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Congratulations Neil Raybone - IPA British Open Champion
 Posted on Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 18:24:25 UTCby admin
English Pool IPA Tour Event 5 - 2014 British Open - Brighton
Hilton Brighton Metropole
King's Rd
www.ipapool.com - facebook - twitter - youtube

Friday/Sunday 3-5 October 2014

Neil Raybone - 2014 IPA British Open Champion
Click the image to view the full size photograph.
All photography courtesy of ©Sean Trivass

IPA Press Release

As the tables were taken apart after the British Open, Amateur, and Professional Tournaments last weekend the realisation dawned that with the exception of the Super 7’s from Sheffield next weekend (17-19th October), that was it for the IPA season, with the next few months allocated to organising the World Championships for February 2015 - it never really stops you know.

Just like any other sport, we like to see our tournaments unfold in spectacular fashion but even I would never have dared to write a script that matched reality, for fear of it being rejected as just too unrealistic, it really did have absolutely everything. Eighteen pool tables, 150 or so original entrants, HD quality livestreaming, and a double elimination format saw the Open get underway on Friday afternoon immediately taking the numbers down to the last 64 when the real fun began in pursuit of the trophy, cash prize, and pride of place in the blackball pool community. With both amateurs and professionals in action shocks were almost a certainty as the likes of Mark Chung, Christophe Lambert, Simon Ward, and Harry Irwin all went out at the last 32 stage leaving Gareth Hibbott as a pretty hot favourite in my book, having won almost everything so far all season, including the entertaining “Last Man Standing” on the Friday night (see IPA YouTube channel, and well worth a watch). Naturally, that view was the dreaded kiss of death as he crashed out 7-1 in the next round to Neil Raybone and all of a sudden we all realised this was far more open than many had thought. Looking at the big names left in, Neil Raybone and Dan Davy caught the eye but Dan lost out to Andrew Hughes leaving Neil as the only remaining pro left in the semi finals as he played Andrew Hughes while Luke Sanges took on Shane Lewes to set up a final where frankly anything was possible. Despite three of the four lining up at this stage merely proving my point that there is less gap than some imagine between the top amateurs and the professionals, the final between Neil and Shane turned in to a rather one sided affair with Neil Raybone staying perhaps the calmest to run out an 8-0 winner though that is not a totally true reflection of their abilities, with run of the ball and a touch of nerves also playing their part.

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Christophe Lambert (l) and Craig Marsh (r) ahead of the Pro Trophy Final
Click the picture to view the full size photograph.
All photography courtesy of ©Sean Trivass

Naturally enough, one tournament is never enough so we move swiftly on to the Professionals next, and a final that surpassed all expectations, advertising everything that is good about blackball and the players on the IPA Tour. Popular Welshman Craig Marsh took on France’s finest Christophe Lambert, in what I saw as an intriguing battle of both tactics and potting abilities. After winning the first rack Craig failed to get much of a look in as his Gallic rival ran up six frames in a row and we all looked forward to the amateurs final that was on straight after. Craig failed to appreciate that fact and proceeded to start one of the best comebacks I have ever seen to level the match at 8-8 in the race to nine, effectively turning the whole Professional Trophy to a best of one frame shoot out! With momentum on his side I would have made Craig the odds on favourite to wrap things up but no, this match was ever going to go to my plans as a victorious Christophe punched the air in victory after a nerve racing finale that showcased everything we love about blackball pool.

Adam Brown - Amateur Winner
Click the picture to view the full size photograph.
All photography courtesy of ©Sean Trivass

As mentioned earlier, the amateurs in this game deserve just as many words when possible and in this case we saw Liam Dunster battling it out with Adam Brown for the honours. Liam possibly had a little more at stake with the chance of topping the amateur rankings with a victory though whether that weighed on him only he will know in a real see saw battle. Adam, on the other hand, may be new to the tour but seemed to handle his nerves well enough on most occasions, though just like anyone, small mistakes were bound to be made but actually make for a far more entertaining match up (imagine how boring consecutive break and dishes would become long term). Long story short and Adam emerged victorious by six frames to four at the end, winning his first title in his first season with the promise of more to come, though I am just delighted to see the IPA Tour continuing to attract players of his calibre who are willing and able to mix it with the very best so early in their pool careers.

Tournament conclusions seem standard about now, but what more can I really add to the story the players told on my behalf? Three finals, all classics for different reasons, savage scorelines and last frame deciders, tight tactics and awesome potting, HD Streaming with quality commentary, everything in one place for the 8 ball pool fan the world over – roll on the World Championships 2015!

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