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2018 GB9 Midlands Classic – Event Report

Karl Boys

Main event
With Christmas and new year soon passing by, the event on the mind of all self-respecting pool players was soon upon us – the 2018 GB9 Midlands Classic! A healthy glut of new players assembled at the Park Inn by Radisson in Telford, all hoping to get their hands on the Main Event trophy.
With brand new sponsorship for 2018 courtesy of Cyclop Balls and Andy Cloth, continued sponsorship by Rasson Billiards and McDermott Cues, a tweaked tournament format and fresh table layout, anticipation was at it’s very highest. The round one matches were soon underway, and the random draw threw up a clash of two titans on the TV table – The Magician Chris Melling and Dynamite Darren Appleton, back on the tour after dominating the international scene for a number of years. Melling was the favourite on paper, as Appleton has taken some leave of competition in recent months. The match itself panned out that way too – Appleton showing his class with some tough run-outs, but Melling looked that touch sharper. His kicking was also on form; the highlight being a slow one-railer to make a ball in the side pocket. 9-6 to Melling was a fair result. The Magician then faced a tough test in the face of Karl Boyes, who's GB9 record is phenomenal. 25 minutes and no mistakes later, Karl had despatched Chris to the one-loss side 9-2.
Adam Collins and Bob Harris were both involved in two final rack deciders – but losing out to Lee Noble and Alan Bell respectively. Kurtis Weaver then held his nerve, in a very solid performance to knock Chris Melling out of the event.
Barry "The Baguette" French then showed why he's been knocking on the door of the top UK players, with a very solid win over Damian Overton. Joni Holden put up a very respectable fight against former World Champion Darren Appleton, taking seven racks off him. Stewart Colclough then edged out Tom Staveley in a high quality battle – Tom coming in with three break and runs, but Colclough just holding firm to win the final-rack decider.
Mark Foster continued to show why he's arguably the most improved player of late, taking down Derby-based Kev Simpson. Simpson, a solid rhythm player who's a threat to anyone on his day, was barely allowed an opening to get off the mark, as Foster put on an absolute clinic.
As we got to the business end of things, Stewart Colclough edged out Mark Gray, and Karl Boyes was making light work of his run to the final – two 9-2 and two 9-3 wins respectively – Chris Fraser, Stewart Colclough, Mark Foster and Martyn Taylor all falling by the wayside.
Adam Stevens then ran 'The Terminator', Damian Overton close, 9-7. Overton then went on a storming run to the final, taking out former World Champion Daryl Peach, Marcel Price, and Craig Osborne. By his own admission though, his break was his achilles heel and his back was against the wall in the opening stages of most racks against Karl Boyes in the final, who's break was working very well. An 11-1 win was harsh on Overton, but certainly deserved for Boyes, who continued his impressive GB9 form with yet another Main Event trophy to add to his cabinet. Well done Karl!
Rasson Billiards Super Cup
The first ever Rasson Billiards Super Cup was soon underway at the Park Inn by Radisson. The spiritual successor to the Pro Cup, it pulls in the hot players of the moment in an elite level clash of talent. All 14 entrants were the players who reached the last 16 of the Main Event. No easy games in this field!
Michael Beeston had a very tough opening match in Mark Foster, who broke and ran three racks early doors. Few balls were missed by either player, but Foster took it 10-8, in this slightly longer-race format.
Barry French will no doubt have been frustrated at the harshness of this game, having broke and ran three racks to Damian Overton's none, and still came away 10-8 loser. Morray Dolan then scooped a very impressive 10-1 victory over UK number one Craig Osborne. Scot Chris Fraser battled hard against Damian Overton, but Overton was a tough nut to crack this weekend. Despite Fraser matching him for firepower, Overton kept things a little bit tighter when needed and squeezed through 10-8.
Young talent Kurtis Weaver then held his nerve against GB9 stalwart Stewart Colclough, in a hill-hill thriller that would have hurt Colclough. His break was working, breaking and running three times to Weaver's none, but Weaver kept finding ways to win racks.
Kristian Phillips had a tough start against Chris Fraser losing 10-6, before sending Barry French packing. Kurtis Weaver also then shortly after inflicting the pain of a hill-hill defeat on someone, had to endure it himself, courtesy of Chris Fraser.
Mark Foster and Imran Majid both made steady advances towards the final stages, dispatching of Craig Osborne and Martyn Taylor respectively. It was Morray Dolan who would put an end to Foster's run, beating him 10-8, and meanwhile, a familiar sight was beckoning – Karl Boyes heading towards yet another final. On paper he was favourite against Dolan in the final, but he had to get past Imran Majid first. With nearly half of the total racks played being break and runs, it was a high quality affair, but Boyes prevailed. In the final, Dolan put up a good fight, but was really struggling with his break, both with making balls and making three points. This proved to be the deciding factor and Karl cruised to victory, 11-6. Karl's going to have to invest in a new trophy cabinet!
Cyclop Challenge Cup
The Cyclop Challenge Cup is for many the highlight of the weekend. A chance to pit their abilities against players at their own ability level, and for many, an opportunity to break through and make a name as a top UK shooter.
Tier 1
Tier 1 competition got off to a fierce start, with Jamie Brennan coming in with three break and runs for a rock solid win against smooth cueist Robin Cripps. Coach extraordinaire and fine player himself Alan Bell sneaked through hill- hill against Andy Lester, and Kev Simpson took out his anger at his morning mauling on Neil Margossian, with three break and runs and a 9-1 score line being the result.
Elliott Sanderson soon undid any momentum that Jamie Brennan was carrying, with a convincing 9-2 victory, showing a ruthlessness whenever he got in.
Lee Creighton was to go on and make a run for the final, but his tournament got off to a tighter start with a hill-hill win over Ryan O'Neil. Dave Garden then sent Ryan packing 7-4 on the one-loss side. Up next was Terry Davies facing Benji Buckley. Buckley wasn't in full free-flowing form, but he defeated the Welshman 9-7.
Joni Holden took a very respectable six racks off elite cueman Mark Gray, and Neil Margossian got back to winning ways with a 7-4 victory over Andy Lester.
Into the last sixteen, GB9 stalwart Alan Coton did his best to let Tom Staveley back into the match after at one point gaining a four rack lead. Staveley took his chances though and battled back to hill-hill, but stumbled in the decider with a chance amongst the balls to take the win. Coton held his nerve and made no mistakes with a tense run-out.
Shane O'Hara continued to show his face at the business end of most tournaments he enters, and dispatched of Neil Margossian and Lee Noble. Elliott proved to be too hot to handle in the Quarters however, who took him out 9-7.
Mark Gray looked as solid as ever however, taking out both Benji and Elliott, and faced Lee Creighton in the final. Lee had had an impressive tournament, but had to hold his nerve in another hill-hill battle against Terry Davies.
Sadly for him though, taking the trophy proved to be a bridge too far, with 'Granite' Mark Gray pulling away after Lee kept things tight in the early racks. Creighton has certainly cemented a name for himself as one to watch, but for now there was no shame in second place to Mark Gray on this occasion.
Tier 2
The first Tier 2 event of the year got off to an action packed start, with lots of faces eager to make the jump to the higher echelons of the tour.
Tony Weafer raced out of the blocks, impressively taking care of David Worrow, breaking and running out three racks in a 9-3 victory. Elsewhere Chris Teahan was no doubt disappointed to break and run twice and still be edged out by Rikki Hatherly in a deciding rack.
Meanwhile, Craig Seeney and Mark Shepherd played out an extremely edgy affair which went down right to the wire, with lots of chances missed to seal victory. The tight, professional conditions and the slick new Andy cloth were demanding the highest of standards, and the pressure was firmly on them both to progress to the next round. Seeney took advantage of a dramatic miss on the seven ball by Shepherd, despite him landing inch-perfect on it due to his previous ball in band. Shepherd in bits, Seeney pulled off a spectacular table-length draw shot to land plum on the nine. Relief all around that it was over, a friendly embrace ensued!
Bradley Holt also put in a solid performance with two break and runs against Kevin Rowles, who himself went on to lose to a commanding performance by Chris Teahan. Chris was then right up against it however, facing off against an in-form Dean Thompson. Thompson came with two break and runs, and
impressively managed to hold things together in the final hill-hill rack.
Meanwhile our two finalists were quietly going about their work, with a degree of ease that showed why they were the last two standing. Young Turner took down Richard Fullwell 9-5, Craig Seeney 9-1, Allan Brown 9-6 and John Chapman 9-6. Bob Harris was equally as impressive, beating Carl Weaver 9-4, James Glendenning 9-3, Dean Thompson 9-5 and Paul Ratcliffe 9-2. In the final, it was all one way traffic, with Harris setting up a solid early lead and never really looking back. Congratulations Bob on your first Challenge 2 trophy!

BGB 9-Ball Tour Announces 2018 Sponsorship Deals

GB9 is delighted to announce a landmark three-year sponsorship agreement with Cyclop Balls and Andy Cloth, who will become the official ball and cloth suppliers of GB9 from the 2018 season.
Adam Stevens, GB9 Chairperson, says: “Cyclop Balls and Andy Cloth are both huge players in the global American Pool scene and I am thrilled that GB9 will continue to provide UK based players the opportunity to
experience unrivalled playing conditions and first class equipment at each of our events.”
Cyclop, based out of Shanghai, China, has been making quite a splash in the pool world over the last few years, predominantly due to their content of highly configured phenolic resin, allowing for increased durability and longevity. Cyclop balls have become the billiard ball of choice in tournaments around Asia, America and were the official ball of the 2017 World Games held in Poland.
“We are proud to have partnered with the UK’s number 1 American Pool Tour” said Cyclop Chairman Adrian Wang, “GB9 attracts top players from across the UK and Europe, we are excited to be a part of that and hope to help the growth of American Pool in the UK”.
Taiwan Super Billiard Enterprise Co LTD, who manufacturer Andy Cloth, have been producing billiard cloth since 1984 and were the first professional manufacturer of worsted billiard cloth for events in Taiwan. Andy Cloth is now sold in over 20 countries worldwide and has earned its reputation with professional players and pool rooms alike, and was the official provider of cloth to the World Games, 14.1 World Tournament and World Chinese Pool Championships in 2017.
“GB9 is our first sponsorship cooperation with any tour in the UK” said Andy Lin, Chairman of Andy Cloth, “We are very happy and excited about our relationship together and the great future of American Pool.”
Allthingspool Ltd, founded by professional player Kelly Fisher & partner Val Finnie, is the distributor for both Cyclop Balls and Andy Cloth in the UK. You can find their products and many more Billiard related equipment, including tables, cues and accessories on their website:
GB9 is Britain’s only professional 9 ball pool tour and is widely regarded as one of the toughest national tours on the planet. The sponsorship agreement forms part of GB9’s on- going commitment to its players to provide the very best playing conditions using the very best equipment.


UK Open Added to the Mosconi Euro Ranking list

THE UK OPEN, promoted by the GB9 Tour in the UK, is the latest event to be added to Team EUROPE’s Mosconi Cup ranking event roster. Taking place from August 4th to 6th in Telford, the event offers a €13,000 guaranteed prize fund and is a Level Three event offering 28 ranking points to the winner.


The same event was part of last year’s qualification and it was won by Holland’s Niels Feijen who defeated Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) to take maximum points.


Commented Adam Stevens of the GB9 Tour; "GB9 has been the home to several of Great Britain's greatest players and we are delighted that Matchroom Sport have once again given the us the opportunity to award Mosconi Cup ranking points at this year's UK Open.


“The Mosconi Cup is the pinnacle of our sport and something that every player at GB9 dreams of being a part of. This opportunity once again makes this dream a reality. The 2016 event attracted some of the biggest names in pool and we hope to make the 2017 event better than ever."


In other news, the Bergen Open has been cancelled for 2017 and is consequently removed from the roster of points events.


Unlike previous years there will be only two rankings instead of three. The first will be the ‘European Ranking’ which includes the five European ‘A’ and five European ‘B’ events. The winner of this ranking will gain a spot on the Mosconi Cup side.


The second ranking will be the ‘World Ranking’ which will comprise all 12 events. The first and second placed players in this ranking will gain spots on the European Mosconi Cup team.


In the event that the winner of the European Ranking also comes first or second in the World Ranking, then the player filling the third position in the World Ranking will gain an automatic spot. The remaining two players will be wildcard picks.


The next ranking event is the Austrian Open which starts on Thursday May 18th.


2017 European Mosconi Cup Rankings – World and European List (After three events)


1. Ralf Souquet (GER)                               102

2. Nick van den Berg (NED)                     90

3. David Alcaide     (ESP)                          57

4. Ruslan Chinakhov (RUS)                      54

5. Dennis Grabe (EST)                               45

6. Mark Gray (ENG)                                   44

7. Niels Feijen (NED)                                 43 

8. Wiktor Zielinski (POL)                          37

T9. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP)          31      

T9. Joshua Filler (GER)                              31

11. Daryl Peach (ENG)                              30

T12. Mario He (AUT)                                 23

T12. Albin Ouschan (AUT)                       23

T12. Damianos Giallourakis (GRE)        23

T12. Konstantin Stepanov (RUS)           23

T12. Eklent Kaci (ALB)                               23

T12. Sebastian Ludwig (GER)                  23

T12. Tomasz Kaplan (POL)                      23

T12. Marc Bijsterbosch (NED)               23



Points Cut Off

Events with a field upwards of 80 players – top 32

Events with fields between 64 and 79 players – top 24

Events with less than 64 entries – top 16.


2017 MOSCONI CUP is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue and Chalk of the event and Ultimate Team Gear provide all Mosconi Cup apparel.


Rhodes Lead to Silver as Waddingham Takes Gold

Craig Waddingham

A combination of gritty, gutsy pool combined with the likes of Phil Burford and Mark Gray playing in the Challenge division this season will ensure that the quality of cueing on show really does prove this to be the toughest ever field in this division.

Noteworthy results came from the very beginning, with new qualifier Steve Sears taking a dream 9-8 victory over Mark Gray in his very first match. Surely the other highlight amongst the results was Paul Taylor’s tremendous comeback against Mark Shepherd, finding himself 8-2 but going on to win the match 9 racks to 8. In what can now only be described as a brutally difficult field, it was November’s Challenge Cup finalist Craig Waddingham and former snooker professional Michael Rhodes who took to the floor in the first Challenge Cup final of 2012.

Waddingham was in high spirits coming into the event having come off the back of a runner-up spot in the final Challenge Cup event of last season. Kicking oni from where he left off, he neatly knocked out Mark McDonald and Adam Stevens by respective scorelines 9-3 and 9-5 to set up a last 16 encounter with Aslam Abubaker. GB9′s leading wheelchair player couldn’t quite carry on his excellent form, however, and Waddingham took another 9-3 victory to secure his place in the quarter-finals. Here, in one of the best matches of the entire weekend, Waddingham saw off Jack Whelan by 9 racks to 7, with each player contributing FOUR break and runs to the match – a staggering achievement for a Challenge division match. His semi final against Glenn Cooney was a slightly more grinding affair, but a comfortable 9-4 finish saw Waddingham through to his second consecutive Challenge Cup final.

As a newcomer to the tour, Michael Rhodes had to endure an extra round to Waddingham on his road to the final. He made short work of Nathan James, however, with a 9-4 victory of his own ensuring progress to the last 64. Michael Brisley was the next to succumb to the County Durham cueist, leaving the tournament 9-6 before Penzance’s Robin Cripps bit the dust – a further 9-4 defeat ensuring the Cornishman left the competition and Rhodes progressed to the last 16. Jamie Yates, another GB9 debutant at the weekend, was the next victim of Rhodes. A gallant 9-7 defeat wasn’t enough to keep Yates in the competition and Rhodes progressed onwards to a 9-4 victory against Kevin Simpson. Awaiting the County Durham shooter in the semi-finals was last year’s September Challenge Cup champion Eric Dockerty, eager to make it into a second final in three attempts. His efforts were in vain, however, and a 9-6 saw himself just 9 racks away from the perfect start to his GB9 career.

The final, however, was a perhaps surprisingly comfortable one for Waddingham. Despite having quite a run against the balls, Rhodes fought gallantly but couldn’t stop Waddingham from charging towards the top of the Challenge rankings with a 9-4 victory in the final. The victory earns the man from Scunthorpe the £800 winner’s purse and the first gold medal of the Challenge season.