Gray Wins St Albans 8 Ball Open

Mark Gray

Mark Gray, the Peterborough cueman who recently hung up his snooker cue in favour of the American pool disciplines, has won the BPPPA St Albans 8 Ball Open, beating Rico Diks 9-8 in the final. Held at the brand new Rileys club in St Albans on 26th February, this was the largest American 8 ball tournament ever played in this country, and it carried half ranking points on the BPPPA's 9 ball tour..

Gray, who made the final in the Doncaster Open a fortnight ago, made it through the double elimination phase undefeated with wins of 9-1 over James Frith, 7-5 over Daryl Peach and 7-2 over Matt Potter. Once into the last 16 single knockout phase, Gray saw off Raj Hundal 7-5, then beat Daryl Peach again 7-4, before meeting James Kay in the semi-final. A 7-6 win took him into the final against Diks, a former European 9 ball champion and the most experienced 8 ball player present, whose distinguished record includes having once been runner-up in 8 ball at the European championships.

Rico had to battle through the one-loss side after being knocked out in his second game 7-6 by Gareth Esprit. Wins of 5-1, 5-3 and 5-1 against Matthew Andrews, Joe Sims and James Popplewell respectively, brought him back into the running in the last 16. Wins over Steve Evans, Andy Worthington and James Frith took him into the final.

Losing semi-finalists were James Kay and James Frith, with Daryl Peach, Jon Davies, Andy Worthington and Gareth Esprit making the quarters. The rest of the last 16 field were: Raj Hundal, Imran Majid, Nigel Webb, Tim McGarry, Steve Evans, Adam Smith, Simon Widlo and David Walsh

For the full ranking list after this event see the rankings section of the BPPPA website at