Queenstowner Simon Singleton, New Zealand’s top-ranked pool player, is one of four Kiwis cue-ing up in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend for the first two events of a lucrative 10-edition, 8-ball pro series.
Run and hosted by Melbourne pool promoter Arthur Titus, the televised Pockets Pro Series started last year with eight Aussie-only players, and this year has swelled to 32.
Singleton was chosen as the inaugural Kiwi wildcard for this year last March.
The series comprises five monthly double-headers, with each event featuring a winner’s purse of $A10,000, $A4000 for the runner-up, $A2000 for those reaching the semis and $A1000 for those reaching the quarters — win two games and you’re in the money.
Singleton says the first-to-seven matches will be ‘‘quick and exciting’’ because there’s a 30-second shot clock and they have to be completed
within an hour.
The 7 foot English tables he’ll play on are smaller than he’s used to nowadays, so he’s imported one from England to practise on.
‘‘The 7ft tables in NZ are cushion-to-cushion, in the UK it’s end-of-the-table to end-of-the-table.’’
Singleton says he’s ‘‘very lucky’’ to have four sponsors — Mezz Cues, Excellence Billiards, Eliteinsure and Queenstown Furniture Gallery —
who are covering his expenses to go to Melbourne each month.
Turning 40 next month, he’s especially excited about the series because of the opportunities it’ll give younger players.
As for his own form, he says he’s in ‘‘a better place mentally’’ than he’s been in the past two years.
To watch this weekend, viewers can subscribe via pockets.com.au — using promo code ‘SINGLETON50’, ‘‘it’s like $5 a month’’.