Shock turned to jubilation when the local 8-ball pool team, Comox Valley, won the coveted Vancouver Island Challenge Cup for the very first time.
The annual event occurred on the June 4 weekend at the Elks Lodge and Chalk Lounge venues in Courtenay, attended by 10 teams from the Island and nearby communities, ranging from Victoria in the south to as far north as Powell River.
Victoria, represented by VIPL (Vancouver Island Pool League), had perennially held the Cup with a vice-like grip, powered by some of the best players on the Island.
But this changed when Comox Valley accumulated enough points to move past VIPL on late Sunday. The last match saw VIPL go head-to-head against Comox Valley: VIPL had to thrash Comox Valley in convincing fashion, as they did in many previous encounters. But this time, Comox Valley stood firm, holding them to a draw, which was enough to secure victory.
The captain of Comox Valley, Rose Kantor, said her team refused to be intimidated and exhibited a strong desire to win. But the big surprise to everyone was Kantor’s unassuming team mate, Kevin Buyden, whose performance astounded everyone by winning 27 games while losing only three, beating out players who are ranked on the Master Level.
Kantor, who also is the director of the Comox Valley Pool League and the owner of C.A.P. Billiards, said that interest in pool has never diminished even despite COVID, and hopes increased activity will draw more talented players to the Valley.