MAGICIAN GETS THE RIGHT TRICK FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR
In the final of the 2012 Paul Medati Trophy, two of the best international players in the world came head to head: 2011 World 9-Ball semi-finalist Mark Gray against 2011 Mosconi Cup debutant and defending Paul Medati Trophy champion Chris Melling.
Gray was looking to kick-start his GB9 career after a frankly dismal 12 months, but his road to the final filled him with passion and confidence that he can taste tournament victory once again. Midlands Classic runner-up James Kay was first on Gray’s hitlist, leaving the tournament with a 9-3 defeat and sending Gray through to the last 32 and a meeting with Nottingham’s Kevin Simpson. He came up against a stern test but held on for a 9-7 victory. A 9-4 victory over Darlington hotshot Phil Burford was followed up in the quarter finals with another 9-4 win, this time against Kevin Uzzell, ensuring a semi-final against the in-form Chris Hall. Gray’s professional nouse was all that really separated the two in the match, and a 9-6 victory secured his first main event final berth since 2010′s edition of the Paul Medati Trophy.
Melling began the defence of his title with a 9-4 victory over GB9′s player/referee Martyn Royce in the last 64, and then followed this up by squeezing past a resilient Craig Waddingham 9 racks to 8. In the last 16 he recorded his second 9-4 result of the competition, this time against Stewart Colclough. Into the business end of the tournament, Melling came up against Jayson Shaw but managed to hold off the challenge of the Glaswegian, winning through 9 racks to 6 and setting up a semi-final date against another Scot, this time in the form of Edinburgh’s Andrew Morris. Melling held off a spirited fight from Morris and took a 9-6 victory, booking his place in the final and putting him one step closer to defending his title.
The final couldn’t have started off closer – the first 12 racks split six each including a phenomenal run of 6 consecutive break and runs, three for each player. Melling had a hidden gear through it seems, and from the 13th rack onwards put together some tremendous pool to leave Gray stranded. He eventually sealed the match in the 18th rack, coming through 11 racks to 7. He wins the gold medal, the £2000 winners’ cheque and, perhaps most poignantly, became the first player to ever successfully defend a GB9 main event title.
After his win, Chris gave a few words to GB9. “Obviously it’s great to beat Mark in the final, we both played fantastic pool and I don’t think either of us deserved to lose really. I think my break won me the game in the end. At 6 racks all Mark made a pretty bad error and I took my chance and then broke and ran. It’s all about maintaining form – my form’s
been great over the last 18 months and long may it continue!”. He also explained how the Pal Medati Trophy in particular is an important tournament to both himself, and those close to him. “I do a lot for charity both on and off the table whether it’s pool or snooker so it’s always great to be involved in a tournament like this. It’s close to my heart because my mum passed away through cancer last year. I’d like to dedicate this win to Lee Vause, Darren Vause and Tyrone Vause as their mother’s just passed away through cancer as well and they were all really good friends of mine. Hopefully this win will be something they can remember too.”
GUAPO BLOWS AWAY TORNADO IN THE PRO CUP
The second Pro Cup of the 2012 season ended up as a repeat of the third Pro Cup of last season, seeing ’Guapo’ Karl Boyes come up against The Tornado, Tony Drago.
Boyes’ path to the final started comfortably enough, putting together a solid showing to beat Darryn Walker 9-3 and send himself through to the winners qualifying bracket. The wheels temporarily fell off the Boyes bandwagon, however, with Imran Majid hammering Guapo 9-1 to send him across to the losers bracket. He did make it through to the quarter finals from here, but only just – a 9-8 victory over Arfan Dad enough to set up a last 8 meeting with Shaun Storry. Boyes seemed to turn on ruthless mode at this stage, taking a 9-1 victory setting up a second meeting the competition with Imran Majid. The Maharaja couldn’t make it past Boyes this time, however, and it was Guapo who won 9-6 to go through to his first GB9 final for eight months.
Drago started his tournament off in typically quick fashion. With a combined time of just 69 mins for his 2 matches in the double elimination stage, he saw off Stewart Colclough in his opening match 9-2 before winning his winners bracket match against Jayson Shaw by the same scoreline. A much sterner test came in his following two matches – Chris Hall gave as good as he got, but Drago saw off his challenge with a 9-7 victory and set up a rematch of his own against Jayson Shaw. As is always the case with two lighting quick players, the match time wasn’t going to be very long. Drago ultimately won through 9-8 in just 68 minutes and ensure a mouth-watering final against Boyes, both in their first final since they last previously met.
The final was just as hard fought as both players’ semi-finals, with Tony and Karl both playing clinical and professional pool. 16 racks couldn’t separate them, and it went down to Boyes holding his nerve in the 17th and final rack to take a nail biting 9-8 victory and seal his first GB9 title since the 2010 British Grand Prix.
SYMONS WINS MAIDEN TITLE IN INAUGURAL MARK LOVELL COMPETITION
In the inaugural Mark Lovell Challenge Cup final, it was the now seasoned Challenge division player Eric Dockerty up against Courtney Symons, who was making his best ever run in a GB9 competition.
Symons’ run to the final began in the Round 2: a 9-3 victory over Greg Jansz saw him through to the last 64, where a 9-2 win over Louis Clarke ensured his path through to the last 32 and a meeting with Wantage’s Neil Craycraft. 9-4 was the scoreline in favour of Symons there, and he disposed of Derby’s Jack Whelan in the last 16 by the same score. His opponent in the last 8 was the reigning Southern Masters champion Kevin Uzzell. The series of convincing margins of victory continued despite his stern opposition, with a 9-5 win this time taking him through the semi-finals for the first time. Here he met Benji Buckley who was also looking to make his first Challenge division final, but his ruthless form continued and a 9-2 win ensured it was Ipswich’s Symons who reached the final showdown. Here he met Eric Dockerty, making his second Challenge Cup final appearance in the space of three events.
Eric had started his run in Round 3, commencing with a 9-3 win over Jon-Paul Murrow to make him into the last 32. Penzance’s Robin Cripps was Dockerty’s next victim, losing . An excellent display in his first GB9 event from Spain’s Juan Carlos Exposito was ended in the last 16, as Dockerty came through a thrilling hill-hill battle 9 racks to 8 to set up a semi-final against Liam Waterworth. He breathed ever
so slightly easier here, coming through 9-6 and setting up a potentially mouth-watering clash with World 9-Ball Championship semi-finalist Mark Gray. That potential wasn’t very well lived up to however, as Dockerty pulled off the performance of his life to win through 9-3 and take a well deserved spot in his second final.
With two players in such tremendous form coming into the final, potential was there once again for a gripping encounter. The result, however, was anything but – a clinical, professional performance from Courtney Symons ensured that brought with it a 9-2 victory and saw him take home his first Challenge Cup title. Congratulations also go to Eric Dockerty – his run to the final sees him take the number 1 ranking in the Challenge division for the first time and putting him in pole position for promotion to the Pro Cup next season.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND FOR MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT
As is always the case on the GB 9 Ball Tour, the Paul Medati Trophy tournament weekend is also an opportunity for all players on the tour to donate to Macmillan Cancer Support.
As we look back on Paul Medati and Mark Lovell’s lives, it mustn’t be forgotten just how great the support was from Macmillan in both men’s last few months and weeks. As in previous years, all players were given the option to donate 5% of all prize monies won directly to the Macmillan pot – this generous act raised a tremendous £635, £100 alone of which came from tournament winner Chris Melling. Three quick fire flyer tournaments took place across the weekend which raised a combined total of £240 between the three.
Prior to the weekend a number of fund-raisers had been organised including a memorial tournament organised by GB9′s Chairperson, Andy Warden, which raised a total of £600; a 24-hour pool marathon
took place in Leicester organised and participated in by Barry French, Adam Stevens and Liam Waterworth, which gruelling feat raised a total of £305; and full-time professional and Mosconi cup player Darren Appleton raffled a signed Mosconi Cup shirt raising another £180.
Added to the fundraising at the GB9 Paul Medati Trophy itself, meant that the total amount raised by GB9 was a fantastic £1960 – a figure highlighting the generosity of pool players, despite such tough economic times. We at GB9 are confident that Paul and Mark would both be proud of all our efforts in supporting a cause so close to their hearts.