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2017 Paul Medati Trophy – Event Report »


There was celebration for some, despair for other at the annual GB9 Paul Medati Trophy, which took place in the Park Inn Telford earlier this month. Debutant Shan O’Hara won the battle of the rookie finalists as he took home the Main Event title, whilst Imran Majid, Adam Clarke and Lee Creighton who took the Pro, Challenge T1 and Challenge T2 events respectively.

O’HARA’S PERFECT DEBUT

The Main Event at the second GB9 of the season was as usual a fascinating affair, and the interesting match-ups started right from round 1. Eventual Challenge Tier Two winner Lee Creightron had a tough opening match against Askik Nathwani, and earned a convincing 9-7 victory. Dave Hopkin survived a tight hill-hill first game, sending Filip Krawczyk to the one-loss side of the draw.

Fellow Pole Leslaw Lukaszewicz however did manage to get the better of Dean Sporton in his deciding rack thriller. Unfortunately though he struggled against Marcel Price in the next round, who went on to beat Matthew Hyden and Mark Foster. Elliott Sanderson put a convincing end to his run however, sending him packing in the last 16. Elliott went on to take out Stewart Colclough in style, and then went one better with a really solid win against Craig Osborne to book his place in the final.

Shane O’Hara meanwhile, in his maiden event, was quietly going about his business. He opened with a 9-6 win against Paul Ratfliffe, before losing a tight hill-hill thriller against rising star Benji Buckley. Over to the one loss side he went – if he was taking the main trophy home, he was going to have to do it the hard way. If there’s one thing though that the loser’s side does do, is provide an opportunity to buiild some momentum. With the slightly shorter matches and lengthier route to the final, he took out Gareth Pugh, Kevin Rowles, Matthew Hyden and ‘Kiev’ Kev Simpson. Simpson however is a match for anyone on his day, and but for a missed opportunity in the last rack, he could have stopped O’Hara. It wasn’t to be however, and he next scored a convincing 9-4 victory over Dave ‘The Admiral’ Nelson.

If there was anybody in the Radisson Park Inn who hadn’t taken notice of Shane O’Hara though, his 9-5 win over UK’s finest Mark ‘Granite’ Gray sorted that out. In what can only be described as an upset, the match contained a fair amount of safety, with only one break and run each. He then beat Scot Chris Fraser 9-3, itself a very good win. He had one more big beast to take out to secure a top two finish, and the Maharaja was waiting, after a comfortable 9-3 win over Adam Clarke.

A quick note to highlight Chris Fraser’s performance over the whole weekend, and whilst he may have failed to get his hands on some silverware, he continues to fly just under the radar and shot some consistently good pool. Second place in the Tier One Challenge Cup, losing only to eventual winners Shane O’Hara and Adam Clarke, and beating Martyn Taylor, the ‘Beest’, Michael Beeston, and of course a run to the final in Challenge Tier One.

Shane showed that whilst he might be relatively inexperienced at nine ball, he knows his stuff. With no break and runs to Imran Majid’s three, he needed to rely on coming out on top of every safety battle. He just about did, and with a small slice of momentum and good fortune inherent to nine ball, he secured a famous hill-hill win.

Elliott Sanderson is a quick and talented player with all the shots, but sadly for him never got going in the final. Shane took home the trophy with a very solid 9-3 win, and with what must be noted as one of the best shots in tournament play you’ll ever see. He spent a good two minutes eyeing up a billiard, grazing off a four ball off the bottom rail, to send the cue ball straight into the nine ball which pocketed it in the top corner. Shooting it directly into the pocket would have been tough enough, but you’d be well advised to check out www.pro9.co.uk where you can see a video of the shot!

THE TELFORD MAHARAJA MASSACRE

With many seasoned pros’ focussing on the rapidly upcoming UK Open, the Paul Medati Pro Cup was a great opportunity for a young gun or lower-ranked player to get their hands on some silverware, and cement themselves as top performer of GB9 2017. Instead, veteran Imran Majid put in a series of impressive performances to take home the title, and the first prize cash fund. Majid, who’s had a string of impressive results in recent months including the Cheqio Challenge, Dynamic Billiard Aussie Open, and the World Cup of Pool, made light work of a tough draw.

Taking out rising star Benji Buckley in both round 1 and the semi-final 10-6, Dave Evans 10-5, and number one ranked pro Mark Gray 11-7 in the final with 3 break and runs, he rarely looked like he was going to falter. Beaten finalist Gray had an impressive run to the last match – he took out touring roommate and current UK number one Craig Osborne twice along the way, proving he deserved his place in the final. An honourable mention must also go to young Kurtis Weaver, who continues to push hard to mix it with the big boys. Very respectable 10-7 and 10-9 losses against Mark Gray and Benji Buckley show it won’t be long before he’s a serious force to be reckoned with in the UK, if he’s not already.

CLARKE BACK WITH A BANG

Adam Clark took down this event’s Tier One Challenge Cup, after a lengthy absence from GB9. It was good to see Clarke back, who played in the inaugural GB9 season back in 2008, and he put in a typically impressive set of performances. He played himself into form and displayed grit and resilience, not being able to rely on any recent GB9 for to carry him through.

It was some impressive stuff. Somewhat unluckily having to play a round 1 match as opposed to getting a bye like most players, his opponent was about as tough as you can get. Brash and confident talent Elliott Sanderson pushed him all the way, with Clarke surviving a hill-hill penultimate rack. It was to be the closest anyone would push him. Clarke went on to truly earn his comeback win with solid victories over Steve Chick, Marcel Price, Ben George and Stuart Colclough, eventually taking down Scot Chris Fraser 9-4 in the final.

Chris himself had a very impressive run along the way, being the most successful of the strong Scottish contingent this event. Like Clarke, he survived a hill-hill match to get his tournament started, beating Dean Sporton. It didn’t get any easier in the last sixteen, ‘staving’ off Tom Staveley in another deciding rack nail-biter. Impressively, he then dispatched 9-6 the star of the weekend, newcomer Shane O’Hara who took down the Main trophy on his maiden event.

In the semi-final he ran up against the Chopper, ‘Big’ Al Coton, who’s looking decidedly trim these days and enjoying a quiet but steady rise up the main rankings, currently sitting at number eleven. Unfortunately for Coton, he’ll have to wait a bit longer to get his hands on the trophy, as Chris Fraser made businessman-like work of him. With only one break and run apiece, this match was about winning safety battles and taking chances, and Fraser showed why he’s ranked eighth in the country with a 9-5 win. Chris will be disappointed he couldn’t go all the way, but upon reflection, he’ll be pleased with his performance. Perhaps the romance of Clarke’s story meant he was always destined to take the crown!

CREIGHTON CRUSES TO TIER 2 TITLE

Such is the standard of play across the tour, the Tier Two challenge cup was full of talent over the weekend, and the single elimination tournament had its share of upsets and thrills. Tour newbies Drew Colgrave and Adam Pike got off to a good start taking out Karl Hooley and McDermott representative Kellymarie Nelson convincingly in the last 32. Can Ibrahim looked solid against 17 year old Jordan Turner in the early stages, being 4-0 up, before being unable to prevent the young gun from winning 9 straight racks to race into the quarter finals.

Other notable runs included Dean Thompson, who only missed out on a place in the final through a hill-hill game, and Julian Roper who went out also at hill-hill but in the quarter final against eventual finalist Adam Halling.

On paper Barry French would have been many people’s favourite to take the cup but suffered an early exit to Lee Creighton. Lee went on to storm to a 9-2 victory against Ryan O’Neil, before beating Daniel Wells and eventually, Adam Halling in the final.

The GB 9 Ball Tour will return for the 2017 edition of the UK Open on August 4-6, and with some of the best talent in the world descending on Telford, it’s sure to be one of the best events the UK has ever seen! If you wish to play this event please fill in the event entry form before the deadline of 20 June.

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In 2017 GB9 is proudly sponsored by Rasson Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls, McDermott Cues and Carlson Rezidor Hotels making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues.mcdermott

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