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2011 GB9 Challenge Cup (V) – Event Report »


STROLL IN THE PARK FOR WALKER

Former snooker professional Darryn Walker took his maiden final berth at a GB9. His progression to the final began with a 9-6 win over Jaspal Bamotra in the last 64, and after this a demolition job of Ryan Fleming with a 9-1 victory saw him comfortably into the last 16. 9-4 was the scoreline against Finlay Laing in his next encounter, but his sternest test of the tournament came in March’s Challenge Cup winner – Damian Massey who took Walker all the way. But it was the man from Wolverhampton who denied the Pro Cup-bound Massey his third Challenge final of a quite brilliant season, deafeting the Omen 9-8 and booking his place in a second successive semi-final. Jack Whelan was his opponent in the semi-finals, himself looking to book a spot in his second final of the season. It wasn’t to be, however, with Walker claiming his first final berth with a 9-5 victory over the Derbyshire youngster.

Darryn Walker – 2011 GB9 Daventry Challenge Cup (V) Winner (© Andy Warden)

Joining him in the final was English pool hotshot Craig Waddingham. His ranking ensured he started one round sooner than Walker, but a 9-0 annihilation of James Lawless soon made that a thing of the past. The last 64 saw the end of Jonny Cooper’s campaign who stared straight down a 9-4 defeat. Like Walker, it was in the quarter-finals that Waddingham’s sternest challenge was waiting. Another Yorkshire youngster in Sam Hirst gave everything in his game, but still it was Waddingham that came through to the semi-finals 9-8. The only thing more tiresome than coming out of a hill-hill encounter is finding yourself straight in another one. This time it was Chris Hall looking to qualify for his first final of the season, but it was the Scunthorpe shooter who saw Hall off with another 9-8 scoreline to ensure his place in 2011’s final Challenge Cup final.

In the final, it quickly looked as though the toil of 34 consecutive racks was taking its toll on Waddingham, and Walker quickly asserted a lead which proved ultimately to be unassailable. He saw out the match 9 racks to 5, and earned a thoroughly deserved promotion to the Pro Cup for next season alongside his quarter final victim Damian Massey, with Matt Lawrenson and Andrew Morris taking the other automatic promotion spots.

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