In a sport dominated by men, it is a welcomed sight to see women getting involved in the Billiards Sports Organisation’s National Pool League (NPL). Currently, there are seven women registered to play in the NPL, however, to date only two have seen any action, Britney Jagdeo of Golden Arches Snipers (once) and Upper Deck’s Priya Gomes Mora (9 times).
While for some teams women's representation might appear to be a token, Upper Deck has decided to give its women's player an extended run. Of the eight games prior, Gomes has won two and lost six, the two victories coming in doubles encounters. Being a fierce competitor, who was intent on changing her fortunes in individual play, she got the perfect opportunity and on Wednesday night, in Round 17, Upper Deck’s confidence in her paid off.
The St James-based team travelled to Princes Town to take on Fearless at the Dekko Sports Bar and after a see-saw battle through the first four games, the scores were tied at two apiece. At this point, Fearless would have thought they had the match won but Gomes stepped up in the decider against Sunil "Elvis" Roopnarine and immediately established that this would be no walkover. She stole the first frame with an exquisite cut shot to silence the home crowd. Roopnarine bounced back to win the second frame and the cheers returned.
Frame three was a fierce safety battle with Roopnarine pulling out the jump cue on several occasions but he just could not put together any runs. Gomes prevailed to go 2-1 up by putting a long ten-ball. The fourth frame was more of the same with safety first on the minds of both players but it seemed that Gomes became the fearless one and when the game finally opened up, she sank the eight, nine and ten balls to seal a 3-1 win and end a most memorable night for the visitors. It is the first time in the short history of the NPL that one of the women's player has beaten one of their men's counterparts in the competition.
Joining Gomes in winner’s row for Upper Deck were Nigel St Clair who had a 3-1 win in game 2 and the pair of Keris "Pantz" Carew and Ian McCall, who were 4-2 winners in the doubles encounter. For Fearless, Ryan Sonny got the visitors off to a positive start with a 3-2 win and Fearless captain, Roopnarine "Din" Latchman was a 3-nil winner in the fourth game. Despite winning the match, Upper Deck remains ninth on the ten-team table but all that pales in comparison to the thrill of that victory on that fateful night at Dekko’s.
Liquidatorz, who leapfrogged Upper Deck to move into the eighth spot in round 16, pulled off a monumental win in enemy territory. The squad from Club Liquidz went into one of the fortresses of the NPL, the Boardroom in Debe and humbled their hosts, United Stars four games to one. The Stars started well with Mark "Terrance" Cannon beating Ronald Samaroo 4-2 but that would be the only success for the hosts as Micah Singh, Rawle "Quarterback" Mahadeo, Joshua Mitchell and the doubles pair of Richardson Mohammed and Leo Chin Soong won four straight games.
The loss for United Stars, coupled with Golden Arches Snipers 4-1 win over Kenny’s, means the Snipers are now the new leaders of the NPL 10 Ball competition. Snipers will play host to Fearless in the final round, while United Stars have a tougher assignment against The Specialists, who are in the midst of a three-game winning streak. The Specialists, led by Clint Bachan, were 4-1 winners over Spar United.
The other Round 17 match between Reel Steel Shotters and Headquarters had to be rescheduled and will now be contested on Monday.
Round 18 (Starts at 8 pm)
Upper Deck vs Spar United, Upper Deck, St James
Liquidatorz vs Reel Steel Shotters, Club Liquidz, Duncan Village
Headquarters vs Kenny’s, Headquarters, Penal
Golden Arches Snipers vs Fearless, Golden Arches II, Curepe
The Specialists vs United Stars, Golden Arches II, Curepe