Scotland’s Mark Boyle continued his fine recent run of form, to collect his third piece of silverware from his last three IPA events, with yet another win, this time in the inaugural Scottish Grand Prix.
Victory was cemented with the winning black in an 11-8 victory over arch rival, great friend, and Scottish colleague, the former World Champion Liam Dunster.
McGoldrick’s pool and snooker bar in Rutherglen, just on the outskirts of Glasgow, was the host for the newest event to be added to the IPA calendar a venue rightly regarded as the finest of it’s type in the UK. The club provided the best conditions possible for the players over the three days of action, which featured the top Professional players from the IPA ranks, with a healthy and high quality mix of Amateur players, who we all know can play at the highest levels.
The big names who had made the journey included Boyle and Dunster, plus current World Champion Clint I’Anson, as well as former World Champions Craig Marsh and Gareth Hibbott, and also the likes of Cory Rees and the highest ranked Scottish player in the event – Ross Fernie. Victory for Fernie or I’Anson could have seen them take the Number 1 spot from the absent Marc Farnsworth in the Pro rankings, but it wasn’t to be on this occasion.
The action got underway Friday with players vying to make it to the next round where the Pros made their debuts, and with a double elimination format in place and the longer races much preferred by the players , everyone left feeling they had plenty of pool regardless.
It didn’t take long before we started to see the first Professional casualties, with the likes of the in-form Tom Barley and Gav Robinson sent to the losers section along with Jason Hill, Chris Bowron, Adam Griffiths and Carl Clark, to demonstrate once again the strength in depth there is within the sport.
As we progressed towards the last 16 and the start of the single elimination format, all the big names made fairly comfortable progress. Fernie succumbed to Dunster in the final qualifying round, and bizarrely drew the same opponent after securing his place in the last 16. It was a match to forget for the aspiring Pro number one as he was demolished 9-0 by a simply relentless Dunster, sending a clear warning to the rest of the pack that he is back!
Rees was the only other major name to be sent packing by the impressive Liam McPherson, but his run came to an end in the next round by the enigmatic Craig Marsh. Dunster won the battle of the former World Champions, beating Hibbott by a tense 10-8 scoreline, whilst Dan Davy continued his recent run of good form to take his semi final spot against Boyle, to renew a rivalry that has developed over recent events.
Both semi finals resulted in 10-3 victories for the two form players, which set up an all-Scottish final between Boyle and Dunster.
As you would expect between two greats of the game it was a quality affair though both players made the odd unexpcted error, proving they are human after all, with the importance and prestige of the title adding to the pressure. It was Dunster who eventually made a few more mistakes than his opponent as Boyle eased to an 11-8 victory, to reinforce many observers view that he is simply the best player in the world right now.
So, Mark “Mr Magic” Boyle became the first ever winner of the Scottish Grand Prix and congratulations to him, while we also need to thank our hosts at McGoldrick’s who put on a superb event for the players, with ideal playing conditions.
We look forward to returning to the same venue in December for the Masters, which will again feature longer races and double elimination.
Entries are already filling up, though do remember the event is open to everyone – you can enter via the IPA shop at https://ipapool.com/product/2023-ipa-masters/ and take on the very best in the sport of pool.
See you there!