The first event of the IPA calendar 2012 was an undoubted success, not only for the new committee, the players and the sport, but particularly for one young man from Middlesex.
Giuseppe D’Imperio have only be 19 years of age, relatively inexperienced in pool terms, and playing in his first ever International Professional Pool Player championship, but he has taken the world of 8 Ball Pool by storm to put it mildly.
This unassuming mild mannered lad has not only managed to capture his first major title whilst still in his teens, but in the process cemented his place in the sport’s history books by going on to become the first player ever to win both the British Amateur and British Open titles at his first attempt.
The competition overflowed with talent as 143 of the sports finest cuemen all broke off at the Blackpool Hilton Hotel over the weekend with an equal mix of raw talent, determined ambition and years of experience, including the cream of the sport such as current and previous World Champions Adam Davis, Gareth Potts, Mick Hill, Phil Harrison and Jason Twist, all with their eyes fixed firmly on the £3,000 first prize.
Giuseppe opened his account in style with a 6-0 win over Aaron Freeman ahead of his first notable scalp in the shape of the highly rated Lee Anderson, one of Blackpool’s latest 8 Ball exponents (6-1). His next opponent was Wayne Bristow who put up a real fight, but there was no stopping the march of the new crowd favourite as he went on to compete a 7-5 victory, showing that he has the nerve to match his undoubted talent.
Moving in to the seeded section of the draw he met his first professional opponent with the up and coming Karl Sutton who has been moving his way steadily up the rankings but who was not firing on all cylinders (or was not allowed to by Giuseppe), going down 7-2, and being closely followed by another professional in Clint L’Anson who capitulated 7-3.
Heading in to the dizzy heights of the final stages, some expected the youngster to lose his nerve and it can’t have been easy to play against fellow IPA newcomer and close friend Michael Hope, who had turned a few heads by defeating some of the sports’ well established players to get to this stage. On this occasion it was more of a mismatch as Hope succumbed 7-1, leaving Simon Ward next on the young Italian’s hit list. Arguably one of the finest cue masters in the sport, there was no room for hero worship here with a 7-2 victory setting up a mouth watering semi final clash with the world number one money challenge player, and former rankings number one Ronan McCarthy. Northern Ireland’s finest did miss a few chances early in the match, but Giuseppe simply took the match in his stride to come away victorious (8-5) and set up a frankly mouth watering final with seasoned professional Ben Davies.
Wale’s finest 8 Ball player in recent years was a clear favourite to take the title even after Giuseppe’s incredible run, but on one had told the youngster who threw laughed in the face of the form book with a fine demonstration of nerve and ability that equalled or bettered the brilliance of the Welshman.
The match was memorable for the very highest level of marksmanship and flamboyance but it was the next generation who managed to open up a gap at a critical time of the match, never looking back and going on to win the match 8-4 to lift the crown of British Open Champion before his twentieth birthday.
Ben Davies (left) and new British Open Champion Giuseppe D’Imperio (right)