DAZZLER DETHRONES MAHARAJA FOR MAIN EVENT TITLE

The 2014 British Grand Prix came down to two of the country’s leading professionals battling it out for the spoils – 2007 World Champion Daryl Peach coming up against defending Southern Masters champion Imran Majid, looking for back to back GB9 main event titles.

Peach began his journey to the final in resounding fashion, sweeping aside Hungary’s Zoltan Kojzsa 9 rack to 1 to take him into the second round of the winners bracket. A much sterner test awaited him here, with leading Spaniard Juan CarlosExposito taking Peach all the way before succumbing to defeat on the hill. 9-8 saw Peach through to the winners qualifying round where he was to face. In the battle of master and apprentice, it was the apprentice who won through – Burford defeating Peach 9-7 secured his safe passage to the last 16 and put Peach one defeat from elimination. Peach was determined to get to the last 16, but the challenge of Nick Hayes proved a stern one. Peach saw himself home, however, and a 7-5 win was enough to put him back in the hat for the single elimination stage. This saw him draw none other than Phil Burford once again, and revenge was a sweet dish for Peach for it was he who reigned supreme when it mattered. He turned Burford over 9 racks to 5 and lined up a quarter final against fellow Blackpudlian Karl Boyes. A fine match was guaranteed and it was Peach who came out the better, winning 9-7 and putting him into a semi-final against defending Midlands Classic champion Chris Hall. With both looking for their second main event win of the season, they were sure to put on a good show. it was Peach who reigned supreme, however, and he sealed a 9-7 win to put him into the final.

Majid’s road to the final began with an all-London affair, pitting him against Ealing’s long time GB9 player Lionel Brown. Majidwasted little time in their Clash of the Capital, with a 9-2 win putting him into the next round to face Simon Gardner. His ruthless form carried on as a second consecutive 9-2 win saw him one win away from a place in the last 16. Standing in his way was reigning UPC 9-ball champion Benji Buckley. He put up a sterner test of Majid’s undoubted skill, but it was the Maharaja who won through by 9 racks to 5 and put himself into the pot for the round of 16. He was drawn here against Courtney Symons, making his return to the 9-ball scene. His decent run in the competition was ended by Majid and in some fashion – a cruising 9-1 win saw Majid seal his place in the quarter finals where he was to come up against Michael Rhodes, a player who has made a sizeable impact since making the switch over from snooker. It was Majid who had the upper hand throughout and a 9-5 win ensured his safe passage into the final four. Here he met another latter stage regular in  Craig Osborne. One of the steadiest and most consistent players on GB9, Osborne was looking to make his first main event final of the season. It wasn’t his day though – Majid was victorious by 9 racks to 3 to set him up against Peach in the final of the British Grand Prix.

Two solid professionals in Peach and Majid were sure to serve up a treat of a final, but it was Peach who ruled the show. He had 9 break and runs in his previous three matches and he added another 5 in the final, helping him to an 11-6 victory and becoming the fifth different winner of a GB9 main event this season.

LOCOMOTIVE KEEPS PACE WITH WALKER TO WIN PRO CUP

The last Pro Cup of the season was contested by Phil Burford and Darryn Walker, both of whom had been sitting pretty towards the top of both the main and Pro rankings all season. With four additional berths in the competition this time round, 20 players battled it out and 18 fell before Burford and Walker met in the final showdown.

Burford began his quest for glory in the Pro Cup with a tussle against Wolverhampton’s Kevin Uzzell. Whilst Burford hitting a superb 6 break and runs, this didn’t tell the whole story of the match. Uzzell gave very fair game but ultimately succumbed to a 10-7 defeat, putting Burford one win from the quarter finals.  Here he met Dave Nelson, and his break and run count didn’t let up. A further three helped him through another tough encounter, with a 10-6 victory putting into a last 8 fight with Craig Osborne. Nobody, Osborne included, was letting Burford go lightly. Ozzy hit 2 break and runs of his own, but a further 3 from Burford helped him through a mammoth match on the hill. 10-9 was the score, and next up trying to stop his run was Mark Gray. Again, Burford opponent struck 2 break and runs, but 4 more this time once again helped him to yet another victory on the hill as saw out a 10-9 win to put him in the final. On his unbeaten route to the final, Burford had played 71 out of a possible 76 – safe to say, therefore, that his place in the final was well earned.

Walker’s path to the final began against Italy’s Massimo Laucci, who gave a good fight but eventually fell to Walker’s sword. Walker saw out a 10-5 win and, with it, secured a winners qualifying match against Imran Majid. Majid won the break and run count 3-2, but the reverse was true of the match score. Walker won the match on the hill 10 racks to 9, and his opponent in the quarter final was GB9’s other Italian regular. Bruno Muratore was looking to end his British season on a high, but Walker had other ideas as he brought his A-game to the table in a 10-2 win. Karl Boyes was the last man able to deny his advancement in the competition and both longed to win their way into the final. No break and runs in the match tell the story of a tense and slightly scrappy affair, but Walker came out on top by 10 racks to 5 and earned himself a showdown with Burford in the final.

Burford was match hardened going into the final, with Walker having a slightly easier route. It was the former that served Burford well in the final. A third straight hill-hill finish for Burford again went his way, and an 11-10 win ensured that the silverware was heading back to Darlington with the Locomotive.

JONI HOLDS ON TO A WHEELIE GOOD WIN IN TIER II

The last Tier II final of the season was contested by Aslam Abubaker, the reigning British wheelchair number 1, and Joni Holden, looking to finish his debut GB9 season on a high.

Abubaker began his quest for glory against Gravesend’s Geoff Windeatt, making his return to competition after a season long hiatus. No sympathy was shown by Abubaker, however, as he swept aside his opponent for a 9-2 win. In the last 16,Abubaker saw himself up against Craig Seeney. His ruthless streak hardly let up here, and a 9-4 win saw him comfortably into the quarter finals. Here he met Ealing’s Lionel Brown, but he too was powerless to stop the charge of the wheelchair wonder. 9-5 was the margin of victory in the last 8, and Michael Brisley was standing in his way in the last 4. Four break and runs were shared between the pair, but Abubaker’s charged continued with aplomb. A 9-4 victory ensured that Abubakerwould make his first GB9 final.

Holden’s quest for silverware started with a match against ‘Mother Goose’ Mike Stanley. Holden opened his account convincingly with 3 break and runs on his way to a 9-4 win. Next up on his agenda was none other than GB9 chairperson Andy Warden. He was to suffer an identical fate, however, as another 9-4 win saw Holden into the last 8 where he came up against Matthew Christopher. A further 2 break and runs helped Holden step it up a gear, and a 9 racks to 3 win was enough to send him into the semi-finals to face Reading’s Phil Wildman. Many wondered if Wildman’s time for GB9 silverware was finally coming, but as hard as he tried he couldn’t push Holden to one side. Joni won a tough encounter 9-7 and with it secured a place in his maiden GB9 final.

Neither player really had to get into top gear during their respective paths to the final, but something clicked in Holden’s game at the right time. Holden turned the screw on Abubaker and wrapped up a 9-2 victory, ensuring him of his first GB9 competition victory.

COLCLOUGH ENDS THE SEASON IN STYLE AGAINST FRASER IN TIER I

Two GB9 regulars battled it out to contest the last Challenge Cup Tier I final of the season, with Stewart Colclough and Chris Fraser facing off for the last silverware of the season.

Colclough began his journey to the final showdown by facing Dave Wykes. Colclough left nothing to chance as he held out for a 9-5 victory which sent him into the last 16. Here he met Welshman Nathan James and, once again, left no stone unturned. He saw out a magnificent 9-0 win to set up quarter final battle against Kev Simpson in a battle of two true GB9 stalwarts. it was Colclough who came out on top as he won through 9-6 and meet another stalwart in the form of Damian Massey. Both players were so close to the prize and fought valiantly, but Colclough did just enough to come out on top of the hill, 9-8 the score which took him through to his 2nd final of 2014.

Fraser opened his account in the Challenge Cup with a victory over Tom Staveley. A close battle went Fraser’s way, and a 9-6 win saw him come up against Mark Parker for a place in the quarter finals. Fraser kept his good form going and saw off Parker by 9 racks to 4 to keep his run going. In the last 8 he came up against Penzance’s Robin Cripps, with the Penzance potter looking to stop the Scot in his tracks. He failed to do so, however, and a 9-5 win put him into the final 4. All that was standing in his way now was Scott Cooney, himself returning to GB9 after a number of events out. His dream of a winning return was quashed as Fraser saw off Cooney also by a score of 9 racks to 5, meaning he too took his rightful place in a second final of the season, the first being in the opening Tier II final of the season.

The final was sure to be a test of both players’ mettle, with Colclough aiming to go one better than his runner up spot at event 1 and Fraser looking to emulate Mark Lunn’s feat of winning Challenge Cups in both tiers. It was to be Colclough’s day, however, and a 9-3 victory ensured he finally secured a Challenge Cup victory in 2014.

GB9

LOCOMOTIVE GOES INTO 2015 AS TOP DOG…

At the end of the GB9 season, congratulations must go to Phil Burford who has finished the year as the official British number 1 ranked player. His consistent performance across the season, topped off by his victory in the Northern Masters, go to highlight the quite excellent season that Burford has had.  At just 23 years old, he becomes the youngest ever British number 1. The GB9 team congratulates Phil on a brilliant achievement.

However, if we are to see a 2015 season we require the support of new and old players alike. Without the support of the players, there is no tour. On the understanding that we have 96 players committed to the tour for 2015 we are pleased to have secured the superb Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, Telford to host all five GB9 tour events for 2015. The confirmed dates for all events are available on the event schedule page of our website.

So that we can judge that we have sufficient interest, the closing date for applications is 30 NOVEMBER 2014 so don’t delay and get your application form in NOW and pay your £50 deposit to secure your spot.

JOIN GB9 FOR THE 2015 SEASON

In 2014 GB9 was proudly sponsored by Rasson Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls, OB Cues, KamuiTips and The Hotels Collections making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues.

Article ©Martyn Royce