Southern retains the Midlands 9-ball Open, and regains top spot in the rankings

The BWPPA raised the curtain on the 2013 season on the 23rd/24th March 2013 with the GNO Midlands 9-ball Open held at Riley’s Birmingham, this is named after the main tour sponsor the Gentleman’s Night Out charity..  Last year the first event of the season was held at Barnsley in February and was severely disrupted due to poor weather conditions.   The decision was made to delay the start of this year’s tour till the better weather in late March, but the snow jinx struck again in some of the worst weather seen in March in the UK for fifty years.
Although at least 6/7 players either did not travel or started their journeys but had to turn back, there was still a strong field of 13 players entering the event, including Fred Dinsmore making the trip again from Ireland, and we also welcomed 2 players from Russia, Aleksandr Prokopiev, Aleksei Grigorev, and their coach and assistant Aital Efremov. Although they did not record a win in the main event, Alekski did record a fine 5-4 win over BWPPA stalwart Gary Swift in the Quarter Finals of the challenge event many thanks to them all for coming over and we hope to see them in future events
The tour got off to a great start with some excellent pool on show as usual at these events. “The Sandman” Roy Kimberley was keen to hold onto his number 1 spot which he has regained from Tony Southern at the final ranking event of last season.
As the final 9-ball of the weekend was potted it was Southern who took home the spoils with victory in the Main Event and jumping above Kimberley to regain top spot in the rankings.  This year the players battle for a superb prize of a Ikon cue from one of our main sponsors Predator, which will be awarded to the no.1 ranked player at the end of the season.
Following his bye into round 2 as no.2 seed, Southern started off with a hard fought 7-6 win over Swift, and then followed this up with a more comfortable 7-4 win over European 10-ball Champion Danny Luton.   This sent Southern into the semi-final.
The other half of the draw was loaded with talent, Kimberley hammered Dinsmore 7-1, then dispatched Aslam Abubaker 7-5 to reach the semi-final, Abubaker who has recently been in good form in Total 9-ball events, had earlier won a hill-hill battle with Phil Hendrickson, and would be a force to be reckoned with on the losers side of the draw.
Other notable results including Matt Lester winning his first ever main event match wins with victories over Prokopiev and Peter Dawson, before losing to Craig Welsh.  Abubaker then defeated Welsh to make the semi-finals, where he was joined by Dinsmore who beat Hendrickson and Luton to advance in style. 
In the first semi-final there was a rematch as Dinsmore again faced Kimberley, this time the result was reversed, as Dinsmore won by a very convincing 7-2 scorline.
In the other semi-final it was Southern against Abubaker, both players make early uncharacteristic errors, and Abubaker tried twice in the match for low percentage combos on the 9-ball, and the last one he tried was to prove his downfall as he missed it and conceded frame and match to Southern 7-4
The Main event final between Southern and Dinsmore was a fast paced match, with some excellent clearances mixed with some good safety and kicking.  In the end it was Southern who took the title with a 7-5 victory.
After the final Southern who had earlier been presented with the ‘Players player of the year award for 2012, voted for by his peers’ said of his win “I am delighted to retain my title and win the first event of the season and regain top spot.   I was struggling on Saturday, switching between cues and shafts, but I was determined not to let myself down, especially after losing in so many tight matches at the end of last season, and with my home club Riley’s Wavertree closing this week, I was not really expecting anything thing weekend, and once I got to the semi-finals, I still considered myself 4th favourite as the other 3 (Abubaker, Dinsmore and Kimberley are so talented).” I had more than my fair share of the rolls this weekend, but felt that it was about time the pool gods smiled on me !!.
I would like to thank my main sponsors Crabbies Ginger Beer via the John Halewood Foundation, HASSRA, CSSC and Predator Cues, and of course all the BWPPA tour sponsors, especially Gentlemen’s Night Out, and Kamui whose Black medium tip has really made a difference to my game.  
Thanks to the manager of the club for presenting the trophies, which are provide for the tour by AB Wallace Trophies of Leicester.
Southern is now 20 points ahead of Kimberley at the top of the rankings, and with the best 4 of the last 5 events counting, Kimberley will be back to challenge at the ‘Escape Pool Bar’ in Barnsley in May.
In the Challenge Cup Craig Welsh beat Peter Dawson 5-4.
The BWPPA team head to Slovenia in mid April for the European Championships, the team captained by Southern also consists of Kimberley, Luton, Welsh, Matt Duffy and honorary Brit Dinsmore.
The 2013 BWPPA tour is scheduled to continue in May in Barnsley. If you would like to be a part of Europe’s largest wheelchair pool tour, and second largest in the world please keep checking on and If you need any more encouragement to join the BWPPA you could represent Great Britain in international tournaments, plus all new BWPPA players enter their first event for free!
All of the BWPPA would like to extend our gratitude to all of our sponsors The Gentlemen’s Night Out, Simonis Cloths, Predator/Poison Cues, Talisman Billiards, Kamui tips, Magic Racks, Escape Pool Bar, AB Wallace Trophies, and Riley’s snooker & pool clubs.