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Thomas van Nes achieves immortality

Chiang Mai Pool League

Thomas van Nes achieves immortality

The unforgiving Highlands.

Sandy Lie
Every golfer’s aim is to write themselves into history and be remembered for evermore. While professionals target the four major tournaments; the PGA, US Open, Masters and Open, Chiang Mai’s Royal Leaguers have their eager eyes on the “Little Man”.
The “Little Man” trophy is played for every first Thursday of each month in a stroke play competition, and Thomas van Nes will have his name inscribed on it with all the other past champions after winning a closely fought contest nine days ago.
The first three players on the final leader board were within just one stroke of each other, and Thomas can look back on a steady round that started on the 10th tee, with a front nine of 2 under par off a gross 42 including three pars and six bogeys.
With growing confidence, he made the road home more interesting by taking the driver out of the bag, and hit notable screamers on the par 4, 5th and 8th. Left with short pitches on both holes, he duly two putted to record steady fours.
The course at the Highlands Golf and Spa Resort can be unforgiving when it comes to inaccuracy and Thomas can count himself lucky that his pulled shot on the 6th, which left him knee deep in vegetation only 50 yards from the tee, cost him no more than a treble bogey. His net score of 71 in the clubhouse was enough.
Jim Cannon was less fortunate when his few wayward shots in the round landed him with 3 double bogeys, and although he walked off the 18th green with the same gross score as Thomas, his handicap is one shot lower. Nevertheless, this was Jim’s first top three placing since joining the Royal League.
Jon Haid has been the man in form of late and no stranger to the top three places. Last time out he came in the winner, but in this “Little Man” contest, he had to be content with third after scoring a damaging 8 over par on the 4 par fives.
While this was Thomas’s first “Little Man” win, Jon last took the title in January of 2004, and there are just two more chances left this year for the rest of the field.
Meanwhile, the Happy Bar Stds. enjoyed superb conditions on both days of play last week at Mae Jo Golf Club. Bob Jess won Monday’s stroke play competition with a net 71, which could have been a lot better if his short game had come up to par. Ranjit Sidhu became the Stds. “nearly man” by coming runner up for the second week on the trot.
Friday’s Stableford tourney was played from the back tees and Don Peterson and Tom Ingham shared the honours with 34 points.
With just 4 rounds left in the eclectic contest, Jim Cannon remains leader on an unchanged tally of 68 strokes, but Tom Ingham has managed to close the gap to just one shot. After only three games, Jack Cooper is down to a challenging 73, just ahead of Dennis Woerner.
Further down the table, Gordon Langtry and Ranjit Sidhu reduced their score by 4 and 2 strokes, respectively.
For more information about The Royal League visit, and for Happy Bar Stds. ring Noel on 089 256 5705.

Chiang Mai Pool League: The turn of the table

Pat Black
The game of billiards or pool was played as an outdoor sport on the 15th Century lawns of France, in a similar way to croquet, before moving inside, possibly due to inclement weather.

The table at Out Back.

Nobody knows exactly when the first billiard table was built and while some reports record a wooden one covered in cloth around 1660, there is also documentary evidence that they existed as early as 1470; when King Louis XI of France was said to possess a table with a bed of stone, a cloth covering, and a hole in the middle of the playing field into which balls could be driven.
The green baize was meant to resemble the grass where the game first took place and it has been made of wool to this day, although some wool/nylon blends are currently used.
The rails, banks or cushions were originally used to stop balls from falling off the table and were stuffed with flax, cotton or other padded materials, which resulted in a deadening effect. When players began to use the rail for bank shots or doubles, as the English call them, John Thurston introduced bouncy rubber cushions.
Slate based tables emerged in 1826 and Queen Victoria received one with rubber rails from Thurston 12 years later. However, the cold draughty rooms at Windsor Castle reduced the bounce in the cushions to a thud, and so hot water warming pans were used to remedy this.
Not to be beaten, Thurston went on to successfully experiment with Charles Goodyear’s vulcanised rubber, which resisted the effects of the cold, and he triumphantly fixed his revamped banks to Queen Victoria’s table in 1845.
Woolen cloth and vulcanized rubber are the norm in today’s Chiang Mai Pool League, but the only slate table used was at O’Malley’s Irish Pub. O’Malley’s claimed to have the only real pool table in town, with balls the size of Chinese apples and bags like buckets.
Despite winning the League Championship, the pub mysteriously withdrew their side two seasons later to leave 14 venues with a hilly assortment of concrete-based snooker tables of various sizes.
While Out Back, Blue Sky Bar, Number 1 Pub, December Bar and the recently renovated Rock Hard Bistro are generally considered to possess the five truest tables in the League, those at Enjoy Place, Chiangers and Bangers and The Wall are arguably not so good.
The table at Enjoy is placed at an awkward height and while some pockets draw the ball in like a magnet, others repel. Although Chiangers have improved their playing surface, it’s the only table on which I’ve seen a slow moving ball perform a U turn. A great deal of local knowledge is also required to play well on the lumps at The Wall.
Half Moon Pub long kept the secret of the top right hand pocket, but everyone knows now that it will pull in any soft approach shot that’s played anywhere near it.
Space around the table is the main problem at Friend’s Corner, where 50% of shots are played with an improvised cue the length of a chopstick, and while Happy Bar might present the same kind of problem, there’s the option of stepping outside the premises and playing shots through the window.
The slowest table in the League must be at The Local, where matches rarely finish much before Saturday.
At times we need a good sense of humour to play in the Chiang Mai Pool League, and I’m sure that if the very formal and fussy Queen Victoria were a member, she wouldn’t be so amused.