Parker’s Finals Appearance Highlights 2023 IPA World Blackball Championships for Team USA

Wayne Parker, Steve Lillis, Mike Massey and Tom Rossman

The 2023 IPA World Blackball Pool Championships, played on UK 7-foot style tables, took place from Jan 31 to Feb 6, 2023 in Coventry, England. Professional pool players from all over the world arrived to compete for seven days in this prestigious event, and to stamp their mark in the history books of professional Blackball Pool. The various categories that players could compete in included Opens, Seniors (over 40), Women, and Masters (over 50), Doubles and Mixed Doubles. What made this particular event different from those previously hosted is that this event would be showcased on the very popular YouTube video streaming platform ‘Channel 4’, which boasts a large viewing audience of over 2.4 million followers.

This called for an opportunity for USA to once again compete in an international Blackball Pool event shortly after competing in the WPA World Blackball Championships recently held in Morocco in October of 2022. The 3 USA players who travelled to Coventry were none other than BCA Hall of Famers and multiple World Pool Trick Shot Champions Mike “The Tennessee Tarzan” Massey, and Tom “Dr Cue” Rossman. Joining the USA team of players, was current sponsor and President of Gospel Trick Shot Ministries Steve Lillis also known as “Leapin” Lillis, and USA Blackball team coach and manager Wayne Parker from South Africa. Wayne also formerly competed in the IPA Pro tour event in the Seniors category in May 2022, and reached the finals losing to England’s Wayne Fryer, and was also a bronze medalist in the Seniors category at the 2022 WPA World Championships held in Morocco, making him a strong contender for the IPA World Seniors title this year.

Major sponsors who supported the team to this event were BCA affiliate member organization Gospel Trick Shot Ministries, Inc. and McDermott Cues who provided playing equipment and newly developed cues specifically designed for the game of Blackball.

Apart from competing in the Seniors and Masters categories, the three USA players, including Wayne, were also invited to showcase their newly developed Artistic Blackball Pool trick shots, specifically designed for the UK 7-foot style table, in a Gospel Trick Shot show on the main arena table which was livestreamed across the world on YouTube Channel 4. Spectators, players and supporters were amazed and in awe seeing the various trick shots that were performed, and many left motivated and inspired from the little life lessons and great words of encouragement shared through the shots.

Mike Massey, who had a bye in the first round of the Masters category, drew up against Michael Castro in the 2nd round kicking off his IPA event with a convincing win of 7-2 to secure his spot in round 3. Mike then lost 7-3 to England’s Roger Clarke who made it all the way to the quarter-finals. Tom Rossman unfortunately drew one of England’s most celebrated and feared professional players, namely Andy Lucas, who made a clean sweep win of 7-0 against Tom in a matter of 35 minutes. Tom recalls that it was one of the best matches he ever won in his heart, as the two players personally connected off the table in a newly formed friendship.

Next was the Seniors Category, which comprised of a pool of more competitive players. Due to the high standard of play at the IPA Blackball Championship, Mike Massey unfortunately lost 8-1 to England’s Andrew McKie. Shortly, following suite was Tom Rossman, losing 8-5 to England’s Andy Esgrove.

Still in the Seniors Category, was USA team coach and manager Wayne Parker who also had a bye in round 1, but dominated in his next few wins of 8-5 over England’s Colin Finn, 8-4 over Jamie Clarke, and 8-1 over Brian Robinson. Securing his spot in the quarter-finals of the IPA World Seniors, Wayne’s next opponent was none other than World IPA Pro Ranked No. 9 and Scotland’s No.1 ranked player Mark Boyle. Odds were definitely against Wayne, however, with nothing to lose he quickly brought the scores to 7-4 against Boyle with only one frame for Wayne to secure his spot in the semi-finals. Boyle, well-known for his competitive edge, stood his ground and levelled the scores at 7-7. Wayne, who had the break in the deciding frame, took advantage of this opportunity with a break and run-out and a final score of 8-7 over Mark Boyle. Next up was also a tournament favorite and 2016 British Open Champion Gareth Hibbott. Wayne stunned everyone with an unexpected victory of 8-1 over Gareth to secure his spot in the 2023 IPA World Senior’s Finals. Facing Wayne was the tournament favorite and World IPA Pro ranked No. 1 Marc Farnsworth on the main arena table. Wayne, winning the lag, but losing out on 2 chances in the first 2 frames, was left in his seat as a spectator for the remainder of the match, as Marc displayed a performance of flawless pool securing his win of 8-0 over Wayne and the 2023 IPA World Senior’s title.

In his post-match interview, Wayne could only commend Marc on his spectacular performance stating that he had the best seat in the house watching Marc showcase the game of Blackball Pool at its best!

Wayne and his fellow South African doubles partner, JJ Faul, who now resides in the UK, also managed to reach the quarter-finals of the IPA Doubles Championships.

The final results of the 2023 IPA World Championships:

Category                                           Winner                                    Runner-up

Opens                                            Clint I’anson                             Simon Ward

Seniors                                       Marc Farnsworth                          Wayne Parker

Ladies                                         Amy Beauchamp                         Emma Reeves

Masters                                            Steve Wall                               Wayne Fryer

Doubles                 Jason Hill / Kian Monaghan Jake  Dylan Newlove / Alan Robinson

Mixed Doubles              Clint I’anson / Amy Beauchmp         JJ Faul / Kirsty Clugston

The game of Blackball Pool is rapidly growing across the globe and has already reached the USA with UK 7-foot tables in New Jersey and more also soon to arrive in Los Angeles.

The next Blackball International event is the Hawley Cup and will be hosted by Blackball International in South Africa in October 2023. USA is hoping to send one, or possibly two, 5-player teams to compete in this prestigious event which is only held once every two years alongside the WPA World Blackball Championship which is held each alternate year.

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