Preview: 2013 GB9 Midlands Classic

The fifth annual Paul Medati Trophy is to be contested next month as the GB 9 Ball Tour returns to the magnificent Park Inn by Radisson hotel in Telford.

In what is the most pivotal year for the tour since its inception in 2008, the 2013 season could hardly have started in more spectacular fashion. Phil Burford regained the Midlands Classic title he won in 2011 in a quite brilliant final against the one and only Ralf Souquet, himself in inspired form in his very first GB9 event. Regrettably this event clashes directly with the Eurpoean 9-Ball Championships in Slovenia, an event which will see some of Great Britain’s esteemed professionals absent from this second GB9 event of the year. Due to this, there have been few better times for some of Great Britain’s top amateurs to shine through and take home a coveted piece of silverware and competition is sure to be as ferocious as ever.
This tournament weekend, however, revolves around the memory of two dearly loved and much missed players just as much as it does the pool that is played during that time. The man whose name is given to this competition, Paul Medati, was a former professional snooker player from the 70′s and 80′s who took up 9-ball later into his career. After playing on the inaugural 2008 tour, he was diagnosed with cancer and sadly lost his battle with the disease just after the end of that season at the age of 64. More recently taken from us was another much loved character in the form of Mark Lovell. Mark rekindled his love of the game in time for the start of the 2010 season, attending each event between then and the 2011 Southern Masters, by which point he had already been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer which he had previously fought. He was a fighter until the very end, however, indicated by his gaunt appearance at what was to be his final event. Mark sadly passed away in December 2011 at the age of 54. Both players live on in the heart and thoughts of all those who played against and alongside them, and the spirit both men showed both on and off the table will be in the minds of all those competing across the weekend.
As in previous years, this GB9 event will be used to raise funds for the amazing people at Macmillan Cancer Support.  We raised around £2,000 in each of the previous two years so we’ll be looking to build on that.