Dolan wins GB9 Challenge Cup

Morray Dolan

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".

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.