Sean Trivass writes:
Reading Pool and Snooker club provided the venue for the first historic step on the inaugural IPA World Series, presented in association with IwanSimonis, with the Professionals playing on the blue Simonis 861 cloth – the first time it had been used in blackball pool and apparently a popular choice with the players.
Professionals and Amateurs gathered to take part in separate events, with the four semi finalists in the Professional event and the winner of the Amateur event guaranteed to be jetting out to Malta – quite a prize! Once settled on the beautiful island they will compete in the Professional event, take part in the IPA v Malta select, in addition to the Malta Open and Last Man Standing competitions.
With such a prize at stake it came as no surprise to see a fierce contest, and with the unseeded draw, double elimination event, incredibly unpredictable. Josh Durant caused the first eyebrow to be raised with his 8-1 demolition of the highly fancied Marc Farnsworth, though sadly that was as good as it got for Josh as two quick losses ensured his focus moved on to the following day.
His conqueror in the winner’s side, current IPA Seniors Word Champion Jason Twist made smooth progress to become the first player through to the semis booking his the seat on the plane, after convincing victories over Jordan Shepherd and Craig Marsh. He was soon joined by the legendary Ronan McCarthy, who had to overcome strong resistance from both Kristian Phillips and Dan Davy – both being edged in deciding frame thrillers.
In the loser’s section, Farnsworth put his early defeat behind him to take the third spot on the plane, with the line up completed by Simon Ward who beat an unlucky Davy to the last place.
So the mouth watering semi final line up all set for Malta will be
Ronan McCarthy v Marc Farnsworth
Jason Twist v Simon Ward
They will be joined for the 5 person Team Challenge by Reading’s local hero Leroy Clarke, who first despatched IPA World Champion Jack Whelan, then ex World Champion Andy Lucas in the final to thoroughly deserve his seat on the plane.
Moving on to Sunday, with plane tickets to Gibraltar on offer for the qualifiers, and it was business as usual for McCarthy as he made rapid progress to the semis to confirm his seat.
He was soon joined by delighted Wales hotshot Craig Marsh who followed McCarthy into the semi finals and the chance to play in front of the knowledgeable Gibraltar crowd at the end of March.
It was an incredibly tough battle in the loser’s section with match line-ups that would grace the final of any high-end pool event. IPA Tour number one Neil Raybone came up against IPA Professional number one Clint I’Anson and in a classic match up, and with the added pressure of the plane ticket on offer, it was I’Anson who came out on top, and he was joined by Simon Ward, who overcame the again unlucky Dan Davy, who gave it his all but came up just short.
So the line up for Gibraltar will be
Ronan McCarthy v Simon Ward
Craig Marsh v Clint I’Anson
The same level of intensity was clearly evident in the Amateur event, but Saturday’s winner Clarke didn’t quite hit the same heights and made an early exit from the competition, though one trip is enough for anyone! Whelan was again the favourite to take the spoils but firstly Chris Bowron, then Rob Donkin ended his hopes. In the end, those two contested a thrilling final with Bowron making sure he will need to check his passport validity by taking victory two sets to nil.
So after completing a superb weekend in the first ever Simonis World Series, we would like to thank our hosts at Reading Pool & Snooker for looking after us all so impeccably, with every player enjoying the events, the venue, and playing on the superb Simonis 861.
Please note the next qualifiers weekend takes place at 147 Sportsbar in Pudsey, Leeds on the weekend on the 20/21st February which is, as always, open to any pool player who fancies taking part – we all hope to see you there.
For more details on the World Series, go to http://ipapool.com/2016-world-series-overview/