My Strangest Miss Ever

A Mysterious Miss!

Earlier this week on Tuesday night, I was down 2-3 in an race to five match with a very good APA skill level 7 player.  In the sixth game, my opponent broke and we exchanged a few safeties, both of us attempting to get control of the table.  Finally, my opponent made a mistake and left me with a makeable shot.  I quickly surveyed the layout of my balls and realized that I could pretty easily run the table and tie the match at 3-3.  Yes, this was going to be a pretty simple exercise in connecting the dots and winning the game.  The first shot was a standard stop shot straight into the corner pocket with the cue ball and object ball separated by about a foot.  I got into my stance.  I took my time, checked my fundamentals, stroked 3 times, paused, then pulled the trigger and hit the shot with a tiny bit more than pocket speed.  I hit a perfect stop shot.  With the object ball safely halfway to its intended pocket, I started to get up out of my stance to prepare for the next shot.  Then, something unbelievable happened that I’d never seen before.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the object ball was slowly moving off the line that I had sent it down.  WHAT??!!!   I caught this in my peripheral vision.  My head and eyes immediately snapped back to the object ball.  It was still about two feet away from the pocket, but now, not only was it off the original aiming line, but it was still in the process of curving more and more off the line!  I stared in disbelief as the ball actually TURNED and headed directly into the long rail!  The object ball, rolling at a tad bit more than pocket speed, had actually turned by about 30 degrees from its original path!  I was so shocked that I couldn’t even get upset.  There were several gasps of disbelief from some of the folks watching the match.  My opponent was also astonished by the action of the ball and gave his condolences for the strange development.  With the table wide open, he easily ran out.  Suddenly, instead of being tied at 3-3 with me breaking I was down 2-4 with him breaking: a huge disadvantage. 

Question:  Does anyone want to venture a guess and try to explain what caused me to miss this shot?

Hint #1: No, the table was not unlevel.
Hint # 2: I had read somewhere about this happening before, but in over 20 years of play, I had never seen it myself.

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22 responses to “My Strangest Miss Ever

  1. You didn’t hit the cue ball straight on?

    • Jt, you are on the right track. I didn’t hit the cue ball exactly in the center. Although I executed a “perfect” stop shot, the cue ball did complete a half spin after stopping; however, this was not the biggest reason I missed.

  2. Yeah, what Jt said…? Sounds like you hit it soft, which would increase the susceptibility to English transfer (inducing throw). Add in a dose of dirty balls (on the table) and viola!

    Dude… a pocket speed stop shot from that distance is just getting too damn fancy! According to your diagram, it was straight in? Dial up center ball and give it a reasonable pop. 😉

    • As you stated, I hit the shot very softly. This fact, coupled with the fact that I didn’t hit the cue ball in dead center, threw the object ball slightly off-line. Both of these items played a role in the miss, but they were not, IMHO, the biggest factor. Here’s the final hint: If I had pulled out my iPhone and taken a good color picture of the table, you would probably be able to quess what the biggest factor was…

      Next time, I’ll do what you suggest…no more pocket speed shots from this distance!

  3. sounds like worn cloth, maybe the path worn down from break shots.

    that or the little piece of chalk i placed there a day ago. 😛 kidding!!!

    • poolriah, you are getting very close! …but it wasn’t pieces of chalk (I had removed them) and it wasn’t worn cloth. 😉

      • stains. maybe some kind of stain that changed the property of the cloth near the area of the shot. bacon grease perhaps? 😛

        that, or the room used cheaper cloth (non-simonis) and u got the nap roll, as in snookers.

  4. I’m guessing the object ball rolled over the spot. If the spot is in poor condition (slightly peeling away from the table) and a ball rolls over it slowly enough, it can definitely get thrown off line.

  5. I guess here’s my final final hint:
    There was absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ with the equipment involved; HOWEVER, both I and the other ‘7’ agreed that in this case, the equipment definitely was the biggest factor involved in the miss. How could all the equipment involved be ‘good’, yet still be responsible for the miss?

  6. This is not an easy one. As I said before, I’ve been playing for over 20 years, and this is the first time that I’ve ever witnessed this phenomena in person…

  7. poolriah, you are getting EXTREMELY close! LOL about the bacon grease! 😉 That very well could have been part of it! LOL!

  8. maybe there was a tear in the cloth & someone tried to repair it, leaving a tiny line of glue that guided ur shot to the rail.

  9. if it had something to do with nap, then the area of the shot was brushed, flipping the nap up ane causing the roll.

  10. oops. i mean “and”. fat thumb!!

  11. BINGO! Poolriah guessed the biggest factor!
    Here’s the story: The table had just been recovered with brand new Simonis cloth (not sure which product line). All cloth has a ‘grain’ to it. Evidently, the ‘grain’ was aligned in just the right orientation to influence the shot. Given that I hit the cue ball slightly off center (applying spin to the cue ball), hit the object ball so softly (magnifying transferred spin to the object ball), as the object ball rolled toward the pocket, it was also spinning ever so slightly. As it approached the pocket, the spin helped the ball grab onto the ‘grain’ of the cloth, and the trajectory of the object ball actually changed in the last couple of feet before the pocket! Earlier this year I had read about this happening to another player back east, but I chalked up that story to someone just making up an excuse for missing a shot. Now I’m a believer.
    CONGRATS POOLRIAH! You win… well… nothing I guess, except for my admiration of your tenacity in figuring out this mystery!

    • muahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      i believe i had it right earlier when i said “nap roll”. u called it “grain”. perhaps we differ on terminology, but they’re the same thing. 😛

      seriously though, that “color picture” clue was a big giveaway. i wouldn’t have guessed the answer without. i now demand a merit badge the size of a dinner plate.

  12. poolriah, I can’t deliver on the merit badge, but would a certificate do? Check out my new post. 😉

  13. So, 21 comments on a lousy missed shot… that’s got to be some sort of record. Gen one of those certificates up for yourself, Michael!

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