Australia and New Zealand are set to resume their historic sporting rivalry on the pool table, with the first Trans-Tasman test match in over 20 years, scheduled to be held at Pockets in Melbourne from Saturday 5th to Sunday 6th November. This event is born out of the recent growth and collaboration between both Pockets Sports and New Zealand Pool Promotions.
The Trans-Tasman sporting rivalry is as old as the two countries themselves, with New Zealand’s and Australia’s representatives competing across a wide variety of sports. However, the history between these two great nations on the pool table has a far more recent origin story.
In 1989 contact between the Australian and New Zealand 8 Ball pool bodies led to their first international match, held at the Hamilton Cosmopolitan Club, New Zealand. The teams consisted of 12 male players and 1 female player from each country competing for the title. At stake was the Clancy Cup which New Zealand won in its inaugural version before Australia would win the following year on home territory on the Gold Coast.
By 1992 the English were invited into a Tri-International Series in Perth, at which point Australia decided to adopt the rules of the English Pool Association (reds and yellows) and subsequently align themselves with the rest of the world, whilst New Zealand would continue with their own Clubs New Zealand rules (spots and stripes).
More teams from around the world would eventually come together under a unified rule set, culminating in the first World Eight Ball Pool Federation World Championships, held in Manchester, England, in 1993. As this tournament continued to grow from strength to strength, the Clancy Cup would eventually fizzle out, and the Trans-Tasman 8 Ball would remain dormant for almost 30 years…
Fast forward to the present with Pockets Sports making waves to professionalise the game in Australia, and New Zealand Pool Promotions looking to get NZ back into the international scene, paths have collided and the Trans Tasman Pool contest has been re-born.
This new event makes a nod towards one of the most successful modern international team pool competitions in the world, the Mosconi Cup. Any cue sports enthusiasts who follow that competition will be able to draw parallels between the two, not just with the format but with the competitive rivalry as well.
The November Test Match will see 2 teams of 6 compete in a series of singles and pairs matches over 2 days. The Australian team will be comprised of the top ranked players off the back of this year’s Pockets Pro Series as well as the possible inclusion of international players, and the New Zealand Team will feature the top ranked players from this year’s NZ SuperLeague Pool series.
Each day will feature 3 singles & 3 pairs matches. With 12 possible matches over the 2 days, the winner will be the first team to 7 matches. However, should the overall score reach 6 each, a final play-off match will be added as a decider.
Each match will be international rules, best of 9 (first to 5), alternate break with a 45 minute match clock. 6 Red shoot outs will be used to determine any matches tied at the 45 minute mark. The pairs matches will play ‘scotch pairs’ with partners alternating each shot.
As both the Pockets Pro Series and the NZ SuperLeague Series move towards the end of their respective seasons, we can start to look ahead and not just the winners of those individual competitions, but at which players might start to make up the respective international teams.
With a fierce sporting rivalry set to resume on the English pool tables for the first time in decades, these truly are very exciting times for pool in our corner of the globe.
You will be able to catch all the live action of all matches on the 5th & 6th November at Pockets Sports website www.pockets.com.au