And so perhaps the most important season in the history of the sport of pool comes to an end this weekend at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, with the Coral sponsored IPA British Open starting Friday morning and running though to a conclusion on Sunday evening.
As always, three separate blackball tournaments (it’s the rule set recognised by the IOC) take place with the Professional, Amateur, and Open events and £13,000 in prize money up for grabs and as you would expect, the top players in the Word are in attendance looking to show off their skills to their fellow players. Add a watching audience (free entry to all), and the worldwide industry leading livestream that now gets through to well over one hundred Countries (its HD and free to watch via the Coral website., and pool is clearly on the up with the IPA and their players leading the way.
Described by some as “snooker for the people”, it’s the sport we have all tried down the pub or club (reds, yellows, and a black) and really is a sleeping giant, with millions of players around the Country, something Tour Sponsor Coral have recognised, and they will kindly be sending some of their representatives down with “goodie bags” to give away, so if you are down on the South Coast for any reason, feel free to pop in and grab one if you want, just tell them Sean sent you!
As for the players, it really does read like a who’s who of pool with rankings leader Marc Farnsworth the Open favourite at odds of 5/1 just a point ahead of Clint I’Anson (6/1) and then we have current World Champion Gareth Hibbott at 8/1, though both Craig Marsh (10/1) and Jordan Shepherd (10/1) are in red-hot form and cannot be easily discounted.
Add a packed schedule of live matches and in play betting on the streaming table (it all kicks off with Ben Davies versus IPA Chairman Kevin Barton at midday (or is that High Noon) on Friday), and spectators and punters will be entertained throughout the day with the ever popular Craig Marsh v Luke Sanges next, closely followed by Marc Farnsworth v Andrew Hughes so plenty to keep everyone interested and amused on a weekend sadly lacking in Premiership football.
For those looking for a bit of a “formbook” to work from, the IPA International Professional Pool Players Association) have a Youtube channel so feel free to have a look at past matches to give yourselves a helping hand, though part of the fun in this sport is the rub of the green – when you have it you are unbeatable, and ten minutes later if it deserts you then millimetres can make all the difference. Fast, furious, and generally attacking thanks to the more popular (and officially recognised) Blackball rule set each frame is over in minutes unlike other cue sports we could mention, and better still we have all played it, though personally not to anything like this standard.
All in all, the winner once again will be the sport of pool with free entry, free livestreaming, free goody bags, and the fastest most exciting version of the sport of pool – feel free to pop in, I guarantee you will be made more than welcome!