BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
Shooting Â?good stickÂ? is all about bragging rights and SudburyÂ?s Kevin Kilbey has plenty to brag about right now.
An outstanding snooker player for the past many years, Kilbey recently took up Â?eight ballÂ? or bar room pool and has shown heÂ?s one of the very best players in the province.
Kilbey realized a personal dream a few weeks ago winning his level of competition at the Canadian Poolplayers Association (CPA) Eight Ball Amateur Singles Regional Championships in Orangeville. Kilbey participated in the Â?level 4 and 5Â? competition. The highest level a player can obtain is seven under CPA competitive rules.
KilbeyÂ?s big win has qualified him to compete in Las Vegas later this month to compete for $15,000 US against other players from his skill class from the CPA and the American Poolplayers Association (APA).
Â?ItÂ?s a dream come true for me,Â? said Kilbey. Â?ItÂ?s the highest level IÂ?ve ever played, so itÂ?s huge.Â?
Kilbey will head down to Sin City April 23 to the storied Riveria Hotel where he will lock horns with some of the best amateur poolplayers in North America. The road to Las Vegas wasnÂ?t easy. First, Kilbey won a local tournament in Sudbury. Then he squared off against the best the province had to offer in Orangeville.
Â?I was the only Sudbury and Northern Ontario member to qualify for Vegas.Â?
The event in Orangeville was no cakewalk.
Â?It was tough because I played pool continuously for 12 straight hours,Â? said Kilbey. Â?Stamina at this
level is huge.Â?
To win a match in the Orangeville event, a player had to win a best of seven series against each opponent.
Â?There were three matches during the tournament where I was down three games to one and I came back to win all three,Â? said Kilbey. Â?It was like hanging onto a cliff with your fingernails.Â?
Kilbey has only been playing eight ball pool for three years. He had played snooker on and off for about 20 years. KilbeyÂ?s friends turned him onto eight ball pool.
Â?My friends played in the local league and through them I discovered how interesting the game was,Â? said Kilbey. Â?ItÂ?s a good game and it has qualities you would find in chess.Â?
Kilbey credits his surroundings as an integral component in his championship development.
Â?There are a lot of damn good pool players in Sudbury,Â? said Kilbey. Â?My skill level has developed from training with those players and learning from them.Â?
Kilbey is ready for the pressure and the intensity he will face in Las Vegas.
Â?Pressure is a big part of pool,Â? said Kilbey. Â?A huge amount of adrenaline pumps through you like crazy and handling that pressure comes down to your training and discipline.Â?
Sighting or properly lining up shots, and cue ball placement are vital to success in pool.
Â?Your sighting has to be pinpoint and your level of confidence has to be 100 per cent so you leave the cue ball in a good position for your next shot,Â? said Kilbey. Â?ItÂ?s planning your approach and then itÂ?s a matter of execution.Â?