With the tables packed away until the next tour event in July, the room emptied, and the players gone, we have the chance to look back at the three pool events held last weekend at the Erskine Bridge Hotel, starting of course with the Scottish Open. This event began on Friday and came to its spectacular conclusion on Saturday evening.
Over 200 players had started the tournament from as far afield as Morocco, but by early evening we were down to the final four. With three of the players being Amateurs, it’s fair to say this was a break from the norm, and yet more evidence of how far the sport of pool has come in recent years.
Jourdon Templeton was a name not widely known but he played a blinder to get to the semi-finals, where he came unstuck when going down fighting to fellow Celt Scott Gillespie with a 7-4 scoreline. Meanwhile, better known amateur Andy Blurton was put to the sword by antepost favourite Marc Farnsworth 7-1 in an exhibition of clinical finishing.
That left an England versus Scotland final which naturally attracted the vociferous spectators with the age old sporting rivals between the two countries, though nobody knew what a feast of pool fans were in for.
High calibre standard
Frame after frame and clearance after clearance, all of the very highest calibre play enthralled those watching, both in the room and around the world on the HD livestream. Marc got over the line with a 7-5 victory that once again advertised all that is good about blackball pool, and the IPA Tour in particular.
Another day, another trophy and in this case two, with the professional final and the amateur final to get to, both carrying as much kudos to their respective groups. In the first case, the chance to be seen as the best pool player around, the second a step on the ladder to the ultimate goal, and an invitation to turn pro next season.
The amateurs stepped up to the table first with all four semi-finalists equally worthy of a mention, so a big well done to Zack Wilkinson, Matty Challen, Steven Campbell and Scott Dunbar for making it that far, even if it was Matty and Steven who got through to the finale, after last frame 7-6 victories in both cases.
Naturally, a battle like that was a certainty to take it out of both players but it was Matty who coped best to come home with a 7-2 victory and jump up the amateur rankings to five, while his rival will have to be content for now with second prize and joint-top in the rankings at this stage.
Farnsworth the main man
On to the Professionals to round things off and a rejuvenated Andy McDonald beat Clint I’Anson 8-6 to set up a final with Open champion Farnsworth, who beat Simon Ward 8-3 in the other semi-final and was clearly hungry for the double.
What looked like an even fight didn’t exactly go as planned as a re-rack decision that he clearly didn’t agree with seemed to rile Marc in to action, in a one sided final that eventually resulted in an 8-1 victory for Farnsworth. He landed the double both for himself and the punters who sent him off as favourite for both events with IPA betting partners Coral.
To conclude, at the risk of upsetting other top players, it was discovered that at this moment in time, Farnsworth is top dog and the one the others have to catch (and is now top of both the Tour and the professional rankings).
Fans learned that top nine-ball and snooker players are taking an interest in the sport (professional snooker player Jamie Burnett and leading nine-ball exponent Jayson Shaw both had a good run and loved every minute).
It was also found out that the IPA is the only pool tour worthy of the name, is continuing to gather pace and is generating more media exposure for the sport and the players than ever before. But most importantly, it is attracting both the better players and all the top class new players as well, which can only help the sport which is widely love – and that is what the IPA is all about.