GB 9-Ball Tour Complete Report

Mark Gray

Season 3. Event 1. 144 players. Roughly 432 pool cues. 1826 total racks. 16 custom built tables. £1200 first prize. 1 winner. Daryl ‘The Dazzler' Peach won the numbers game on the evening of Sunday 14th March 2010 at the majestic Barceló Buxton Palace Hotel in Derbyshire, beating old foe-come-friend Mark Gray by eleven racks to eight in the final of the GB9 Midlands Classic. The victory moves Peach to within just three points of current number one Gray at the top of the official British ranking list. 

It was the second consecutive Dazzler/Granite final as the pair met at last season's final tour stop in the GB9 Northern Masters in Barnsley last November, Peach also taking that match in an 11-10 victory. The result in Buxton in fact gives Mark Gray three 2nd place finishes on the spin, pin pointing the reason as to why the Peterborough shooter is considered by peers and pundits alike to be the most consistent player in Britain today. 

The current World 9 Ball Pool Champion looked to be back to his ruthless, self-controlled best over the weekend and for the rest of 2010, a year that will see Peach finally get the chance to defend his world crown, it's a sight both Peach and his loyal fans will be pleased to see. The opposition standing in Peach's way in the Main Event in Buxton ranged from the established to the hungry; the established being reflected in recent French Eurotour finalist Craig Osborne in the Quarter Final which proved to be Peach's closest contest on the day in a 9-7 victory. Representing the ‘hungry' category, Nottingham's David Hopkin lived up to his billing as a player on the upturn and will be delighted with a 17th place finish, only falling to Peach 9-5.  Completing Peach's tale to the title, the fearless Matthew Ford was dispatched 9-3 in the last 16 and in the Semi Final, Scott ‘Butch' Higgins of Mansfield, himself putting in another performance of note, was taken out 9-5.  
The day belonged to the most recognizable of our Pool stars in Daryl Peach but putting in 9th place finishes and not to be left out of this report were Steven Petty, Chris Melling, Benji Buckley, Adam Benn Smith, Phil Burford and Alan Millership; with 5th places to Karl Boyes and returning legend, 1996 Mosconi Cup representative Andy Richardson

Gray had no easy draw to reach his third consecutive Main Event final, prevailing over Pro Division hopeful Mark Collins 9-1; the stylish and Thailand-honed Courtney Symons 9-7; Las Vegas-bound Kevin Uzzell 9-7; Scotland's ‘Yeti' Michael Valentine 9-3 and finally 2003 World Pool Masters Champion, ‘The Tornado', Tony Drago 9-6. Yet this list is overshadowed by the roll of big hitters that ‘Granite' Gray overcame to claim the GB9 Buxton Pro Cup – So Shaw, Chris Melling, Imran Majid and again, Tony Drago in the Semi Final. As you're all aware by now, each GB9 Tour Stop is played over three days with a staggering three separate pieces of silverware up for grabs. The elite Pro Cup Final was completed in the afternoon of Day Two and it was the formidable Gray taking home the honours and the handy £1000, with a 9-3 win against ‘Guapo', Karl Boyes. The title gave Gray a combined wage of £1600 for his efforts in both the Main Event and the Pro Cup. 

The GB9 Buxton Challenge Cup was won by Stewart Colclough who triumphed over Chris Cowie in a thrilling hill-hill encounter, nine racks to eight to claim the £750 first prize. Colclough is a player who, on his day, can gracefully glide past the sternest of opponents. A style that is now typical on the European scene, low on the cue and still as stone after delivery; Colclough's hybrid game of Snooker precision and Pool knowledge proved too effective for not only Cowie but also Simon Clarke, Adam Collins, Mike Rogers, Courtney Symons, Neil Cummins and Andy Worthington, in the lead up to the final match. The race for promotion via a coveted top eight birth is now definitely on, with Colclough and Cowie, and it has to be said, a more determined and focused looking Chris Cowie, throwing down the gauntlet to the remaining 110 amateur players hoping for glory. The Challenge Division for the 2010 season is without doubt the hardest to predict and do not be surprised if six different faces are posing next to the sponsors' logos come November. Based on performances in Buxton, pace setters for in the forthcoming stops are 3rd place finishers Gary Bullocke and Andy Worthington; the frighteningly consistent Chris Buckmaster and qualifier Adam Shaw, looking like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth whilst potting winning 9 Balls seemingly effortlessly.  

The improvements upon seasons 1 and 2 are phenomenal. The Barceló Buxton Palace hosted nothing other than a success and the custom built Magno Pro tables from SAM Leisure had players talking of nothing else over the three days. Cut to ‘professional' specification, the reduced pocket size caught out many players, the top boys included. The result was not a sense of lack of justice, but the response that defines the best from the rest that is, ‘I wont be missing that ball come April'. The fact is that the new equipment, paired with Simonis 860 Cloth and brand new Aramith Pro Cup TV ball sets, will without doubt harvest better Pool players. For a nation that proudly houses the current World Pool Master in Darren Appleton, the aforementioned Peach and the inaugural World Team Champions, that can only spell more trouble for the World's elite. 

The evolution of American Pool in Great Britain looks to have finally been jump-started by the GB 9 Ball Tour's work over the past three years. The days of two unfulfilled talents slugging out a ranking final and hitting each other with 7 packs on tables with more beer stains than Oliver Reed's wardrobe and pockets big enough to be a viable option of water storage during a hosepipe ban, can now be retired into their rightful place; stuff of legend. Perish the thought that those days be forgotten but make no mistake whatsoever, those days are gone. This is a new era. The game is 9 Ball and the word is professional. 

Event 2, the GB9 Paul Medati Trophy will begin on Friday 23rd April and will continue through to Sunday 25th April. To watch Live Stream coverage of the event visit For Live Scoring and for information on the GB 9 Ball Tour visit 

The GB 9 Ball Tour is supported by Barceló Hotels, SAM Leisure, Mezz Cues, Aramith, Simonis and Flexirest.