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2018 Supreme Pool Series – A Game-Changer For English 8 Ball

The 2018 Supreme Pool Series is the brave new world that the players and fans of top tier English 8 Ball Pool have been calling for. 
In short, it unleashes the world's best players from both sides of the great rules divide, who will come together and contest five mega events across 2018 at the renowned Players Pool and Snooker Lounge in Stoke-on-Trent.  
A total prize fund of over £125,000 will be up for grabs in what is by far the most lucrative independent English 8 Ball series there has ever been. The winner of the Grand Final in December will bank a staggering £40,000, which completely dwarfs anything else the sport has to currently offer in monetary terms. 
English 8 Ball icon and Players Pool Events entrepreneur Lee Kendall, along with his hard working team, are behind the series, which aims to put the players first and awaken the sleeping dragon profile of the sport. 
Following on from a very successful and popular catalogue of amateur and invitational events over the last couple of years at the same venue, it was a natural progression for the Players Pool Events team to take. 
It was a brave call, but undoubtedly the correct one. For far too long the planet's most prolific have been kept apart; this is where they will look each other in the eyes, play under the same roof and challenge for deserved, unparalleled prize funds.
The concept has received universal acclaim from the industry's premier brand names. Supreme Pool, Strachan, Aramith, Home Leisure Direct and Jason Owen Cues have all given their backing to this new era of the sport, which will hopefully benefit all. 
Beard Productions, widely regarded as the flag bearer for live streaming in this environment, will be covering the whole series from preview to review, whilst the Winning Post will also be live at the venue and online to cater for all official betting activities. 
So who has entered? The entry list is an embarrasment of riches with World Champions, major title winners, internationals and professionals past and present all predictably throwing their names into the gauntlet.
Craig Marsh, Gareth Hibbott and Jack Whelan – all IPA World Champions, will be on display, as too are former WEPF World Champions Tom Cousins, Phil Harrison and Adam Davis. Reigning BI World Champion Liam Dunster is also involved, as well as Ben Davies.
The temptation has also lured box office names Carl Morris and Chris Melling out of the shadows and back into the limelight of their spiritual homes – for Morris, it ends his 7 year self exodus from the sport.
Perhaps the most notable World Champion of all to feature, though, is arguably the greatest ever English 8 Ball Pool exponent; 'The Golden Boy' Gareth Potts
A record breaking 4-time World Champion in this discipline, Potts' most recent World Title at the Lakeside in 2013 was the last time we saw him in top level competition on the small table. 
Since then he has carved out a life changing career in the Far East with Chinese 8 Ball Pool, from which he has won the prestigious World Masters on three occasions. However, just like fellow trend setters Morris and Melling, the urge to be a part of this was too strong. 
Marc Farnsworth, Ronan McCarthy, Mark Boyle, Rob Chilton, Lee Clough, Neil Raybone, Craig Waddingham, Clint I'Anson and Jordan Church are just some of the other major champions involved – plenty more are set to feature as well.
Craig Lakin, Shaun Storry, Rob Wharne and Greg Batten, the winners of the previous events to be held at Players throughout 2016 & 2017, have not shied away from the most testing of challenges either. They'll be back attempting to claim more silverware and money.
Players from all corners of the United Kingdom and Ireland are represented, with interest also coming from across the channel and overseas. The international outreach and appetite is for all to see.
The much anticipated action begins at the start of May with the season opening Jason Owen Open. Be sure to keep an eye on all the updates and features here at The Cue View.
2018 Supreme Pool Series Schedule
Jason Owen Open (4th-6th May)
Strachan Cup (13th-15th July)
Supreme Masters (17th-19th August)
The Challenge (28th-30th September)
Home Leisure Direct Grand Final (November 30th – December 2nd)

Brilliant Batten Is The New Pac Man

Greg Batten overcame a series of challenging obstacles to win the second Players Amateur Championship title and a tasty £7,000 winners purse.
Over 80 players representing the UK and beyond started the three day Blackball tournament which featured talent and champions from both sides of the rules divide competing under the same roof.
Batten's achievement in Stoke last weekend is remarkable when you consider how he done it and who he eliminated along the way. It is the most significant tournament victory of his career so far. 
​After opening the event with a brace of victories, the current IPA professional was pushed to the Losers Side of the draw following defeat to Gavin Lomax. Now forced to take the extra long road to Quarter-Final qualification, Greg began his journey with success over last year's Runner up Sam Bircher and then came back from behind to oust the Republic of Ireland's Shaun Sharkey 8-7. Wales' Elliot Combe was then next to be sent packing.
In the following round he ended the hopes of 2/1 pre-tournament favourite Steve Petty; holding his nerve in a deciding frame having watched Petty claw his way back from 7-2 down.
​His qualification match saw him cross cues with local player Rob Wharne, the winner of £10,000 at the Supreme Masters Championship here back in July, but Batten denied Wharne claiming consecutive tournament wins on this Players Series with an 8-6 success. The victory was two-fold for Batten as it meant revenge having lost to Wharne during a deciding frame in the Semi-Finals of that Masters event.
In total the Devon cueist had come through seven rounds to reach the money. With 8 players left, the tournament was reset into a straight Knock-Out. Qualifying for those Quarter-Finals were four players from the Winners Side and another three joining Greg from the one-loss section.
​Those who emerged undefeated were current WEPF World Amateur Masters Champion Josh Kane, reigning Savanna 250 Double Dare winner Max Nosko, Matt Lawrenson and 2016 Players Amateur Champion Craig Lakin, who was making a spirited defence of the title.
Having travelled the longer avenue with Batten were Seb Web, Arfan Dad and Lomax.
In a high quality starting entry of such talented players, there were bound to be big names eliminated earlier than perhaps expected. Second favourite Jordan Church departed in the 4th Losers Round, whilst May's Bulldog Security Challenge Champion Shaun Storry lost 2 of his first 3 matches.
IPA World finalist Simon Fitzsimmons lost his opening match of the tournament but then reeled off five straight wins on the other side. However, his incredible escape act was halted by Dad in the final qualifying round.
The Quarter-Finals meant all those remaining were in the money.  Now all back on a level footing, Batten comfortably dispatched Dad 11-5 and then dethroned Lakin 11-9 in a dramatic, pulsating Semi-Final clash.
His opponent in the final would be Web after he recorded an amazing comeback against Nosko in the Last 8 to squeeze it in a 21st frame and then defeated Lawrenson 11-7. 
A very successful and well-renowned money match player, this was Web's second big tournament final in the space of a year having lost to Nosko in one of the event finals at the Savanna Double Dare in Manchester.
Batten started the final as the favourite, and quickly established a dominant 9-1 advantage after a combination of excellent play and capitalising on Web's mistakes or misfortunes. 
Web then had a brief positive spell chalking up 3 of the next 4 frames – making the scoreline respectable, before Batten finished the job in style to record an 11-4 overall win.
The £7,000 he banks represents one of English 8 Ball Pool's biggest paydays this year and is reward for his consistency over the summer that also saw him reach the Semi-Finals of the IPA European Professional Championship. In total he won 10 matches throughout the long weekend, including the last 8 in a row.
The second annual Players Amateur Championship was the third and last event of this year's Players Series which has seen thousands of pounds dished out.
The bar and prize money are set to be pushed, in fact smashed, next season as the series expands to 5 events and becomes open to any Cuesport professional. It is a brave statement by tournament organiser Lee Kendall, but one which is undoubtedly great for the sport and progression of English 8 Ball. 
As fans we now have the possibility of consistently seeing the planet's best Blackball and World Rules exponents mixing it together under the same structure. 
It is now time for the players to step up and enter – the opportunity is there. Should each tournament reach its full entry capacity, the prize money on offer is a different world to what we have been used to when it comes to English 8 Ball Pool.
2017 Players Amateur Championship
Results from the Quarter-Finals onwards – losers each received £1,000
Craig Lakin 11-9 Gavin Lomax
Arfan Dad 5-11 Greg Batten
Josh Kane 8-11 Matt Lawrenson
Max Nosko 10-11 Seb Web
Semi-Finals – losers each received £2,000
Lakin 9-11 Batten
​Lawrenson 7-11 Web
Final – Runner-Up received £3,000 / Winner received £7,000
Batten 11-4 Web