Day One in Bradford saw a pretty hectic start to the JLEC English Open leaving yours truly trying to keep up with tweeting all the live scores as they came in (was anyone reading?), while snatching a bite to eat and trying to watch as many games as possible in case anything could improve my lowly standard of 8 ball play.

Why we do not have more 8 ball pool live on the television is beyond me as fast and furious seem the best words to describe the games I saw with first to five contests settled in double quick time and precious few safety exchanges to turn off the viewers. As a sport it surely can’t get much more exciting tan this and I can but hope that we can all work together to mobilise the troops and get us on an equal footing with other sports that seem to hog the media spotlight.

In support of the organisers, day one was flowing remarkably well (famous last words) with few if any gaps or empty tables, which I can’t even manage with my in team round robin contests down the Apple Tree, so hats off for all the effort the behind the scenes guys (and girls) put in, which most of us are inclined to take for granted.

One thing I would like to comment on (as a neutral) is the sportsmanship of each and every player – the worst I saw was a head shake or a raised eyebrow and only once in the first two sessions did I see the referees asked to even comment let alone make a decision (a total snooker doubt), so is pool the only true gentleman’s sport left I wonder.

Moving back to the pool and as the mist started to clear (so to speak), less games gave me a chance to actually watch a frame or two properly for a change, as things slowed down just a little with each frame now taking on some significance as the players realise they have a genuine chance to progress and stay another day at least! The pots were still going in, the clearances still up to standard, just a fraction more thought or hesitation between shots, but then who can blame them with such a prestigious prize at stake?

As the afternoon rolled on in to the evening, live streaming began on the “TV Table” (eventually – don’t ask), and we can but hope that as many people or more than in previous events keep tuning in so we can batter both sponsors and TV companies with upbeat statistics to build on the foundations we have all been working on for some time now. The last 32 of the Pro Cup woke everyone up a bit and although I was working away, I did have one eye on the results as we all have our favourites even if I am not willing to admit who I cheer for loudest. Bottom line is, few if any shocks took place on day one in either the Open or the Pro Cup, but then tomorrow is another day as the numbers left in gradually decrease –and I for one can’t wait!

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