Fitzsimmons Flies into Finals Night

Simon Fitzsimmons

Simon Fitzsimmons experienced a range of emotions as he won the third last 16/quarter-finals group of the 2021 Apply Mortgages Ultimate Pool Masters and became the penultimate player to book their place for Finals Night on August 23rd.

In a section where there was no clear favourite, the night at the Players Pool and Snooker Lounge began with a topsy-turvy affair between Fitzsimmons and the ever-improving Gavin Robinson that was eventually decided by a 6-reds shootout.

The opener went the way of Fitzsimmons before Robinson responded with a trio of consecutive frames to take control. However, ‘The Bouncer’ retaliated with a hat-trick of his own, two of those being break clearances.

Back came Robinson, though, crafting a break clearance in frame eight to level and then edging back in front 5-4 with little time left on the clock.

No stranger to conjuring up a recovery with time wearing thin, Fitzsimmons kept his cool in frame ten, capitalising on a mistake from his opponent to clear up with nine seconds remaining and effectively force a 6-reds shootout.

Both players emerged from their last 64 ties via this method, and it was former world championship finalist Fitzsimmons who kept his 100% record when he recorded a speedy 24.9 seconds in response to Robinson’s target of 32.7.

In the second tie of the evening, one of the star performers so far, Craig Waddingham, was relatively comfortable throughout as he dispatched John Chambers 7-3, despite Chambers chalking up the opener and crafting three break clearances throughout.

Waddingham strung together five frames (including break clearances in frames two and four) to move 5-1 up, and although Chambers rallied towards the end, the damage had already been done as the former World Masters winner advanced with change to spare.

Fitzsimmons in a Frenzy

The group final was a brutal reminder about how fickle 8-ball pool can be.

Having dropped only five frames in three matches to get to this stage of the competition, Waddingham was largely resigned to being a spectator as he was wiped out 7-0 by Fitzsimmons, who played an almost perfect session of pool.

Waddingham was desperately unlucky off all four of his break-off shots, and a clinical Fitzsimmons reverse cleared from all four of them.

On his own break, Fitzsimmons was pretty ruthless too, break clearing in frames two and four. With his only dry break coming in the sixth frame, it meant that Waddingham had just one visit in open play during the entire match, and this consisted of just two shots.

It was a stark contrast in fortunes and a bizarre result – the only whitewash of this second phase, so far. The result was confirmed inside 26 minutes of play.