Anyone suffering withdrawal symptoms with the lack of top-quality pool on your screens in recent weeks will be delighted to know that the IPA (www.ipapool.com) 2023 Tour rolls into the Hilton Doubletree Coventry on Friday for three days of exhilarating action including the UK Open among the numerous trophies up for grabs.

For those unfamiliar with the sport, yes, it is the game we have all tried down the pub (reds yellows and a black), but that is the beauty of the game – we can all play it (even me) – just not necessarily at the level of the professionals on show this weekend.

As you may have noticed, pool is a sport very much on the up in recent years, and this event filled out in record time with more than 220 players signed up, looking to get their names on one of the trophies, and to pit their wits against the very best to see just how good they really are.  With the games love on the IPA YouTube Channel (free of charge), there is plenty of pool for us to watch, but just who are the names to look out for – and why?

Clint I’Anson

Our latest World Champion after his 2023 victory and one who seems capable of shrugging off his newfound fame, and getting on with what he does best – playing pool. I have noticed no change in his demeanour or attitude on or off the table with his game as meticulous as ever, and although he must be instilled with even more confidence these days, he seems all set on making his way to the top of the rankings and dominating the sport in the years ahead.

Marc Farnsworth

You do not get to number one in the professional rankings and stay there without an equal amount of skill and determination, and Marc has both in huge quantities. Every player in the top 16 can beat each other on their day and if any luck goes their way, but you can be certain on one thing pre-tournament – they will all want to avoid Marc for as long as they possibly can. He makes the game look almost too easy sometimes, and any youngsters watching would be well served by watching the way he takes out his finishes – poetry in motion.

Harry Irwin

The amateur side of the game sees next years would-be professionals in action looking to climb the rankings to be invited to turn pro in 2024 and beyond. Make no mistake, it is a tough school to learn in and some harsh lessons to be learned, but Harry has been there done that and wrote the book – a top player who took some time away from the game but has found his hunger again and is back on the table. He will need to be at his best throughout to go well in either the Open or the Amateur with so many others equally capable, but if he is enjoying himself, anything is possible.

Deb Burchell

As mentioned in the past, the Ladies side of the game just does from strength to strength and they now have an Elite section as well as Open and Amateur competitions with more and more signing up for each and every tour.  Deb is a former World Champion who seems to me to have reinvigorated her game in the last year or so, and that makes her a tough proposition for anyone unlucky enough to get her in the draw.   

Want to play in any of the future IPA Tournaments – enter via the website on www.ipapool.com

In the area (Coventry) – head off to the Hilton Doubletree where you will be warmly welcomed – and its free entry for all spectators

Fancy watching the best on a pool table – go to @IPAPool on YouTube this weekend – no charge, no PPV! 

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