Donlon makes it a Double

Tommy Donlon

Tommy Donlon helped himself to another purse of more than a thousand pounds at this weekend's BPPPA Redhill Open, wonderfully hosted by Riley's Redhill, as he beat Ian West eleven racks to eight in the final. As oppose to Donlon's class and showmanship that he displayed to win last month's Nottingham Open, this victory was more about endurance and determination because although emerging as champion, the Disher never really got out of second gear in the event. "I felt as though I rode my luck throughout the tournament", said Donlon after the final, "My opponents seemed very generous, so generous in fact that I may decide to delay my move over to the senior's tour". Donlon will not be moving over to a senior's tour, but with back to back wins now under his belt on the Main Tour he has every right to make such a tongue-in-cheek comment, aimed at anybody who subscribes to the opinion that age is a relevant factor in the make up of a pool player. Donlon's got ability to burn, combine that with his experience and obvious desire for success then with these two tournament victories, we could be seeing the start to part two of Donlon's 9-Ball career.

Ian West was also shooting for his second BPPPA title after winning last September's BPPPA Guildford Open. Since that victory, West had struggled to make an impression possibly owing to a combination of the added pressure of being a champion and his opponents trying harder to have West's name on their C.V. In Redhill, West's quick thinking was nearing that 'auto-pilot' mode which means he's at his best, three wins and a loss saw West make use of the double elimination format, triumphs over Andy Jeronimidis 7 - 1 and James Miller 9 - 4 were followed by a defeat to an in-form Stuart Colclough 9 - 6, a 7 - 2 win over Tony Burton steadied the ship for West to see him through Sunday's last 32. West's path to the final lead him past Steve Turnbull 9 - 4, Poland's Bartek Skoniecki who impressed highly in the tournament, 9 - 3 and BPPPA Number 8 Mike Rogers 9 - 5. West met with the surprise package in Redhill, Chris Robson in the semi final. Robson took out names such as Martinho Correia, Kevin Uzzell and Andy Worthington before falling to West in a tight match 9 - 7. The defeat to Donlon in the final ended West's plight for more success this time round but is as humble as he is competitive and said, "Congratulations to Tommy for two on the trot. Even though it wasn't the best performance, I'm pleased to reach another final and hope to go one better next time".

Donlon skipped through the winner's half of the draw to qualify for Sunday's straight knockout, energetic Junior player Jack Triggs and European Black-Ball Team Gold medallist Steve Evans were the opposition, 9 - 3 and 9 - 6 the scores. Less skipping on the Sunday as Donlon was in for a day of close matches and tight finishes. Luke Pepperell was seen off 9 - 4 before Dean Mazirel gave Donlon a scare in the last 16. The Disher went through 9 - 8 but it could quite have easily have been the respected Mazirel who at 8 - 7 up, potted an 8ball along the rail, only to land too low on the 9; a good safety was played by Mazirel, leaving distance and what looked like a tough bank shot for Donlon. The Irishman pulled out an amazing thin cut shot to pocket the 9 and take it to hill-hill. Mazirel had one shot in the deciding rack but couldn't make it count as Donlon secured his place in the quarterfinals confidently. Once there he overcame David Walsh, putting in his best performance since winning the Nottingham Open in July last year, 9 - 7, to set up a semi final clash with all round cue man Rob McKenna. McKenna, one of few people in the event that could rival Donlon in the experience stakes, couldn't get his nose in front in the match and when it came down to the business end, as usual Donlon came to the fore and finished the job, 9 - 7 the final score.

The BPPPA 2006 season update is Peach:2, Donlon:2. It comes as no surprise as these are two of the most proven talents to have had a cue case residing in Britain. They are also two people that went for a long period without collecting trophies and were both written off in some quarters. If 2005 was the year for first time winners such as Mark Gray, David Walsh, Ian West and Ricardo Jones then 2006 is possibly the year for the returning legends.