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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.
 

European All-Star clash underway in Rotterdam

Niels Feijen (NED) will want to shine at the Longoni Open, one of his main sponsors

This week-end in Rotterdam (NED)  the Thurston Pool Café is host to the Benelux Longoni Open 2014.

After the qualification rounds played in 8 groups with a rebuy system, 28 players have joined the 4 invited stars in the 6th edition of the Benelux Longoni Open. Ralf Souquet (GER), Serge Das (BEL), defending champion Nick Van Den Berg (NED) and reigning World 9-Ball Champion and World Pool Master Niels Feijen (NED) are already in the main tournament.

A preliminary round of qualifications played on the 27th of july, in which Ivo Aarts, Kamila Khodaeva, Visal Peou and Thomas Vanbroekhoven earned their spots in the main tournament to be played on sunday the 17th of august.

As the event has grown over the years, many big names of the european pool scene showed up in Rotterdam since friday the 15th of august. Frenchmen Alex Montpellier and Stephan Cohen were the first two players to qualify, and were soon joined by Elliott Sanderson and Huidji See in Group B. In the next groups, more and more players decided to use the rebuy option and therefore a record 240 entries were registered by the event promoter, Daswan promotion.

Amongst the many names who came out of the group stages to earn a spot in the final tournament and a possibility to claim the trophy are World Champions Karl Boyes (GBR), Daryl Peach (GBR) and Oliver Ortmann (GER). Tony Drago (MLT), Kevin Becker (GER), Andreas Roschkowsky (GER), Karlo Dalmatin (CRO), Marc Bijsterbosch (NED), are other top european players who made their way to the sunday event.

To follow the action, you can read promoter Çakti Aswan of Daswan promotions' scores updates on facebook and also go to the Free Livestream courtesy of EBillard.fr

Locomotive Powers To Second Win Of The Season

Phil Burford

The two finalists in the British Grand Prix had both contested finals earlier in the season – Phil Burford who won the season's opening event in thrilling fashion against Ralf Souquet, and Mark Gray who was runner up in the Northern Masters to the now two-time Mosconi Cup player Karl Boyes. Burford began his campaign against local competition; Kevin Uzzell putting up a brave fight before succumbing 9-5 to the Locomotive. This put Burford one win away from the single-elimination last 32 stage, but a resilient Ian McCormick stood in his way. Another tour battle followed, but Burford saw past the Ulsterman 9-7 to go through the winners’ side undefeated. Burford turned on the juice for his next match against Finlay Laing, whitewashing the Newmarket potter 9-0. However, Burford's first victim, Kevin Uzzell, wasn't done just yet. Having negotiated his way out of the one-loss side of the draw, he returned to face his nemesis once again. The only difference this time was one rack, with Burford securing his second victory over Uzzell 9-6 to set up a match with Tommy Donlon next.
 
Donlon had made his best run of the season to make his way into the quarter finals, but a 9-3 defeat ended his campaign and saw Burford into his second semi-final of the season. Here he faced Tony Drago, fresh off his first round defeat in the UK Championship snooker in York. Whilst faring much better on the American table, his competition was to come to an end at Phil's hand with a 9-7 win seeing Burford through to the final showdown.
 
Mark Gray started in emphatic fashion in his quest for a first title of the season. His first victim was Simon Gardner who suffered a heavy 9-1 defeat at Gray's hand. Gray then came up against the ponytailed Italian Bruno Muratore, the prize for the winner being. Place in the last 32. A closer match ensued with Gray running out the 9-5 winner. In the last 32, Gray faced young gun Sam Hirst. The student from Leeds suffered a similar fate to Gray's first opponent, with Hirst eliminated by 9 racks to 2. This sent Gray into a last 16 match with another Yorkshireman in the form of Barnsley's Elliott Sanderson. Sanderson's excellent run in the competition came to an end here, as Gray progressed to the quarter finals with a 9-4 win. A fellow tour stalwart in the form of Colchester's Shaun Storry was awaiting him in the last 8, but once again Gray came away victorious by 9 racks to 5 and in doing so reached his fourth consecutive GB9 semi-final. Standing in Gray's way of his second final was another tour stalwart, this time around Stewart Colclough. The score line from his previous game was matched here as Gray made it into his third British Grand Prix final with another 9-5 victory, leaving him just one win away from regaining the title he won back in GB9's inaugural season all the way back in 2008.
 
The final promised to be yet another classic battle with both players in their second finals of the year. It was Burford who squeaked home with an 11-9 winning score which saw him end the season as the British #3, just behind both Karl Boyes and Mark Gray who end this season with the guaranteed expenses paid berths in the European 9-Ball Championship in April 2014. 

Preview: 2013 GB9 Northern Masters

Date: 7-9 June 2013
Venue: Cedar Court Hotel Leeds/Bradford – Mayo Avenue – Bradford – BD5 8HW
Deadline for entries: 3 June 2013

The GB 9 Ball Tour makes a welcome return to Yorkshire shortly as the 2013 Northern Masters 10-ball event is contested at the spectacular Cedar Court Hotel in Bradford.


The success of last year’s 10-ball event, where Daryl Peach achieved a remarkable comeback against Shaun Storry in winning the 2012 edition of this competition, has led to the GB9 team bringing back this increasingly popular code of pool. Not since November 2009 has there been a professional American pool event held in Yorkshire, with that year’s Northern Masters held at the former Riley’s in Barnsley. Many would say this tournament is a long time coming and a lot of local players will surely be relishing the prospect of playing American pool on their doorstep. With two of the world’s best and most exciting players hailing from Yorkshire – Keighley’s Chris Melling and Pontefract’s Darren Appleton – it’s no wonder the area is home to some of the best talent Britain has to offer on the pool scene and it’s that which promises to make this competition the most exciting so far this season.


Young Elliott Sanderson from Barnsley is just one of the players looking to have an impact on the competition and is excited to have a tournament so close to home. “It’s great to have a GB9 tournament back up in Yorkshire again”, said an excited Sanderson. “I believe it has been some time and I think there’s a good market here in Yorkshire and I strongly believe that Yorkshire and the north of Great Britain holds the strongest amateurs. After my defeat in my last money match I have hit the table hard to bounce back. It hurts losing but it’s all a learning curve for a young player like me and the tour, especially this event in Bradford, is a good opportunity for me.”
 

Keighley’s Arfan Dad, the first Challenge Cup winner of the 2013 season, is also relishing the prospect of playing at a tournament so close to home. “This third event of the season is one I’m really looking forward to for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s one that is almost on my doorstep with it being in Bradford. Secondly, the discipline is 10-ball which I personally enjoy playing more than 9-ball. I prefer the call shot rule, the different break-off shot and the tougher run outs which 10-ball brings to the mix. At last season’s Northern Masters I achieved my best ever finish in a main event by getting to the semis and losing to eventual winner Daryl Peach, so I’m hoping for something similar, if not better, this time around.”


The action begins from 5pm on Friday 7th June, with play continuing through to the afternoon of Sunday 9th June. Live streaming will once again be hosted free-of-charge, and spectator entry is free for everyone. At just five minutes drive from the centre of Bradford and five minutes drive off the M62 this is one of the most accessible GB9 events for quite some time, so come on down and see yourself some of the country’s finest pool players in action.  If you can’t get down to the venue you can follow every match with our rack-by-rack live scoring.


It’s not too late to enter this event with entries being taken up to Monday 3rd June, just read the event details and follow the link to the entry form.  In fact if you are local to the host venue then you may wish to try your hand in a qualifying event which is being held at Cue Gardens in Bradford on Saturday 1st June, details are available on Facebook or on Pro9.co.uk.
Don’t forget you can also follow GB9 on both Facebook and Twitter.

In 2013 GB9 is proudly sponsored by Carlson Rezidor Hotels, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls, OB Cues, Kamui Tips and Power Bridge making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues.