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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!

GB 9-Ball Tour Kicks Off 2016 Season

World class 9-ball pool is back on the calendar as the 9th season of the GB 9 Ball Tour gets under way at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel in Telford.
 
After a three month break since Craig Osborne sealed his spot at the top of the standings for the 2015 season, the 2016 season is shaping up to be one of the biggest in years for the domestic game in Great Britain. Following on from another resounding success for Team EUROPE at the Mosconi Cup back in December, the buzz around 9-ball pool is at its highest in some time. This buzz has been backed up by a fully subscribed 2016 season on GB9 with all available spots being sealed well before the turn of the year. The popular tour format remains the same as ever, with a double elimination main event at each tour weekend plus a Challenge/Pro divisional event where the best professionals and amateurs battle out against one another in their class. The tour is brought to you by those with a genuine love of the game, and with your continued support we will endeavour to create excitement and enjoyment in equal measure.
 
A number of exciting new faces will be gracing the tour for the 2016 season. To name but a few, they include Andy MacDonald – English Pool Top 8 Professional, Edward Poultney -newly crowned UPC 9-ball champion winning his way onto the tour for the first time, and Chris Seville who has been playing well on the amateur circuit and is stepping up to the GB9 Pro division. Also returning to the tour after time away are some of the real big guns, such as Daryl Peach, Phil Burford, Damian Massey and Elliott Sanderson. It all adds up to one of the strongest fields ever to sign up to play on the tour, and backs up the well held belief that this is one of the toughest national pool tours in existence.
 
Our thanks must also go to the magnificent Park Inn by Radisson hotel in Telford and all the staff who work on site. Their support of the tour over recent years has been of special note; few hotels are able to hold American pool events and so their continued efforts to host events should not go without mention. It goes without saying that without a venue there would be no events, so it should be put on record how grateful the tour is for their support back since they first hosted an event back in 2013.
 
Following feedback from a number of players, in recognition of increased popularity in the 2016 tour, we have taken the decision to increase the total trophies (salvers) up for grabs at each event of the season from five to eight. The finalist of all divisional events will now also receive a salver to commemorate their successes, meaning that both the winner and runner-up of all 4 events (Main, Pro, Challenge Tier 1 & Challenge Tier 2) now receive a coveted Salver to keep in recognition of their achievement. The winner of the Main event also gets their name engraved on the main trophy which will be displayed at the event.
 
And of course as an extra incentive to all players this season the two players ranked No.1 & No.2 on the end of season Main rankings will receive an additional prize of £1000 and £500 respectively.
 
Entry to this event closes tonight but if you know of friends who are interested in having a go on the tour this season please ask them to fill in an application form to join our reserve list to be kept up to date with space availability.
 
Play begins as ever on the afternoon of Friday with the opening rounds of the Midlands Classic, with play right through the weekend up until the early evening of Sunday 31st January. Entry to spectators is free of charge as ever and, with so many big names taking part in competition this year, now is the perfect opportunity to come and watch some of the stars of our sport in action. This is a season not too be missed, so even if you can’t be at the venue you can once again keep up to date with GB9’s innovative scoring system GB9-Live, alongside the ever popular Live-Stream of the TV table to fans across the world. We look forward to seeing you all in Telford ready for another season of world class pool.
 
In 2016 GB9 is proudly sponsored by Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls and Carlson Rezidor Hotels making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues.
 

Shotgun Misfires As Rhodes Takes Maiden GB9 Main Event

Michael Rhodes

The Northern Masters final of 2015 was contested by two players already having had a taste of victory  this season. They were Michael Rhodes, winner of February’s Pro Cup, and Craig Osborne, reigning Paul Medati Trophy champion and looking for his second major in a row.
 
Rhodes had to work mighty hard in his opening match with Martyn Taylor, and it was Taylor who snatched a last-gasp 9-8 win to send Rhodes into the losers bracket where he faced Dean Sporton. Desperate to avenge his hill-hill defeat, he cruised through 7 racks to 1 and  followed it up with a 7-2 dispatching of Adam Collins. Ben George was next in the firing line on the losers side, and Rhodes was in no mood to let up his winning pace. A 7-3 win saw him one win away from a place in the last 16, with young Scottish potter Chris Fraser standing in his way. Each opponent before him had gone one rack better and the same applied here – Fraser only managing 4 frames to Rhodes’ 7, and it was Rhodes who took a last 16 berth. There he faced Tom Staveley in what didn’t fail to be a terrific match. Rhodes won through 9-7 and faced Tony Drago in the quarter finals. The Tornado was looking to reach his first ever main event final, but that wait was to continue – another 9-7 win for Rhodes secured his spot in the final four and a semi final clash with Imran Majid. Majid himself last won a main event at last season’s Southern Masters, and his wait was also set to continue. A convincing 9-3 win saw Rhodes safely through to the final.
 
Osborne instead got off to a winning start in his campaign, with Ryan Hamer first in the firing link for the Suffolk shooter. A 9-4 win saw him safely through and his unbeaten start to the campaign continued in the following round, with Colin Connor failing to unsettle Osborne as he won 9 racks to 3. Where one North East potter in Hamer wasn’t enough, Osborne then came up against another for a spot in the straight knockout last 16. Sunderland’s Adam Benn Smith was ready and waiting to send Osborne into the losers bracket, but Osborne was in no mood to let up as he secured a second straight 9-4 win. The quarter finals beckoned for Osborne, but intent on stopping him was 2014 Midlands Classic champion Chris Hall. He too was desperate to get another title under his belt, but Osborne’s dominance continued with another 9-3 victory. His reward was a showdown with newcomer Martyn Taylor. Taylor had earlier scored a tremendous win over eventual finalist Michael Rhodes and he was looking for another major scalp here. However, Osborne stepped things up a gear, serving up Taylor a donut in a scorching 9-0 win. One more opponent stood in the way of Osborne and a second straight main event final in 2015. That man was snooker professional Chris Melling, back into the GB9 fold after a lengthy absence as he focussed on his snooker career. It was almost a flawless return for Melling and, but for running into a red-hot Osborne, things could have been very different. As it was, Osborne secured that one last victory to take him into his second final of the season, a 9-6 win over Melling seeing him over the line.
 
It was going to take a special effort to overcome Osborne and his scintillating form in the competition, but Rhodes was ready and waiting with a big game of his own. Zero break and runs in the match spelled out a tense affair, but Rhodes was the one to cross the line in first place. An 11 racks to 5 win over Osborne saw him take home his very first main event crown and denied back-to-back event wins for the Shotgun. That win sends Rhodes up to #2 in the rankings, with Osborne taking a well earned spot at provisional British #1 after two superb events.

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).

Cripps Rips It Up Against Nelson In GB9 Challenge Cup

Robin Cripps

Two seasoned Challenge Cup players were due to contest the third final of this season, with both Robin Cripps and Dave Nelson aiming to avenge final defeats suffered earlier in the season.
 
Cripps’ high ranking allowed for a bye into the last 32 where he was down to face Ben George. His fight was nearly over at the first hurdle, but he dragged himself over the hill to win 9-8 and set up a last 16 match with Mark Parker. Cripps was making hard work of his matches but doing enough to see himself through, eliminating Parker by 9 racks to 6 to put himself into the quarter finals. There he was to face another hotshot in the Challenge Cup in the form of Tom Staveley. There was a sense of urgency from Cripps as we were approaching the business end of the tournament, and Cripps saw out a 9-4 win to set up a semi final with Michael Brisley. Brisley was looking for his first Challenge Cup final but Cripps had other ideas however, and a superb 9-7 victory put him through to his second consecutive final. The win continued the run of a Cornishman getting to a final of every weekend, following from his own final appearance in May and Dominic Clemens’ Tier II final appearance in February.
 
A first round clash for the not so fortunate Nelson meant that Sean Dracup awaited him in the last 64. The Keighley potter was in no mood for messing around, and a convincing 9-4 victory put him into the next round where he was to face another one of Keighley’s GB9 contingent, Arfan Dad. Nelson was in no mood for niceties as he swiftly saw off Dad’s challenge 9-3. Next was an equally challenging match on paper, with Benjiy Buckley waiting to put his wits against Nelson. The ruthless streak employed by Craig Osborne earlier in the weekend was rampant here too, and another excellent 9-3 win saw Nelson into the quarter finals to face Jon Davies. Nelson could sense glory was close and pulled out another safe win, this time 9-5 taking him through to the next round and one away from the final. A formidable opponent in Stewart Colclough was all that stood in his way of his second Challenge Cup final of the year. Colclough tried with all his might to reach his first, but it wasn’t to be – Nelson saw out the match on the hill to win through 9 racks to 8 and follow Cripps into the final.
 
Both players knew glory was at stake here. One would be a two time runner up in this season, the other would finally have a piece of silverware in 2015. The match was destined to go all the way and indeed it did, but it was Cripps who edged it 9-8 to win his first GB9 event of his career.
 
The GB 9 Ball Tour will return for the Southern Masters event between 25-27 September. If you wish to play this event please fill in the event entry form before the deadline of 22 September.
 

GB 9-Ball Tour Updates

Daventry Court

The penultimate round of this season’s GB 9 Ball Tour hits town this weekend as the Southern Masters is contested at the Daventry Court Hotel in Northamptonshire.

 

As the 7th GB9 season draws ever closer to its climax, the fourth event of 2014 brings together once again some of the country’s finest cueists as they lock horns to see who will take home the next major British title. Having already gone past the halfway stage of this 2014 season, it’s fair to say that the dominance of Phil Burford and Mark Gray at the top of the rankings will take quite some stopping at this event. With 3rd placed Daryl Peach flying the flag for Great Britain at the WPA World Team Championship alongside Karl Boyes, Chris Melling and Allison Fisher, it will take nothing short of a tournament win for any of the chasing pack to close that gap. With some of the country’s leading amateur’s at the head of that pack including reigning Midlands Classic champion Chris Hall, Michael Rhodes, Craig Osborne and Darryn Walker, all of the top players will have to be on their toes. It remains to see whether any of those four, or any of the other exciting amateurs in the field, can stop Burford and Gray on their quest for yet more silverware.

 

The magnificent Daventry Court Hotel will host its 14th GB9 event to date, a run which stretches all the way back to the 2010 British Grand Prix. It has proven itself over the years to be a very popular venue with players, officials and all those involved with the GB 9 Ball Tour. The tour is also due to close the season out at the hotel with this year’s British Grand Prix between November 7th and 9th. We are sure that this event will be as smooth and enjoyable as those previous, and GB9 would like to extend its thanks and gratitude to the hotel and its staff for their tireless work to date in making tour events so memorable.

 

The Southern Masters is due to begin on the evening of Friday 1st August, with play across the weekend coming to a conclusion on the evening of Sunday 3rd August. Entry to spectators is free as ever. Players entries MUST be received by midnight on Tuesday 29 July. Live streaming will be available once again, alongside the innovative rack-by-rack live-scoring system, GB9-Live. High octane pool is guaranteed once again as the race to grab those crucial ranking points hot’s up, so get yourself down to Daventry to witness the cream of American pool players that this country has to offer.

 

In 2014 GB9 is proudly sponsored by Rasson Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls, OB Cues and Kamui Tips making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues.

Shotgun Shoots Down Boyes In Pro Cup

The 2014 season’s inaugural Pro Cup was contested between Karl Boyes and Craig Osborne. The new format of winner breaks, double elimination to 8 players and race to 11 was guaranteed to bring out the highest quality pool from the highest quality players on the tour.
 
Boyes started off his quest for another piece of silverware with a comfortable 11-2 victory over Scotland’s Michael Valentine to put him into a winner’s bracket showdown against another former Mosconi Cup player in the form of Daryl Peach. The two Blackpool residents fought out a relatively one sided contest, with Boyes winning through into the quarter finals 11 racks to 4. Another Michael was waiting in the last 8, but this time it was Michael Rhodes who attempted to derail Guapo. Boyes’ relentless form continued however, with an 11-3 victory setting up a quarter final against Malta’s one and only Tony Drago. His electric style of play would often blow an opponent away, but the tables were turned here as Boyes took an incredible 11-0 whitewash with what is a tour record of SEVEN break and runs in one match against the Tornado to seal his place in the final.
 
Ossie got his campaign underway in a close fought match on which he found himself the wrong side of the scoreline. Daryl Peach defeated the Shotgun 11-8 to set up his ill-fated match with Boyes and put Osborne one match from defeat. he kept his hopes alive by handing Michael Valentine his second and final defeat of the competition. 11-4 was the score in favour of the Ipswich shooter, knocking Valentine out of the Pro Cup and putting Osborne into the losers qualification side to face Dave Nelson. It was to be a case of different opponent, same score – Osborne wrapping up his second straight 11-4 victory to pit him against Mark Gray in the last 8. Ossie had hit top gear now, and an 11-2 win comfortably saw him into the semi-finals. Here he met Benji Buckley, playing his debut season in the Pro Cup competition, but the Derby University student couldn’t quite secure his spot in the final. Osborne grinded to an 11-6 win to meet Karl Boyes in the final.
 
Both players have faced each other a number of times before in their GB9 careers, so both knew to expect one almighty match in the final. The spectators were treated to some excellent pool, with Osborne earning himself the first Pro Cup of the season with an 11 racks to 9 victory over Boyes.

Hall Beats Them All For Maiden Main Title

Chris Hall

The first main event final of the season saw Darlington’s Phil Burford come up against Wakefield’s Chris Hall. Both players have been stalwarts of the tour for a number of years now, and it was fitting that two such players should contest the first major showdown of the season.
 
Hall opened his account for the weekend in fine style, dispatching of Welshman Nathan James 9-0 in a mere 35 minutes to secure passage through to the last 32. Here he met two times defending Universities Pool Council 9-Ball champion Benji Buckley in a much closer affair. Hall came away victorious, however, with a solid 9-5 scoreline ensuring safe passage to the round of 16. His opponent, Dave Evans, suffered almost the same fate as Hall’s first opponent. 9-1 was the score in favour of Hall, taking the Yorkshireman through to a quarter final showdown with none other than Tony Drago. Smelling blood from his early exit in the World Snooker Welsh Open earlier in the week, a quarter final was the best he could manage here. An incredible match which Hall won 9-7 saw the pair share no less than SEVEN break and runs between them in a match that took just 66 minutes. Hall then had another high quality match in the semi-finals, this time against Ipswich’s Craig Osborne. Another three break and runs from Hall took his tally for the competition to 15 in the space of four matches and helped him to a 9-6 victory to send him into his first main event final.
 
Burford’s last 64 match saw him overcome a resilient Simon Gardner, with a 9-5 win seeing him into the last 32 to face Colchester’s Shaun Storry. Three break and runs each would often be a sign of a close match, but Shaun’s three were his only rack wins as Burford won 9-3. His opponent in the last 16 was Stuart Colclough, another long time tour player. Another 9-5 victory was enough to take Burford into a quarter final match with Wolverhampton’s Darryn Walker. Walker has established himself as a feared name in British 9-ball in recent years, but this time he was no match for the defending Midlands Classic champion. Burford won through 9 racks to 4 to take him into an all north-east semi final against Michael Rhodes. It was Burford who came out on top 9 racks to 4 to take him just 11 more racks away from a successful defence of his title.
 
Many saw Burford as heavy favourite going into the final, but it was Hall who raced into what can only be called a shock 9-0 lead to leave Burford hanging on by his fingertips. The seemingly impossible wasn’t to follow, and Hall soon wrapped up the two racks he required to take a tremendous 11-3 victory over Burford to take his maiden main event win at a GB9 event.

Peach Wins GB9 Southern Masters

Daryl Peach

GB9′s first event ever event in Essex has reached its conclusion with Daryl Peach beating Karl Boyes to win his first GB9 event in over 12 months at the 2013 Southern Masters at London Stansted airport.

This event was the first of its kind in GB9′s six year history, and the somewhat curious location ensured a truly cosmopolitan feel to a national tournament. Participants from Italy, Denmark and Spain all flew over to Great Britain to contest perhaps this season’s most anticipated competition yet. With places in a World Pool Masters qualifier at the conclusion of the event up for grabs, this was sure to be a hotly contested event and the immense quality of pool certainly didn’t disappoint.  Peach who was down in tenth position in the rankings for the World Pool Masters qualifying spot prior to the start of play, had already done his maths and worked out that he needed nothing short of winning the main event in order to be in the running, a fact which brought immense pressure on each of his matches and that makes his win quite incredible.
 
Peach began his route to the final with a smooth 9-5 win against Spain’s Albert Casellas which put him through to a winners qualifying stage match with another Spaniard in the form of Juan Carlos Exposito. He ensured that Spain suffered a second consecutive defeat as a 9-4 win comfortably saw the 2007 World Champion into the last 32. Here he was to meet his first Brit in the form of Tom Staveley. Any complacency was left well and truly at the door as he hammered his compatriot 9-0 to advance to a last 16 match up with Imran Majid. A very high quality encounter followed with four break and runs helping Peach to a 9-7 win and a quarter final with another international figure in the form of Denmark’s Jan Keller. His third international opponent suffered the same fate as his first – 9-5 was the score in favour of Peach, and a semi-final with Dave Nelson awaited him. Special mention must go to Nelson at this point for a quite amazing run of his own to the semi-final. After qualifying for the single knockout last 32 with a comfortable 9-2 win over Martyn Royce, no less than THREE hill-hill encounters followed against Courtney Symons, Tommy Donlon and Kevin Simpson, all of which he managed to win 9 racks to 8 to meet Peach in the semi. His luck was to run out, however, and Peach saw off his Wakefield opponent 9-5 and secure a place in the final.
 
Boyes began his route to his second consecutive GB9 final in a similar manner to Peach: he defeated a Spaniard, this time round in the form of Hector Luna Iglesias. 9-2 was the scoreline against Iglesias and he went one better against his next opponent, Adam Collins, dispatching him 9-1 and reaching the last 32 stage. Boyes had so far only lost three racks in his first two matches and only lost another three here; he defeated Nathan James 9 racks to 3 and set up a last 16 clash with Sunderland’s Adam Benn Smith. His was a much sterner test, but Boyes saw his north-east opponent off 9-8 to reach the quarter finals. A fellow north-east potter in the form of Michael Rhodes was waiting for him, but with a 9-3 score-line Boyes saw himself into the final four. Fellow professional Mark Gray was sure to put up a stiff test with just one more win required for both to reach their second consecutive GB9 final. A repeat of the Northern Masters final ensured a quality battle ensued but it was Boyes heading to the final showdown with a 9 racks to 6 victory. The final was due to be a hotly contested battle with Peach looking to secure his place in the World Pool Masters qualifier which immediately followed the final and Boyes looking to become the first player since Daryl Peach in 2010 to win back to back main events on the GB 9 Ball Tour. It was Peach who took the spoils, however, with a solid 11-4 win securing his place alongside Boyes in the qualifier and taking home the £1700 winner’s purse.
 
In the Challenge event it was two more professionals who made their way to the final, with Raj Hundal and Chris Melling both making amends for their last 32 exits in the main event. Hundal made his way to the final with victories over Shaun Chipperfield 7-0, Phil Burford 7-6, Alvaro Canoniga 7-3 and Damian Massey 7-5. Melling joined him with a 7-4 defeat of Craig Osborne, before beating Bruno Muratore 7-2, Arfan Dad 7-3 and Benji Buckley 7-4.  With a long journey home ahead of him Melling let Hundal take the title and settled himself with a well-earned runner-up position.
 
 
The GB 9 Ball Tour will return for the 2013 ‘Festival of Pool‘ at the end of November, beginning with the last tour event of the season, The GB9 British Grand Prix, followed on 2-3 December by the inaugural GB9 UK 9-Ball Open with a prize fund of £20,000 including £4,000 added.  The week will conclude with the Universities Pool Council annual 9-Ball Championships.  All three events will take place at the magnificent Park Inn by Radisson hotel, Telford, UK.
 
We are now taking applications for the new look 2014 GB9 season, entry to 10 events over 5 tour weekends is priced at just £399 for Challenge tour players, so playing on the UK’s official, professional 9-ball pool tour has never been so affordable. Just fill in the application form on our web site.

 

Guapo Sorts The Boyes From The Men

Karl Boyes

The Northern Masters final for 2013 was contested between two of the most seasoned players in the UK right now. Karl Boyes, finally hitting somewhat of a purple patch in the domestic season, and Mark Gray who was looking to cement his place at the top of the provisional British rankings in readiness for the end of season World Pool Masters qualifiers.

 
Boyes started his campaign started his campaign in the tournament with a comfortable 9 racks to 2 victory against Brett Armer, following this up with a 9-5 victory over Jez Graham to put him safely into the last 32 stage. An international flavour came up in the next match as Bruno Muratore tried to stop Boyes in his tracks. It was Boyes who made it though, however, as he overcame the efforts of the pony-tailed Italian in a tense 9-8 win. This saw him through to a match against Sunderland’s Adam Benn Smith in the last 16, a match which he came through 9 racks to 4 and safely putting him into the last 8. There he faced an almighty fright from Benji Buckley before again coming through another hill-hill encounter, eliminating the Sheffield shooter 9-8 and putting him into the final four. Waiting for him there was Chris Hall of Wakefield, and he made sure of back to back victories over Yorkshiremen with a gritty 9-5 win, seeing him into his first main event final since July 2010.
 
Mark Gray began his challenge for the title against Colin Connor, and a straightforward 9-3 victory meant he next faced Pablo Garcia Lagar for a place in the last 32. He managed to go one better in this match, disposing of the Spaniard 9-2 and paving the way for a clash with April’s Paul Medati Trophy runner-up Craig Osborne. The man from Ipswich wasn’t going to replicate April’s feats as Gray eliminated him from the tournament 9 racks to 4. Gray saw himself into the last 16 against Andy Worthington, but another 9-2 victory saw him ease through to a potentially mouth-watering clash against Chris Melling, hoping to take the title back to Keighley with him in what was practically a home tournament for the Mosconi Cup MVP. The match was anything but the classic people were expecting, however, with Gray easing through 9-1 and setting up a semi-final against Imran Majid, himself looking to keep the pressure on Gray at the top of the provisional rankings. Gray was once again on the right end of the scoreline, and another 9-4 victory meant he made his way into the final without dropping more than four racks in any of his matches. A staggering statistic and form that was sure to bring out a brutal final.
 
The match was as tense as people were expecting, with Gray taking a 10-8 lead before Boyes edged the match back to level pegging at 10-10 with one rack to play. Gray had already run four racks in the match and Boyes picked the perfect time to make his fourth and final dish, sealing the title with a superb run out and an 11-10 victory which saw him rise to 2nd place in the provisional rankings with only his beaten finalist Mark Gray now standing above him.