View Full Version : Right on cue, there’s a new pool in town

07-09-2004, 08:12 AM
Worli club hosts nine-ball pool—cuesport’s smaller, faster version—for the first time in city

Kumar Shyam

Mumbai, July 8: IN a corner of the National Sports Club of India at Worli, history was just made.

The club played host to the city’s first nine-ball pool tournament. And the first two days of the four-day tournament saw more spectators than participants.

Nine-ball pool is like one-day cricket—smaller and much more popular than the traditional form (billiards and snooker, in this case).

‘‘Pool played in India is eight-ball pool. The nine-ball variation is more widely accepted but a tournament is being hosted here for the first time,’’ says Rafat Habib, Asian Games doubles gold medallist in snooker.

Dereck Sippy is the man behind the tournament. The Chembur resident, a businessman dealing in cuesport accessories, spent Rs 2 lakh just on getting two imported tables and balls from Jordan.

‘‘Unfortunately, the high rate of tax levied on pool killed the sport just when it was growing,’’ he rues.

Pool also has an image of being a frivolous game.

Thrice Asian snooker champion Yasin Merchant disagrees. ‘‘It’s not over till the last ball drops. That’s why it’s challenging not to lose focus.’’

Alok Kumar, who qualified for the World Pool championship last month, dispels notions that snooker players are better players than youngsters.

‘‘In snooker, at times, you have to play safe. Here, there are no second chances,’’ says Kumar.

‘‘Another thing good about the game is that it’s fair to all,’’ adds Habib.

The words are barely out of his mouth when champion player Devendra Joshi misses a simple pot on ball No 7. His rookie rival goes on to pocket the remaining three and wins that particular rack.

Point noted.

The game is played with nine object balls numbered one to nine and a cue ball
The differently coloured numbered balls have to be shot into any of the six pockets in the ascending numerical order
A match is divided into a number of games or racks, which is specified earlier. The first player to reach that number wins
The No 9 ball is the all-important one. Once it’s pocketed, the game’s over. A player can also pocket this ball—at any point in the game—with a ricochet off the ball then in sequence