Top-Class Pool On SportyStuff TV Week Two – Any More Surprises Or Will Pickers Pick Perfectly?

No point in reinventing the wheel so suffice to say that top level pool is back on your TV and we have managed to persuade top professional player Marc “Pickers” Pickworth to send us his thoughts each week on the matches over the days ahead in the SportyStuff Champions Cup.  

Gareth Hibbott will be there looking to retain his crown, number one ranked Liam Dunster will be looking for a big pay-day, while multiple tournament winner Marc Farnsworth is perhaps top of a long list of players others will be looking to avoid. The top professionals will be joined by a select list of amateurs who had to qualify to take their places on the TV schedule, but we can all watch for free on SportyStuff TV on Sky Channel 437, Freeview Channel 250, or via the website on 

For those new to the sport (where have you all been?), the IPA ( is the Official Professional body for pool and all their tournaments are played to Blackball rules, reporting through the chain all the way up to the Olympic Committee (IOC), so when you watch their players, you know you are talking about the very best and nothing less. 

I am not one for format boredom, so suffice to say that this week we have the nwxt Groups (of four players each), with a round robin format (everyone plays everyone else) in a race to four “best of six” that can end up 3-3, and with the major bookmakers taking more than a passing interest (the Betfred link is here Unibet, Bet365, while others will be pricing up shortly).  The top player goes through to the next round, and with £10,000 for the overall winner, it seems safe to assume there will be plenty of table time being taken up for practice over the months ahead, so we know they will all be at their peak, before we bother to place our bets.   

Commentary will be by the usual suspects including IPA Chair Kevin Barton, along with “Desperate” Dan Fairway, with “the voice of pool” (Jim Wych) joining in as well for his words of wisdom and amusing snippets. Ex-bookmaker, writer, and TV Pundit Gary Wiltshire has signed up for some helpful insights that may well point us all in the direction of a winner or two, and will hopefully provide a few laughs along with Pickers for pool’s very own “Little and Large” double act. 

Read on for Pickers Picks directly from the man in the know… 

Event 1 Stage 1: – The last round of the stage 1 groups, but exactly who is going to be moving on in to Stage 2? 

Monday: Group D – This weeks first group welcomes back last year’s runner up “Mr Magic” Mark Boyle. He’s not been playing too much competitive pool recently but is that going to play a part in him getting through to the next stage, or not, I wonder? This is a very tricky group. Thompson and Barley are both in the pro ranks and are more than skilled enough to get through this group and even our qualifier Morley, who has qualified for this tournament for the second time, is odds on to be in the pro ranks for the coming season. 

Odds To win through to Stage 2 

Mark Boyle 8/11, Steve Thompson 4/1, Tom Barley 7/2, Wade Morley 6/1 

Match 1: Tom Barley 5/4 v Steve Thompson 6/4, Draw 5/2 – Pickers Picks – Draw 

Match 2: Wade Morley 3/1 v Mark Boyle 4/6, Draw 5/2 – Pickers Picks – Boyle 

Match 3: Wade Morley 7/4 v Steve Thompson Evs, Draw 5/2 – Pickers Picks – Thompson 

Match 4: Mark Boyle 8/11 v Tom Barley 11/4, Draw 9/4 – Pickers Picks – Boyle 

Match 5: Wade Morley 9/4 v Tom Barley 10/11, Draw 9/4 – Pickers Picks – Barley 

Match 6: Steve Thompson 11/4 v Mark Boyle 4/6, Draw 5/2 – Pickers Picks – Draw 

Pickers Picks to win Group A and get to Stage 2: Mark Boyle 

Pickers Picks best Value Bet: Barley/Thompson – Draw 5/2 

Tuesday: Group E –  

Our longest ever reigning world champion McAllister has been the title-holder since 2020 (the 2021 World Champjonship was cancelled due to the pandemic), but hasn’t shown us too much form this season, though obviously he is more than capable of winning all these games. Shields is probably one of the most in-form players in the group, and it could be down to the odd frame to see who goes through to the next stage. Treacy is also on the pro ranks but his recent form is below par by his standards, and then we have the qualifier Coates, who is currently number 15 on the amateur ranks and has a great CV in the pool world. He has had some great results this season it’s looking like he will be in the pro ranks this coming season. 

Dean Shields – could surprise a few on Tuesday evening

Odds To win through to Stage 2: 

Jon McAllister 10/11, Dean Shields 6/4, Conor Treacy 6/1, Matthew Coates 8/1 

Match 1: Conor Treacy 3/1 v Dean Shields 4/6, Draw 9/4 – Pickers Picks – Shields 

Match 2: Matthew Coates 4/1 v Jon McAllister 1:2, Draw 5/2 – Pickers Picks – McAllister 

Match 3: Matthew Coates 7/2 v Dean Shields 8/13, Draw 9/4 – Pickers Picks – Shields 

Match 4: Jon McAllister 4/7 v Conor Treacy 7/2, Draw 5/2 – Pickers Picks – McAllister 

Match 5: Matthew Coates 13/8 v Conor Treacy 5/4, Draw 2/1 – Pickers Picks – Treacy 

Match 6: Dean Shields 15/8 v Jon McAllister Evs, Draw 9/4 – Pickers Picks – Draw 

Pickers Picks to win Group B and get to Stage 2: Jon McAllister 

Pickers Picks best Value Bet: Shields/McAllister Draw 9/4 

Wednesday: Group F – This is the last group that will decide our final 8 players moving on in to stage 2 ,and it sees our very own Dan Davy dropping his commentary role to be a player for the day, and he will be the favourite to go through. Heavy competition will come from Brown and Faul as they both got through to their group finals last year, while Leathem is 16/1 outsider to the win the group even though he has had a very good maiden season at the IPA.  

Odds To win through to Stage 2: 

Dan Davy 5/4, Craig Brown 15/8, JJ Faul 5/2, Mark Leathem 16/1 

Match 1: JJ Faul 13/8 v Craig Brown 5/4, Draw 2/1 – Pickers Picks – JJ Faul  

Match 2: Mark Leathem 5/2 v Dan Davy ⅖, Draw 11/4 – Pickers Picks – Davy 

Match 3: Mark Leathem 4/1 v Craig Brown 8/15, Draw 5/2 – Pickers Picks – Brown 

Match 4: Dan Davy 11/10 v JJ Faul 7/4, Draw 9/4 – Pickers Picks – Davy 

Match 5: Mark Leathem 7/2 v JJ Faul 8/13, Draw 9/4 – Pickers Picks – Draw 

Match 6: Craig Brown 13/8 v Dan Davy 6/5, Draw 9/4 – Pickers Picks – Draw 

Pickers Picks to win Group C and get to Stage 2: Dan Davy 

Pickers Picks best Value Bet: Davy/Faul Draw 9/4 

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