Saigon Pool League Premiership
The Premiership has been keenly fought up and down the Division all season, so it was fitting that the title decider came down to the very last match.
Masse take their Pool a little less seriously than some of the previous Premiership title contenders, but it is a relaxed style shaped by their overall quality, which allows them to approach matches knowing that they will likely be comfortable winners. They haven’t handed out thrashings this season, letting their amiable approach allow sides to think that they have some glimmer of hope, but the 9-7 or 10-6 wins have disguised the fact that they were highly unlikely to lose.
2Bar do tend to take things a little more seriously, probably sporting one of the most practiced sides in the League, but they have found a better level of calmness this season and most visiting sides have had a few laughs with them, even when their Pool has been unrelenting. Towards the end of the season, matches got tougher and tougher, with three of their last four matches ending in 8-8 draws. It ultimately cost them the Premiership, as only a win was good enough in the final match against Masse. They’ll be back next season and nobody will be expecting a glimmer from them then.
O’Brien’s finish in third place, comfortably three points ahead of the Orient Oddballs, with an outstanding fixture still in hand. O’Brien’s Sharkz were a pretty dynamic team all season, and may rue their unnecessary forfeit against Masse in the early season, as it has possibly cost them Runner’s Up spot. Stupid politics, in the way of competitive fun. Ho hum. Let’s hope there is a lesson there to be learnt.
Orient Oddballs were on a charge mid-season, but they mustered only 4 points out of 15 in their last five matches, exposing the weaknesses and fragility against the top ranking teams in the final throw. They’ll be back against next season with another Premiership season under their belt though and will be all the greater force for it.
Dailos Dragons managed just 1 point from 12 in their closing four matches, going down 7-9 in all except their match against 2Bar, where they scared the Premiership Runners-Up by putting themselves on the hill first, before succumbing to the draw. For a team that faced relegation in the two previous seasons, it was a reincarnation that may signal a return to the Premiership Top 4 next season. Let’s hope so.
Of the two White House Premiership teams, there was very little to choose between them both. The Desperados certainly carried a Premiership arsenal, but from early season, they faltered at the crucial moments and didn’t look like they could buy a win. The Geckos, on the other hand, started their first three matches unbeaten, earning two draws and a win, in what was their first season in the Premiership. The trolley wheels then fell off, as they incurred the wrath of teams from up and down the Division, including a 14-2 spanking by bottom placed team, Buddha Bar. It took their double-header against stablemates, The White House Desperados, to get them back on track, relieving the Desperados of 4 of the 6 points, before finishing with a flourish of two more draws and a win in their final fours, to escape relegation and send their White House rivals down into the Championship.
The White House Desperados join the Buddha Bar team who finished a single point behind the Desperados after a positive end to the season, securing two draws and a win. Their frame difference was far less than the Desperados and they’ll be looking for silverware next season in the Championship for sure.
There will no doubt be some closed season team movements and player transfers, but 2017 Season 2 has certainly been our best Premiership season yet. It is still the true test of one frame Pool playing in Saigon and next season looks as if it will be even stronger. Bring on 2018!
Saigon Pool League Social Division
‘Everyone just wants to play Social Pool’, so the Saigon Pool League Organizer is constantly told. But the Saigon Pool League wants the play to be ‘social’, whether it’s at the lowest level of play or the cauldron of the Premiership. So the ‘Social Division’ is a bit of a misnomer. A PC marque for our lowest standard of match play, but a wolf in sheep’s clothing for any team that thinks it’s going to get an easy match.
The Social Division started from a round of consolidations and splits this season, as teams from the previous season either grew because of their successes, but then subsequently split because players were getting too few frames, or shrunk because they were getting badly beaten and needed to regroup.
The Man Cave in District 2 had grown a sizeable ‘Social’ squad in Season 1, in the experienced hands of Dr Jules and like an over-ripened fruit in the Vietnamese sun, it burst forth into two teams in Season 2.
Dr Jules led a minimal squad over to The White House to become the White House Impeachments, while the remainder of what looked like the better half of the former Man Cave social squad, ended up in Flow Bar as a new second string team to the already present Flow Bar Championship team, the Flow Riders. This second team presented themselves as the Flowters, after realizing that the team name Flow-ers, read Flowers (of the garden variety) and made no sense in either striking fear into an opponent, nor representing anything Pool shaped, unless they used a Triffid holding a Pool cue in their logo.
The Flow Bar teams dominated the early season, as Championship squad Flow Riders wriggled free of their Championship obligations to form a ‘weakened’ Social Division team that looked anything short of weakened and anything short of social, after taking 41 out of 48 frames in three of their first five matches. They held top spot in Week 2, but that was the last time they were to see it as first Bread & Butter and then the Flowters, floated above Flow Riders and Flow Riders never saw top spot again.
The Impeachments shot an early warning across the Division’s bows when it then thrashed the Flow Riders in Week 4, but only after experiencing last place in Week 2, after losing their first match which turned out to be their only loss in the season. The Impeachments subsequently went on a run of 13 unbeaten matches, including 12 wins, remaining behind the dominant Flowters team until Week 9, when they then went top and never looked back. They secured the Champion’s Trophy with a match to spare and the final gap of 6 points, underlined the scale of their achievement.
The Flowters exchanged places with Flow Riders four times over the course of the remaining season, but the Flow Riders fell away even more than the struggling Flowters towards the end, to finish a solid third.
One bar that consolidated its teams in Season 2, were the Tavern from District 7. After three seasons their squad had grown tired of certain thrashing and decided to up their game. A new Captain saw a new approach and while they took a couple of weeks to find their feet, those niggling 9-7 losses eventually started to turn into the odd win. They’ll be happy with 4th place and hopefully encouraged to strengthen even more in the 2018 season.
Bread & Butter from District 1 also strengthened over the season and although they got caught up in a backlog of fixtures that was not of their own making, they produced enthusiastic teams that threw up a number of surprises over the season. The Team Killer caught them out when they were favourites on occasions, but they are definitely a Social League team to watch out for in 2018.
In sixth place, Casba Kickers held firm for nearly the entire season. Their small squad struggled to fulfil fixtures on occasions and fortunately a largely willing Social Division allowed even their last minute postponements, but you do get the feeling that this squad has every potential if it can get its organization and act together. Fingers crossed for 2018.
Bringing up the rear are two teams that you would not have placed there at the beginning of the season. Evita folded two teams into one, leaving them with a solid squad of capable players. They were a touch fragile on the few matches they had to travel, but apart from their tardiness, there was nothing lacking in the capability of this squad. They just didn’t seem able to win, although they did have the audacity to beat both the Flow Riders and the Flowters as 2 of their 3 wins this season. Hopefully they’ll be back with a winning mojo next season.
The First Ladies are the true enigma of the Social Division this season. They carry a number of experienced and very capable players, but they have let matches just slip away in what is their second season. Two wins and three draws from 14 matches just does not reflect their ability. We hope that they make the changes needed to turn the corner in 2018. As the Tavern have found, sometimes it just needs a new strategy. There is definite pride in being a First Lady, but also no shame in being first and all inclusive. We all want to see a stronger and continually developing Social Division, or whatever PC term we devise for this Division in 2018, so let’s work it from the bottom up.
Championship Playoffs Round Up
In the Championship Survivor’s Cup, the battle for top spot is very close, as are the relegation spots at the bottom of the Division.
The Pub Motley Cues have led this Playoff Division but suddenly find themselves level on points with the Drunken Duck with just two matches to play. The Motley Cue’s and Drunken Duck are also level on head-to-head results, so if they remain on level points it will go down to frame difference. Both teams will have to stand the major test of 3rd placed Liver Failure though, only then will we know who is a true survivor.
At the bottom, Orient Outlaws in 4th place, have a double-header lined up against Pitchers Nine-Seven in 5th spot. It will ultimately decide relegation for one of them, unless the Gigolos pull off a Houdini act of major proportions.
In the Championship Super 6 Playoff, Masse M&M’s are three points in front of Noi-Z and they do lead the head-to-head stats as well. Noi-Z need two solid wins and a Hail Mary granted by the Tavern Assassins in their match against the M&M’s to stand any hope of the Championship Trophy.
Rank outsiders are the Buddha Bar Elites or The Commoners, either of whom could spoil Noi-Z plans altogether and leave them with no silverware. If The Commoners rollover against the Buddhas but then beat the Noi-Z team, then Dailos keep Noi-Z to the draw or beat them, the Buddha’s grasp a once impossible Runners-Up trophy. More probable though are two Commoners victories, which would snatch second place from Noi-Z and demote the Buddhas to fourth. The Commoners cannot take top spot because of their head-to-head record against the M&M’s, but they would be very satisfied with something after blowing the Playoffs by taking just 1 point from 6 against the Tavern Assassins in their last two matches.
While the bottom two teams in this division have no relegation fears, they’ll both want to upset the status quo at the top if they can and will undoubtedly be playing with their eye on next season when they could be title chasing contenders.
The Monday Night 9-Ball League
Only one point separates the top three teams in this division, this season. They all have two matches to play, but crucially, T-Rex and The Buddhas go head-to-head in the first of those final two. Third placed Samlo are the other team in the mix, equal on points to second placed The Buddhas. The top 2 will be hoping that Samlo come adrift against the Buddha Bar 9-Ballers, to dent their charge. It will certainly be a closely watched evening.
In the final week, all top three teams will feel they’ve got straight forward wins against the Evita Sixty-Niners, The Cave Men and the Dead Presidents, but as they’ve all found out this season, there’s no such thing as a straight forward 9-Ball match.
Keep an eye out for all the latest scores and results on our home page www.saigonpoolleague.com, where LIVE match updates can be found from a number of Saigon venues.
If you are thinking about entering a team for the 2018 season, registrations will close on the 28th January 2018. To register your interest or to get more information on the largest sports league in Saigon, email the League Administrator on firstname.lastname@example.org or call Chris Lee on 01204560263