The IPA heads to the Isle Of Man for their season finale
The Isle of Man will be awash with hundreds of pool players this weekend (4th to 6th November) and there are bound to be fireworks.
The World’s best pool players will be in action this weekend at the Palace Hotel on the seafront as the IPA end their 2022 season with a classy list of events for Ladies, Professionals, Amateurs – and of course The Open.
With top money up for grabs as well as enhanced ranking points, this event takes on even more significance with seedings at stake ahead of the World Championships in February – and the chance of an invite to turn professional for the top amateurs.
Eighteen tables will be in action throughout the tournament with 200 players buoyed by 20 or so from the Isle of Man who have grabbed the chance with both hands, headed of course by professional David Addinall, who will be looking to do well on his home patch and move up the rankings accordingly.
As always, if you shop around you will find some bookmakers pricing up the event though this tournament is as tough to call as it always is – at the very top you need to be 100% focussed and on your game throughout, with fate often having a say in the results, with an unlucky kick or roll of the ball being enough to lose or win a frame which may in turn be the decisive moment. Therefore, with very little confidence, I give you my ideas of the likeliest winners!
There is so much talent here to pick from that it really is a needle in a haystack time. Liam Dunster heads the rankings and is never a player to be underestimated and it will be a surprise to me if he isn’t still in there by the semi-finals at least. He could well roll them all over here, but I am sticking with Marc Farnsworth, Mr Reliable and one of the game’s all-time greats. He will huff and puff his way through as he always does, and if he can get his break working in his favour, his patterns are second to none and he looks as good a suggestion as any.
I have been known to get these the wrong way round (sod’s law), but it is a rare occurrence for a player to win both, so I am going to stick my neck on the line and go for Clint I’Anson. “Mowgli’ has always been a player of immense talent but to me, and he has polished his game considerably in the last couple of years and is now at or close to the peak of his powers. A thoroughly likeable character (like most of them, to be honest), no-one other than each opponent will begrudge him victory, and if he is at his best, he may take plenty of stopping.
It doesn’t get any easier, believe me. Plenty in the amateur ranks will be chomping at the bit to turn professional next season, so this may well be the most competitive event yet, but decisions have to be made and I have come down on the side of Lee Anderson. Always a decent player, he has returned to the IPA tour looking as good as ever and if he can keep his focus, he may be able to win this and take a step forward from his current ranking of number four. It really is tight at the top and success here could even see him finish the season as number one, in a fascinating competition that will take some winning.
It looks all over bar the shouting in the Ladies rankings with Kerry Griffiths clear at the top, and much as I try to avoid going for the glaringly obvious, she is the likeliest winner here if her game remains at the same level as it has on recent tours. Danielle Randle looks her biggest rival on paper but experience counts at this level, and Kerry has a long list of wins to her name that may well be added to here.