Melling Moves Into Masters Last 16

Chris Melling

Chris Melling set up a mouthwatering last 16 tie with Jordan Shepherd after winning Group Two of the inaugural Apply Mortgages Ultimate Pool Masters last night.

Fresh from his triumph at the Vinny Champions League last month, in-form Melling was made to work hard during both his matches at the Players Pool and Snooker Lounge in front of the live FreeSports cameras.

The evening began with reigning world titleholder Jon McAllister facing former European champion Dylan Leary.

Northern Irishman Leary established a 2-0 lead before the pair flexed their muscles with three consecutive break and clearances between them (two for McAllister and one for Leary). McAllister then deposited frame six to level at 3-3.

Leary went back ahead but as the 15-second shot-clock was activated with only 10 minutes of the match to go, Englishman McAllister squared up once again.

Both players were pressured by the time restraints in a crucial ninth frame which Leary won to reassert a slender advantage. With three-and-a-half minutes left, McAllister had to force the issue, and when he was unable to develop a tied-up ball which was the key to the clearance, Leary ran down the clock to progress with a 5-4 win.

Melling started his Masters campaign against promising 20-year-old Luke Gilbert in what proved to be an entertaining affair.

A current world under-23 champion Gilbert capitalised on a miss from his opponent in the first frame to go in front, but Melling pounced on errors from the youngster in the next trio of frames before a break and dish put him in control at 4-1 up.

Gilbert responded with a classy break dish in frame six to reduce the deficit and then moved to within one when he compiled a reverse clearance from Melling’s dry break in the seventh.

The high-quality pool between the pair continued when Melling reverse cleared in the eighth and then dished off his own break to reopen a three-frame cushion at 6-3, although back came Gilbert with a break clearance in frame 10 before later making it 6-5.

Despite time running out, a potential upset may have been on the cards, but Melling punished a miss for breathing space again and then put an end to Gilbert’s gallant effort with another break and dish for an 8-5 victory.


The evening’s climax brought together two players with vast experience. Leary opened up the group final with a break and dish, but two-time world champion Melling turned the tables when chalking up frames two and three. ‘Lethal’ Leary then equalised courtesy of the fourth.

Melling regained the lead when he cleared up in frame five after his opponent overcut a yellow into a middle pocket before nailing a precise double in the sixth to help open a two-frame buffer at 4-2.

That profit swelled to three following a scrappy seventh frame although Leary kept in touch with a clearance immediately after Melling’s in-off from the break in frame eight.

‘The Magician’ retaliated with a reverse clearance of his own for 6-3 and despite Leary winning the tenth to go within two again, there was not enough time remaining and Melling went through.

Week three of the £20,000 competition will see former world champions Phil Harrison and Marc Farnsworth enter the fray.