The first IPA Pool Tour event of 2017 started in Cardiff at The Mercure Hotel on Friday 24th January. A 7 hour travelling journey to the venue was the crying call from us North East lads however with lots of expectations and predictions the event kicked off with lots of the North East players having a great feeling that this year could be the year!
Leading up to this event Marc Farnsworth was priced at 5/1 by Corals for him to win the Welsh Open with Mark Boyle favourite to take the Amateur event.
The venue itself was fantastic in a great location, the pool hall was enough space for the 24 tables, not as big as the some of the other IPA venues such as Brighton however it had many other benefits such as perfect for people to enjoy the nightlife with quality rooms.
Down to the pool itself, starting with the Open event. Marc Farnsworth and Mark Boyle battling through the field to reach other in the final. Farnsworth had seen off opponents such as Greg Batten, Simon Fitzsimmons and Ben Davies with a thrilling deciding frame, Davies owning up to a foul, which then seen Farnsworth clearing up. Boyle beat Arfan Dad, Liam Dunster and Ross Fernie. It was a gripping final with Mark Farnsworth
It was a great final with drama, clearances and some outstanding shots. Mark Boyle took a 6-4 lead with Farnsworth to break only for him to miss an unexpected red along the cushion, Boyle was in and had the chance to win the match only for him to miss an unexpected black. The crowd were stunned and gave an almighty cheer to push Farnsworth to get back into the game. Farnsworth played a snooker, and even though Boyle hit the, a foul was called by Referee Mel Harley as he did not hear Boyle say “total snooker”. Farnsworth was clinical and cleared them up. 6-5 with Boyle to break. His break was dry and Farnsworth cleared up with a fantastic shot on his last red with huge pressure.
Boyle was victorious in a deciding frame with Farnsworth going in off on his break. Boyle took full advantage of the opportunity to become the Welsh Open Champion of 2017.
Onto the Professional Event and Mark Farnsworth was once again in another final, this time taking the title and beating Jon McAllister 8-5. Leading the North East as he regularly does and showcases why he is the Real Number 1! Beating 2015 World Champion Jack Whelan in the 2nd round in a deciding frame, Farnsworth then had to contend with a further deciding frame against another North East player Paul Riley. McAllister only dropped 14 frames in the 5 matches leading up to the final, and saw off North East based Gavin Robinson 8-3 in the 2nd round. However Farnsworth put the disappointment of the open defeat behind to come through victorious and take home the title of Welsh Professional Champion 2017.
As far as other North East lads go, a special mention goes to David Compton who had the anguish of losing a deciding frame in the Quarter Final against Shaun Stebbings. Still a fantastic achievement and I’m sure George will be back amongst it in Bradford.
Another lad from the North East to win a title at the weekend was Ryan Clark a player who comes from a Snooker background and to the tour this year. He is someone with a great cue action and huge potential to be one of the top players of the future. Clark seen off the player of the weekend, Mark Boyle beating him 7-5 in the final. Clark, one of the outsiders to win the amateur event was solid all weekend and deserved to win the title of Welsh Amateur Champion 2017 after beating the likes of Michael Howe, Ian Ali and Cole Bedford. Some could argue that Boyle had a tougher route to the final with matches against Jake Newlove, Jared Cronje and Jez Graham, however, you don’t get to a final playing badly and Ryan fully deserved to come home victorious.
Some standout performances from the North East players over the weekend have to go to the two winners of course in Marc Farnsworth and Ryan Clark however a massive congratulations also goes to Kevin “Teabag” Teasdale in getting to the Quarter Finals of the Amateur Event his first time on the tour and someone who always cues the ball really well. Another first timer onto the tour, however, a name well known in the sport, was Brian Halcrow, who, like David Compton in the pro event, had the anguish of losing a deciding frame against Jez Graham in the last 16.
It was fantastic to see so many North East players on the tour but also the players willing to cheer one another on. Our passion and togetherness is what makes us all the best region in the Country, our talent will only get stronger throughout the year.
Here at northeastpool.co.uk we would like to you to be proud of your region and showcase who and what we are, we ask in kindness on whether any players would be willing to promote our logo on your IPA shirt for future events. Please get in touch if this is something you would be interested in.
We congratulate you all and we look forward to seeing you at the next tour in Bradford!
Let’s continue to do what we do best and “bring passion to the baize!