A cold breeze and the sputter of snowflakes marked a cold February afternoon back in 2007. Robert Walker, a close friend, hosted a monthly 9-ball tournament at The Billiard Café’. It was a small, old time pool room nestled in the heart of Lancaster, Kentucky’s city square.
Even though the pool room was small, local talent was big! Players like Mike Patton, Landon Shuffett, Mike Blevins and Robert Frost lined the room. They were all regular suspects in quest of the monthly title. However, during this period, new faces were becoming quite common. In fact, at one time or another, pro players Stevie Moore, Rafael Martinez and Charlie Bryant all paid their respects to the monthly event.
Just before the players meeting, I was sitting at the bar, eating my lunch, when suddenly I felt a gust of wind hit me as the front door opened. To my surprise, in walked the Cincinnati Kid.
After making his appearance Shannon Murphy, calmly paid his entry fee and prepared for battle. Out of the gate, he was on fire pocketing ball after ball, mowing down one player after another by a score of 5-0. At that point, it was easy to see that if anyone were to beat Shannon it was going to take more than lady luck. As time passed and the smoke cleared, I was standing “Mono E Mono” with Shannon in the finals of the tournament.
As push came to shove, the match seesawed back and forth. The score was 4-3 and I was barely ahead. I missed a ball and gave Shannon an opportunity to play safe. When I returned to the table I faced the layout below and had a tough decision to make.
I was left with kick shot on the 5 ball. The first thing that came to mind was that the 6 and 7 could be used as potential blockers in playing a return safe. The problem is that to execute the shot I had to hit a precise point on the long rail.
After carefully contemplating what to do, I decided to break out the Sid System. The Sid System is a precise dead ball, 1 rail kicking system, meaning the cue ball is hit 1 tip above center with medium speed.
The diamonds on the long rail are numbered starting at 1, then 2, and then increase by ½ for each additional diamond. You’ll note that for this system the contact point on the long rail is adjacent to the diamond on the rail, not through the diamond as is the case for several kicking systems. Here I wanted the cue ball to contact the rail adjacent to point 2.5. The plan was for the cue ball to hit the rail then the 5, hopefully hiding the cue ball behind the 6 and 7 – ending at cue ball position “A”.
To calculate the shot I had to determine the cue ball starting point. Since I was shooting 2 diamonds from the corner (diamond “2”) I used that as my cue ball position number. I then multiplied the cue ball number (2) by the long rail contact point number (2.5), and got 5, which was my aim point on the end rail. The aim points on the end rail are numbered from the corner diamond by 10’s, so 5 would be a ½ of a diamond from the corner diamond. The corner diamond (zero) begins at the rubber tip of the long rail.
I shot through 5 and laid the shot down perfectly. You couldn’t have drawn it any better with a pencil. Shannon was locked up tighter than a movie star’s face-lift. At that point I remember someone saying, “Lucky shot!” Upon returning to the table Shannon fouled leaving me ball in hand with an easy run out for the tournament win.