Team Hit and Hope from Hamilton is gearing up to face the best 8-Ball pool players in the North Island.
They will take part in the VNEA New Zealand 8-Ball Team Championship final this month in Hamilton, the culmination of two 12-week long seasons.
Throughout the year, about 40 teams have competed regionally at Massé cue sports clubs in Hamilton, Pukekohe and Auckland. The top 20 teams across all regions have been invited to play in the two-day final.
Hit and Hope team member, Logan Walsh, 23, says it's the biggest competition of the year where they play against New Zealand's best of the best.
"During the season we've won the majority of our matches, so we have a good shot at running deep into the tournament," he says.
Walsh will play alongside Hamilton Massé members Miguel Raman, Jason Allen and Calen Anderson.
Teams compete for the top spot and a share of $30,000 in prize money. The highest ranked players are also eligible for selection to the 2019 New Zealand pool team who will compete at the VNEA World Pool Championships in Las Vegas in May.
Massé sends around 30 senior and junior players each year to the VNEA championships, which bring together about 4000 players from around the globe each year.
Massé funds players' airfares, accommodation and competition fees, and provides equipment and free coaching to get the team ready for the championship.
With over 100,000 registered players, the Valley National 8-ball League Association (VNEA) is the largest global amateur pool organisation which uses its own rules and tables, different to other cue-sports disciplines.
Walsh started playing pool in 2014 and hopes to qualify for New Zealand's senior VNEA World Championship team again after making the senior team for the first time last year.
The upcoming finals will be held at Massé's Hamilton branch on 27-28 October. Members and non-members are welcome to attend.
The final will be live streamed on Massé's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Masse.New.Zealand