THE MEMORABLE JOURNEY
I was with my better half holidaying in Maderia Island in Portugal region when I asked my wife will she be interested in going to Gibraltar for watching Indian ace player Aditya Mehta (RKG Sponsored) contesting in Gibraltar Open Snooker Tournament from 04th March’2017 to which she immediately agreed knowing the passion and interest I have for the game since last four decades or so.
Our next vacation destination was Lisbon, Portugal’s historic capital, where we were suppose to spend a quality week but we decided to curtail the trip to three days and decided to go to Gibraltar from there for four days. Once we landed in Lisbon we were surprised to know that there is no direct flight between Lisbon & Gibraltar. We enquired about the train and bus to go to Gibraltar and after much deliberation decided to take the bus route which seems to be the best possible way to reach Gibraltar (around 1400 kms from Lisbon) though quite long. We booked bus ticket from Lisbon to Seville and begun journey of around 700 kms. on a beautiful evening with high spirit.
The bus started on time amidst thunderstorm and heavy rain and by midnight it reached border of Spain. I was moving in and out of sleep throughout the night. At Dawn when I completely awake I saw from the speeding bus, the country side passing by, the wet green fields with intersecting small streams, the lovely mountains in the back drop and the most amazing sites with Sun rising. It was really a treat to watch and refreshed me from almost 8 hour long tiring journey.
Bus reached Seville, a beautiful and wonderful city of Spain, by 07.00 am in the morning and after having some refreshment at the bus terminal we boarded another bus to Algeciras towards our final destination of Gibraltar. It was around 3 hour journey for a distance of approx 150 kms. I leaned towards window and starting watching the region of splendid Spain and did not quite realize how the time passed through quickly and we reached Algeciras around 10 am by then my spouse was completely exhausted as for her it is the longest bus journey she ever had in her life but did not show me the fatigue and quickly prepared herself for another short bus journey to La Linea border town of Spain to Gibraltar. It was half an hour journey of around 10 kms and as the excitement to reach in time for the match of Aditya Mehta against Nigel Bond at 01.30 pm local time is very much there more so because of such hectic and tiring journey the half hour time looks like two hour journey. After reaching La Linea we crossed the border and entered in Gibraltar, a monumental territory famous for its Rock of Gibraltar.
Finally around 11.30 in the morning we boarded in a taxi for the Rock Hotel ; a luxury hotel in the heart of Gibraltar and close to the match venue and reach there by 12 noon. We quickly checked into the hotel and quickly took bath and got ready to go to venue for watching the match which was about to start.
We entered the magnificent arena of Victoria stadium when Aditya was trailing 0-1 from Nigel and suddenly till the time we can settle in our seats it was 0-3 Aditya and Nigel was only one frame away in dismissing Indian star in Third Round and our all monumental efforts to watch Aditya was going in waste. Aditya suddenly saw both of us in the arena and acknowledges us by nodding his head as he was preparing to start the fourth frame.
After that he showed refreshing energy and tremendous class and consistency and wasted no time in taking next three frames and levels the score at three all. It was really a gigantic and monumental effort by him and he showed true determination in equaling the frame score but he was quite understandably exhausted after that and lost the deciding frame to lose the match but he really won the heart of every Indian and also all the persons witnessing the match in Arena. I am really proud of him and have no doubt what so ever that he is a real class player.
We were fortunate enough to see magical Selby beating Adam Duffy and Robert Milkins but lost to Ricky Walden. Watching terrific trump was also very refreshing in Tercentenary Sports Hall. The best performance amongst all great players including Higgins and Robertson was of Shaun Murphy (RKG Sponsored him in Indian Open 2016) in the entire tournament especially in Semi-Final where we were fortunate enough to saw him making two century breaks of 137 (in second frame) and 140 (in fourth frame). Also in the final match against Judd Trump he was trailing by 1-2 when he raised the bar and took three consecutive frames to lift the glittering trophy.
The journey of ours was really tough but me and my wife was as strong in determination as Rock of Gibraltar and witnessed one of the most memorable match we have ever seen of Aditya and the exceptional performance of World number four Shaun Murphy in the entire tournament.
RAVINDRA KUMAR GUPTA