Monday, 27 October 2014

Luc "The Machine Gun" Salvas Wins First Pro Event Of The Season

Luc Salvas with fellow Pro and friend Jared Amyot 

By: Markus Noé

This past Saturday at Dooly's Valleyfield 44 competitors came to participate in the first Professional event in the Quebec Federation. This year the Professional Circuit has 4 scheduled tournaments with a $3500 guaranteed Grand Finale for those that play in at least two tournaments.

These are non handicapped events, however there are staggered entry fees based on ones ranking. For those like myself who are AAA and under, get in for the bargain price of $30. Semi-Pro's are also getting their money in good having to only pay $30 while Professionals pay $100. This is to encourage players from all divisions to show up to hone their skills and see what it's like to play against some of the world class talent this circuit boasts.

Also new this year for maximum entertainment value, these tournaments will be seeded. This means the top ranked players get byes and the other higher ranked players are likely to play a lower class opponent first round. For me this is a bonus because for $30 I get a chance to play a very high level opponent and gain experience.

My first round match was against well known Semi-Pro Johnny Laprise. This was my first time playing him and I got off to a good start going up 4-2 early on with a couple clearances off his mistakes. To get to 4 he missed a makeable 8 in his opinion, leaving me a cut shot and then gave me the 9. Looking back, that missed 8 was the end of me because it seemed to fuel him and after a dry break I never got another good look losing 9-4. From there I went on to lose to AAA and potting machine Dominic Legault 7-1.

Danny Hewitt 
The benefit about being knocked out of a tournament such as this early on is that I now had the opportunity to rail-bird some great matches. Danny Hewitt, Alain Martel, Luc Salvas, Martin Daigle, Alain Parent and many more were all there for our viewing pleasure and I took full advantage. With the new seeding system most of the top named players did what was expected and cruised through the brackets setting up some big matches.

Luc Salvas and Alain Martel met up in the final four on the Winners side where the "Machine Gun" won. In the winners side final he went on to lose a tight match to Danny Hewitt, who throughout the day looked as if no one would beat him. Salvas then sat ans waited for Martel to knock out both Alain Parent and Dany Nguyen to set up a rematch in the losers side final. Once again Salvas put on a show in front of his legion of hometown fans beating Martel 7-4.

Alain Martel 
In the final Salvas got off to a blistering start, however Hewitt caught up at 4-4 and looked like he was going to take over the match. To me there was one shot in particular that changed the match, this is where Hewitt was forced to play a safe on the 7 ball leaving Salavas nearly frozen on the 8 ball. The 7 ball was about 6 inches away from the side pocket. If you would have blinked you would have missed Salvas stepping to the table bending over and whacking the cue ball two rails potting the 7 and clearing the rack while the hometown crowd of about 60 people erupted. From there Salvas went on to win his first Professional 9 ball tournament in a few years 9-7.

Salvas and Hewitt playing the final 
Salvas has not been competing as much these past few years and the last time I saw him play he was not the same force as I once saw on ESPN. However unknown to those outside Dooly's Valleyfield, which he owns, he has been practicing for a month in preparation for the season. At 28 years old and only competing for 7 years I never saw the form that so many have talked about when it came to Salvas. I have seen him shoot good but never great live like he did on this day, and let me tell you it is a treat.

 For me the best part of this day was sitting on the back patio with Martel and Salvas and about 10 others. It is clear to see that these two are not only some of the best talent to ever come out of Canada but they are good friends as well. We sat there for an hour or so shared a few beverages and listened to Salvas and Martel swap stories about their most clutch shots in big tournaments, and even some embarrassing misses as well. The next Professional tournament will be held Nov 1 at Le Skratch Laval, if you live in the Montreal area I recommend that everyone come to watch or play. To see all my photo's from this tournament go the Cue Sport Nation Facebook page.

Top 3 Pay Outs

1. Luc Salvas-$1000
2. Danny Hewitt-$600
3. Alain Martell-$380

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