Manukau Courier : November 5th 2010
www.manukaucourier.co.nz Friday, November 5, 2010 Great White: Clubs New Zealand eight-ball champion Rodney Buck. Photo: SIMON WATTS Shark beats big fish By ALAN APTED IN THE world of pool Rodney Buck is now a Great White. From a lowly national ranking of 283, he s out- hustled some of the biggest sharks in the game to win the Clubs New Zealand eight-ball championship in Manurewa last week. The 46-year-old recoveries manager plays out of the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club and is understandably proud of his feat. I knew I was good but I never realised I was this good. Buck started the tourna- ment ranked 125th in a field of 288 including 22 of the country s top 30 players and eight of the top 10. He d never managed to get past the first round before this year. And his previous best had been winning the plate at the nationals last year in Christchurch. But his victory wasn t entirely out of the blue. He d had an unbeaten run at Clubs New Zealand events since winning the plate. Buck s proud it has taken only seven years in the game to claim his first major title -- and the $1500 prize. This has definitely given me an air of confidence and I will be looking to work my way up the rankings. I believe I can beat anyone at any time now, he says. Eight-ball s gain is golf s loss. Buck used to be a scratch golfer, good enough to play for Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Waikato between 1989 and 2007 and to rep- resent New Zealand overseas. He loved the game but a back problem forced him off the fairways. The pain after a round of golf was too unbearable. It would last for a week or more. Only recently did he dis- cover that a slipped disc was the cause of all that agony. I ve had to live with the pain for years, he says. Eight-ball -- or pool as it s more commonly known -- became Buck s sport of choice when he signed up as a mem- ber of the Manurewa Cosmo- politan Club. The years spent playing golf tournaments up and down the country have helped to steel his nerves for his new sport, Buck says. Golf has helped my mental game. When it comes to the crunch I know how to handle myself. Buck says he had no aspirations of winning the title last week. The best he d hoped for was to make the top 16. He says a positive frame of mind and just the right amount of alcohol beverages gave him the winning edge. Buck beat 45th-ranked Ian Rowlay (Howick) 4-1 in the quarter-finals, Whanganui s Steve Rerekura (35th) 4-2 in the semifinal, and Papanui s Brad Campbell (22nd) 5-1 in the final.
November 4th 2010
November 9th 2010