Apologies for the delay but I have needed some time to recover after the European Open last weekend which was a roaring success despite the obvious and not unexpected teething troubles associated with a new venue, hotel, and so on.
As always, the players and committee rallied round pulling out all the stops to make it work and they were rewarded with what I felt was perhaps the most enthralling and exciting tournament since I was tasked with the occasional write up?
Remembering that I approach this as a pub player with no delusions, I did call the winner very early on in the competition (if only I could place a bet?), but aside form that little bit of bragging, I called plenty of other matches incorrectly which made the whole competition a lot more fun and more difficult to second guess than it has been in the past.
All the “faces” were there, in Carl Morris’ case accompanied by the BBC who were doing a feature for See Hear (which will be broadcast in a couple of months, so watch this space for details as soon as we have them), and the thing that strikes me, as a sports journalist of many years, is the camaraderie between all the players, professional and amateur, new and more experienced, which I have not come across in other sports to that extent. The fact that no referees were needed until the finals also stands out (in which other sport can the players be trusted to be honest and police themselves?), and is something we can all be proud of after a weekend that advertised all that is good about the sport we all love.
Down to the action and having accepted the impossibility of reporting on all or most of the matches I will save my creativity for the European Open Final, played on Sunday afternoon and between Gareth Potts and Clint I’Anson, with both players early at the top of their game to get to the finale in the first place, but who would come out on top in a race to eight? The fact is that the final score does rather take away from the effort put in by Clint in the final itself and was perhaps a little more lopsided than the reality, but 8-2 is what
the record books will show, and I don’t believe any one can argue that the best player on the day won the title. Those watching, including plenty from the local pool leagues and thousands on the live stream, were treated to an exhibition of just about every facet of the game from pure unadulterated potting skills throughpositioning, tactics, snookers, and the full use of the rulers, so something for everyone watching wherever they were and a final worthy of the name, which is what we all wanted.Meanwhile, the amateurs were playing out their final elsewhere and Scott Surridge versus Ian Ali turned out to be an absolute
corker of a match, going all the way to the wire before Scott took the title with a 6-5 victory. The standard was amazing for an “amateur” event, and I doubt anyone would be able to differentiate them from the professionals if they didn’t know better. Congratulations to both players in a match where neither player deserved to lose to be fair but at twenty-three years old, Scott looks to have a bright future ahead of him while Ian will no doubt be back to fight another day!All in all, and considering this was our first tournament at the venue, we feel that apart form the odd niggle, the European Open was an unqualified success, and we hope to see you there for the next event on the 2012 tour!