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Strong Field For Snooker’s British Open In Leicester

Mark Selby

Star names including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and home favourite Mark Selby will be in the line-up for next month’s British Open at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

The world ranking event will run from August 16th to 22nd and fans will be welcomed through the doors to see the greatest players on the planet.

Special offers, with tickets from just £5, are running now with limited availability and fans should book quickly to see the biggest stars in the sport. For details visit

Players will include:

Mark Selby – Current World Champion and one of Leicester’s sporting greats

Judd Trump – Snooker’s world number one and the outstanding player of recent seasons

Ronnie O’Sullivan – Six time World Champion and crowd favourite

John Higgins – All-time legend who won the British Open when it was last staged in 2004

Shaun Murphy – Flamboyant cueman who reached the World Championship final in May

Stephen Hendry – King of the Crucible – this is the first chance for fans to watch his comeback live

Reanne Evans – All-time greatest female player, now competing on the pro tour

Plus Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams, Jack Lisowski, Leicester favourites Tom Ford, Ben Woollaston, Joe O’Connor and Louis Heathcote…and many more. In all there will be 128 players battling for the trophy and a top prize of £100,000.

The event will have a completely random draw for all rounds, and the first round draw and match schedule will be released on Wednesday July 28th.

The British Open previously ran from 1985 to 2004 and now returns to the WST calendar after a 17-year absence. It will receive extensive live coverage in the UK from ITV, as well as a range of broadcasters worldwide.

All matches up to the last 16 are best of five frames, the quarter and semi-finals are best of seven frames, and the final is best of 11 frames.

Snooker has led the sporting world in the post-lockdown return of live audiences, and WST will continue to work closely with the UK Government and all of our venues and partners on Covid-19 regulation.

Matchroom Live To Broadcast World Snooker Championship

Fans across the globe will have the chance to watch snooker’s biggest tournament, the Betfred World Championship, as Matchroom Live will broadcast the event in all countries without alternative coverage.

Go to Matchroom.Live to register

The Matchroom Live platform was launched in May, giving fans across the planet the chance to watch live content from the outstanding portfolio of Matchroom sports, including snooker, darts, boxing, pool and many more. There is also a wealth of classic archive content featuring great moments from the past 40 years.

And one of the most prestigious events in sport, the Betfred World Snooker Championship which has a history dating back to 1927, will receive extensive live broadcast every day.

This will start with the qualifying rounds, running from July 21st to 28th, with 128 players, all chasing one of 16 coveted spots for the final stages at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. From veteran Jimmy White to 14-year-old Iulian Boiko, the field is packed with a range of legends and young talents.

All eight days of action from the qualifying rounds will be available FREE for all fans where broadcast is not available.

The final stages at the famous Crucible then run from July 31 to August 16. Judd Trump won the title for the first time in sensational style last year, making a record seven century breaks as he beat John Higgins in the final. He will be defending the trophy against the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and many more of the sport’s top stars.

This will be available on Matchroom Live’s new subscription service. Fans can sign up for a monthly fee for the chance to watch not just snooker, but a wide range of world class sports content. There is also the option to watch a single day of action.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Matchroom Live is a fantastic innovation for sports fans internationally as it makes top class live events available to everyone in all corners of the globe.

“We have created a price structure which is fair and affordable for sports enthusiasts based on the percentage of the content available to access in each country.

“Around the world, people love live sport. But there are territories where they are starved of the big events because of a lack of television coverage. Matchroom Live gives them that opportunity to see the elite events and the star names. It is all about spreading the joy which live sport can bring.

“The popularity of snooker, darts, boxing and our other sports has grown so much in recent years and we want to reach out further to more and more people, and make the action available.

“And it’s not just live content because Matchroom Live contains a remarkable wealth of archive footage, going back to the 1980s, featuring names from Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan, to Chris Eubank and Anthony Joshua, to Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, and many more. I could spend weeks on there just watching the classic moments!

“Anyone who loves sport must register for Matchroom Live today, it is the perfect new platform for those who share our passion.”

Matchroom Live is a video-first platform, with the ability to cast to virtually any device whether that be a console, Smart TV, or connected device. The services will also allow fans to watch up to four live events at once with ‘QuadPlay’. The service is built and powered by sports streaming and video technology specialists StreamAMG.

Gareth Potts Interview

Gareth Potts

With the lack of events to report on at the moment, we are teaming with the Supr Charged Agency to feature interviews with various European and American players. Hopefully this will give all of the readers a chance to get to know these players better. 
This time, we have Chinese 8-Ball Star, Gareth Potts.
You mainly play English and Chinese pool. 
What is the main differences from American pool when it comes to the tables, rules, balls and cue?
I started my career playing English 8-ball where I won 4 world titles. These, along with numerous other tournaments, meant I was the most successful English 8-ball pool player ever at the time when I finished in 2014 to pursue a new career in China.
The small ball game is run by two different governing bodies that play by two very different rule sets. One being more chess like and the other being a more attacking rule set. I am still currently the only player to win world titles at both World rules and Blackball rules respectively. 
My English 8-ball career was relatively short due to Chinese 8-ball bursting into the scene and into my life in 2013. 
I won the first ever Joy Chinese 8-ball final masters in 2013, also in 2014 and 2017. Off the back of winning the first masters in 2013, I fell in love with Chinese pool and I signed a long term contract with Joy Billiards that has allowed me to focus solely on Chinese 8-ball. Stephen Hendry, Shane Van Boening, Chris Melling and Zhang KunPeng are a few that are currently signed with Joy billiards. 
The 3 main Cue sport disciplines around the world are American Pool, English pool and snooker. They are all obviously very different in every way. Balls, tables, cloth rules and equipment all vary, but Chinese 8-ball is basically where they all meet in the middle. 
There are so many different forms of Pool across the world and this for me is one of the problems.  I personally believe that Chinese pool is the perfect hybrid cue sport that appeals to all cue sport players from every discipline, wherever you play and wherever you're from – it’s the middle ground of them all! 
It’s played on almost the same size table as American pool, with the same size and weight balls with almost the same rule set as the American BCA rules. 
The table aesthetically looks like a snooker table. The pockets are a similar cut and nap Strachan6811 cloth is used. 
Predominantly it’s 8-ball that is played. 
This is backed up even more so by the fact that players use different cues to play Chinese pool. For example, the American players feel as though an American type cue is the right equipment to use. Some Chinese players use a snooker type cue with a 10mm tip. Some English players even use their English 8-ball cue. And others use something in the middle of all those. 
I personally believe that none of these cues are perfect for Chinese pool. You wouldn’t play tennis with a badminton racket or you wouldn’t play squash with a ping pong bat. Obviously, using the right equipment is vital. I Have my own cue range out on the market (Potts Cue), which is effectively a hybrid cue for a hybrid cue sport…. 
But either way my point being is that if you were going to abolish all cue sports and just keep one, it would surely have to be Chinese pool as a compromise to every cue sport player or fan around the world, because it’s simply right in the middle of them all! 
The prize money for pool in China is the highest anywhere in the world. The two biggest Chinese 8-ball tournaments now are the Joy Masters at $150,000 to the winner and the Star World Championships which is $100,000 to the winner. These are snooker type first prizes, but there needs to be more events and more of these types of events outside of China. This then would make Chinese 8-ball more accessible to the world! 
Who was your inspiration/idol when you were younger? 
Definitely my father, who passed away when I was 21. 
Regarding players I grew up watching, Stephen Hendry. A lot of people naturally don’t like winners but I personally do, and he was the ultimate winner! 
Who do you admire amongst today's players?
There are a lot of very good players around the world from all different forms of cue sport and all have their own great traits. You have to be at the top of any sport. But when It comes to pure talent, Ronnie o Sullivan is the daddy. 
What are your greatest accomplishments? Tell us about the feeling of those wins.
Winning my first major junior title at 13 years old, which was the European championships in France, with my father there watching. 
My first world title age 21, 3 months after my father had passed away. 
All the world titles and masters titles at Chinese pool have all been special in their own way. 
I think what defines special is the timing of that particular win to that individual. 
I don’t really think too much about what I have won, I think it’s important to not live off the back of previous wins and achievements. Maybe the time for that is at retirement! 
How often did you practice at an early age and how often now?
I’ve always worked hard at my game from an early early age. 
I have always practiced hard. I believe you only get out what you put in – nothing comes for free – you have to earn it. 
I’ve been lucky over the years to have had a lot of top players to practice with, which is important. Mark Selby is my brother in law so I’ve spent many hours picking balls out, lol. Growing up I had a lot of top players around me to learn from. This is invaluable! 
I’m lucky that I always enjoyed the practice and I think when that day comes that I stop enjoying, it will be the day when I hang my cue up. 
Do you use drills when you practice? – Which drills?
Yes I use drills, they are important. A combination of solo work and practice with other top players. Finding that balance is important. 
As for what drills; there are loads. You can look on YouTube or on my social media. I have posted loads over the years at English pool and Chinese pool. 
What should newcomers practice most? – What are newcomers doing wrong?
The most important thing is constructive practice. Just hitting the balls around the table is pointless. There needs to be routine and structure to what you're doing. Adding pressure even in solo practice is important,  if you're doing a routine or drill, set yourself a target. So for example – I would say I’m not stopping for lunch until I’ve completed it 5 times in a row. ( Many days I went hungry. lol) This adds pressure and purpose to what you're doing! 
What is the strongest part of your game?
I play 8 ball and always have done so. So I would say the strongest party of my game is my patterns and my finishing. Taking the balls in the correct order is the most important part of 8-ball.
What is your weakest part of the game?
Probably doubles ( Or bank shots in America). On English tables and Chinese tables, there is not a marked diamond system and the cloth is nap. So judging the slide off the cushions isn’t easy, that's my excuse anyway. Or maybe I’m just generally rubbish at them. lol 
What is your favorite game(s) and why?
Chinese pool without a doubt. It’s the toughest form of Pool in the world. 
The pockets are extremely tight (3.35 inches) 
Any sport in the world that is at the top of the ladder always has the highest degree of difficulty. Golf, tennis, football, basketball, motor racing just to name a few. 
So the high skill level required combined with the relatively simplicity of the rules is the reason it can be, by far, the biggest pool game in the world, with the biggest prize money. 
Is fitness important for pool players?
Fitness is something I have been into since an early age, and is without doubt massively important. I go to the gym most days and work to a strict training and diet plan. 
In some tournaments, you play a lot of matches over a lot of days over big races. Going to the gym isn’t about being just physically fit, it’s about being mentally fit too. 
Cue sports is evolving all the time and the standard is getting higher all the time. Anything that gives you even a 1% edge can be the difference between winning and losing.
Also, cue sports aside, why wouldn’t you want to keep fit and healthy. 
What are the 3 most important factors? Who has the best stroke in pool today?
This is a tough question because all cue sports are different and they require different strokes and hits on the cue ball, which in turn requires different cue actions. 
American pool players tend to be very loose and loopy. Most don’t even hold the cue tight to their chest. Everything is played with a lot of spin and the cue ball does a lot of travelling. 
Chinese pool is very different, your cue action needs to be straight. The cue needs to be firm on the chest and you need to be very accurate. Your fundamentals and being ‘textbook’ technically is much more important.
Also playing on nap cloth as opposed to Simonis is also very different, which also makes the strike on the cue ball different. 
There are a lot of variants in techniques, stances and cue actions from cue sport to cue sport. So what is right for one doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for another! 
How is your mental strength? Do you have any advice/tricks?
I think my mental strength is also one of the strongest parts of my game. I have won a lot of matches from behind. But it’s not only about this; it goes much deeper. 
Having the ability to deal with making mistakes. We all make mistakes during matches. It's how you mentally deal with it and limiting what that mistake costs you. 
If you make a mistake, it can’t cost you any more than that one rack. You see so many players make a mistake and it affects them for the next 1,2,3  4 frames, which in turns ends up costing you the match, because you never mentally recovered from that first initial mistake. I’m sure a lot of players can relate to that. 
Then there is the side of if you draw a player that you think is better than you. (In some cases you’ve lost before you’ve even took your cue out of its case) 
The mental side of the game is just as, if not more important, than any other. 
How important is the equipment and why do you use the equipment that you do? 
Using the correct equipment is vital. If you're using the wrong gear, then you're never going to play to your full potential. 
As stated above I have endorsed my own cue range for Chinese pool and that’s what I use 
The other vital thing you get right is the tip and chalk. I understand with tips, it’s personal preference among top players. Some prefer harder tips some prefer softer, some prefer the tips higher, some lower. Some have them over hanging some prefer them flush to the ferrule. So it’s what works for you regarding tips.
I personally use a Soft pro Taom tip. 
This brings me into chalk. – Now this is one thing that should not be about personal preference. You have to use Taom chalk.. FACT! 
Almost all of the top snooker players use it and so do almost all of the top English 8-ball players.
Gone are the days of chalk making a mess of the table, transferring onto the cue ball and object balls and causing bad contacts, big bounces, kicks and skids. 
Taom chalk is a complete game changer and has in many ways revolutionised cue sports. Why would you not use chalk that stops all of the above? So if you miss or make a mistake it’s because you did it not your chalk. Cue sports is hard enough workout fighting against certain equipment that don’t do their job properly. 
Chalk is abrasive so therefore wears the cloth more easily. 
It is without doubt the best thing to happen to cue sports for a long time. 
The thing that needs to happen now is it should be made mandatory that everyone has to use it! 
What should the billiard industry in general do to get more recognition outside the industry?
There are players out there that are also marketable away from the table, and as pool grows with tv etc, there will become opportunities that come along for players. 
In my opinion it’s all about TV, endorsements and viewing figures. 
Tournaments and organisations need professionals in charge that know what they are doing and that run it as a business.
I suppose the more events that are on tv for higher prize money makes people sit up and take note 
What are you goals for 2020?
I set myself the goal to win the Chinese Pool International Masters again this year, which was held in China in January. I finished 5th losing to Chu Bingjie, who went on to win. So, not the result I was after, but for 95% of it I played pretty good. This was the last tournament I played and the last Chinese pool tournament  due to the Coronavirus.
Your thoughts on the Covid-19 situation and what should players do?
The situation with Covid-19 has not only stopped cue sports but it has stopped the whole world. These are unprecedented times which certainly puts things into perspective for all of us. 
Winning or losing a pool match is not so important anymore. Things that once seemed important to us no longer do or are. 
I would like to wish all fellow players, amateur or professional, from every cue sport discipline from around the world, all the best during these uncertain times. 
We can all get through this and cue sports will come out the other side of it, stronger I’m sure. 
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors for their continued support  
The most important thing above all right now is staying safe 
Take care of yourselves and your loved ones

Snooker 19, the first licensed snooker game in a generation, launches Spring 2019 for PC, PS 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

First gameplay trailer revealed for the most authentic depiction of the sport ever created
March 14th 2019, Liverpool, United Kingdom – Ripstone Games, in collaboration with Lab42 and World Snooker, today announced that Snooker 19 is launching in Spring 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The announcement has been accompanied by the first gameplay trailer for Snooker 19, showcasing the Unreal Engine 4 powered visuals, incredible physics and 3D facial scanning technology, bringing the game to life like never before. Furthermore Snooker 19 will be playable to consumers at the ‘Powered by Unreal Engine’ booth for the first time at EGX Rezzed at Tobacco Dock, London from April 4th – 6th.  
Developed by Leamington Spa based Lab42, Snooker 19 will feature 128 of the world’s top players including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Ding Junhui as they take to the table at iconic venues including The Crucible and Alexandra Palace. In the most in-depth simulation of snooker ever seen, players can choose from a full suite of offline and online modes to master every official tournament. These include global online tournaments that link in real-time with the live World Snooker calendar, quick play online match-making, and fully customised matches of full snooker, 6-red snooker and fast-paced Shoot-Out snooker.
Made in Unreal Engine 4, Snooker 19 is the most authentic depiction of the sport ever created, and players can expect a full TV-style presentation in the game alongside evocative visual details of the players, arenas and equipment. Player likenesses have been meticulously created using 3D facial scanning technology while the subtle yet detailed wood grain of the cues and tables is rendered impeccably. With the glare of the spotlights reflecting accurately off the polished balls, Snooker 19 sets a new visual standard for the snooker video game. Players can soak up its atmosphere while the advanced physics and AI engines ensure the action remains tense, thrilling, and most importantly, true to real life.
“It’s been way too long since the last flagship snooker title,” said Justin Forrest of Lab42. “We’re hugely excited to finally give players a snooker simulation worthy of this increasingly popular sport. The combination of official World Snooker licensed content, high quality, authentic gameplay and TV-style presentation, Snooker 19 is the complete package for both newcomers and hardcore fans.”  
"Partnering with Lab42 and World Snooker to bring players Snooker 19 marks a significant step-change for us," said Phil Gaskell of Ripstone. "The sport has grown exponentially in the years since the last official snooker title. Our game is built from the ground up for new and old fans alike, and we feel it's the right time to create a game that reflects where snooker and the gaming industry is today."  
Snooker 19 will be launching in Spring 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
About World Snooker
World Snooker is the commercial entity responsible for the commercial exploitation and promotion of professional snooker events across the world and is the custodian of the sport’s commercial rights.
About Ripstone Games
Ripstone® is a global independent video games label founded in 2011 by game and film industry veterans. They fully fund the development, distribution and marketing of video games made by elite creative teams. They have financed and published 17 games across 45 SKUs, with global sales of over 10 million units.
Ripstone's back catalogue includes Ironcast, Stick It To The Man, Pure Pool, Pure Hold’em and Chess Ultra. At their home in Liverpool, England they also have a world-class internal development team, whose credits include Plague Inc, Chess Ultra and The Spectrum Retreat. 
The whole company focuses on providing a total, personal support service for developers, empowering them to make the very best PC and console games, ensuring gamers know about them, then rewarding the teams for success. They are particularly noted for their outstanding ability to nurture new and small developers.
About Lab42
LAB42 is a videogame development studio based in the heart of Royal Leamington Spa.  A subsidiary of You42, Inc. and part of the Kiz Studios family Lab42 is an experienced video games and entertainment developer.
Lab42’s network works closely across three locations building original and licensed IP alongside collaborating with publishers and developers around the world on a wide variety of titles, shipping numerous flagship titles on PC and Nintendo Switch.
Media Contact
Plan of Attack on behalf of Ripstone Games
Tom Davis

Chinese Pool China Team To Compete in English Eight Ball World Championship

November 20 to 26, 2018, the English Eight ball world championships will be staged in Bridlington, Yorkshire, England. As an Asian member of this tournament, the ICEA has selected a team consisting of Zhang Kunpeng, Liu Chuang, Wang Peng, Qiu Paomou and Chen Zhigang to participate in the tournament.
Five players will represent China in the World Championship’s Team match. They will also participate in the JOY Chinese Pool UK Championships at the same time. Although JOY Chinese Pool is popular all over the world, the players feel that it is incumbent upon them to defend the honour of the Chinese players in this event.
When it comes to the English Eight-ball game, many fans think of Gareth Potts, who is the double “Triple Crown” winner of two top international competitions, Chinese Pool and English eight-ball. In fact, the game of English Eight-Ball has a longer history in UK than Snooker, and was considered the "National Cue Sport“ of the UK at its peak.
Mark Selby, Chris Merlin and Darren Appleton are all past winners of the Blackball International World Championships . At present, nearly 40 countries and regions participate in the Blackball International World Championships every year.
For anyone wondering how a team of Chinese Pool players is competing in the UK Blackball Championship, in 2017 the International Chinese Eight-Ball Association (ICEA), initiated by JOY Chinese Pool, won the authorization of the World Pool Association (WPA) under the International Olympic Committee and became the authority on Chinese Pool worldwide. Subsequently, BI, the Blackball International, within the framework of the WPA, actively welcomed the new members of the WPA and reached agreements with the ICEA in terms of resource sharing of players and mutual cooperation in events.
On this basis, the BI requested the ICEA to serve as the chairman of the Asian Association and manage the Asian business of English Eight-Ball. JOY Chinese Pool has taken on this important task. After careful selection and comprehensive evaluation, five Chinese Pool players, Zhang Kuipeng, Liu Chuang, Wang Peng, Qiu Paomou and Chen Zhigang, were selected by the chairman of the BI Asia Association JOY Chinese Pool.
As a part of cooperation, the BI and ICEA jointly organized the JOY Chinese Pool UK Championships. On the stage with the best English eight-ball players, pool masters from all over the world can also experience the popular worldwide sport of Chinese Pool. The China Dragon Team, which represents Chinese Pool, can also show the essence of this Chinese sport to the UK fans.

Darren Appleton Signs Up For The Supreme Pool Series

Darren Appleton

BCA Hall of Famer and worldwide Cuesports superstar Darren Appleton is the latest addition to the ground-breaking Supreme Pool Series that will take place throughout 2018. 

A multiple World Champion in different disciplines, Appleton will return to his English 8 Ball Pool roots in at least four of this year's five events. The Supreme Pool Series boasts prize money never seen before in a structured circuit of competitions – the winner of December's Home Leisure Direct Grand Finals will bank a staggering £40,000. 

Appleton is no stranger to winning big prizes. Before making his move onto the American Pool scene, he was a regular champion of major events on the smaller table in his native land. He topped the English 8 Ball IPA tour rankings and reached two WEPF World Championship finals.

His rise up the ranks Stateside was incredible; he quickly became an established star challenging for the sport's top honours.  

It wasn't long before he claimed his first world title in the Philippines in 2008 with glory at the World 10-Ball Championship. The following year he won the prestigious World Pool Masters in front of the Sky Sports cameras with victory over Nick Van Den Berg. Appleton will be playing in Gibraltar this coming weekend for the 25th edition of that invitational event. 
The US Open 9 Ball Championship – arguably the most famous tournament in American Pool, was next to be conquered by Dynamite' in 2010. The Englishman then continued to create history, taking down the 2012 World 9 Ball Championship in Doha, Qatar via a dramatic deciding rack victory over Li Hewen in the final.
One of his proudest moments was winning 9-Ball Gold at the 2013 World Games for Great Britain in Columbia, where he again held his nerve in a concluding hill-hill finish. 

Further World titles would be added to his glittering CV – successive World Straight Pool Championships in 2013 and 2014, and then the inaugural World Chinese Pool Championship in 2015 where he ousted Mark Selby in a gripping finale to avenge his loss to him in the 2006 WEPF final.  

Alongside partner Karl Boyes whilst representing England A, Appleton also won the World Cup of Pool title in 2014.

Appleton is perhaps most well-known for his heroics during the annual Mosconi Cup, where he has been a seven-time champion with Team EUROPE, scoring the coveted MVP award in 2010 too. He will join fellow Mosconi Cup winning teammates Chris Melling and Boyes during the Series at the Players Pool and Snooker Lounge in Stoke-on-Trent, England.

As recognition of his accolades within the sport, Darren was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Appleton is the latest in a galaxy of talent to sign up for the Series, which is highlighted by World Champions from various Cuesports disciplines and rule-sets, past and present.  

After an absence of 11 years from playing English 8 Ball, the temptation to be part of this historic concept was too great for Appleton to resist.  
The opening event of the campaign will be the Jason Owen Open between the 4th-6th May.

Appleton, Rossman Elected to Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame

Tom Rossman & Darren Appleton

The Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame welcomes a transplanted English 8-Ball star and one of the sport's most enthusiastic ambassadors to the class of 2017. The United States Billiard Media Association today announced that three-time World Champion Darren Appleton and "Dr. Cue" Tom Rossman have earned induction as the 69th and 70th members of the sport's most prestigious hall of fame.
Appleton, 41, will enter the Greatest Players wing of the BCA Hall of Fame, while Rossman, 69, will be honored in the Meritorious Service category. Both will be formally inducted during ceremonies later in the year.
Born in Yorkshire in northern England, Appleton split his childhood between English 8-Ball, soccer and boxing. He compiled a 12-4 record as an amateur fighter and won the junior national English 8-ball championship in 1996, at 16. Four years later, Appleton decided to devote full time to his cue career, and over the next decade he was the top-ranked player in the world seven times.
In 2006, Appleton left the English game and traveled to the United States to participate in the short-lived International Pool Tour. Appleton's American Pool career took off after his surprising win over Jiaqing Wu in the final of the World 10-Ball Championship in the Philippines. He followed that win with the World Pool Masters title in 2009.
Appleton won the first of his two consecutive U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in 2010, and captured his second WPA world title in 2012 when he beat Hewen Li of China in the final of the World 9-Ball Championship. Showing a propensity for winning in back-to-back years, Appleton won the Challenge of Champions in 2011 and 2012, and the World Tournament of 14.1 in 2013 and 2014. Appleton's 2013 straight pool win included a run of 200 and out against Francisco Bustamante, the highest recorded run in a major straight pool tournament.
He also scored one his great personal triumphs in 2013 when he edged Taiwan's Jung-Lin Chang, 11-10, to win the gold medal at the World Games in Cali, Colombia. Appleton added the World Cup of Pool title to his resume in 2014, teaming with Karl Boyes. And in 2015, Appleton won his third world crown, this time capturing a world 8-ball title by besting World Snooker Champion Mark Selby in the final of the Chinese Pool World Championship.
"It's really amazing to know I'm in the BCA Hall of Fame," said Appleton from Yorkshire, where he was visiting his ailing parents. "I can't really put it into words. To be playing American pool full time for only 11 years and achieve this recognition is incredible. There is no bigger honor for a pool player. This is the pinnacle. It's been a difficult year for me personally, so this is the kind of news I really needed. I'm very thankful."
Rossman was born in Minonk, Ill., and studied business management at Eastern Illinois University. But pool was always Rossman's true passion and he has parlayed that love into a 40-plus year career as a competitor, promoter, innovator, teacher and ambassador in the sport.
Rossman is credited with being the founding father of the modern day "Artistic Pool" movement. Rossman developed and promoted numerous events through the 1990s and was asked by then-World Pool-Billiard Association president Jorgen Sandman to help develop professional artistic pool competitions within the association's worldwide federation and have the discipline formally recognized by the world organization. Rossman served as president of the WPA Artistic Pool Division for more than a decade. The WPA World Artistic Pool Championship was first staged in 2000, and has been held every year since. Rossman won the title in 2006, and was runner-up on three occasions.
Rossman's efforts in organizing trick shots as a competitive discipline was also instrumental in the development of the ESPN Trick Shot Magic shows, produced by Billiards International. Trick Shot Magic continues to draw the highest ratings of any televised billiard programming in the U.S.
Rossman is a master teacher as well, certified as an Advanced Instructor by the Professional Billiard Instructors Association and the American CueSports Alliance. He continues to travel the country promoting the sport, reaching thousands of junior players and enthusiasts.
"I am humbled and honored to be elected into the BCA Hall of Fame," Rossman said upon hearing the news. "Starting out as a rack boy at the age of 10 provided an initial foundation for my billiard journey. My wife and business partner, Marty, and I share the joy of the roll with players, fans and students of the game around the world. We have been actively involved with all facets of the billiard industry at the junior, amateur and professional levels for a long time.
"The Hall of Fame designation is extra special in so many ways. When a person connects with his or her dreams, visions, blessings and passions in a heartfelt manner, he or she may truly rack up a victory in the game and, more importantly, in life." 
Voting for the 2017 BCA Hall of Fame was conducted by the USBMA Hall of Fame Board, which consists of USBMA members, elected At-Large members and living members of the Hall of Fame. To be eligible for consideration in the Greatest Players category, a player a) must be 40 years old by Jan. 1 of the year of their inclusion on the ballot; b) must have a professional playing career of at least 10 years; and c) must have recorded significant achievements in U.S.-based and international events.
Appleton easily outdistanced Women's Professional Billiards Association champion Gerda Hofstatter in voting. Appleton was named on 88 percent of the ballots, while Hofstatter was named on 45 percent. Vivian Villarreal, Shannon Daulton and Jeremy Jones were named on less than 20 percent of the ballots.
Rossman's nomination was recommended by the Meritorious Service Committee, which also recommended George and Paul Jansco of Johnston City fame for consideration. USBMA members voted to included Rossman on the final ballot, where he was approved by the Hall of Fame Board.
About United States Billiard Media Assocation
Founded in 2007, the United States Billiard Media Association is a non-profit association dedicated to elevating the visibility and status of billiards in the media at large. The USBMA consists of professional print, radio, TV, public relations and Internet media persons who cover cue sports. One of the association's main functions is electing of billiard media members to the Billiard Congress of America's Hall of Fame Board for the purpose of nominating and electing players and notable figures to the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.
About Billiard Congress of America
Founded in 1948, the Billiard Congress of America is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to growing a united, prosperous and highly regarded billiard industry through Billiard Congress of America leadership.  The Billiard Congress of America seeks to enhance the success of its members and promote the game of billiards though educational, marketing and promotional efforts, annual industry trade shows and other programs designed to encourage billiards as a lifestyle and make pool everybody's game. For more information, visit or call 303.243.5070.

Llandudno To Stage Snooker’s World Grand Prix

Judd Trump

The best snooker players on the planet will be back in Llandudno next March for the World Grand Prix.
The tournament was new to the calendar last season and received a fantastic reception in North Wales. It proved a great success as fans flocked to Venue Cymru to see an array of green baize stars including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, John Higgins and Mark Selby.
This season’s World Grand Prix runs from March 8 to 13 at the same venue in the beautiful coastal town of Llandudno. Tickets are on sale now and they are already selling fast. All supporters are strongly urged to book fast and make sure of their seats, as many sessions will sell out rapidly.
And for a limited time only there is a HALF PRICE OFFER for standard tickets for the first three days of the tournament, from Tuesday March 8 to Thursday March 10. That means you can buy a ticket to see top class sporting action from just £5…amazing value! For details call 01492 872000 or visit
The 2016 World Grand Prix will be a ranking event for the first time, with money earned to count towards the world ranking list. The field for the ITV4-televised event will comprise 32 players, chasing the trophy and a top prize of £100,000.
A unique ranking list will run from the 2015 Australian Goldfields Open until the 2016 Gdynia Open, with the top 32 players on that list to be eligible to enter the World Grand Prix.
Young potting sensation Judd Trump won the title last season, coming from 7-4 down in a superb final to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-7. “The World Grand Prix is a fantastic addition to the calendar,” said the player nicknamed The Ace. “I’m pleased to see it become a ranking event because that means there is more at stake and it will help the tournament grow.
“The crowds in Llandudno were brilliant last time and I thrive on that type of atmosphere. It was a great result for me to beat Ronnie in the final and hopefully I’ll be back defending my title next March, with a lot of support.”

Snooker in Bangkok

Joe Perry and Mark Williams

Player's Championship from the Montien Riverside Hotel. Bangkok, Thailand. 24-28 March, 2015
Sponsored by Sang Som, a Thai whiskey, and D88 a Chinese conglomerate. Aramith was the ball of choice.
Welcome to cuesports paradise. In Bangkok, pool is the amateur cueman’s game of choice as there are bar boxes in bars everywhere yet, it’s big-money snooker that gets the fan and media attention.
32 players of international repute including World #1 Mark Selby,  #2, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, China's Marco Fu, and the Thai local hero of the moment, Terchaiya Un-Nooh converged on Bangkok to vie for a prize fund close to half a million dollars.
These names may not mean much to you as snooker doesn't get much action on US TV. But there is always the Internet and Pretty much any snooker that is televised can be seen there and…for free.
Like the US, it was also nice to see the well known players openly hanging out in the lobby signing autographs and conversing casually with the fans. It’s also interesting to note that the front row of the audience was inhabited by many attractive, well dressed, young Thai women.
Thais love cue sport's. Not so long ago James Wattana put Thailand on the map as he had some close finishes on the world snooker tour. There are more snooker rooms than pool rooms but virtually every bar in Bangkok's party neighborhoods has at least one pool table while the music blares in the background, Most have more. Thai women love to play and revel in their success as they disclose to their unsuspecting, mostly male, foreign competitors that this “ain’t no disco.”
Pool also gets its fair share on Thai national TV as the Fox Sports International Channel delivers all the events that Accu-Stats captures; The US Open 9-Ball Championship, The Derby City Classic, and their "Make It Happen" Invitational series. Matchroom airs its World event's and the ubiquitous Mosconi Cup on another network.
Then, there are the serious pool rooms dotted along the sois (streets, pronounced soy) on and off Sukhumvit Rd. They have an expat pool league network that spans the bars and rooms that host some kind of tournament action almost every night of the week. Bigger events are held early Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Hustlers, a definite destination room near Asok Skytrain station on Sukhumvit, has a keep-em-coming-back strategy that allows competitors to accumulate points scored from finishes in their biweekly tournaments and, at season-end, the top eight share a pro-rated prize fund of 50,000 baht–about $1750.
Occasionally you see some "A" players pop-up but it's mostly neighboring Filipinos, on the stall, who hop on flights and sneak in under the radar.
Hustlers has hosted a series of 100,000 baht, about 3500 US, money games. The side action was just as heavy with the standing room only crowds.
Many times the likes of Mika, Shane, Darren, and Efren have stopped in and held clinics on their way to world events hosted in Asia. Even Neil Robertson has graced their blue Simonis.
The Sports Academy, a pool ball lob across Sukhumvit from Hustlers, has 9-Ball and 10-Ball tourneys on Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively,
The Sportsman on Sukhumvit, soi 13, had just expanded to the second floor to include 10 new 9 footers and contribute to the aforementioned, weekly tournament schedule.
In the these rooms, the equipment is always world class: The balls are always Aramith; Cuetec is the house cue of choice while blue Masters Chalk matches the Simonis Cloth. Magic Racks are prevalent.
But it's snooker that's the flavor of the day; pool will have to wait, especially, for the £300,000 prize money the Players Championship has up for grabs. With the world Championship offering £300,000 for first, you can imagine the millions that the top snooker pros have stashed in tax havens around the world.
The shot-making was extraordinary as the deceptively, tight pockets accepted balls that have to be sighted perfectly. Player's leaving 12 foot, table-length safeties were in for a rude awakening as Robertson, Trump, and Williams aggressively drove the unsuspecting balls deep in the back of the pocket.
And, there are so many more harmonious “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience as balls rattle and hang.
In snooker, balls stranded, close to the cushion–thanks to the rounded, rather than straight, cut of the pockets–are almost impossible to make down the rail with any speed. More mastery is applied as these single, loose balls are “developed” by being bunted into the middle of the table.
The weirdest rule for a pool player to accept is that a player can simply roll the cue ball snugly behind an object ball to snooker his opponent without any ball having to hit a rail after contact.
The race to 4 matches, short when you consider that the world championship can be a race to 17, really puts the pressure on the top guys, because, as we all know, shorter races benefit the weaker player.
The events 8 “centuries”–a 100 point run that is equally as important in snooker as it as in Straight Pool–got rousing applause from the knowledgeable, mostly Thai, audience. Robertson had the highest  with 138 while Williams had the most with 2. In fact, his first was right out of the gate against local hero Un-Nooh. 
The fan turnout was at it's highest in the opening, standing room only, rounds as everyone wanted to see the snooker superstars that they have seen mostly on TV. Maybe, it was the fact that there were so many early upsets that slightly, lessened the audience attendance as the event wound down.
Robertson and Selby were eliminated early by Wales’ Williams and England’s Mark Davis, respectively. Davis, incidentally, has won the last two “6 red” world titles here in Bangkok.
Trump, the last top ten ranked survivor, only managed to get to the semis. Plus, the tournament was also shown LIVE on Thai national TV. Altho,’ taxis are cheap, getting around Bangkok traffic can be slow going so many elected to view remotely from the comfort of their couch.
Finalist and 3-time World Champion Mark Williams altho,’ not quite as we’ll known, is no slouch either. Still high from leaping past fans in the lobby with “Hang Time” that would challenge Michael Jordan, Williams was exhilarated after his semi-final 4-2 trouncing of Trump. he also had eliminated World #1, Mark Selby in the second round.
After the dinner break, Williams entered the arena to face Londoner Joe Perry, an opponent much less exposed to the limelight. Perry’s less strenuous path had upset fellow Brits Stuart Bingham, Michael Holt, and Anthony McGill – all players he had competed against in the past in his tortuous route to becoming a champion. 
With a, seemingly, impenetrable 3-0 lead, Williams had led the charge. After his 3rd round comeback from down 1-3 against England’s Matthew Selt, Mark had stated, ”It's not the way you start the match, it's the way you finish," The 40 year old Williams would soon have to eat those words.
In, potentially, the 4th and final frame, Williams managed little when offered a jawed ball sitting in the mouth of the pocket, Perry never paused and punished Williams by taking the frame. From 1-3, it wasn’t long before the motivated, London underdog was back on the comeback trail. Williams was confined to his seat as Perry, inspired, gained power and momentum.
It was’t all bad, Williams had pocketed £38,000, about 60 thou US, and had guaranteed his spot in Matchroom’s 2015 World Championships in the Crucible in Sheffield, England. “I’m so happy about that because it was my main aim at the start of the season."
Joe Perry was jubilant with his first tournament ranking points title and, of course, the tasty £100,000, or 4 MILLION+, Thai Baht pocket money. At around 8 bucks an hour, that’ll get you a lot of pool on Sukhumvit. Of course, money like this, to Judd, is mere “Trump change.” 
To keep up with snooker, visit and, to watch it LIVE, 
Our thanks to Media Manager Tai Chengzhe for his assistance in this article and P.R. Director Mullika Tongneausuk for the gracious hospitality..

Appleton: “I’m still hungry and want more World titles”

On February 2, 2015, Darren Appleton became the first WPA Chinese 8-Ball World Champion, beating many snooker stars and Chinese 8-Ball specialists on his way to the title. In the final match he faced current World Snooker champion Mark Selby in a race to 21, which he won 21-19. We interviewed the champion to learn more about this game, his feelings, and what his plans are for 2015.
AZBilliards: Congratulations Darren Appleton, last week you became the first WPA World Champion of Chinese 8-Ball. Tell us how you feel?
Darren Appleton: I can't believe I finally won a World 8-Ball title after all these years of disappointments. I'm so relieved, it is definitely the biggest win of my career… And the most emotional I've ever been.
AZB: A lot of us are not very familiar with Chinese 8-Ball. Can you tell our readers about this game?
D.A: The game is played on a 9ft snooker table with nap cloth playing regular 8-Ball with American pool balls. So obviously, the pockets become super tight and it's very challenging for the top players.
It is China's main cue sport game now, and with the promotion they've made the last few years it is also the most popular to the general public. It has got a lot of potential.
I Love this game and it looks like the game is going to grow in China.
Hopefully my win will open a couple of doors up for me getting a big sponsor in Asia and more invitations to promote the game.
AZB: So, it feels to us like it was a competition as well as an exhibition to promote the game. The promoters invited many stars from Snooker and Pool, to help put their event on the map… With this stellar field, what did you think of your chances?
D.A: This is why my expectations were not too high. There were around 40 Chinese players in the main draw (stage 2) and I can tell you, all of them can play! I think around 16 of them could have claimed the title. Then you had the Brits and snooker players so I knew it was going to be tough.
I just went there as a challenge because of the level of the field. So many local players play the game so well… Yang Fan, recent winner of the joy Masters is a machine and the best player they have. But besides him, so many of them play so good… 
It's the best tournament I've ever played in just because the Arena was perfect, in a great venue with big crowds all the time (between 1,000 and 1,500 people). Playing conditions were perfect. Opening ceremony was amazing, we were treated like professionals. Practice facilities were amazing, as close as you can get to the match table.
Very well organized. Obviously, they spent millions on the tournament! 
AZB: You already had a strong English pool resume, but in less than ten years in pool you became one of the most successful players in history. Winner of a 10-Ball and a 9-Ball WPA title, two US Opens, two Challenge of Champions, a World Pool Masters title, and in 2014 the World Games and the 14/1 World Tournament… Do you sometimes take time to look back on these accomplishments?
D.A: Yes. It's hard to believe the success. Like you said it's hard to look back at times but when I do I think "wow, did I really do all that?"
Winning the Gold medal at the World Games might be the biggest title I won. I really don't know what to say… They're all special to me. But you know, winning the World 8-Ball was my dream when I first started playing pool. So, to win after so long, so many close misses, in a much bigger version of 8-Ball with a stronger field, great organization and massive prize money: it couldn't get any better.
With pool, there is no real "off-season", so I don't get much time to reflect, sit back and enjoy… It's a rollercoaster. One week I can be on top of the world, the next I lose and feel like I've hit rock bottom again. The good thing is, there is always next week. Pool is a very emotional and mental sport.
AZB: You're known for your work ethics, and mental approach. Did these help you overcome the new challenge of facing snooker stars as well as Chinese 8-Ball specialists?
D.A: Yes, absolutely. The most pleasing thing of the week was my temperament. My mistakes never affected me, and every match from the last 32 I had to break and run for the win. So, I'm really proud how I closed all these matches out.
Also, I had more break and runs than anybody else in the tournament. In seven matches I had around forty break and runs. From the last 16 I broke the best in the whole field. So that was a key to my success. It gave me a lot of confidence all the way.
AZB: You've won titles in all kind of games, and also came close to winning a major One-pocket title a couple of times; What does it say about the type of player you are?
D.A: It's so pleasing! I can win playing all disciplines… One-pocket, straight pool, 8-Ball, 9-Ball, 10-Ball, etc… I think that, to be looked at as one of the all-time greats it is important to have big titles in at least four disciplines. So many players are great at just one or two games. For me, improving my skills and knowledge will create longevity in my game. Learning all games was very important.
AZB: Besides being so successful individually, you also won the Mosconi Cup five times, the WPA Team Championship with England, and recently the World Cup of Pool with Karl Boyes, also playing for England. Do you have any preference, playing on your own or as part of a team? Do you have a different approach of team competitions?
D.A: I like both obviously. Individual is what we play most of year. Players are selfish and want all the success… But teams is a nice change, I enjoy the atmosphere and it's great working together and seeing other people's faces share that success. Also, you learn a lot about your team mates mentally and from your opponents so that helps for later when you're playing against them in singles events.
Playing individual or team puts a different kind of pressure and has different meanings. Doubles is a little different because you get to play every match. In teams you can be sitting and watching for hours so it's important to support the team and stay in the "team bubble", which is something I really enjoy… I've played pool in teams at the highest level in English 8-Ball and American pool for over 20 years and captained my country also at both games so I've got lot of experience and I know I'm a good team player and good for my team mates as I feel I love the team leader role and I always try and get the best out of my team mates.
Playing singles… You play for yourself, nobody else cares except your family and friends . In team play you've got a much wider audience and lot of people that you would let down if you don't perform so that adds more pressure for sure, especially in the big team tournaments. The good thing with team sports is that amateurs can relate to that feeling also. Teams are so much more fun and pressure packed!
But in the end, as a sportsman the individual titles are the ultimate career achievement, for sure. For personal pleasure and making money I prefer to rely on myself.
AZB: After winning a major title – and the $98,000 that goes with it – so early in the year. Is it possible to have goals after this? How do you see 2015?
D.A: I'm still hungry and want more world titles. I will work harder now that my life is so good on and off the table. Life is great at home, I'm happily settled into marriage with my wife Angie. She's amazing, supportive and allows me to be away from home for so long… I miss our dogs but I know they're fine and they keep her company.
I can really focus on pool this year. I will just play with confidence now and try to win more and improve my game as I have nothing to worry about. I'll try to get more titles and win as much money as possible. This win took a few days to really sink in, but I'm back to practicing this week and getting ready for the WPA World 10-Ball Championships coming soon. 
AZB: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish you all the best for the future!
D.A: Thank you. I would like to thank my sponsors Predator cues, Strachan cloth, Diamond billiards and Cheqio precision drink for their continued support. Also the CBSA and Star people for putting this great event together. And of course all my fans, friends and family who send me so many support messages on social media.