The IPA (International Professional Pool Players Association) tour moves on to the Erskine Bridge Hotel for the weekend of the 10th-12th June for the Scottish Open, Professional, and Amateur events which have attracted the best cueists to Scotland to compete for the prize money and kudos on offer.
With a maximum field of over 200 for the Open, competition is sure to be fierce with the fast and furious blackball rule set, and the industry leading HD livestream provided free of charge via www.ipapool.com or www.coral.co.uk (our official betting partners).
For those unfamiliar with the sport, it’s the official version of the game we have all tried (pound in the slot, red and yellows and a black), which makes it all the more spectator friendly, but whereas we can play it, they have perfected it, and although the difference may look slim, their ability, consistency, concentration, and nerve is legendary in the world of cue sport. Played in a room with over 20 pool tables, the atmosphere is electric and the sportsmanship legendary, while the noise can be deafening at times, both from the crash of a hammer break and form the cheers or groans for each players supporters, but generally speaking defeat is taken on the chin with a handshake and a smile, and with the best tables cloths and balls that money can buy there is nowhere to hide and no excuses.
Behind the scenes, Tournament Director Paul Bebb keeps his team working away to keep things running smoothly, with the techies updating the live scores as needed and two wandering referees to answer any questions, and if everything goes as smoothly as normal (famous last words), then both players and spectators alike are in for some show.
Along with the usual suspects (2016 World Champion Gareth Hibbott, 2015 World Champion Jack Whelan, rankings leader Marc Farnsworth, Women’s dual World Champion Deb Burchell, and recent tour winner Dan Davy to name but five), this event has attracted Moroccan star Hamza Moutmir, Snooker professional Jamie Burnett (the first man to make a 148 break in a professional tournament), and leading nine ball player Jayson Shaw, so fans should be in for a treat, though trying to pick the winner is a bit of a herculean task.
Current odds for the Scottish Open have Marc Farnsworth and Clint I’Anson as the 5/1 Joint favourites in a very open field, closely followed by Gareth Hibbott who could yet be the sensible call at 7/1 and Simon Ward at 9/1, though those looking for a bit more value could yet be tempted by Craig Marsh at 16/1, though whoever you fancy, it’s going to be a tournament well worth watching, and whoever wins will have to beat some top top class players on the way.
In the professional event Clint and Marc are inseparable again, this time at 4/1 in the smaller but elite field, while the value seekers will latch on to the Amateur event where there is value to be had all the way up to the 80/1 shots, with rankings leader Chris Bowron available at a juicy 14/1 and thus a pretty tempting choice.
By Sunday evening, it will all be over and the tables will be taken apart and put in to storage until the next tour event in Warwick for the European Open in early August, but until then, enjoy, as the best on the baize strut their stuff for our entertainment.
Fancy your chances against the very best? Go to www.ipapool.com for all the details of how to sign up for the number one pool tour in the UK today.