Scotland’s Liam Dunster capped off a superb year by winning his second televised IPA tournament of the year to take the inaugural Black Type Masters at the Savannah Club in Manchester, overcoming England’s 2016 World Champion Gareth Hibbott in a tense final, by 11 frames to 8.
The final itself seemed to hinge on the 16th frame, when Hibbott had a superb opportunity to take a 9-7 lead, but unfortunately he lost the cue ball into the centre pocket when seemingly poised to take the frame, and this seemed to give Dunster a new lease of life and he went on to dominate the latter part of the match to take the title and the £5,000 first prize.
This new event to the IPA calendar was shown live on Freesports over the three days, and featured the top IPA Professionals, Amateur qualifiers as well as the likes of Tom Cousins and Shaun Chipperfield, both ex World Champions and new to the IPA tournament scene.
Cousins was second favourite behind long time IPA Number one Marc Farnsworth, however it didn’t go the way he would have hoped and he exited the tournament in the early stages. Chipperfield fared much better, and an impressive performance in front of the tv cameras against 2017 World Champion Craig Marsh demonstrated his potting prowess. He eventually succumbed in the last 12, but certainly a player to look out for on the IPA Tour next year.
The quarter final line up was a ‘who’s who’ of pool, and picking a winner from any of the matches was a close to impossible task. The semi final line up was then made up of:
Jordan Shepherd v Liam Dunster
Gareth Hibbott v Marc Farnsworth
and with the tv cameras rolling, Shepherd and Dunster gave the crowd what the match deserved and the crowds were begging for with a final frame thriller. The first chance went to Shepherd, and it looked like he had done all the hard work after a well-constructed clearance, simply needing to roll his penultimate red in for his last red and an easy black, but unfortunately he came up short and couldn’t see his last ball to pot. Dunster then proceeded to clear the balls with precision under extreme pressure to take the frame and the match.
The second semi final saw a recently rejuvenated Hibbott take on pre-tournament favourite Farnsworth, the latter suffering from severe conjunctivitis during the weekend. Hibbott broke well in the match taking out several clearances and capitalising on some uncharacteristic errors from his opponent to run out a comfortable 10-4 winner.
Dunster therefore adds the Masters title to the Champion’s Cup he won earlier in the year and he will be looking to build on this success in the IPA Tour events next year, where he has yet to visit the winners circle.
The Masters brings to end a hectic year of live television on Freesports, which started way back in February with the World Championships, followed by the Champions Cup and the Premier League. They have been packed with drama, unpredictability and have provided great viewing entertainment and we are positive that 2019 will bring more of the same. At this stage, the IPA would like to take this opportunity to thank event sponsors Black Type and all the staff at Savannah Pool club for their tremendous hospitality who helped to make this tournament the success we all wanted it to be.