Hundal Wins Basildon Open

Raj Hundal has claimed victory in the Guildford Open on Sunday 1st August 2004 at Rileys American Pool Club Basildon, taking the £1200 first prize after beating Adam Clarke in a gripping final match 10 - 7. This was the largest event ever held by the BPPPA, and both players had shown some fine form to win through one of the strongest 9 ball fields ever assembled in Britain.

Raj found himself four racks down in the early stages of the match and had to battle some inspired shotmaking from Adam to claim his second major tournament victory in as many weeks. Raj, who recently represented England at the World Pool Championship in Taiwan, commented after the match "You don't need to be down 4 - 0 in any match let alone a final! Adam played well, getting out of safeties and making shots but after not playing to my potential at Taiwan, I was determined to win this event". Adam, who is well known for his smooth stroke and distinctive playing glasses, defeated Guildford finalist Lee Chenman 9 - 4 to earn his place in the final and ultimately the £500 second place prize money.

Raj had a challenging draw on Sunday, having to beat some of the top players in Britain to earn his final position. In the last 32 stage Raj overcame current BPPPA number 1 Daryl Peach in a match that went right down to the wire 9 - 8. He then beat Paul Kellett, BPPPA number 5, 9 - 7 in another very closely fought match. Raj then prevailed over Lou Callaghan and Mark Cackett, the score being 9 - 4 in both cases.

One of the matches of the tournament occurred in the last 16 stages when two of the top players in Great Britain, Imran Majid and James Kay, faced off to see who would advance. Both players were in fine form having recently returned from the World Pool Championship in Taiwan. In a seesawing match, James took the honours after the match was tied at 8 - 8 and Imran unluckily scratched the cue ball into the side pocket after the break. James then calmly and methodically cleared the difficult table in what was a very good run-out.

The last 32 was graced with the presence of Caroline Walch, the first woman to qualify for the last 32 in the first season of the BPPPA. Caroline was the talk of the tournament on Saturday, having summarily dispatched her first opponent 7 - 0! Caroline then went on to win her next two matches in this tough field to qualify for Sunday's play. Unfortunately for her, she met Jason Lawrence in her first match on Sunday and bowed out 9 - 5. With her compact stroke, fearless approach to the game, and general demeanour both on and off the table, Caroline will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the future as she gathers more experience at the 9 ball game.

Quarter-final finishers were Mark Cackett, Mike Rogers, Matt Staff, and James Kay. The rest of the last 16 were David McCarthy, Jason Lawrence, Stuart Reardon, Justin Anderson, and Paul Medati.