WIZARD LEAVES SHOTGUN SPELLBOUND AGAIN
Jayson Shaw and Craig Osborne made their way each into yet another final in the first Pro Cup of the season. With the newly revamped double-elimination 16-man field coming into effect in the competition, the field truly has become an elite group of the finest 9-ball players Great Britain has to offer.
Picking up where he left off after his British Grand Prix victory back in November, Shaw’s first victory of the season came over good friend Chris Melling. Nothing short of a top draw match was in order, with Shaw coming away 9-5 victor. In his winners bracket match he came up against Chris Hall, being pushed all the way to the hill before qualifiying for the quarter finals with a 9-8 win. the curiousities of the draw meant a rematch with Melling came next. It was a case of different result, same winner, as Shaw came through another hill-hill battle on top to make the semi-finals. His third consecutive hill-hill match came in the form of Daryl Peach and once again it was Shaw who came out on top to make his second straight GB9 final.
Osborne made slightly harder work on his way to the final, but still showed the quirky style of grit and finesse we’ve grown to love with Ozzy. His opening match against Pro Cup returnee Damian Massey was a real grinder, but he came through 9-8 to set up a winners’ bracket match with Daryl Peach. The wheels temporarily fell right of the Ozzy bandwagon and a 9-3 victory for Peach meant Osborne went into the losers’ bracket. A steady 9-6 victory over Karl Boyes saw him find his feet again and set up a quarter-final against James Kay. He came through that match 9-7 to set up a semi-final against Michael Valentine, a match which finished with the same scoreline and the same winner, sending Osborne through to yet another final.
Good friends off of the table, these two are nothing short of nemeses when playing against one another – a quality final was guaranteed for all the spectators. Perhaps surprisingly, therefore, the margin of victory in the final was the largest of any match in the whole competition: it was Shaw who kept up his unbeaten record against Osborne with a crushing 9-2 scoreline to take his first gold medal of the season along with the £1,000 winners cheque.