Melling over Appleton for GB 9-Ball Tour Win

Chris Melling

Chris Melling brought the season's curtain down in some style at the GB9 Northern Masters this weekend, held at the Barcelo Blackpool Imperial Hotel, beating Darren Appleton in the final by a convincing eleven racks to four scoreline. The victory was underpinned by a fine display of breaking from the Keighley based two-time former World English 8 Ball Champion to accompany his trademark fluent pace and unwavering confidence; giving 'The Magician' his first British 9 Ball ranking title. "It's always nice to win your first but it's been a really weird year", commented the champion immediately after the final, "I've had a lot of bad luck off of the table but on the table, it's been my best year so my emotions are pretty mixed. I had a little bit of luck in the early part of the final in fluking a 9 Ball but you need luck, you're never going to win a big tournament without it." Melling becomes the fifth different winner in five Main Events over 2010 joining Daryl Peach, Mark Gray, Karl Boyes and Imran Majid in taking home the majority of the £30,000 handed out in prize money in Main Events alone.
Although undoubtedly playing the best Pool in Blackpool over the three days, Melling's final appearance looked in serious doubt as he sat in his chair at 8 - 8 during his race to 9 quarter-final, watching Craig Osborne line up a tough 9 Ball into the side pocket but thankfully, for Melling and his supporters, 'The Shotgun's' attempt could only find the far jaw for Melling to step up and stroke it home. That glitch aside, Melling's path was nigh on problem free as he made a mockery of the supposedly tight SAM Magno Pro pockets to see off Sam Corsby 9 - 3; Andy Worthington 9 - 5; and Mark Gray 9 - 4. Not even a resurgent Gary Bullocke from Glastonbury could put a stop to Melling's challenge, claiming just three racks in their semi-final encounter. On the subject of the pockets Melling is quoted, "I don't think they're that tight actually but even if they are it can only be a good thing because when you go to events such as the Eurotour after playing GB9 you can't miss". Indeed Melling will be going to a Eurotour and this time with a big goal in his sights - the European number one spot. Currently sitting in second place, Melling has the opportunity to overtake fellow GB9 star Karl Boyes next week in Spain. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought about being Europe's number one so soon but if I did, it would probably be right up there as my biggest achievement to date behind winning my world titles at 8 Ball".

For the majority of players, a defeat in a national ranking event final to follow taking the US Open crown would be a relatively easy pill to swallow but for Darren Appleton, his face said it all - annoyance at not adding another trophy to the collection. Surprisingly unable to match Melling's consistency on the break in the final, Appleton will no doubt be hitting the practise table hard in preparation for the forthcoming Mosconi Cup next month. Imran Majid fell to 'Dynamite' in the semi-finals 9-4 but he was in good company at least as he joined Adam Stevens (9 - 5); 'The Omen' Damian Massey (9 - 4) and James Kay (9 - 7) as Appleton's victims on the final day. Young hot-shot Jack Whelan, yet another convert from English 8 Ball will perhaps take the most solace in losing to Appleton, taking six racks off of the eventual runner-up in their last 32 showdown.

So the GB 9 Ball Tour's third season is over - fifteen tournaments containing arguably the strongest batch of 9 Ball national talent on the planet and for the second consecutive season, that batch is headed by Bourne's finest export, Mark Gray.  For the GB 9 Ball Tour official rankings and details of how to qualify for the 2011 season, visit