IPA WORLD POOL CHAMPIONSHIPS 2024 PREVIEW – WHERE THE BEST PLAYERS ON THE PLANET COLLIDE

IPA World Championships Preview – A True Feast Of Pool With Challengers From Around The Globe

As many of you will already know, horse racing is another sport I cover and The IPA Word Championships is the equivalent of Cheltenham – all roads lead here throughout the year, with the prestige of being crowned the best on the Planet from a field of incredible quality, the pinnacle of any player’s career.

The 2024 renewal sees over 360 entries from around the World who will head to the Grand Hotel in Gosforth from the 20th to the 25th of February, and if yo like your cuesports – this is going to be something special.


Last year saw Clint  I’Anson crowned after another nip and tuck final, with Amy Beauchamp winning the Ladies equivalent, but who will walk away with the trophy and the cash in 2024 – with so many entries its needle in a haystack time, but we will give it a try.

As a brief introduction, this is the same sport we have all played down the pub/club – reds and yellows and finally the black, and the IPA play to the recognised rule set known as Blackball – the standard rules throughout the World. I have often been told pool is an “easy” game – well it is in that we can all put a coin in the table and have a go (which is part of the beauty of it), but I can also play golf – but not to the abilities of Tiger Woods! 

Like all sports there are different levels and having tried my luck on the IPA tour trust me – I can play and occasionally win at pub league level, but this lot are different gravy with one fractional mistake or miss usually enough to write off a frame. 

Although I cover the IPA tour (see www.ipapool.com for details), the Worlds is slightly different – firstly we have a sets format, but more importantly it is deliberately set with a low entry fee to encourage newcomers to give it a go. That was and is a great idea – until I try predicting winners – with a long list of names who I have never seen in action – they could be as bad as me (unlikely) or they could be as good as Clint – the truth is we just don’t know about their skillset – or how they will react to the pressures of the cameras and the live audience – some thrive, while others fall apart at the seams. 

With so many competitions to work with I am ignoring all the doubles, mixed or otherwise, and will focus on just three events instead – the overall trophy, the Ladies,  – and as an old boy myself, the Seniors for the fun of it – wish me luck.

IPA World Championship 2024.

If you look around there are odds available with certain outlets, with both Ladbrokes and Corals pricing up nice and early on an event that gets the pool fans involved from start to finish. For me, it’s not about the betting, it’s all about the pool, and I have taken four against the field this year in the hope I can snare the winner in there somewhere.

Mark Boyle

Anyone who has watched the tour this year will be fully aware that “Mr Magic” has never been in better form. He has gone deep in pretty much every tournament, winning the Scottish Grand Prix at McGoldricks last June as well as getting to the semi-final of the British Professional in January. Add in a rare “double double” winning both the Open and the Professional events on Tour Two (UK Open) and the Grand Finals (Isle of Man Tour 4) and there is every reason why he heads the early betting.  Always hard to beat, he has that heady combination of a battling spirit and the skill to pull out shots the rest of us cannot even see – let alone execute. Perhaps more importantly, everyone he faces will know they are up against a man in form – some will rise to the occasion but others will crumble under the added pressure which has to be a big advantage. As a professional and a seed he is first up on Thursday afternoon with a midday start time, though I have to add I feel his half of the draw looks as tough as any (he may well meet dual runner-up Simon Ward in the last 16 which is by no means a foregone conclusion. He is the in-form player and deserves his place at the head of the market, but he is not the only one in with a chance.

Marc Farnsworth

Where do we start with the 2019 Champion who has won just about everything there is to win in the game? Recent performances have proven that the desire to win hasn’t faded one iota, and neither has the ability, so he has to be on anyone’s shortlist of potential winners. Marc makes the game look so easy on occasions that the likes of me fail to recognise the pinpoint accuracy in his positional play and how quickly he maps out a path for a clearance – one to watch from the other half of the draw but value at 3/1 – I leave that up to you to decide?

Gavin Robinson

With the favourites already listed its time to think outside the box, and who is to say Gav Robinson cannot mix it with the best these days. He has always had plenty of talent but spent a while looking short on tactics, but that has all changed now as proven with his win in the IPA Masters at the end of last year. Sometimes a player can go on from their first victory in the knowledge they can beat allcomers on their day, and at 14/1 there are worse suggestions out there assuming he can keep his focus.

Robert Stephen

Ex-snooker player Robert is a bit of a dark horse here hence the massive price (40/1), but I have watched plenty of his frames in recent years, and the ability is there without a shadow of a doubt. How far he can go is the bigger question, with former champion Craig Marsh a likely opponent in the early stages, but if you are looking for an outsider to throw a few pennies at you could do a lot worse. In my view, if there is a mistake in the early prices he might be it, but he will need to be at the top of his game from start to finish if he wants to come home in front.

Ladies 

This should be fun to work with as I don’t even know some of the entries here who could be tilting at windmills – or top-class players all set to cause a massive upset. As regular readers will know we have found a profitable route to winners on the Ladies tour – back Deb Burchell every time! As I have written many times, the Ladies side of the IPA tour gets stronger every year, but it seems fair to suggest that Deb has risen to the challenge and upped her game accordingly. With a steely determination to win, whatever it takes, there is every chance she can pick up another World Championship here and dominate the Ladies scene for the rest of 2024.

Seniors

As an oldie myself I have a special interest here but unlike most other sports, maturity can be a bonus in this game as long as the eyesight holds up. You might have expected a weaker line-up for the seniors but we still have former World Champions in abundance including Gareth Hibbott, Marc Farnsworth, as well as Mark Boyle and a long list of other talented players more than capable on their day. The result of this event may yet be influenced by how deep all of the players go in the main event which will be their obvious priority, though a bit of added table time never hurt anyone I suppose. It would not be a surprise to see the winner come from those I have already mentioned, but where is the fun in putting the same name down twice and I will add the weight of my money to Andy Croasdale, in the hope that he can come home at the head of the pack. Andy was and is a top-class player who took some time out from the game, but he is back in the big time and gradually climbing the rankings once more.

How and where to watch the IPA World Pool Championships 

Easy – walk through the door at the Grand Hotel at Gosforth and watch in person (no entry fee, no tickets needed), or if that is a journey too far – then you can watch on the IPA Youtube channel or on billard tv Wednesday 21st February to Friday 23rd February 1pm-10pm, Saturday 24th February 11.30am to 11.00pm, and Sunday 25th February 1.00pm to 10.00pm.

How can I get involved?

Too late to enter the Worlds this year I’m afraid, but there are still spaces on the IPA Tour – contact them via their website https://ipapool.comwith any questions, and best of luck to everyone getting their cue out next week at the IPA World Championships.

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