Third Time Lucky for Shane Appleton

Shane Appleton

'Straight-Shooter' Shane Appleton defeated close friend and fellow Pontefract resident Ben Finch by nine racks to five to claim the GB9 Cue Club International Challenge Cup in Daventry. Finch, who was looking for his second Challenge Cup title of the season, took an early 4-0 lead in the final only to see the consistency and determination of Appleton kick into gear  to allow Finch just one more rack. It was Appleton's third consecutive final in the Challenge Cup, an unprecedented achievement in the GB 9 Ball Tour's three year history. After his win, Appleton said, “This is a big monkey off of my back! I came here thinking that I cant possibly make three finals on the trot but when I beat Luke Rollison in the quarters I knew I could go all the way. Ben shot off like a train but from 4-0 down I've played great”. Of his current consistency, Appleton commented, “It's all down to hard work and putting the hours in, Darren's help with safety and kicking has been key, along with confidence and enjoyment, right now I've got both in abundance”. A convincing 9-1 win over Stewart Colclough in the semi final was certainly the highlight of a good day's hard graft, wins over Louis Callaghan 9-1; Aslam Abubaker 9-5 and Luke Rollison 9-6 completes the story.

29 year old Finch, known as, 'The Finisher', proved once again that he is on the right road to a career in the American game with victories over Philip Morgan 9-6; Mark Hopgood 9-4; Andy Barnett 9-3 and Neil Margossian, appearing in his first GB9 semi-final, 9-5. When the draw threw out the Finch/Barnett quarter final, Finch knew it was a chance for instant closure on his 21-19 challenge match defeat to 'Barney Boi' last week. The pair are good friends off of the table yet each realise the importance of having a 'business head' whilst holding a cue; it was Finch on this occasion who had the pound signs in his eyes.

With just one event left of season three, players will no doubt be looking at the rankings to see if they are in with a shout of a top 8 berth to unlock the door to the coveted Pro Division. Both finalists at this event are already there and are sure to do some damage next season against the nation's elite. With the strength of next season's Challenge Division looking likely to increase yet again, with more and more English 8 Ball players sitting up and taking notice of the American game; a promotion to the Pro Division may actually be a blessing.

GB9 is proudly sponsored by Barcelo Hotels, SAM Leisure, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls and Mezz Cues; making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues. The GB9 Daventry Challenge Cup was sponsored by Cue Club International.