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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.

Rhodes Lead to Silver as Waddingham Takes Gold

Craig Waddingham

A combination of gritty, gutsy pool combined with the likes of Phil Burford and Mark Gray playing in the Challenge division this season will ensure that the quality of cueing on show really does prove this to be the toughest ever field in this division.

Noteworthy results came from the very beginning, with new qualifier Steve Sears taking a dream 9-8 victory over Mark Gray in his very first match. Surely the other highlight amongst the results was Paul Taylor’s tremendous comeback against Mark Shepherd, finding himself 8-2 but going on to win the match 9 racks to 8. In what can now only be described as a brutally difficult field, it was November’s Challenge Cup finalist Craig Waddingham and former snooker professional Michael Rhodes who took to the floor in the first Challenge Cup final of 2012.

Waddingham was in high spirits coming into the event having come off the back of a runner-up spot in the final Challenge Cup event of last season. Kicking oni from where he left off, he neatly knocked out Mark McDonald and Adam Stevens by respective scorelines 9-3 and 9-5 to set up a last 16 encounter with Aslam Abubaker. GB9′s leading wheelchair player couldn’t quite carry on his excellent form, however, and Waddingham took another 9-3 victory to secure his place in the quarter-finals. Here, in one of the best matches of the entire weekend, Waddingham saw off Jack Whelan by 9 racks to 7, with each player contributing FOUR break and runs to the match – a staggering achievement for a Challenge division match. His semi final against Glenn Cooney was a slightly more grinding affair, but a comfortable 9-4 finish saw Waddingham through to his second consecutive Challenge Cup final.

As a newcomer to the tour, Michael Rhodes had to endure an extra round to Waddingham on his road to the final. He made short work of Nathan James, however, with a 9-4 victory of his own ensuring progress to the last 64. Michael Brisley was the next to succumb to the County Durham cueist, leaving the tournament 9-6 before Penzance’s Robin Cripps bit the dust – a further 9-4 defeat ensuring the Cornishman left the competition and Rhodes progressed to the last 16. Jamie Yates, another GB9 debutant at the weekend, was the next victim of Rhodes. A gallant 9-7 defeat wasn’t enough to keep Yates in the competition and Rhodes progressed onwards to a 9-4 victory against Kevin Simpson. Awaiting the County Durham shooter in the semi-finals was last year’s September Challenge Cup champion Eric Dockerty, eager to make it into a second final in three attempts. His efforts were in vain, however, and a 9-6 saw himself just 9 racks away from the perfect start to his GB9 career.

The final, however, was a perhaps surprisingly comfortable one for Waddingham. Despite having quite a run against the balls, Rhodes fought gallantly but couldn’t stop Waddingham from charging towards the top of the Challenge rankings with a 9-4 victory in the final. The victory earns the man from Scunthorpe the £800 winner’s purse and the first gold medal of the Challenge season.