A scribe’s life is not always as glamourous as some would have you believe, and I have spent the last two days pretty much underground in the Cedar Tree Hotel in Bradford, reporting on the Fayre IPA UK Open – some of you may have even read my preview.
In brief, the best 8-ball pool players from both the United Kingdom and worldwide descended on the 21 tables in play, 220 or so in total with the action starting Friday and ending Sunday evening.
Having set you up with my dodgy suggestions/selections previously, it seems only fair that I report in on the actual results for those who managed to get a bet on, and as Saturday afternoon turned to evening I was getting pretty excited with my suggestion Liam Dunster in the first semi-final and my “next best” Marc Farnsworth in the other – happy days. Naturally, life is never that simple as I watched Liam go 4-0 down to Jon McAllister, himself a former World Champion, but you can never write Liam off and he got to the hill leading 7-5 and 7-6, before falling over the line with a high-pressure clearance to win 8-7 and give me a place in the final, and a chance of getting something right for a change. It was like a deja vu moment in the second semi as Ross rushed to a 4-0 lead, and Marc started a comeback – but this time things didn’t go my way with Ross coming home the victor 8-4.
The final started cagily as you might expect, as the two Scottish friends sized each other up early doors, but it was “outsider” Ross who quickly took control with some amazing clearances before he came home a very comfortable 8-2 winner, leaving me to tear up those losing betting slips (again).
Sunday is busy but quieter with those knocked out already on their journeys home, but three finals make it interesting at all levels with the Open, Amateur and Ladies events still to be decided.
Those who celebrated or commiserated late in to Saturday night were clearly suffering at 10 in the morning as the next games were called on, but the better players seemed to be saving their celebrating for another day, and by the time we reached the semi-finals of the Open, there were no huge shocks with a line-up of three professionals out of four, but I need to give a special mention to Evan Parry-Williams who was the only amateur to break the mould, as he played Liam Dunster in our first semi, with Mark Boyle against Clint I’Anson in the other. Sadly this was a bridge too far and Liam came through 7-2 while Clint saw off Mark in a final frame decider to make it an all pro final between the Number One and Number Two on the rankings. For those who don’t know, Clint is Nottingham born and bred and a huge fan of Nottingham Forest, and having seen his team clinch promotion to the Premier league in the afternoon, he was looking to end his day on a real high. Whether his mood had anything to do with things only he will know, but he came home in front 7-2 in the final to crown a fabulous weekend, and suggest he will be a force to reckon with for the rest of the season.
In the Amateur event I got it horribly wrong with my suggestion heading out of the tournament in the third round, and some new names heading toward the prize fund and the vital points they all want to gather to get invited to turn professional next season. Wayne Fryer played Lyns Davies in the first semi, Wayne Parker v Liam Clark in the other, with the scorelines 7-5 and 7-1 in that order and leaving us with a Wayne v Wayne final -probably for the first time ever. With his South African fans tuning in from home Wayne Parker would have been hoping for a victory but it was not to be his day with Wayne Fryer winning 7-3 to add his name to the record books – though I suspect we will see plenty more South African challengers over the months ahead judging on Mr Parker’s excellent performance.
Last but certainly not least we had the fiercely competitive Ladies event, and as I mentioned in my preview, the standard goes up and up event after event. The final four consisted of Danielle Randle, who played Bec Sweeney, and Amy Beauchamp who played Harriet Haynes, with the scores panning out at 6-1 and 3-6 to leave us with a Danielle v Harriet final. With Danielle still on an upward curve and Harriet the undoubted Number One it was always going to be interesting, but experience came out on top with Harriet adding yet another trophy to the cabinet after a 6-2 success.
And so, as I headed off on my five hour drive home, leaving the others behind to take the tables and lights down and pack up ahead of the next tour event in Coventry (15-17 July, a few places are still available via www.ipapool.com), we can all draw breath – and look forward to seeing it all unfold in a few weeks time.