pocket, but decided to play a 2 way shot with a back up safe and he finessed the ball slowly...leading to a miss. This led to another 30 minutes of safeties. Eventually Putnam ran out of gas and patience and gave Schmidt an opening with a final bank shot into the heart of his hole to the cheers of his teammates and giving the South a much needed win to stay in the game.

The final match of the night came from Basavich and Archer in the 8 Ball Division. Archer manuevered around the balls for a great out needing one last ball and getting position on the 8 ball. But he forgot to make the ball and gave Delicious an easy out for the 1-0 lead. Archer came back strong coming with tough shots and key shots in the next 3 games and played perfect patterns and break outs to come back for a 3-1 win for the South.

The winning team must lead in both Match wins and Game wins otherwise it is a tie at the end with a final sudden death match (last year it went to sudden death where the North prevailed).

Final Score for Day 1 : Viking North 6 Matches and 22 Games leading Image Que South 3 Matches and 11 Games

Photo courtesy of Alice Banks