Sunday, 12 June 2011

A good day for Northern Ireland

Go Team NI. Before getting to the snooker it's worth point out the power of online blogging. The German snooker player Miro Popovic pulled me to one side today to let me know he has been following 'this' blog and he is enjoying it...WOW! What for me is a way to let my kids know what is happening has reached so many people and I am humbled, even though a lot of the ramblings are pretty random and not really related to snooker. Thanks Miro, your words mean a lot to me. Plus you have invited me to your town which I know very well having spent some time in Bottrop, I want to say be prepared for lots of beer and fun!

Back to snooker and Team NI. We had the first win registered for the snooker  master John McIntyre, well done buddy, long overdue. The EBSA table fitter Jacek Rudowicz from Poland is a fantastic potter, but John used his boundless experience to cause enough problems winning easily 3-1.

The Bulgarian Ivailo Markov was my 5th group opponent and he didn't find his game at all, giving me a few too many chances, thankfully I took these with a couple of small breaks in the first, a 60 in the second, and a comfortable 3rd to secure a 3-0 victory. Snooker over for another day.

A nifty dancer - nice
Following the successful 'Party Bus' night on Saturday enjoyed by the team, rumours were abound that a 'Lady GaGa' look-a-like would be making an appearance at the venue, alas this didn't happen but by no means did it dampen what was an otherwise a fantastic night, Sofia will come again. I hope.

Day 6 - Snooker is for crazy people

That is for sure. It's a mad game, frustrating, difficult one minute, easy the next, and lady luck plays a hand as well. My match with Finland's Jyri Virtanen didn't get off to the best of starts, the match venue was changed and I didn't get the message so had a wasted trip and back to the club venue. Not to worry, I don't think my game was all there and it was always going to be a hard match against a very strong opponent. I lost the match 3-0 despite two close opening frames. I was disappointed not to give Jryi a better match, and I told him in the bar later on I would appreciate the opportunity to play him again, who knows we may meet in the knock out stages at some point. This was my first time meeting Jyri and I like him, a good guy.

When I am not playing this week, we have been talking snooker either in the lobby or at the practice tables. We had a very lively discussion on Wednesday night together with a cool beer.  Peter, Nico, Bernard, Janie and others, about ways to make the game more accessible for players and more. It was an enjoyable way to pass the evening, and I have to say some really good suggestions were put forward by Janie, her knowledge of the game immense.

Jager Mojito - very nice, yes
While it is ALL snooker  for the majority of the time, we are allowed to leave the confines of the Dedeman Princess Hotel on occasion and yesterday we did just that. It was a balmy Saturday in Sofia, why not. John and I found another fantastic little restaurant in the city centre, called the Funky Kitchen which was very enjoyable, although there was no music. From there we had a cocktail or two in the Bar Flight which makes one of the nicest Jager Mojito's I have ever experienced (it was my first one) lol.

Back to the hotel and Oleg has arranged a party bus to take all the players to Student City in Sofia. As it is only 10.30pm we have 1 hour travel around  the city, with some sights and some drinks servered on board. Once we arrived it was clear that this is a place that never, ever sleeps. There are a wide variety of clubs for all music tastes, from traditional Bulgarian music, hip-hop, dance and jazz. We decided on the hip-hop as it was closest to the bus and we were only going to stay for that was going to happen. Our evening finished (I think) at around 05.00am this morning, thankfully my match is not until later tonight. 

What a way to spend a Saturday evening in Sofia, a very memorable experience and one I would do again. Oleg, you are a legend. Thank you my friend.