The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Leader’s growth aspiration
The organiser of Australia’s second-largest eight-ball tournament has already signalled an intention to increase player participation at next year’s event.
The three-day Wimmera Friendly Eight-ball Invitational, at Horsham Lanes and Games across the weekend, attracted more than 300 players from across Victoria and South Australia.
Tournament organiser Darren ‘Deadly’ Duncan said enthusiastic feedback from venue management, players and the broader eight-ball community had highlighted the event’s positive contribution to the game’s national growth.
“Word across the eight-ball community, at state and national levels, was the Horsham tournament was great for the game’s national promotion. Not only did the weekend’s event grow the game at Horsham, but no doubt helped it grow at a national level,” he said.
“Videos taken from the weekend, of hundreds of players playing eight-ball under one roof, had gone viral within eight-ball circles across Australia.”
He said he wanted the tournament to reach its viable peak of 54 teams of seven players at the 2024 event.
Mr Duncan said 46 teams competed at the weekend’s event, which was a few teams short of Australia’s largest eight-ball competition, the Gippy Cup, at Sale — the organiser of which Mr Duncan said had also competed at the Wimmera invitational.
With players uploading results after each match to the eight-ball results website, ‘8ballstats’, players and spectators could track all frame and match results across nine divisions in real time.
Division-one team, ‘Poolhub’, consisting of elite-level players from Ballarat and Melbourne, claimed top honours with an unrivalled eight-win, one-loss result.
Mr Duncan said several top-level players from across Australia had reconnected to compete together as teams in the event’s top three divisions.
He said the advent of the self-reporting results website had alleviated significant administrative work from tournament organisers and contributed to the belief that a larger tournament in 2024 was possible.
“We put in place a lot of the connections and foundational organisation of the tournament when it was first held in 2018. The results website had taken a lot of the labour-based administration away from us, which is great,” he said.
He said each division-winning team claimed a $900 prize, with second, third and fourth-placed teams across each division also claiming a portion of the overall prize pool.