Pool Report Bradford – Day Two.
It’s getting busy and a little bit tense here in Bradford.
Those of us of a certain (lower) standard spent the majority of the day as a spectator having been put in my place yesterday by people who can actually play the game but that doesn’t stop me appreciating the skills of others and once again, it’s that tiny step up from the top amateurs to the professionals that takes the hardest work. On Saturday we went through the IPA English Open from last 128 all the way down to the semi-finals on Saturday evening that saw Neil Raybone in dominant form as he saw off Luke Sanges 7-1 and a far more tightly fought match as Mark Boyle beat Dan Davy 7-6 in a set of almost faultless pool.
On to the final and while awaiting the players rumours started circulating of a big announcement over the weekend but despite asking and begging for hours on end the KGB have nothing on the IPA Committee and all I can do is wait until Sunday evening to see if it is as exciting as it sounds.
On to the final and as a fan, what a match we witnessed with everything you could ask for and one thoroughly appreciated by the watching crowd. Going through it frame by frame is pretty pointless but the last two were edge of the seat stuff for the fans – goodness knows how the players felt.
Fast forward and the score is 6-5 to Mark Boyle in a race to seven, the table looks open, and the clearance is there. Mark is at the table, it’s all over bar the shouting, and we are ready to applaud the Champion – until the pool Gods intervene and Mark rattles a difficult (but not impossible) black, and Neil walks back to the table. Most balls are there to be potted, one is horribly pinned to the side cushion with no obvious way to move it – and the pressure was certainly on, and in spades as well.
With the crowd leaning forward the clearance was made including an under the hammer double for the ball on the cush and it has to be one of the best clearances I can remember.
At 6-6 we suddenly had a new favourite with Neil having the all-important break for the final frame but yes there was a twist in the tail as he broke dry before sitting down to allow Mark to attack from the off. With yellows in play Mark went for it but a misread shot that didn’t see a red get out of the way as expected it all slowed down a little, which is understandable with so much at stake. That one tied up yellow came back to haunt Boyle big time and was basically the cause of his demise as with three reds left Raybone laid a snooker looking for the free shot that would almost guarantee success. After getting out of the first snooker, number two soon followed which he also escaped from, but leaving them all there to be potted barring a nervous twitch. That didn’t happen, and Neil held it together to win despite the pressure, for a deserved victory amid warm applause from the appreciative crowd, and will spend the next twelve months as IPA English Open Pool Champion.
Next time: Amateur, Professional, and Ladies results.