Chris Pringle has gone one better after falling at the final hurdle in last season’s competition to be crowned Edinburgh Masters’ eight-ball pool champion.
The 33-year-old lost to eventual winner Paul Cruickshank in July’s competition, but after the Edinburgh Pool Association committee elected to play the 2014 championships this side of the year in a reorganisation, he progressed to the last table where he disposed of Ian McCombe 7-5 in the grand final to land the trophy.
Revealing that a switch to the alternative nine-ball, or American pool as it is often known, reignited his passion for the eight-ball version, Pringle has been in peak form since returning to the circuit 18 months ago and increased his ranking by more than 500 places.
Now ranked 82nd in Scotland, he said: “I’m just back, as I’ve been playing nine-ball for the last few years, so I am delighted to have won it this year. The best pool players in Edinburgh are there and you’ve probably got about ten guys capable of winning the title, so I’d like to go on and win it on a few more occasions now.
“I played over ten years ago when I first came into the Edinburgh leagues and my practice partner was Billy Gray, who was Edinburgh champion at the time. I remember him saying to me that if I didn’t win this one day then I’d never live it down, so I’ve at least got that one off my back.
“I started playing nine-ball about six years ago as it’s more of an individual game. Every Thursday I was playing in a team (eight-ball) and it became too much like a job and I just got sick of it, whereas I could play nine-ball whenever I wanted.
“I think there was a lot of pressure because when I first came to play eight-ball, I was young and playing down in Musselburgh and people knew I could play. But I am enjoying it a lot more again and am entering tournaments all the time. I’ve been beating all the seeded players in Edinburgh to qualify for the national finals and have been clawing up the rankings.”
Pringle has played in numerous national competitions in both pool disciplines. Now turning out for Rileys in the Edinburgh Pool Association League, he has league championship aspirations this year with the team currently in second position.
He said: “I’ve definitely improved and practising with Kevin Twaddle and Bob Murray has really sharpened up my game, so I suppose a big thanks needs to go to them. Winning the tournaments in nine-ball has given me the confidence to believe that I can win – I’m probably at the top of my game.
“If I can get in the top 16 then I will be a seed for future tournaments, so I wouldn’t need to qualify. That may take another year or so because it’s very difficult as there are a lot of world-class pool players in Scotland. But I’ll dig in and keep going.
“We’re second in the league behind Diane’s and play them tonight so it’s a big game for us. We’re unbeaten so far, drawing twice and winning the rest. We’ve already played last year’s league winners Harp & Castle and we drew with them 6-6 so we need to keep it going.”
The new champion had some final praise for the application shown by the League’s committee in elevating the profile of the sport across the city.
“The committee are doing wonders just now,” he said. “It’s definitely going places and there are a lot more people interested in playing. We’ve got more players in Edinburgh than anywhere else in Scotland so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can produce in the next few years.”