Archive Page

Reincarnation Of Pool Major Begins In Vegas

Si Ming Chen

The 43rd partypoker US Open 9-Ball Championship broke off at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas on Sunday as a 256-player field of the world’s elite pool players began their quest to land one of billiard’s biggest titles.
 
The reincarnation of one of pool’s oldest majors, now promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport, began at 9am with 33 tables breaking in unison. Among the first to move to the winners’ side of the tournament was reigning champion Jayson Shaw, who got his tournament off to the perfect start with an 11-0 dismantling of German Marcus Westen.
 
Later in the day Shaw defeated fellow Brit Tom Staveley while American No.1 Shane Van Boening is also still going on the winners’ side as is the tournament’s highest-ranked female player, Siming Chen of China.
 
But there were a wave of early casualties as seeded players including previous US Open Champions Mika Immonen and Kevin Cheng fell into the losers’ side of the tournament. World Pool Masters winner David Alcaide and Mosconi Cup winners Skyler Woodward and Tyler Styer also have just one life left in this double elimination format and must now win eight consecutive matches to make the last-16 stage of the event.
 
The tournament feature table, streamed live at Facebook.com/USOpen9Ball, ended with a classic between two American legends as Dennis Hatch and Earl Strickland battled out a hill-hill thriller before The Hatchetman delivered a decisive blow to knock ‘The Pearl’ over to the losers’ side of the brackets.
 
Play continues at 9am local time on Tuesday. The US Open is split into two stages with the full field playing double elimination down to the final 16 from Sunday, April 21 until Tuesday April 23. From Wednesday April 24 until Friday April 26 the final 16 players will play straight knockout in the Diamond Arena with global television coverage including Sky Sports and DAZN.
 
All matches at the partypoker US Open 9-Ball Championship are race to 11, winner breaks, except the final which is race to 13. The draw and match schedule for the first stage of the tournament is available now at www.matchroompool.com.
 
Players are playing for their share of a $300,000 tournament purse. The winner will take home $50,000, the famous US Open green jacket and the newly-commissioned Barry Behrman trophy.
 
Tickets for the 43rd partypoker US Open 9-Ball Championship are still available at www.matchroompool.com from as little as $10 with VIP packages also available for the final three days of the tournament.

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!

Shotgun Misfires As Rhodes Takes Maiden GB9 Main Event

Michael Rhodes

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

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.