Report - National 9-Ball 2016

The beauty of a top pool player is next to impossible to directly describe. The silken flow of the cue as it strikes the cue ball, the precision of the spin as it slides into positional perfection, the crack of the rack as it splits in every direction; it all evokes a sense of awe and wonder. For anyone who has had the privilege to witness this sport played at its top level, it remains a mystery how all of these abilities come together in one being. And come together it did, as defending champions Matthew Edwards and Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan put on a display of epic proportions at the National 9 Ball Championships last weekend.

The final was an ineffable demonstration of the talent New Zealand has to offer. For the first time in what seems to be an insurmountable number of tournaments, Matt was challenged to his core for the title by Aman Nayyar. This was Aman’s first appearance in the final of any of the disciplines and he showed why he deserved to be there. Beginning in style with a 9 off the break and a 4-0 lead by Matt, sheer grit and determination from both players left the onlookers satisfied with a frame-by-frame battle. After going down to Matt 9-0 in the semi-final, Aman fought his way back to the top through the second-life format in hopes of enacting revenge. Alas, it was not to be as Matt clung on to win 11-9, continuing his winning streak with seven ranking tournaments in a row. Aman was immensely proud of his efforts stating, “11-9 was the closest I could get. I made some silly mistakes but that just means more practice is required”. Indeed, Matt himself was taken off-guard by the purity of Aman’s game, “I definitely underestimated him!”

Molrudee also showed no end of class, pushing herself to the limits by competing in the woman’s event as well as the men’s. Molrudee climbed into the top 8 of the men’s division with her inexorable efforts over the last few tournaments. After dispatching Sang Ly in the semi-final 5-0, she played South Island champion Lydia Nenewale in the woman’s final after Lydia had fought out a couple of close matches with Lisa Everett. Lydia pounced on every opportunity that was given to her, pushing the score-line to 3-3. Battling pain, exhaustion and an extremely tough opponent, Molrudee shone like a diamond under the sun as she leaped to an 8-4 victory. On her performance, Molrudee said, “I am happy and exhausted, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing Lydia and I hope she comes back for more!”

Standout performances throughout the weekend made the nationals an extremely memorable event for many. Ryon Derriman, Louis Chand, KD Singh and Paul Goldthorpe all showed class and skill going deep into the main event and second-life round. A huge congratulations and welcome goes out to Lyn Davis, who was gently coerced into entering the woman’s event the night before entries closed. Lyn put in a fantastic effort for her first competition, one that made her friends and family exceptionally proud! Also, NZPA welcomes Aaron Shaw back to the scene after a long hiatus from the game and Lydia Nenewale and Peter Hutchings, who travelled from the South Island to compete. Lydia had a fantastic time and promised us she would be back for more!

The 9 Ball Nationals is one of the biggest events in the calendar and requires a great deal of organisation. Thank you to the following for making this competition possible:

  • NZPA, Pool and Blues, Kamui, Mezz, Excellence Billiards and API (Sponsors and Venue)
  • Matthew Edwards, Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan and David Breen (Organisation)
  • Duncan Wu and John MacMillan (Tournament Direction)
  • Ethan Douglas and Millie Van Der Ent (Bar-Staff)
  • Lucinda Rawson (Photography)
  • Ian Davis (Live Stream)
  • All of the supporters and spectators that stayed on late in the day to watch the finals
  • The wonderful competitors without which there would be no tournament

This brings to close the 9 Ball season for 2016. With each and every tournament the bar is lifted. New talents are discovered and each of us is left with a new dream, a new goal, a new challenge. Each tournament involves the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory. Every champion was once a competitor that refused to give up. What will define you?


Written by Lisa Everett

New Zealand Pool Association

P.O Box 47729
Auckland 1144
New Zealand

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