The 147 Sportsbar in Leeds was the ideal setting for the second of the Simonis World Series qualifier weekends, with the customary flights and accommodation on offer (plus prize money), for both Eire and South Africa, and the blackball action turned out to be everything we could have hoped for.
The action started Saturday with both the Pro and Amateur events with the Professionals playing double elimination down to the semi finals, before they complete the event on location, where they will be joined by the winner of the Amateur event, thus forming the 5-person Team Challenge, as well as taking part in both the Open and last man standing events.
The results soon started to filter through, and it was clear that the top names were not going to have it all their own way. A battle of the pool heavyweights between 2015 Player of the Year Marc Farnsworth and 2015 IPA World Champion Jack Whelan went all the way in a classic encounter, before Farnsworth just edged it. It was the only close call for Farnsworth who made serene progress to the semi finals and therefore qualified for the final stages in Eire where he will be joined by Clint I’Anson, who made short work of Ronan McCarthy in the final elimination round.
Into the losers’ section of the Pro event and Dan Davy finally made it on to the plane after two agonising defeats in the Reading qualifier weekend, with the final spot taken by Jordan Shepherd, who overcame fellow Welshman Craig Marsh in another high quality contest.
Eire Semi-Final Line Up:
Marc Farnsworth v Dan Davy
Clint I’Anson v Jordan Shepherd
They will be joined by Amateur Steve Thompson who overcame some extremely tough competition, defeating fellow North Easterner Chris Bowron in the final to take the last IPA seat on the plane.
On Sunday, a trip to South Africa was the prize on offer and created quite a buzz among players and fans alike. It was business as usual for Farnsworth who was rarely troubled as he made sure of another place in the final stages and added to his air miles for the year. Whelan was in a very tough section of the draw but managed wins against Ronan McCarthy and Jimmy Carney, but came up against a resurgent Craig Marsh, recent World Championship runner up, who in turn became the second player to book their seat.
Whelan was not to be denied though, as he was victorious against Carney in the final qualifier in the losers’ section. The drama was still not over, with the final match involving Shepherd and an extremely focused Harry Irwin. Irwin who has struggled of late, found his best form to defeat Shepherd convincingly for perhaps the best performance of his Professional career.
South Africa Semi-Final Line Up:
Marc Farnsworth v Jack Whelan
Craig Marsh v Harry Irwin
The competition in the Amateurs was just as fierce as Chris Bowron waltzed through the field unbeaten to take his place in the final, where he would be joined from the losers’ section by Nottinghamshire’s Connor Jones. In an incredibly tight match it was Bowron who got through in the end for what many felt was a deserved place after his efforts over the entire weekend.
So, congratulations are in order to all the qualifiers and commiserations to those who played their hearts out to create a great weekend of pool for every one involved. There will, of course, be more opportunities in April when we head back to Reading for the final two qualifiers of 2016, where you could win a trip to either Northern Ireland or Norway (or both), so why not enter now while there are spaces left?
Finally, our thanks to everyone at 147 Sportsbar who provided a great setting for the weekend and looked after everyone throughout.