Chris Melling brought the season’s curtain down in some style at the GB9 Northern Masters this weekend, held at the Barcelo Blackpool Imperial Hotel, beating Darren Appleton in the final by a convincing eleven racks to four scoreline. The victory was underpinned by a fine display of breaking from the Keighley based two-time former World English 8 Ball Champion to accompany his trademark fluent pace and unwavering confidence; giving ‘The Magician’ his first British 9 Ball ranking title. “It’s always nice to win your first but it’s been a really weird year”, commented the champion immediately after the final, “I’ve had a lot of bad luck off of the table but on the table, it’s been my best year so my emotions are pretty mixed. I had a little bit of luck in the early part of the final in fluking a 9 Ball but you need luck, you’re never going to win a big tournament without it.” Melling becomes the fifth different winner in five Main Events over 2010 joining Daryl Peach, Mark Gray, Karl Boyes and Imran Majid in taking home the majority of the £30,000 handed out in prize money in Main Events alone.

chris melling1 Melling Triumphs at GB9 Billiards Event

Melling brought the season's curtain down in some style at the GB9 Northern Masters this weekend, held at the Barcelo Blackpool Imperial Hotel, beating Appleton in the final by a convincing eleven racks to four scoreline.

Although undoubtedly playing the best Pool in Blackpool over the three days, Melling’s final appearance looked in serious doubt as he sat in his chair at 8 – 8 during his race to 9 quarter-final, watching Craig Osborne line up a tough 9 Ball into the side pocket but thankfully, for Melling and his supporters, ‘The Shotgun’s’ attempt could only find the far jaw for Melling to step up and stroke it home. That glitch aside, Melling’s path was nigh on problem free as he made a mockery of the supposedly tight SAM Magno Pro pockets to see off Sam Corsby 9 – 3; Andy Worthington 9 – 5; and Mark Gray 9 – 4. Not even a resurgent Gary Bullocke from Glastonbury could put a stop to Melling’s challenge, claiming just three racks in their semi-final encounter. On the subject of the pockets Melling is quoted, “I don’t think they’re that tight actually but even if they are it can only be a good thing because when you go to events such as the Eurotour after playing GB9 you can’t miss”. Indeed Melling will be going to a Eurotour and this time with a big goal in his sights – the European number one spot. Currently sitting in second place, Melling has the opportunity to overtake fellow GB9 star Karl Boyes next week in Spain. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought about being Europe’s number one so soon but if I did, it would probably be right up there as my biggest achievement to date behind winning my world titles at 8 Ball”.

For the majority of players, a defeat in a national ranking event final to follow taking the US Open crown would be a relatively easy pill to swallow but for Darren Appleton, his face said it all – annoyance at not adding another trophy to the collection. Surprisingly unable to match Melling’s consistency on the break in the final, Appleton will no doubt be hitting the practise table hard in preparation for the forthcoming Mosconi Cup next month. Imran Majid fell to ‘Dynamite’ in the semi-finals 9-4 but he was in good company at least as he joined Adam Stevens (9 – 5); ‘The Omen’ Damian Massey (9 – 4) and James Kay (9 – 7) as Appleton’s victims on the final day. Young hot-shot Jack Whelan, yet another convert from English 8 Ball will perhaps take the most solace in losing to Appleton, taking six racks off of the eventual runner-up in their last 32 showdown.

So the GB 9 Ball Tour’s third season is over – fifteen tournaments containing arguably the strongest batch of 9 Ball national talent on the planet and for the second consecutive season, that batch is headed by Bourne’s finest export, Mark Gray. For the GB 9 Ball Tour official rankings and details of how to qualify for the 2011 season, visit www.gb9balltour.com.

Report courtesy of iPool Magazine


darryl peach gb9 Melling Triumphs at GB9 Billiards Event

Blackpool-based former World 9 Ball Champion Peach ended the professional year on a high note by claiming the 2010 GB9 Blackpool Pro Cup, defeating Gray in a tense hill-hill final match.

Blackpool-based former World 9 Ball Champion Daryl Peach ended the professional year on a high note by claiming the 2010 GB9 Blackpool Pro Cup, defeating Mark Gray in a tense hill-hill final match. Peach won the lag to ensure his break cue was in use should the match go all the way and it proved the most vital shot of the match as, after a brief discussion as to whether the requisite points had been made from the break (the six ball having broken the head string by a mere millimetre), ‘The Dazzler’ duly dished the balls to take the title and his place as number one on the Pro rankings. “Both me and Mark struggled and I don’t know why because I’ve felt great all day, perhaps I was a little bit over-confident as I’d beaten some good players convincingly. A few years back one of these events would be like another day at the office but nowadays I feel proud because of the standard.”

Peach’s quest for perfection has recently extended to having a table installed at home after the local pool hall closed and judging by his standard today it is paying dividends. “I’m loving practise at the moment. Now I can have a good half an hour at home and then go back to it later when I want rather than getting bored at the club after a few hours, it’s so much better.” After Darren Appleton‘s historic victory at the US Open, no incident involving Daryl Peach and a Dictaphone can pass without asking the obvious – ‘how does he feeling at missing out on that final Mosconi Cup spot?’ “I’m genuinely pleased for the lads that are in it, I really mean that. It just so happens that it’s me that’s got to miss out as Matchroom were never going to pick three Brits but it should just be the best five players. To be fair to them though I don’t think they relish picking the team.” Pushed for an opinion on which continent will be victorious come December 12th, Peach smiled, “I’ve got to say Europe haven’t I…although I’m not so sure”.

Back to the action at the Barcelo Blackpool Imperial Hotel and before the final paired Peach with Mark Gray, ‘The Dazzler’ headed off Dave Nelson 9 – 6; James Kay 9 – 3 and Karl Boyes 9 – 6. In full-flow, not many can live with Peach’s unique mixture of simple technique and imposing aura.

In a reverse of the end of season main rankings, Mark Gray plays understudy to Peach ending as Pro Division number two. In Blackpool, victories over Matthew Ford 9 – 1, newly-crowned World Blackball Champion Jayson Shaw 9 – 3 and Imran Majid 9 – 7 assured him of his position.
Report courtesy of iPool Magazine


morray dolan Melling Triumphs at GB9 Billiards Event

Morray Dolan helped himself to his first 9 Ball title this weekend and not just any title, only one of the toughest amateur competitions to win in the world - a GB9 Challenge Trophy.

Morray Dolan helped himself to his first 9 Ball title this weekend and not just any title, only one of the toughest amateur competitions to win in the world – a GB9 Challenge Trophy. Dolan defeated Chichester’s Luke Rollison nine racks to seven in the final match to earn the biggest share of the £2625 prize fund. The 36 year old is amongst a growing number experienced English 8 Ball players turning to the bigger game in search of that holy grail of sporting phenomena – satisfaction. “I’m loving 9 Ball right now”, said Dolan post-victory, “Anybody who knows me will tell you I’ve been harping on for a while about how great this game is. It’s a lot more fun than English 8 Ball, where I can play for half an hour and get bored and it’s a real challenge, I’m encouraging as many players as possible to come and try it because the people here are just a different breed”. Dolan is joined by an even greater authority on the two sports than himself in promoting American Pool to the English game – statistics. In five Challenge Division events this year, three have been won by English 8 Ball converts. “Obviously when I came over there were a few people looking at me and wondering if I was good enough so I’m over the moon. The aim now is to put in more practise, I’ve actually only put in seven hours between this event and the last, and then to buy a cue worth more than £20″.

Dolan’s experience came to the fore in two hill-hill matches during the competition, coming out on top over Chris Robson and Stewart Colclough at the last 32 and quarter-final stages respectively. Wins over Jason Howard 9 – 2; Mike Rogers 9 – 6; Louis Callaghan 9 – 4 and Ben Moore 9 – 4 complete Dolan’s path to glory.

Although claiming that today was indeed his day in his pre-match interview before the final, Luke Rollison just couldn’t find the spark that had seen him dispatch such cueists as Chris Buckmaster, Neil Cummins and Andrew Morris to reach the last two. Rollison’s talent is undoubted though and will no doubt sparkle in next season’s Pro Division thanks to a sixth place finish on the Challenge rankings earns him promotion. Dolan recognised, “He’s a great kid and before we played the final I had been looking over and eyeing up his game. We’re from a similar neck of the woods but have never played each other before today. He’s about twenty years my junior too so he’s got it all to come I’m sure.”

Joining Rollison in the Pro Division for 2011 will be Shane Appleton (naturally, after his unprecedented three consecutive Challenge finals); Ben Finch; Stewart Colclough; Andy Barnett; Adam Shaw; Neil Cummins and Andy Worthington. The big boys will no doubt be looking at that list and the tour’s strength may well be measured by the fact that no one will be hoping to draw one of the above names in the professional ranks.

Report courtesy of iPool Magazine