What a weekend yet again

It’s difficult knowing where to start after a fabulous three days of intense, blackball pool action, played at the very highest of levels by close to 300 players at the superb Hilton Doubletree Hotel, just on the outskirts of Coventry.

The action on all 22 tables got underway at 9am Friday morning, with the Amateur event taking centre stage, after which the Professional players enter the fray for the Fayre British Pro Championships, culminating in the final at 9.30pm the following day.

The temperatures outside were as hot as the pool inside, and as usual, we had the ‘unexpected’ (but expected) surprise results in the early rounds, with form horse Clint I’Anson one of the main casualties, dumped out by the rapidly improving Robert Stephen. Stephen himself was spared no mercy by compatriot Mark Boyle in the next round, who didn’t allow his opponent to pot his first ball until the 8th frame, by which time the match was virtually over. An almost perfect performance from Boyle saw him move smoothly to the final, and within touching distance of another piece of silverware.

Indeed the last 16 saw some of the biggest names in the sport given an unusual early bath, including the likes of World Champion Liam Dunster, World Number Two Marc Farnsworth, and Champions Cup winner Cory Rees.

Jon McAllister came through a brutal and exhilarating battle with Ross Fernie in the quarters and would then ease through his semi-final against Luke Sanges, to take on the player of the tournament (so far) in Boyle.

Unfortunately for Boyle the pool Gods deserted him and despite a valiant effort, it was McAllister who took the spoils and the title to the delight of his local supporters, and the huge crowd that had gathered to watch at the venue, and online.

 

Onto the Sunday and the conclusion to four more events, which started off with the Amateur final between Matt Steeper and Ian Whitehorn – both very accomplished players and deservedly in the final.

Whitehorn’s quest for the title was not helped by the fact that his tip came off mid match and he was forced to borrow a cue from a friend – not the best thing to happen, let alone in a final. As the match went on, it was Steeper who became the more confident and a few nice finishes along the way took him to his first major IPA title, much to the delight of himself and his partner Becky, who was watching at arena side.

Onto the Ladies event final and could anyone stop the dominance of Harriet Haynes, who has won the last three events, including the World Championships?

Haynes unsurprisingly made it to the final where she would be up against the former World Champion Amy Beauchamp, who has struggled of late, but who seemed to have rediscovered some of her best form during the weekend.

 

The final was nip and tuck in the early stages, but it was Beauchamp who then hit some blistering form, producing some incredible shots when it mattered, and easing home 6-2 to take the title, and show that Haynes is human after all.

The final match on the stream table was the Open final – around 230 players at the start had been whittled down to the final eight by the middle of Sunday afternoon. We had a fascinating mix of Professionals and Amateurs, including the likes of Dunster and Farnsworth, who were in separate halves of the draw and most people’s favourites for the ‘dream’ final – but as we know, it rarely goes to plan….and once again,  it didn’t!

Dunster and a rejuvenated Craig Marsh exited at the quarter-final stage and then we were guaranteed an Amateur in the final as Lee Anderson and Phil Parkin took their place in the first semi final, with the bottom half of the draw playing out as expected, with Farnsworth up against Dean Shields for the other spot.

After the semi-finals had taken place, we had a Phil Parkin Marc Farnsworth final to lick our lips over – but could the Amateur player take the title, could he summon up enough resilience to upset the odds?

In the end Parkin was helpless against a faultless Farnsworth, who showed his class with clinical finish after clinical finish before romping home 7-1, to claim yet another trophy for his impressive silverware collection.

The Ladies Cup was the won by debutant Sharon James who beat Lauren Williamson in the final, and that wrapped  things up from the IPA Fayre British Championships, 2022.

Looking back, player feedback confirmed it was one of our best events ever (and that takes some doing), and our thanks go out to the whole IPA Team who delivered yet again, with a like to add a special mention to Alan Yates from 8 Ball Direct, who ensured the tables were as immaculate as ever.

That’s it for now, but the good news is we get to do it all again from the 2nd-4th September when Gosforth will be the next stop – see you all there!

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