Alygator snatches victory from jaws of defeat to claim pool crown
Wed 28 Feb 2018 
Club news item

On a night where the standard of pool at times struggled to do justice to Sam Howes’s excellent camerawork, underdog Aly “Alygator” Duncan rode his luck to be crowned Pacific Pool Champion 2018. 

Duncan came back from the humiliation of a seven-balling in the first frame of the best-of-three final against James McGinnigle at King’s Cross’s Hurricane Room to triumph in the deciding frame.

McGinnigle was the clear favourite going into the final having won every game and generally looked like the real deal. And Duncan did nothing to shorten his odds when he skimmed the opening break off the top of the pack, narrowly avoiding taking out snapper Howes who could have made a strong case for a spot in the slips had he snaffled the cue ball as it flew past his left ear. 

The favourite ruthlessly cleared up but Duncan, who for the sake of the public interest defied calls to run around the bar in his pants, rallied and after a fortuitous double-turned-treble on the black levelled the score before taking the final set to complete his surprise victory. 

Other highlights of the evening were defending champ Toby Chasseaud bringing the same crowd-pleasing, devil-may-care spirit to the baize that he brings to the crease, several fascinating disputes over the finer points of the game despite the pre-agreed rules (Do you still get two shots if you pot an opponent’s ball on the first shot following a foul? Are jump shots allowed? Should you have to hit a cushion to play a snooker?) and of course Howes’s epic photography.   

NB as your correspondent was mainly playing rather than watching (in part due to playing Toby twice in two gruelling games) he apologises for having missed any other notable incidents – judging by the cheers from the adjoining tables there may have been more interesting things going on than his and Toby’s wars of attrition.

Final rankings: 

1.     Aly Duncan
2.     James McGinnigle
3.     Jay Lakhani
4.     Toby Chasseaud
5.     George Moses
6.     Tim Garratt
7.     James Hogg
8.     Sam Howes
9.     Sharan Timbadia


Photographs by Sam Howes