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Tornado Sweeps Away Maharaja In GB9 Pro Cup

Tony Drago

The third Rasson Billiards Pro Cup of the season was to be contested between two players both experiencing a dry run of success on the tour. Malta’s finest and London’s finest, Tony Drago and Imran Majid, took to the floor with both looking for a first tournament win in over a year.
Drago opened his account against the ever improving Ashik Nathwani. The seasoned professional was too good for Nathwani, however, and Drago won through 10-5 to face the newly crowned Northern Masters champion Craig Osborne in the winners qualifying round. Osborne’s ruthless form over the weekend wasn’t ceasing, and this time Drago was on the wrong end of a 10-5 reverse which saw him in the last chance saloon with Chris Cowie. Drago, hungry for success, was taking no chances against Cowie. A safe 10-4 win ensured passage to the quarter finals where Chris Hall was waiting for him. Drago once again was taking no prisoners. Following up from a 9-3 win over Hall in the Northern Masters, a hard fought 10-6 win ensured a mouth watering semi final in a rematch with Osborne. The Shotgun was two wins away from a perfect weekend and was eager to see off Drago here, but Drago pulled a rabbit out of the hat at the perfect moment. An excellent 10-8 win put Drago into the final and ended Osborne’s weekend.
Majid began his Pro Cup campaign against David Worrow, and he too was in no mood for letting up. A hard fought 10-7 win put him into a qualifying round match against Darryn Walker. Walker was looking for his second Pro Cup in succession, but Majid was the one to walk away victorious. Another win by 10 racks to 7 was enough to put Majid into the quarter finals. Majid had only hit two break and runs in his two matches at present, but he doubled his tally in his quarter final match with Ian Mccormick. Those two runouts helped him towards a 10-5 victory and into a last 4 showdown with Chris Melling. Melling already had one semi final under his belt in the weekend and was looking to make it one better this time round, but the Maharaja had other ideas. Another big effort from Melling was in vain as Majid sneaked home and into the final with a victory by 10 racks to 8.
The contrasting styles of the two players – slow and composed from Majid, fast and ruthless from Drago – lead to a fascinating final that didn’t disappoint. Three runouts from Drago helped him cross the finish line in first place with a very well earned 11-5 victory to take him his first GB9 title since the 2011 Pro Cup (III).