Kane Quells Church In Group Seven Thriller

Josh Kane

Josh Kane made up for lost time at the Players Pool and Snooker Lounge as he won a pulsating Group Seven final against Jordan Church to qualify for the last 16 of the Apply Mortgages Ultimate Pool Masters.

Kane was forced to withdraw midway through the recent Vinny Champions League Pool campaign due to a positive covid test result but the 26-year-old from Coventry bounced back on his return to maintain his 100% record in Ultimate Pool competition.

The former World Masters winner weathered a slow start to overcome Tony Blount 7-3 in the first tie of the night.

The opening two frames were scrappy and shared. Kane then crafted a break dish to go 2-1 up, but this was immediately wiped when Blount landed the first golden break of the tournament.

Blount then had a chance to reverse dish in frame five but couldn’t convert and eventually lost the frame. Kane himself reverse dished in the sixth to move two ahead, and despite the plucky Blount getting a break dish in frame eight, the outcome was undisputed come the end.


Church certainly brought entertainment to his Ultimate Pool debut as he was involved in two grandstand climaxes throughout the session.

The Kent cueist was left frustrated, though, during the early stages of his round one clash with 2019 World Championship runner-up Dom Cooney. He uncharacteristically missed several balls – including two blacks in frames 4 and 6 – and Cooney capitalised to build a 4-2 advantage.

However, the former back-to-back two-time world junior champion gave himself a lifeline by depositing frame seven and then levelled up with a break dish in frame eight as the match rolled into the 15 seconds-a-shot phase.

Cooney retaliated with a break dish of his own in the ninth but soon watched his lead disappear again when he skipped an opportunity in frame ten.

We have already seen last-gasp drama in this year’s event but those levels of excitement were bettered in a memorable 11th frame where Cooney failed to double the black for a break dish with less than a minute remaining on the match clock.

In a precarious position with two balls tied up on a side cushion and the black near a pocket, Church lived up to his moniker of ‘No Fear’, coolly clearing the balls and sinking the black only a second before the klaxon sounded to oust it at the death.


The group final had a lot to live up to but it didn’t disappoint as both cueists produced the match of the Masters so far.

Church was only just getting his breath back as he watched Kane compile a reverse dish followed by a break dish to race into a 3-0 lead inside nine minutes, and it could have been worse for him had Kane not missed a ball down a cushion in frame four to let him in and open his account. Church reduced his deficit again with a reverse dish in frame five, only for Kane to follow suit in the sixth to reopen a two-frame buffer.

Back came Church; he won the next two – including a break dish in the eighth – to complete the recovery, although Kane got his nose in front again for 5-4.

The standard was really starting to bubble up between the classy duo as the next three frames were all break dishes – Church chalking up his third consecutive dish to make it 6-6.

However, Kane kept his composure. Despite breaking dry in frame 13 he later constructed an expert clearance to crucially hold control once again with only a couple of minutes remaining.

Typically, Church refused to quit. After overcutting a ball in frame 14 when on a break dish to level, it seemed like Kane had eaten enough of the clock to put the outcome beyond doubt. However, with four balls and only eight seconds left, Church nearly fashioned the mother of all comebacks but was agonisingly stranded on the black as the clock expired.

A relieved but victorious Kane joins previous group winners Jordan Shepherd, Chris Melling, Phil Harrison, Rob Chilton, Karl Sutton and Sam Bircher in the second phase this summer.

Group Eight of the Apply Mortgages Ultimate Pool Masters will take place on Friday 28th May.

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