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News – 2010

30 November 2010

2010 GB9 NORTHERN MASTERS

MAGICIAN DOWNLOADS APP IN BLACKPOOL

Chris Melling brought the season’s curtain down in some style at the GB9 Northern Masters this weekend, held at the Barcelo Blackpool Imperial Hotel, beating Darren Appleton in the final by a convincing eleven racks to four scoreline. The victory was underpinned by a fine display of breaking from the Keighley based two-time former World English 8 Ball Champion to accompany his trademark fluent pace and unwavering confidence; giving ‘The Magician’ his first British 9 Ball ranking title. “It’s always nice to win your first but it’s been a really weird year”, commented the champion immediately after the final, “I’ve had a lot of bad luck off of the table but on the table, it’s been my best year so my emotions are pretty mixed. I had a little bit of luck in the early part of the final in fluking a 9 Ball but you need luck, you’re never going to win a big tournament without it.” Melling becomes the fifth different winner in five Main Events over 2010 joining Daryl Peach, Mark Gray, Karl Boyes and Imran Majid in taking home the majority of the £30,000 handed out in prize money in Main Events alone.

Chris Melling - 2010 Northern Masters Champion (© Andy Warden)

Although undoubtedly playing the best Pool in Blackpool over the three days, Melling’s final appearance looked in serious doubt as he sat in his chair at 8 – 8 during his race to 9 quarter-final, watching Craig Osborne line up a tough 9 Ball into the side pocket but thankfully, for Melling and his supporters, ‘The Shotgun’s’ attempt could only find the far jaw for Melling to step up and stroke it home. That glitch aside, Melling’s path was nigh on problem free as he made a mockery of the supposedly tight SAM Magno Pro pockets to see off Sam Corsby 9 – 3; Andy Worthington 9 – 5; and Mark Gray 9 – 4. Not even a resurgent Gary Bullocke from Glastonbury could put a stop to Melling’s challenge, claiming just three racks in their semi-final encounter. On the subject of the pockets Melling is quoted, “I don’t think they’re that tight actually but even if they are it can only be a good thing because when you go to events such as the Eurotour after playing GB9 you can’t miss”. Indeed Melling will be going to a Eurotour and this time with a big goal in his sights – the European number one spot. Currently sitting in second place, Melling has the opportunity to overtake fellow GB9 star Karl Boyes next week in Spain. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought about being Europe’s number one so soon but if I did, it would probably be right up there as my biggest achievement to date behind winning my world titles at 8 Ball”.

For the majority of players, a defeat in a national ranking event final to follow taking the US Open crown would be a relatively easy pill to swallow but for Darren Appleton, his face said it all – annoyance at not adding another trophy to the collection. Surprisingly unable to match Melling’s consistency on the break in the final, Appleton will no doubt be hitting the practise table hard in preparation for the forthcoming Mosconi Cup next month. Imran Majid fell to ‘Dynamite’ in the semi-finals 9-4 but he was in good company at least as he joined Adam Stevens (9 – 5); ‘The Omen’ Damian Massey (9 – 4) and James Kay (9 – 7) as Appleton’s victims on the final day. Young hot-shot Jack Whelan, yet another convert from English 8 Ball will perhaps take the most solace in losing to Appleton, taking six racks off of the eventual runner-up in their last 32 showdown.

So the GB 9 Ball Tour’s third season is over – fifteen tournaments containing arguably the strongest batch of 9 Ball national talent on the planet and for the second consecutive season, that batch is headed by Bourne’s finest export, Mark Gray. For the GB 9 Ball Tour official rankings and details of how to qualify for the 2011 season, visit http://www.gb9balltour.com/.

2010 GB9 BLACKPOOL PRO CUP (II)

HOME FROM HOME FOR PEACH

Blackpool-based former World 9 Ball Champion Daryl Peach ended the professional year on a high note by claiming the 2010 GB9 Blackpool Pro Cup, defeating Mark Gray in a tense hill-hill final match. Peach won the lag to ensure his break cue was in use should the match go all the way and it proved the most vital shot of the match as, after a brief discussion as to whether the requisite points had been made from the break (the six ball having broken the head string by a mere millimetre), ‘The Dazzler’ duly dished the balls to take the title and his place as number one on the Pro rankings. “Both me and Mark struggled and I don’t know why because I’ve felt great all day, perhaps I was a little bit over-confident as I’d beaten some good players convincingly. A few years back one of these events would be like another day at the office but nowadays I feel proud because of the standard.”

Daryl Peach - 2010 Blackpool Pro Cup (II) Winner (© Andy Warden)

Peach’s quest for perfection has recently extended to having a table installed at home after the local pool hall closed and judging by his standard today it is paying dividends. “I’m loving practise at the moment. Now I can have a good half an hour at home and then go back to it later when I want rather than getting bored at the club after a few hours, it’s so much better.” After Darren Appleton’s historic victory at the US Open, no incident involving Daryl Peach and a Dictaphone can pass without asking the obvious – ‘how does he feeling at missing out on that final Mosconi Cup spot?’ “I’m genuinely pleased for the lads that are in it, I really mean that. It just so happens that it’s me that’s got to miss out as Matchroom were never going to pick three Brits but it should just be the best five players. To be fair to them though I don’t think they relish picking the team.” Pushed for an opinion on which continent will be victorious come December 12th, Peach smiled, “I’ve got to say Europe haven’t I…although I’m not so sure”.

Back to the action at the Barcelo Blackpool Imperial Hotel and before the final paired Peach with Mark Gray, ‘The Dazzler’ headed off Dave Nelson 9 – 6; James Kay 9 – 3 and Karl Boyes 9 – 6. In full-flow, not many can live with Peach’s unique mixture of simple technique and imposing aura.

In a reverse of the end of season main rankings, Mark Gray plays understudy to Peach ending as Pro Division number two. In Blackpool, victories over Matthew Ford 9 – 1, newly-crowned World Blackball Champion Jayson Shaw 9 – 3 and Imran Majid 9 – 7 assured him of his position.

 

2010 GB9 BLACKPOOL CHALLENGE CUP (II)

MO MONEY

Morray Dolan helped himself to his first 9 Ball title this weekend and not just any title, only one of the toughest amateur competitions to win in the world – a GB9 Challenge Trophy. Dolan defeated Chichester’s Luke Rollison nine racks to seven in the final match to earn the biggest share of the £2625 prize fund. The 36 year old is amongst a growing number experienced English 8 Ball players turning to the bigger game in search of that holy grail of sporting phenomena – satisfaction. “I’m loving 9 Ball right now”, said Dolan post-victory, “Anybody who knows me will tell you I’ve been harping on for a while about how great this game is. It’s a lot more fun than English 8 Ball, where I can play for half an hour and get bored and it’s a real challenge, I’m encouraging as many players as possible to come and try it because the people here are just a different breed”. Dolan is joined by an even greater authority on the two sports than himself in promoting American Pool to the English game – statistics. In five Challenge Division events this year, three have been won by English 8 Ball converts. “Obviously when I came over there were a few people looking at me and wondering if I was good enough so I’m over the moon. The aim now is to put in more practise, I’ve actually only put in seven hours between this event and the last, and then to buy a cue worth more than £20”.

Morray Dolan - 2010 Blackpool Challenge Cup (II) Winner (© Andy Warden)

Dolan’s experience came to the fore in two hill-hill matches during the competition, coming out on top over Chris Robson and Stewart Colclough at the last 32 and quarter-final stages respectively. Wins over Jason Howard 9 – 2; Mike Rogers 9 – 6; Louis Callaghan 9 – 4 and Ben Moore 9 – 4 complete Dolan’s path to glory.

Although claiming that today was indeed his day in his pre-match interview before the final, Luke Rollison just couldn’t find the spark that had seen him dispatch such cueists as Chris Buckmaster, Neil Cummins and Andrew Morris to reach the last two. Rollison’s talent is undoubted though and will no doubt sparkle in next season’s Pro Division thanks to a sixth place finish on the Challenge rankings earns him promotion. Dolan recognised, “He’s a great kid and before we played the final I had been looking over and eyeing up his game. We’re from a similar neck of the woods but have never played each other before today. He’s about twenty years my junior too so he’s got it all to come I’m sure.”

Joining Rollison in the Pro Division for 2011 will be Shane Appleton (naturally, after his unprecedented three consecutive Challenge finals); Ben Finch; Stewart Colclough; Andy Barnett; Adam Shaw; Neil Cummins and Andy Worthington. The big boys will no doubt be looking at that list and the tour’s strength may well be measured by the fact that no one will be hoping to draw one of the above names in the professional ranks.

Report courtesy of iPool Magazine


24 November 2010

GB9 announces plans for 2011 season

After long and very careful consideration the GB9 Committee have decided to hold all five events at the Barcelo Daventry hotel for the 2011 season. This decision has been taken for a number of reasons. First and foremost we have received feedback from a multitude of current GB9 players stating that the Barcelo Daventry has provided the best tournament and playing conditions of our inaugural season in hotel venues, and asking us to consider using this venue for all events. The hotel is centrally located and positioned close to both the M6 and M1 motorways and so relative to other potential venues provides good access for GB9 members in most parts of the country. The tournament room is also ideal and gives ample playing and spectator space, including the potential to move to an arena style set up for final tables.

In addition to the excellent tournament and hotel facilities, the use of the Barcelo Daventry throughout 2011 will allow the tour committee to constrain the considerable costs associated with the storage, transportation and installation of the GB9 tables for tournaments weekends. Our intention where possible is therefore to use this opportunity to further improve player experience during events, including developments which we have been unable to implement during 2010 due to cost.

As ever we will try to gauge player reaction and experience throughout 2011 and reflect this in decisions regarding venues for 2012 and beyond.

In recognition of the support shown by our members in this our first season in hotel venues there will be no forced relegation for any player and we invite all members to renew their membership by completing the form here. Details of the entry fees payable in 2011 are available here and you can pay your fees online by visiting this page.

The event schedule for 2011 is now finalised and shown here. Following our experience in 2010, where we had to reduce the number of events to 5 due to a serious fire at one of the venues, we’ve decided to make a permanent change to a 5 stop tour. With the events played in a 8 to 9 month window we feel that 5 tour stops is about right. Otherwise we would have several tournaments within a month of each other. Whilst this was just about manageable when using Rileys Clubs we think it is too much of a financial burden on players when in hotel venues.

For those players nearing the end of the 2010 season and wondering whether they have done enough to make the leap up from Challenge to Pro Division you can check the criteria here.

We’ve now posted details of the qualifiers for next years tour. If you know anyone who is interested in joining GB9 next season please encourage them to get their names down by completing the qualifier entry form on our website. Spots will be available to bring the tour membership back up to 144 filling the spots vacated by any existing tour players who chose not to rejoin by the closing date.


29 September 2010

Majid wins Southern Masters in thrilling final

Imran Majid lifted his second trophy in two Tour Stops at the GB9 Southern Masters, edging out Scotland’s young hot shot, Jayson Shaw, by eleven racks to nine in the final at the Barcelo Daventry Hotel, Northamptonshire. The match looked for all the world to be going to a hill-hill deciding rack until Shaw left too much of a pocket available for ‘The Maharaja’ to make a long 7 ball, the remaining two balls and the lion’s share of the £6000 prize fund. “Jayson is a great cueist so I couldn’t try and out-pot him because he probably would have won, I had to grind a few racks out. This win really shows I’m back!” Majid’s victory in Daventry gave him his first British Main Event title since July 2008, the last title in his famous run of four consecutive tournament wins.

Despite a host of notable names being absent from the list owing to the China Open clashing with the Tour Stop, Majid overcame stern opposition throughout the day. Adam Benn Smith came closest, managing to take seven racks in their race-to-9 quarter-final clash, a careless scratch on a 7 Ball at the midway stage perhaps being the turning point for the Sunderland based star. Pro Cup finalist, Raj Hundal could only manage three racks in his semi-final encounter with his former sparring partner Majid. 9-6 and 9-3 wins over Matthew Ford and Andy Appleton in the earlier rounds put Majid on the path to success.

Jayson Shaw’s quest to become the first non-English winner of a GB9 Main Event may have fell at the final hurdle but he may well have a case to curse his luck. Although his breaks were complying to the ‘3-point rule’ that is in place at all GB9 tournaments, ‘The Wizard’ seldom landed with shape on the lowest numbered ball during the day. Given this fact, the young Scot, a 9th place finisher at this year’s World Pool Masters, can take pleasure in his composure and patience, leading to wins over Mark Hopgood 9 – 0; Jonny Cooper 9-2; Pro Cup winner 9-5 and in the semi-final, a thrilling comeback against ‘Granite’ Mark Gray rewarded him with a 9-8 victory.

The remaining 9th place finishers in Daventry were, Kevin Uzzell; Jason Howard; Stephen Capaldi; Glenn Cooney; James Kay and promising English 8 Ball convert, Jack Whelan. European number 9 Craig ‘The Shotgun’ Osborne and Challenge Cup record-breaker, Shane Appleton both left with 5th place standings.

 

Pro Cup: Locomotive back on Track

After a lean season, Phil Burford produced a performance of maturity combined with flair to get one over on ‘The Hitman’, Raj Hundal. A superb display of the in vogue ‘power cut-break’ saw Burford to a convincing nine racks to four victory to claim the 2010 GB9 Daventry Pro Cup 2 at the Barcelo Daventry Hotel.

The 19 year old cueist from Darlington pockets £1000 for his efforts over Saturday 25th September, with stand-out victories including 9-5 over former European number one, Mark Gray and a 9-0 demolition over Scotland’s Jayson Shaw. “Obviously it feels good to win, I’ve played well all day and I feel as though I’ve deserved it. I’m just happy to get back to how I was playing when the GB9 first started”. Burford made the first two Pro Cup finals in the GB 9 Ball Tour’s inaugural year but fell at the final hurdle on both occasions. Damaged equipment and a subsequent loss of form halted ‘The Locomotive’s progress but the ability that first pointed to him being Great Britain’s great, young hope looks to be back. “I’ve got to thank Stan Shuffet who’s my girlfriend’s father and a great pool coach, he’s showed me certain aiming systems, he has replanned my game. He was watching from over in the States on Cuesport TV so I hope I put on a good show for him”.

 

Raj Hundal smoothed-stroked his way to a final berth with victories over Kevin Uzzell and Craig Osborne, both 9-5, and in the semi-final, a master-class of safety and opportunism rewarded him with a 9-3 win over ‘The Yeti’, Michael Valentine. As always, Hundal was not lost for words after the final; “I’ve actually been in bed all week ill from travelling although it’s not like I’m the biggest ‘practiser’ in the world anyway, not like when I was younger when I’d be down the pool hall all day…I used to get some action then too! Why aren’t I practising as much now? Pool just happens to be something I’m good at, to be honest, sometimes I wish it wasn’t”. Hundal says this with so little arrogance that, although unfathomable to the regular player, it’s hard to doubt that Hundal is genuinely a reluctant hero in the sport. Not without appreciation for the better man on the day though, Hundal said, “I’m happy for Phil, he’s a talented kid and I hope it takes him somewhere in the future. Obviously the breaking conditions suit him in these events because that’s the first time he’s ever beaten me.”

 

 

Challenge Cup sponsored by Cue Club International :

Third Time Lucky for Shane

‘Straight-Shooter’ Shane Appleton defeated close friend and fellow Pontefract resident Ben Finch by nine racks to five to claim the GB9 Cue Club International Challenge Cup in Daventry. Finch, who was looking for his second Challenge Cup title of the season, took an early 4-0 lead in the final only to see the consistency and determination of Appleton kick into gear to allow Finch just one more rack. It was Appleton’s third consecutive final in the Challenge Cup, an unprecedented achievement in the GB 9 Ball Tour’s three year history. After his win, Appleton said, “This is a big monkey off of my back! I came here thinking that I cant possibly make three finals on the trot but when I beat Luke Rollison in the quarters I knew I could go all the way. Ben shot off like a train but from 4-0 down I’ve played great”. Of his current consistency, Appleton commented, “It’s all down to hard work and putting the hours in, Darren’s help with safety and kicking has been key, along with confidence and enjoyment, right now I’ve got both in abundance”. A convincing 9-1 win over Stewart Colclough in the semi final was certainly the highlight of a good day’s hard graft, wins over Louis Callaghan 9-1; Aslam Abubaker 9-5 and Luke Rollison 9-6 completes the story.

29 year old Finch, known as, ‘The Finisher’, proved once again that he is on the right road to a career in the American game with victories over Philip Morgan 9-6; Mark Hopgood 9-4; Andy Barnett 9-3 and Neil Margossian, appearing in his first GB9 semi-final, 9-5. When the draw threw out the Finch/Barnett quarter final, Finch knew it was a chance for instant closure on his 21-19 challenge match defeat to ‘Barney Boi’ last week. The pair are good friends off of the table yet each realise the importance of having a ‘business head’ whilst holding a cue; it was Finch on this occasion who had the pound signs in his eyes.

With just one event left of season three, players will no doubt be looking at the rankings to see if they are in with a shout of a top 8 berth to unlock the door to the coveted Pro Division. Both finalists at this event are already there and are sure to do some damage next season against the nation’s elite. With the strength of next season’s Challenge Division looking likely to increase yet again, with more and more English 8 Ball players sitting up and taking notice of the American game; a promotion to the Pro Division may actually be a blessing.

 

 

 

GB9 is proudly sponsored by Barcelo Hotels, SAM Leisure, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls and Mezz Cues; making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues. The GB9 Daventry Challenge Cup was sponsored by Cue Club International.

Report for the GB9 Ball Tour by Ben Moore, iPool Magazine.


17 September 2010

CueClubInternational.com to sponsor Southern Masters Challenge Cup

GB 9 Ball Tour is delighted to welcome Cue Club International to our family of sponsors.

CCI provides a massive resource of information catering for numerous cue sport players and enthusiasts alike from around the globe. In particular CCI have a huge following amongst the thousands of English Pool players in the UK, an increasing number of whom are now taking a keen interest in the ‘big table’ game.

GB9 believe CCI’s support of the Challenge Cup event is a natural alignment for current and future members of our tour as 9 Ball Pool continues to grow in popularity on the UK cue sports scene.

We are proud to be working with CCI and on behalf of all of our members we wish to thank Morray Dolan and the team at CCI for their generous support.


20 July 2010

Red Hot Boyes takes 2010 GB9 British Grand Prix

Karl Boyes is currently enjoying one of the few sporting phenomena that every participant in any game dreams; a winning streak. The 27 year old from Blackpool, simply known as ‘Guapo’, took the spoils over ‘Dynamite’ Darren Appleton in the final of the GB9 British Grand Prix by eleven racks to seven at the Barceló Daventry Hotel on Sunday 18th July 2010. In a month that has already seen Boyes take his first coveted EPBF Eurotour title (in the process topping the European rankings) and a year so far yielding a pair of WPA World titles, Boyes’ first ranking win on home soil this season completes a very neat National, Continental and World ‘set’.

Boyes’ victory was housed in what many of the players called, ‘the perfect venue’, when performing their now ritual pre-tournament walk-around on the Friday evening. Spacious enough to easily allow the 16 SAM Magno Pro tables, as well as the growing mass of spectators now following the GB9 action, Daventry provided the most professional tournament ever held in Great Britain to date. Play commenced on Saturday 17th July, with the only brief for the competitors to qualify for a last 64 birth and the opportunity to cash in on the £6000 on offer the following day.

Boyes first blasted through Stuart Daff 9 – 3 in the round of 64 before Ipswich’s Phil Morgan 9 – 5. A sterner test followed in 2009 World Junior Runner Up, Phil Burford 9 – 6, a game which saw no less than eight break and runouts, six of which were from Boyes; a healthy figure indeed considering the momentum inhibiting alternating break format. A convincing 9 – 3 victory over another in-form Briton, Mansfield’s Scott Higgins, in the quarter final set up a clash with Blackpool neighbour and rival for headlines, Daryl Peach. ‘The Dazzler’ and Boyes combined will have a nation’s hopes on their shoulders in September when they will become ‘Team England’ in Manila for the World Cup of Pool. Peach will quite rightly be billed as the senior player of the scotch pairing but in Daventry at least, it was young master Boyes calling the shots, taking their semi final encounter by nine racks to four.

Darren Appleton’s charge to the final could be considered a ‘B-game master class’. Appleton single-handedly created the atmosphere on the final day as he vocally battled against not only his inherent quest for perfection but also the increasingly hungry opposition in the next chair. Battling from behind to snatch victories against both James Welch 9 – 7 and Ben Moore 9 – 8, Appleton’s pedigree went on to take him past Damian Massey 9 – 5, 2010 BCAPL double winner Chris Melling 9 – 5 and in the semi final, Tony Drago 9 – 6.

Other stand-out performances on the day were provided by Dave Nelson, who took out GB9 Paul Medati Trophy runner up James Kay 9 – 6 to achieve a superb 5th place finish and Andrew Morris, a 9 – 5 victor over Mark Gray, a finalist at the previous four tour stops, at the last 32 stage. However it is still Gray who sits proudly at the top of the British tree with a 12 point lead over Darren Appleton.

GB9 Daventry Pro & Challenge Cups

Imran Majid ended a two year wait for British silverware at the Barceló Daventry Hotel on Saturday 17th July by taking down man-of-the-moment Karl Boyes with a staggering 9 – 2 scoreline to win the GB9 Pro Cup. Looking like the calm and composed Maharaja of old, Majid’s quest for glory was never really challenged as he dropped no more than five racks against any of his opposition on the day, with wins over Dominic Clemens 9 – 5; So Shaw 9 – 1; Paul Williams 9 – 3 and Jayson Shaw 9 – 5. Majid substituted the smooth cueing for some smooth talking after his final victory and said on the achievement, “Yeah it’s a good feeling. Obviously I’ve gone through a little bit of a dry patch, taking six to seven weeks out to get married and stupidly changing my cue stick have been the major reasons. Admittedly, it has taken me a while to get back into the swing of things but I want to let everyone know that The Maharaja is back from his slump and ready to kick butt. My lions and elephants are roaring again! I have to say, hats off to my wife, Alia. She is a Clinical Physiologist and we’ve been working on meditation and breathing techniques so on top of the support she gives me, the bounce back is down to her too”.

An indicator of Majid’s return to form might well have been his performance at this month’s Austrian EPBF Eurotour event, where wins over the German stars of Thorsten Hohmann and Ralf Souquet took him to a 9th place finish. The winner of that event was of course Majid’s opponent in the Pro Cup final, Karl Boyes. Of the current World 8 Ball Champion Boyes and the GB 9 Ball Tour, the toughest pool playground around, Majid commented, “Karl’s had a fantastic year and is on fire currently so to win the final 9 – 2 is great. The standard is getting higher all the time and I’ve always said that sooner or later Britain will dominate. We just don’t miss as many balls as everyone else. The GB 9 Ball Tour has had a huge part to play in that. Take today for example; this venue in Daventry is easily on a par with other world events such as the Eurotour. It’s really great.”

The strength in depth of the tour is really to be found in the Challenge Cup. In a tense hill-hill decider, 23 year old self-employed Joiner, Adam Shaw, fended off Shane Appleton to win 9 – 8 and become the third different winner in three events. The final rack summed up the sport of 9 Ball Pool; tension, safety, cueing under pressure and inevitably, that little bit of luck. With two balls remaining, Appleton’s one rail escape to hit the 8 Ball looked for all the world to be headed into the corner pocket until agonisingly pulling short and resting over the hole for Shaw to do what he does so well and with apparent ease; not miss.

“I’ve played some good players along the way and every game seems to have been tight and almost a bit of a struggle, coming from behind a couple of times. I’m made up.”, said Shaw immediately after the final. Like the previous Challenge Cup winner, Ben Finch, Shaw came through one of the pre-season qualifying events to gain his tour spot, proof again of the growing stature of the sport in Great Britain. “I played snooker a little bit when I was about 16 but it was the UPC University pool that really got me into 9 Ball. From there I obviously spotted the GB9 and thought, ‘when I’ve got the money, I’m there’. I knew I was capable of taking a trophy home but did I honestly think I would? Probably not, as the standard of play is just so high, I just hoped I would I guess. The aim now is to finish in the top 8 of the Challenge and then give it a go against the big boys in the Pro.”  Shaw’s path to victory saw him oust; Phil Hughes 9 – 4; Colin Rennison 9 – 3, Stephen Capaldi 9 – 8, Andy Worthington 9 – 7; Neil Cummins 9 – 7 and Andrew Morris 9 – 6.

Shane Appleton’s run to a second consecutive Challenge Cup final could be seen by some as being as noteworthy, if not more so, than actually taking home the trophy. There seems no creature more competitive than an ‘Appleton’ however, “It’s hard to take the positives right now because nobody remembers the runners up”, said Appleton, “I suppose when I look back I’ll be chuffed to bits, especially considering I’ve only been playing American for 8 months. I enjoyed the final, last rack deciders are a bit of a lottery, especially when there’s a few people watching and there’s safety involved. I thought I’d fluked the 8 ball after he’d snookered me, to see it sit over the pocket is a bit sick. Fair play to Adam though.”

The next chapter in the GB9 story will be written over the three days of Friday 24th to Sunday 26th September 2010 at the GB9 Southern Masters. Coverage of the event will be provided, as always, by the team at Cuesport TV and Live Scoring is available from the GB 9 Ball Tour’s home page.

GB9 is proudly sponsored by Barceló Hotels, SAM Leisure, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls and Mezz Cues making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues.


27 April 2010

UK number 1 – Mark Gray Marches on with Paul Medati Trophy

The most brutal single knock-out ranking tournament on the planet ran over the two days of Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th April at the magnificent Barceló Imperial Hotel, a stone’s throw away from Blackpool’s famous seaside beauty and thriving nightlife. The Paul Medati Trophy is named after one of our most admired and talented players. Paul Medati was a regular face on the Professional Snooker circuit before turning his hand to American Pool where he proved the fiercest of opposition for established stars and young upstarts alike. Even into his sixties, Paul regularly made the business end of Professional competitions until in 2008, he sadly lost a short battle with Cancer, leaving behind many friends and a wealth of fond memories. The GB 9 Ball Tour wishes to thank Macmillan Cancer Support and the many players and spectators who donated generously to the charity over the three days of play. Paul’s widow, Cheryl was on hand and kindly agreed to present the 2010 GB9 Paul Medati Trophy to our winner, Mark Gray.

‘Granite’; ‘The Gentleman’; ‘Shoot-Out King; call him what you will but Mark Gray is gradually perfecting a style and work ethic that could well see him dominate the world’s most successful pool playing nation right now; Great Britain. An assured performance in his fourth consecutive Main Event final over a resurgent James Kay reinforced his national number one status and in the process lined his pockets with another £1200. A 9 – 7 victory over Chris Cowie in the last 32 was followed by a 9- 0 drubbing of Alan Coton in the round of 16. In the player’s bar after that match, Gray recalled that Coton had prevailed in their previous encounter, a school-boyish smile contradicting his, “I never forget”, quote. ‘Dynamite’ Darren Appleton was next sent packing in the quarter final 9 – 8, the two World Team Championship winning team mates serving up a lengthy and tension filled cracker. In another close call, Gray’s prowess saw him through against Scotland’s quick-fire sensation Jayson Shaw, disposed of 9 – 7 in the semi final. To those who are yet to witness a flowing Jayson Shaw in action, the wait will soon be over as he will be out to impress under the Las Vegas lights at the World Pool Masters next month.

James Kay is something of a pool playing bridesmaid. Find me a respected name on our shores who does not agree that Kay has the speed capable of flooring anyone and I will show you either a sore loser or a blatant liar. But much like the bridesmaid, Kay is often seen to be catching the bouquet rather than widely grinning next to the trophy. Some could argue that this is another example of that, admittedly, rather sketchy image but the leap from third place, where Kay is placed more often than not, to second is such a big one that we could start to see a mean streak emerge in James Kay as a consequence. His last 16 win over Daryl Peach, for whom the term ‘in-form’ has never been such an understatement, was pure sporting drama. Sitting on the hill with Peach one behind, Kay found himself at an open table, only needing a steady arm and clear head to see him through. As it turned out, he produced both to beat the latest British Eurotour champion but the battle to keep his emotions in check during that last rack run out was the real success story with every shot seeming to drain an ounce of energy and add another seed of importance. A convincing 9 – 4 win for Kay in the final four over Raj Hundal left India’s number one with two third place finishes for his weekend’s endeavours, losing at the semi final stages in the Pro Cup the day prior. A special note on Hundal and purely for your statistical indulgence, ‘The Hitman’ has not won a main British ranking event since the BPPPA Croydon Open. The date? Sunday 22nd November…2004! Naturally, there is an argument that Hundal is now a global figure and does not compete on a national level with as much regularity as he once did. The counter-punch to that would be that since taking that title in 2004, Hundal has competed in no less than twenty-three British ranking events without success. There is no doubt that Hundal has not lost his magic touch, even in this event he produced some remarkable shot making, particularly in taking out newly crowned WPA Etisalat World 8 Ball Champion, Karl Boyes; but all sports fans love a good stat.

A thirty-second overview then; within two events, the new GB 9 Ball Tour already fits like a favourite pair of shoes upon the players. The custom built Magno Pro tables from SAM Leisure are already being shown no fear, unlike Tour Stop 1 where some players were tentative to say the least when taking on the tournament ‘spec’ pockets. As predicted, two new faces were seen in the Challenge Cup final in Ben Finch and Shane Appleton, both taking out the previous finalists from Buxton along the way. And the BBC paid a special visit to the event. As we were in Blackpool, BBC Radio Lancashire took the opportunity to conduct a live interview from the playing arena with their two home-grown Double World Pool Champions, Daryl Peach and Karl Boyes. And finally, when the GB9 roadshow leaves town, Blackpool will house more World Titles than it does pool tables as the local pool hall closed its doors for the final time recently; but if you’ve ever been to Blackpool after 9pm you’ll already know it’s a crazy old town.

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge Cup Winner, Ben Finch with Heather Walkington From Macmillan Cancer Support (© Andy Warden)

John Rathbone, Winner of the Mezz Case in Macmillan Cancer Raffle (© Andy Warden)

The GB9 British Grand Prix will be held at the Barceló Daventry Hotel and will be played over Friday 16th, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th July. For more information and full results from the events go to http://www.gb9balltour.com/

The GB 9 Ball Tour is supported by Barceló Hotels, SAM Leisure, Mezz Cues, Aramith, Simonis and Flexirest.

Report by Ben Moore.


15 April 2010

Karl Boyes – 2010 World 8 Ball Champion

Yes that’s right, GB9 welcomes yet another one of our boys home with a World Title. Following in the footsteps of Darren Appleton (10 Ball) , Daryl Peach (9 Ball), Tony Southern (Wheelchair 8 ball pool) , and GB9’s 5 man World Team Champions our very own Karl “Buzzin” Boyes is certainly Buzzin after being crowned the WPA 2010 Eisilat World 8 Ball Champion, with a stunning 13-12 victory in the final over Dutchman Neils Feijen.

Boyes had progressed through to the final undefeated, with wins over Saeed Al Mutawe, Won Sik Ham, Joven Alba, Masaki Tanaka, current World Straight Pool Champion Stephan Cohen, Vicencio Tanio and an in form Ruslan Chinakhov, who seems to be pushing on hard to win his first major men’s title after his recent win in the World Junior 9 Ball championships.

The final was one of the highest quality, with both players making several strings of break and run outs.

Unusually, the key rack in this match could have come as early as the first, as a nervy opener by both players was won by Boyes, who then raced to a commanding 11-4 lead, with the only factor in 7 straight racks being if a ball went in on the break or not, between racks 2 and 9.

Neils needed to get some momentum if he was going to win this match and he found some at the right time, winning 5 consecutive racks to pull the score back to a contestable 11-9 score line.

Boyes, who must have been desperate to get back to the table, got his wish as Feijen Broke dry in the 21st rack and the nerves were once again settled as a clearance took him to the hill.

What would be Boyes’ last break in this winner breaks format again failed him, as the balls were left in the open for Feijen to clear.

With the score at 12-10, Boyes had his first chance of glory. Feijen misjudged his break shot and sent the cue ball flying off the table, leaving the object balls out in the open. With the number of clearances made in this match, Feijen must have been thinking about his flight home, but being a World Championship final the adrenaline kicked in and a poor positional shot found Boyes hooked behind the 2-ball. A missed attempt at a kick followed and Feijen, with all his experience in major finals, did not disappoint with the resulting ball in hand. Feijen made a very tough clearance at 12-11 to pull the match back level at hill-hill, the first time it had been level since 0-0.

In a normal match, and with the break, Feijen would have been major favourite to win the title. This was no ordinary match though and with the break again deserting him, Feijen failed to pot a ball. This left Boyes with his second opportunity to bring it home. Heart pumping, Boyes overcooked a positional shot, leaving a potting opportunity on only one ball. A good pot and good recovery position followed to put himself back in control. With nerves of steel Boyes ran out the remaining rack that he needed to be crowned champion, a double fist pump in celebration after the handshake.

Karl has now jetted off to Italy for the EPBF Euro Tour before arriving back to a hero’s welcome when he attempts to defend the Paul Medati Trophy, which he won this time last year.

No other national tour in the world even comes close to GB9 with it’s array of champions battling it out at each event and the event in Blackpool will be extra special for Karl as he takes the stage in his home town with a world crown to his name.


28 March 2010

GB9 Midlands Classic 2010

Season 3. Event 1. 144 players. Roughly 432 pool cues. 1826 total racks. 16 custom built tables. £1200 first prize. 1 winner. Daryl ‘The Dazzler’ Peach won the numbers game on the evening of Sunday 14th March 2010 at the majestic Barceló Buxton Palace Hotel in Derbyshire, beating old foe-come-friend Mark Gray by eleven racks to eight in the final of the GB9 Midlands Classic. The victory moves Peach to within just three points of current number one Gray at the top of the official British ranking list.

It was the second consecutive Dazzler/Granite final as the pair met at last season’s final tour stop in the GB9 Northern Masters in Barnsley last November, Peach also taking that match in an 11-10 victory. The result in Buxton in fact gives Mark Gray three 2nd place finishes on the spin, pin pointing the reason as to why the Peterborough shooter is considered by peers and pundits alike to be the most consistent player in Britain today.

The current World 9 Ball Pool Champion looked to be back to his ruthless, self-controlled best over the weekend and for the rest of 2010, a year that will see Peach finally get the chance to defend his world crown, it’s a sight both Peach and his loyal fans will be pleased to see. The opposition standing in Peach’s way in the Main Event in Buxton ranged from the established to the hungry; the established being reflected in recent French Eurotour finalist Craig Osborne in the Quarter Final which proved to be Peach’s closest contest on the day in a 9-7 victory. Representing the ‘hungry’ category, Nottingham’s David Hopkin lived up to his billing as a player on the upturn and will be delighted with a 17th place finish, only falling to Peach 9-5. Completing Peach’s tale to the title, the fearless Matthew Ford was dispatched 9-3 in the last 16 and in the Semi Final, Scott ‘Butch’ Higgins of Mansfield, himself putting in another performance of note, was taken out 9-5.

The day belonged to the most recognisable of our Pool stars in Daryl Peach but putting in 9th place finishes and not to be left out of this report were Steven Petty, Chris Melling, Benji Buckley, Adam Benn Smith, Phil Burford and Alan Millership; with 5th places to Karl Boyes and returning legend, 1996 Mosconi Cup representative Andy Richardson.

Gray had no easy draw to reach his third consecutive Main Event final, prevailing over Pro Division hopeful Mark Collins 9-1; the stylish and Thailand-honed Courtney Symons 9-7; Las Vegas-bound Kevin Uzzell 9-7; Scotland’s ‘Yeti’ Michael Valentine 9-3 and finally 2003 World Pool Masters Champion, ‘The Tornado’, Tony Drago 9-6. Yet this list is overshadowed by the roll of big hitters that ‘Granite’ Gray overcame to claim the GB9 Buxton Pro Cup – So Shaw, Chris Melling, Imran Majid and again, Tony Drago in the Semi Final. As you’re all aware by now, each GB9 Tour Stop is played over three days with a staggering three separate pieces of silverware up for grabs. The elite Pro Cup Final was completed in the afternoon of Day Two and it was the formidable Gray taking home the honours and the handy £1000, with a 9-3 win against ‘Guapo’, Karl Boyes. The title gave Gray a combined wage of £1600 for his efforts in both the Main Event and the Pro Cup.

The GB9 Buxton Challenge Cup was won by Stewart Colclough who triumphed over Chris Cowie in a thrilling hill-hill encounter, nine racks to eight to claim the £750 first prize. Colclough is a player who, on his day, can gracefully glide past the sternest of opponents. A style that is now typical on the European scene, low on the cue and still as stone after delivery; Colclough’s hybrid game of Snooker precision and Pool knowledge proved too effective for not only Cowie but also Simon Clarke, Adam Collins, Mike Rogers, Courtney Symons, Neil Cummins and Andy Worthington, in the lead up to the final match. The race for promotion via a coveted top eight birth is now definitely on, with Colclough and Cowie, and it has to be said, a more determined and focused looking Chris Cowie, throwing down the gauntlet to the remaining 110 amateur players hoping for glory. The Challenge Division for the 2010 season is without doubt the hardest to predict and do not be surprised if six different faces are posing next to the sponsors’ logos come November. Based on performances in Buxton, pace setters for in the forthcoming stops are 3rd place finishers Gary Bullocke and Andy Worthington; the frighteningly consistent Chris Buckmaster and qualifier Adam Shaw, looking like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth whilst potting winning 9 Balls seemingly effortlessly.

The improvements upon seasons 1 and 2 are phenomenal. The Barceló Buxton Palace hosted nothing other than a success and the custom built Magno Pro tables from SAM Leisure had players talking of nothing else over the three days. Cut to ‘professional’ specification, the reduced pocket size caught out many players, the top boys included. The result was not a sense of lack of justice, but the response that defines the best from the rest that is, ‘I wont be missing that ball come April’. The fact is that the new equipment, paired with Simonis 860 Cloth and brand new Aramith Pro Cup TV ball sets, will without doubt harvest better Pool players. For a nation that proudly houses the current World Pool Master in Darren Appleton, the aforementioned Peach and the inaugural World Team Champions, that can only spell more trouble for the World’s elite.

The evolution of American Pool in Great Britain looks to have finally been jump-started by the GB 9 Ball Tour’s work over the past three years. The days of two unfulfilled talents slugging out a ranking final and hitting each other with 7 packs on tables with more beer stains than Oliver Reed’s wardrobe and pockets big enough to be a viable option of water storage during a hosepipe ban, can now be retired into their rightful place; stuff of legend. Perish the thought that those days be forgotten but make no mistake whatsoever, those days are gone. This is a new era. The game is 9 Ball and the word is professional.

Report by Ben Moore.
Photographs by www.belleza-photography.co.uk

 


7 March 2010

GB9 to hold second UK Qualifier for World Pool Masters

Following the large demand for places in the first qualifier to be held in Buxton next week GB9 is pleased to announce we are now accepting entries for a second qualifier, which will be held in Blackpool after the GB9 Paul Medati Trophy.

Any player who has entered the first qualifier may increase their chances of securing a place in the WPM by entering the second qualifier now. We will refund the entry fee to any player entering the second qualifier who is successful in winning the first one.

View the flyer here or visit this page for more details on how to enter.


7 February 2010

GB9 ‘WAGs’ activties

The move to hotels and developments for the tour mean that for many tour members each event can now be a true family occasion. The superb facilities on offer at Barceló hotels make it a great excuse for players to bring wives, girlfriends and children to enjoy the weekend. We thought it was a good idea to try to put on some sort of activity specifically for the WAGs and children at each tour event, and also to point people to local activities and attractions that they can enjoy whilst their boyfriend or hubby plays pool all day.

We’ll be trying this out for the first time in Buxton and with the venue being at the heart of the Peak District we thought we’d put on something a little different for our first event! There’s an organised GB9 WAGs and Children event taking place on Saturday 13th March. We hope some of you can come along and enjoy this. You can find full details of the activities planned for Buxton in the information sheet here.

With a wide range of fun activities proposed apart from the organised GB9 event, there is something to suit everyone.

The GB9 team want to say a big thank you to Liz Dooley who has very kindly agreed to coordinate WAGs and Children activities at each event. If you would like to be involved or would like more information you can find Liz’s contact details in the information sheet above.

PLEASE TELL YOUR WIVES, GIRLFRIENDS AND CHILDREN WHAT’S GOING ON – they can contact Liz if they’re interested in taking part.


5 January 2010

GB9 to hold UK Qualifier for World Pool Masters

The World Pool Masters sponsored by PartyPoker.net is an annual televised pool tournament and one of the most prestigious events in the pool calendar. In 2010 the event will take place at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas from 12-17 May. GB9 have been invited by Matchroom Sport to run a UK Qualifier.
Full details of the qualifier and a link to the entry form are provided here and the flyer for the event is here.

 

 

 

 

 

 


4 January 2010

Tour extended and final qualifier announced

Due to a high demand for places on the tour in 2010 GB9 has decided to extend the tour by 16 to 144 places. Consequently a final qualifier is being held this month at which an additional 6 to 8 tour spots are expected to be offered. Full details of the qualifier are here.