Imran Majid Wins GB9 Scarborough Cup Billiards Event
The final match of the Great Britain 9-Ball Tour between Scott Higgins and Imran Majid had everything, including a massive comeback by Majid from 10-5 behind, an almost impossible task considering the alternate-break format, but the Maharaja doggedly clawed his way back to take the title for an unbelievable fourth consecutive win.
To add a little spice to the pot, there was a huge tweak as Higgins missed a short and straight 5 ball that would have taken him over the hill, and then in the final hill-hill match the spectators spotted a foul break, but neither player noticed.
Higgins still had his hand over his mouth in disbelief at his previous miss, and Majid had his back turned as he was collecting his playing cue, but the knowledgeable audience noticed that the break didn’t score the requisite points!
The GB9 tour uses a points system on the break, and players need to score three points to avoid a dry break. The tour involves three tournaments. The whole 128-player field enters the main event, and the 96-man Challenge Cup is the event is for promotion into the 32 elite professional players in the Pro Cup. Each player is entitled to play in two of the events, and to fit all these matches into one weekend in clubs that only have under 20 tables takes a very professional feat of organization.
It also demands optimum conditions, so the tour only uses brand new Z9 Billiard cloth on the finals tables, Aramith Pro Cup TV balls, and the tables are tapped using the EPBF Fast Rack – a rubber mat that has a template of holes to perfectly align some well-placed dimples into the cloth so that no triangle is needed to rack the balls – greatly reducing the time spent racking.
The resulting rack is tight as the balls roll into the small depressions for a perfect rack every time – so perfect in fact that the break can become quite consistent, and virtually encourages the softer, less spectacular cut-break.
To encourage the bigger break it was decided to adopt the EPBF’s three point rule, that is, one point for each ball sunk on the break, and one point for each ball to enter the kitchen (the breaking area behind the headstring line on the table). Failure to meet this requirement results in a technical dry break and the table should be handed over to the opponent.
Higgins should have come to the table to play, but as neither player noticed, Majid continued to clear the table for the 11-10 win, and his incredible fourth consecutive victory in the main event.
There are only two of the six events remaining on the tour, The GB9 Northern Masters in August, and The GB9 British Grand Prix in September.
Majid’s domination of the GB9 Tour is incredible – the tour features the cream of British snooker, English pool, and American pool disciplines, celebrity players, Mosconi Cup players, money players, the world 9-ball champion, the European #1 and #2. Next year there will be two players commuting from Norway to play on the toughest national tour in Europe (providing they qualify).
A pro player can come along and dominate a regional tour or league, but not a tour of this strength in depth.
Odds for a Grand Slam by one player before the tour started would have been astronomical, one million to one, but now, all Majid has to do is what he has done before, two more times and history will be made.