And so the IPA Pool Tour for 2017 draws to a close, with one more weekend of top class pool action to complete the set, and the titles of British Open, Professional, and Amateur Champions up for grabs at the Heston Hyde Hotel in Hounslow this weekend, from 10.00am on Friday 29th through to Sunday evening 1st of October. Add a long list of players looking for enough ranking points to be invited to turn professional next season, and the plain and simple fact that no serious sportsman or woman likes to taste defeat regardless, and the action will be as competitive and fiery as it was at event one, and with potential seeding ahead of the 2018 World Championships in February (open to all by the way) also at the back of some minds.
The hotel will be full to the rafters for one of the biggest events of the season so far (and a complete player sell out), though any pool fans in the area are more than welcome to pop in to watch or even meet the players with our free of charge spectator entry, while anyone who can’t make it can still tune in live via www.ipapool.com or our YouTube channel – or just follow us on the various social media outlets such as Facebook , twitter, and Instagram.
Over a hundred and twenty players will start in both the Open and the Amateur events (the Professional trophy is obviously restricted to the cream of the crop), and the action will be non-stop from Friday to Sunday, with HD quality livestreaming of the highest standard and “love them or hate them” commentary teams throughout made up of loyal volunteers, professional players, and press-ganged committee members (!). It’s colourful, its loud, its pressurised, but it is always played in good heart, and anyone who knows anything about 8 ball pool knows full well that this is the only place to be if you really want to test yourself against the very best.
With Ladbrokes and Coral both picking up the pool mantle and recognising it for the growth sport it is under blackball rules, the early betting sees Marc Farnsworth, current rankings number one, installed as favourite for both the Professional event and the Open (4/1 each at the time of writing), while Scottish cueman Mark Boyle heads the Amateur betting at a pretty skinny 2/1, though to be fair when he is at his best he is close to impossible to stop. With all betting value just has to be the name of the game, and much as I am fully aware that any of the top players can win if the pool Gods look on them favourably, but if I was given a charity bet (there’s an idea for someone for next season?), then I would be tempted to have a little each way on Neil Raybone at 16/1 (after his recent win on the World Series in Morocco), and Ryan Clark (12/1) for the Amateurs, and perhaps a greedy little each way double on the pair of them.
In conclusion, pool was, is, and remains a sport that we can all play to a certain standard, while the players at the top of the tour tree are there to be both admired and aimed at – pool really is a sport for the people and one growing year on year, and here at the IPA we would like to think our high standards may well have a bit to do with that popularity, and long may that continue.