Last weekend saw the next leg of the IPA Tour with the Scottish Open and Scottish Amateur tournaments PLUS the Pro Tour, all from the Erskine Bridge Hotel, Glasgow, and what a weekend (it has taken me this log to recover).
Picture the scene of you can – a massive, off the beaten track hotel, views of the River Clyde in the background – and fifteen pool tables in place, equally spaced and awaiting the best exponents of the sport of 8 ball pool anywhere in the World today. Personally, I felt like a fool turning up with a jacket, umbrella, scarf and so on, only to find Glasgow was the hottest place in the UK over the weekend, but somehow it did provide a more chilled out atmosphere with sunbathing going on between the matches (you know who you are!).
Day one was busy (well, everyone starts off in pretty much everything so the day is hectic), and with a little bit of teething trouble with the lighting (state of the arc wiring apparently), we had four tables or so out of action for most of the afternoon and evening, so a big thank you to all the players (and their friends and families) for their patience on what turned in to a very long night (3.55am finish zzzzzzzz).
Saturday started early (I won’t say bright and early after the late night), and again thanks to everyone for turning up on time for all their game though we did see a little (polite) frustration when matches had to be put back a little while but even the most accurate scheduling can only second guess how long a match will take, and plenty went all the way to the wire. Match after match went on and came off again, score cards were flying everywhere, tweets went out (or went astray), and the live streaming went ahead as expected providing plenty of games for the small fee of £2.99 (and no, I am not on commission).
Tweets and other messages told us we had people “tuning in” from South Africa, France, Spain, Malta, even the good old U S of A, so we must be doing something right, though don’t worry, we wont be sitting back on our laurels, so feel free to throw in a few ideas to make your tour bigger better and more efficient?
As for the pool, it is ridiculous to even consider a blow by blow shot by shot account of any of the matches, but it would be fair and accurate to say that the quality was of the very highest order with tactical skills and monster clearances the order of the day, all mixed up with sportsmanship and honesty you just don’t see any more (not even in golf), something the sport as a whole can be very proud of.
Finally, we must never neglect the amateurs (or the professionals of the future as many of us see them), with Jon McAllister taking his second consecutive event with a fighting victory over South African superstar Sandile Madlala despite shall we say a slow start?
As for the winners, well congratulations to Simon Ward for winning the Scottish Open by seeing off Lee Anderson 2-0 in a final that was nowhere near as one sided as that scoreline sounds (the one issue I have with the sets format), while the Professional Trophy saw the ever popular James Croxton take a well deserved prize by beating the in form Lee Clough to his obvious delight.
Lastly, the IPA (and I) would like to thank the Erskine Bridge Hotel and all their staff for making us all so welcome, the committee and everyone else who mucked in to make it the success it was, the local players, some of whom were on their first tour event (for being so warm and welcoming), and most importantly of all – you the players for making the whole weekend as tense and exciting as any event I have been lucky enough to attend – see you all in Warwick 13th September – unlucky for you if you don’t attend!