Masterful Billiard Weekend for Majid
GB 9-Ball Tour / Solihull, West Midlands
by InsidePOOL Staff
February 1-3 was the inaugural event of Britain’s new official 9-ball tour—actually three tournaments in one long weekend—with a prize fund totaling over GBP11,000 (US22000 or EUR160000) at each event. The main event consisted of all 128 tour players, the Challenge Cup was for the 96 players aiming for promotion to the Pro Cup next year, and the Pro Cup comprised the elite top 32 UK professionals. The event was held in the beautiful Rileys Pool Snooker Club at Solihull in the heart of England.
This was a very successful and profitable weekend for Londoner Imran Majid as he eventually scooped up both of the winner’s trophies for the two events he entered, along with the winner’s checks.
A small-hours win over Phil Burford in the final of GB9 Pro Cup event gave “The Maharajah” his first trophy, and although the match was fairly one-sided (11-4 to Majid) many tributes have been made of Burford’s heroic route to the final, conquering 2007 World Pool Champion Daryl Peach with a 9-6 result in the quarterfinal stage, followed by a 9-7 semifinal win over the man who took third place at the same World Championships, Karl Boyes. An incredible feat for anyone, but an even greater achievement when you consider that Phil Burford is only 17 years old.
Majid then proceeded to win the grueling 128-man main event with a nail-biting 11-10 win over fellow Euro Tour champion and current Euro Tour number-one-ranked player Mark Gray, a former world-ranked (No. 71) snooker player. This was the trophy that made Majid most proud, as this was achieved after a tough day on Saturday and was the larger event with a very high-quality field. Along with the UK’s new world champion Daryl Peach were Euro Tour champions and several Mosconi Cup players, as well as several UK stars from the English pool game.
Re-emphasizing the strength-in-depth of the young 9-ball talent in the UK, 18-year-old Thomas Ainsworth-Smith won the final of the 96 player Challenge Cup with a gallant win over the more experienced Bradley Parker from Surrey.
As the score approached 10-10 and it was clear the match would be decided by a single rack, the pressure mounted and the errors started flowing, showing how much this tournament meant to the players.
In the final rack, Parker had a clear-cut chance to seal the victory with a fairly straightforward run-out, but an unforced error on his behalf gifted the match and the title to Ainsworth-Smith, who held his nerve to clear the remaining balls.
Solihull Pro Cup Results:
1st Imran Majid
2nd Phil Burford
3rd Karl Boyes
5th Mark Gray
9th Sam Gibson
Midlands Classic Results:
1st Imran Majid
2nd Mark Gray
3rd Raj Hundal
3rd Darren Appleton
5th Daryl Peach
9th Stephan Capaldi
Solihull Challenge Cup Results:
1st Thomas Ainsworth-Smith
2nd Brad Parker
3rd Tony Burton
5th David Walsh
Chun Hao Man
9th Ben Moore