Its a tradition of the championships that a warm up event is held before the official titles are held. Most of the players have gathered in the same place already, so they run a tournament for a cash purse as a preliminary event. Its a bit like the Queens Club tennis tournament just before Wimbledon, and becomes one of the major tournaments for the year given the quality of the players that are gathered together.
As it turns out, I played well enough in the event to make the final, and was runner up to Colin Laoutaris from South Australia. I had a 3-0 lead in the final before he raised the bar and reeled off 6 consecutive frames to beat me 6-3. Missing out on the win after getting so close is a touch dissapointing, but overall I'm delighted to do so well. I was definitely a roughie in the field of players that was put together, and Colin was one of the favourites. Its no disgrace to lose to him in the final.
I picked up $1000 cash for my trouble in the event, and a further $600 given that I had bought myself for the princely sum of $20 in the player auction that was run before the event. Top players go for about $200 or more, so that was a bargain price.
A great start to the trip. I hope I can keep up my form in the main event over the next two weeks...