Cream rise to the top
Saturday 16th November saw 29 participants descend on Rileys Sports Bar, in Solihull, each with aspirations of claiming top honours in the third installment of our Cyclop Pool Series. This would be the last opportunity for players to cement their place in January’s 24 player Grand Final, or better still advance themselves in to one of the eight sought after seeded spots.
The draw took place on Friday afternoon and threw together three stand-out matches. Danny Douane, Alan Coton and Kris Kovacs would all have fancied a good run in this tournament but respective defeats to Luke Garland, Elliott Sanderson and Kevin Simpson meant that three top players were each looking at a loss-side run to reach the single elimination stage. Al and Danny crossed paths late in the loss-side bracket, with the vastly more experienced Coton victorious as he progressed to the last eight. Luke Garland shook off an earlier defeat at the hands of Elliott Sanderson to clinch a quarter final berth, at the expense of Kris Kovacs. Andy Lacey overcame Shane Conroy (7-3) while Solihull’s Ryan Coton ended Ryan Lewis’s day in a hill-hill decider. Kev Simpson, Benji Buckley, Ian McCormick and Elliott Sanderson all progressed to the quarter-finals without tasting defeat. Honourable mentions at this point must go to Mark Eardley, Steve Weaver, Carl Weaver, Shaun Berrisford and Chris Parker. All of whom booked their places in our grand final thanks to crucial wins on the day. Congratulations must also go to Romy Roque, who clinched the 24th qualifying spot with victories over Julian Roper (7-2) and Dave Wyatt (7-4).
In the quarter finals, Elliott Sanderson got the better of Alan Coton for the second time on the day. Kev Simpson advanced with a comprehensive victory over Andy Lacey (7-1). Ryan Coton saw his run ended by Benji Buckley (7-2) while Luke Garland completed the semi-final lineup with a comfortable 7-3 win over Ian McCormik. Both semi-finals finished 7-3 as Elliott Sanderson eventually eliminated Kev Simpson while Benji Buckley inflicted defeat on Luke Garland.
Prior to Saturday, Benji and Elliott had combined to win six of the eight tournaments Solihull 9 Ball had hosted during 2019. It was only fitting that the two most dominant players would compete in our last match of the year. Amazingly, this would be the first final where the two would actually face each other. Benji managed to get a slim early lead. Elliott rallied, eventually forcing the game to 5-5. Benji took rack eleven but could do nothing as Elliott looked good to clear up in rack twelve. However, a scratch on the seven ball, while playing three-rail position, gifted ball-in-hand to Benji. The Sheffield Wednesday fan made no mistake with the final three balls, securing himself his fifth Solihull 9 Ball title of the year as well as the £330 first prize.
Congratulations to Benji, the fifth time we have said that this season. A great year topped off with a win in the main tournament. Along with that, midway through the event we suspended play to start our GO Customs Shoot-Out. Again, Benji would be victorious defeating Shane Conroy in the final of the sudden death one rack knockout, where 17 players had battled for the GO Customs carbon fibre package.
Not a bad days work. At this point I have to say commiserations to Elliott who played brilliantly throughout the day, only an untimely scratch in the twelfth rack denied him the chance to take Benji to a decider. Elliott has been class this season and we look forward to seeing him in the grand final on 4th January.
In total, 60 players participated in our Cyclop Pool Series. Each tournament carried ranking points and the top 24 ranked players, at the end of all three events, would qualify for our Cyclop Pool Series Grand Final, taking place on 4th January 2020. The 24 qualifiers are (total points in brackets) : Luke Garland (149), Kev Simpson (145), Benji Buckley (128), Alan Coton (127), Ian McCormik (114), Andy Lacey (109), Shane Conroy (108), Ryan Coton (103), Elliott Sanderson (95), Carl Weaver (93), Raffy Gonzales (92), Daryl Garland (92), Kris Kovacs (92), Steve Weaver (88), Keith Walkerdine (88), Kurt Weaver (87), Andy Carter (87), Chris Seville (84), Chris Parker (84), Mark Eardley (83), Ryan Wissett (74), Danny Douane (74), Shaun Berrisford (69) and Romy Roque (63).
We’d like to express our congratulations to Luke Garland who emerges from the series as top seed going into the Grand Final. Luke has been playing the game seriously for just under six months. His solid snooker fundamentals have seen him finish runner up to Kev Simpson, at event two, and reach the semi finals at both events one and three. Going in to the final GB9 tour stop of 2019 Luke has already defeated some tremendous players. Finishing top of the rankings, in a list packed with established names, is a tremendous achievement.
A huge thank you to our sponsors : GO Customs, Cyclop Billiards, Taom Billiards, Rileys, Supreme Shark Rack and pro9. Their support and generosity have helped get Solihull 9 Ball to where it is today. We would like to wish all of our players and sponsors a great Christmas and we’ll see you all next year.