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APN's IPT World 8 Ball Open Qualifier results
 Posted on Tuesday, August 08 2006 @ 18:22:24 UTCby admin
APN IPT World 8-Ball Open - Satellite Qualifiers
Rileys American Pool and Snooker
Saturday 5th August - Rileys Reading
Sunday 6th August - Rileys Victoria

Gareth Esprit, winner of the Reading event, featured in both finals.

Higton and Esprit win $750 entry fees to IPT World 8-Ball Open.

American Pool Network are pleased to announce the results from the American Pool Network's IPT World 8-Ball Open Championship qualifiers from Reading and Victoria!

"Read More..." for the details.

Reading Report

16 players entered the Reading IPT Satellite qualification tournament, hosted by American Pool Network (APN). The format was round robin groups of 4, top 2 qualifying for the knockout stages. Andy Worthington, Steve Higton, Gareth Esprit and Damien Overton were among the early favourites, with ex-pro snooker player Patsy Fagan keen to try his luck at 8-ball amongst the high standard group of more recognisable American Pool players. Patsy had been watching the UK IPT World Open Qualifier at Rileys Victoria the previous day and must have picked up a few good tips as he took second spot in group B, behind Steve Higton and in front of Damien Overton and Nigel Francis.

Steve Brown, who had left Doncaster at 4am after 4 hours sleep to get to Reading topped group A. The tiredness was not apparent as he breezed through Gareth Esprit (2nd), Caroline Walch and Azim Bux.

BPPPA Victoria 8-ball winner Brad Parker proved a bogey player yet again for Andy Worthington, who must surely be getting sick of the sight of Parker, who has beaten him at both 8 and 9 ball recently. Andy took 2nd spot in Group C behind Brad with Chris Buckmaster and Justin Anderson rounding off the group.

Gary Bullock, beaten finalist in the last week’s BPPPA Stafford open made a welcome appearance, but only took 2nd spot behind 16-year-old Louis Clarke from Bournemouth. Louis is a regular on the junior English 8-ball circuit, but recent experience from the Bournemouth APN-League has instilled massive enthusiasm for all the 9ft table games. Bracknell’s Chris Stocker and Reading’s Luke Pepperell took 3rd and 4th respectively.

Quarter Finals saw Brad Parker come back from 4-2 down to beat Patsy Fagan 8-5, Louis Clarke bowed out to Gareth Esprit 8-4 from 4-4, Steve Higton beat travelling companion Andy Worthington 8-7 and Steve Brown defeated Gary Bullock 8-5 to complete the Quarter finals.

Both Semi’s went hill-hill, Gareth Esprit did the business over Steve Higton thanks to a solid clearance in the decider, while the fun and games had only just started in the Parker-Brown match. At 7-7 Parker twitched on his last stripe (he did pot it!) leaving himself a choice of pockets to double the 8 into. He chose the corner bag, rattled it and the 8 made a dash for the other corner bag. If it dropped, Parker would have lost the rack (and the match), but the 8 hung millimetres from dropping. Steve had no option but to take on a tough solid down the rail, he made it, and ran down until his last ball which he didn’t get position on. With the 8 still hanging, he elected to try and cover the pocket with his 5-ball, leaving Brad no shot at the 8. In the event, Parker could have played a table length kick, but would have had to squeeze the cue-ball through the smallest of small gaps, and play it dead-weight to avoid the cue-ball following the 8 in. Some quick rule checks followed regarding deliberate fouls etc, with the audience enthralled by both players’ humour regarding the delicate situation. Parker elected to try play a deliberate foul, swerving the cue-ball off the side rail to just touch the 5 and leave Steve no shot (a dangerous idea considering that the 3 foul rule was employed, Brown would have just fouled again (or repositioned the 5 on top of the 8 again and Parker would have had the same shot again – and would have been the first to be on 2 fouls.) The 5 was now about a ball and a half’s width away from the 8, just off the rail, and it allowed Steve to just squeeze the cue-ball in the gap to leave a tricky little half-ball cut along the bottom rail. Given the amount of kicks during the day, Steve alerted the crowd to his intentions by declaring “If I get a kick on this…..” In the event, there was no kick as Steve rolled the 8 in after. Parker was left to rue his missed opportunities in the two Semi finals he has reached in IPT satellite qualifiers.

The final was a fairly one-sided affair…. Fatigue had started to set into Steve’s game and he was giving away about one chance per rack due to missed balls. But ever the battler, he refused to give up and fought Gareth Esprit all the way to the end. Congratulations to Mr. Esprit, who wins a $750 entry into an IPT World Open Qualifier.

Group Stages

Quarter Finals

Steve Brown 8 – 5 Gary Bullock

Brad Parker 8 – 5 Patsy Fagan

Steve Higton 8 – 7 Andy Worthington

Gareth Esprit 8 – 4 Louis Clarke

Semi Finals

Steve Brown 8 – 7 Brad Parker

Gareth Esprit 8 – 7 Steve Higton


Gareth Esprit 8 – 3 Steve Brown

Gareth Esprit wins $750 IPT World Open Qualifying entry fee

Victoria Report

A much better turn out at Rileys Victoria saw 28 players try their luck for the IPT World Open Championships. Drawn in 4 groups of 7, all players were guaranteed 6 games for their £25 entry fee. The groups had 2 or 3 tables each, which meant that the waiting time between games was greatly reduced. In attendance were UK Sports Management, fronted by Mark Segal who brought along colleague Mikey Kay, many thanks for your support. Kevin Smith made a welcome return to Victoria after not playing much recently, Romanian Toni Judet, “Mr 147” Andy Esgrove, Higton, Worthington, Ricardo “Indiana” Jones and Gareth “Darkside” Esprit were the favourites.

The groups finished around 6pm after 7 hours play, with the quarter finals up and running by 6.30pm. Chris Almond from Bromley, making his first UK tournament appearance for 3 years went undefeated through his group that included Steve Higton, and showed no signs of nerves, as he took out Cambridge’s Ricardo Jones 7-6 in the first quarter-final.

Kevin Smith went down 7-6 to Esprit in a high class encounter were only 2 balls were missed in the entire game. Andy Worthington beat Victoria regular Ali Ramzi 7-3.

Mikey Kay, fully pumped up for action after topping his group (including a 5-1 drubbing of Ricardo Jones) was drawn in front of the crowd against “Manchester’s Finest” Steve Higton. A scrappy match followed with neither Higton nor Kay able to get flowing. Higton built up a 5-3 lead, which Mikey try as he might, was unable to overturn, and he went down 7-4 after a long battle.

Andy Worthington again was drawn with Steve Higton for the second time in as many days, and again it was Higton who came away victorious. Both players were playing excellent pool, but Worthington only made a ball on his break twice, severely limiting break and dish opportunities. Higton on the other hand had the break cracked, breaking with an open bridge from just behind the head string, Steve was generating more power than most other players, and consistently made 1 or 2 balls almost every break. Worthington took out a pressure clearance at 6-4 down, and had he made a ball on his next break, could have made the score closer, but once again a dry break cost him, and Steve dished up. Final score Worthington 5 – 7 Steve Higton.

A titanic struggle took place in Semi Final 2 between APN satellite regular Gareth Esprit, looking to cement a third final appearance and Chris Almond, the dark horse for the comp. Chris looked rusty, but some of his shot selection and imagination left no doubt that he has played the game at a very high level sometime in the past. 3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 5-4 to Esprit. By this stage both players were very tired and were taking more time than usual whilst playing their shots. Missed balls by both players gave everyone a chance, but it was Esprit, still riding on a high from his victory the day before, that closed out first, winning 7-5.

Steve Higton was the more refreshed having finished his semi almost 45 minutes before Esprit, but Gareth more than fancied his chances having beaten Higton in Reading the day before. Higton won the lag by ½ a ball or so and proceeded to give an 8-ball master class, running the first 4 racks (race to 7) in perfect fashion, with some high quality shot making thrown in too! Only a scratch in the 5th on the break brought his short run to an end, and allowed Gareth the opportunity to shoot for the first time in 20 minutes. Jokingly Gareth thanked Steve for allowing him at least 1 turn at the table, and he was able to run that rack (4-1) and win the next (4-2). A key rack followed with Gareth knowing that to win this match he was going to have to keep Higton away from the table for a while. Both players missed a couple of early chances before a loose safety from Higton allowed Esprit the chance of a finish. As the balls were potted, it became clear that Gareth was running out of good balls to use to get position on the 8, which was available but tricky. A less than perfect positional shot got Gareth within view of the 8, but a miss was the likely outcome and Steve took it down to extend his lead to 5-2, a mixed bag 8th rack went to Higton also, only to break dry on the hill. A missed ball by Gareth allowed Steve in for the kill, and Higton made no mistake to wrap up a fine 7-2 win.

Many thanks to the 44 players over the weekend, to Phil Simpson and Reading Rileys for their player’s buffet, Chris and Jo Billings at Victoria for their help support and to the players who helped massively by supplying their sets of match balls (Caroline Walch, Justin Anderson, Luke Pepperell, Nigel Francis and Chris Stocker).

Group Stages

Quarter Finals

Chris Almond 7 – 6 Richard Jones

Gareth Esprit 7 – 6 Kevin Smith

Andy Worthington 7 – 3 Ali Ramzi

Steve Higton 7 – 4 Mikey Kay

Semi Finals

Gareth Esprit 7 – 5 Chris Almond

Steve Higton 7 – 5 Andy Worthington


Steve Higton 7 – 2 Gareth Esprit

Steve Higton wins $750 IPT World Open Qualifying entry fee




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