WHEN Cindy Blackmore went to the Australian Blackball National Championships in Melbourne last month she had no idea she’d come home the first Canberran to win an Australian National singles title in any form of cue sports.
It was an “historic” win, according to ACT Blackball Pool president Long Dang.
But Cindy wasn’t aware of the groundbreaking win for Canberra and says she was excited about her first win nationally.
“I was really tired because I’d been playing for six days straight so I was fatigued and a bit nervous,” she says.
“[But] it felt great. Back in ‘94 I just lost the finals in the eight-ball championship. Maybe if I won that I could have stopped but being so close, I had that hunger in me.”
A veteran of the game, Cindy’s won numerous ACT state titles in singles, doubles and teams in cue sports such as eight ball, 9-ball, 10-ball, snooker and blackball – but this is her first national one.
She started competing in blackball about three years ago when it started in Australia. She says the key difference between blackball and eight ball is that blackball is “one-shot pool” and eight ball is “two-shot pool”.
“If your opponent commits a foul, in blackball it’s a one-shot penalty and in eight ball it’s a two-shot penalty,” she says.
When it comes to eight ball, Cindy’s been competing at a state level for about 30 years and was part of the original committee that formally founded cue sports in the ACT.
“I was playing indoor cricket at the time and met some people playing indoor pool regularly and joined them,” she says.
It was 1989 and Cindy began following the pool comp circuit in Canberra until a couple of fellas asked some regular players, including her, if they wanted to form a team and play in a weekly team comp.
“That being very successful, the following year we formed the ACT Eightball Association,” she says.
Now she’s a lifelong member on the eight ball board because of her work on the committee in its early days.
When it comes to choosing between eight ball and blackball, Cindy says she likes whatever game she’s playing at the time.
“I like blackball because I have to rethink my strategies compared to eight ball,” she says.
“I’ve been playing eight ball for a long time so I’m more familiar with the tactics but I’m still learning with blackball.”
And she’ll continue to learn until she goes to Cyprus in November for “The Nations Cup”.
“In November last year I made the quarter finals for singles in England and was really happy with my performance there,” she says.
“I’m hoping to go a little bit better when we go to Cyprus. But I’m looking for a sponsor to sponsor me to go.
“There’s no funding or money in blackball so it’s either coming out of your own pocket or from fundraising.”
But that’s not the end game for Cindy, who is already thinking about competitions a year away.
“There’s a few things I still have to do before I put my cue down permanently,” she says.
And next year she plans to go to Perth to compete in the Blackball Nationals again.
Until then she’ll be in Canberra playing in the local blackball and eight ball league.