Bob Harris bagged himself one of the final invites to the T9B Champion Of Champions event held at St Albans Raging Bull (New club name same location) venue in Hertfordshire on Saturday 5th December. T9B event winners have been getting invites to the main event of the season all year and we now have our 16 qualifiers. This last chance saloon qualifier held last Saturday 14th (November) as a last minute addition event added to the already very busy T9B schedule of events. As Chris Seville and Tom Staveley were repeat event winners earlier in the season there were two spaces on offer at this qualifier. Two separate tournaments were organised and run on the same date. The winner of the first event would become ineligible for event two. In total 14 players attended this event which seems a low attendance but as it was a last minute event and with 14 regular players already qualified this was a pleasing attendance. The format was two random draw straight knockout events with players racing to seven racks.
Matches kicked off at 10.30am with each first round match being allocated a table. Chris Parker raced to a 7v2 victory against Wayne Rooke, this was the first result back of the day. Bob Harris was one of the lucky players who received a bye through to the Quarter Finals but his day didn’t start the way he had surely planned as Matt Hawthorne played a solid match winning 7v3. Total9ball’s very own Mark Parker looked to be showing some good form as he began with an impressive 7v2 against one of the pre tournament favourites Mark Foster. Mikko Tuomi produced a quality 7v4 result against Mark Williams while Alan Bell battled hard to defeat Mark Newell 7v5.
Match of the Quarter Finals had to be the tense 7v6 result between Alan Bell and Mark Parker. Mark seemed to have some sort of control of the match but Alan slowly worked his way back in when it mattered and held his nerve well at hill-hill. Anthony Ginn (7v4 Chris Parker), Mikko Tuomi (7v5 David Worrow) and Matt Hawthorne (7v3 Bob Harris) joined Alan in the Semi Final line-up.
At this stage the one rack shootout commenced. The rules for this event were players would first lag for the break, each player must play a shot in each match, if player ‘A’ break and ran the rack then player ‘B’ would get a chance to break run back. If player ‘B’ fails to clear the table then the match was awarded to player ‘A’. If both players play a shot in rack one its simply rack winner advances to the next round. Bob Harris seemed to be really well suited to this pressure situation and he would be one of the players who contested the final for the £50 winner takes all prize. Who would join him? It was… Matt ‘The One Rack’ Hawthorne. This is the second time we have seen Matt Hawthorne in a T9B one rack shootout final so he is definitely a bit of a side game specialist. On this occasion it was however Harris who took the spoils as he sunk the £50 9ball to win the Shootout.
So with just four players remaining it was Semi Final time and none of the players remaining have ever been a Total9ball event Champion so something had to give. Alan Bell looked to be continuing his resent fine form as he took apart Matt Hawthorne rack by rack. The match ended with a convincing 7v2 result in favour of ‘The Coach’ Alan Bell. Mikko Tuomi produced the surprise result of the event as he raced into a clear lead against ex professional Anthony Ginn. Mikko seemed to be in full control of the match but could he get the hardest rack of all… Mikko lead 6v2 and required just one more to book his place in the Final. Ant seemed to be playing ok as the score changed from 6v2 to 6v4 in the blink of an eye but then Mikko struck gold as cleared up the six remaining balls looking calm and composed.
So Event one would be played out between Alan Bell and Mikko Tuomi. The final really couldn’t of been closer as the players seemed to be striking the ball with the most accurate timing. Nobody deserved to lose in this high quality encounter and it was a fitting finish that the match would be decided by one rack as the players were locked at hill-hill 6v6. Mikko had the break in the decider but this unfortunately didn’t lead to a good opportunity for the St Albans based local player who was born in Finland. Alan Bell seemed to be using his skills as a coach and self-coaching himself as he made sure there would be no mistakes and no further shots of Mikko. Alan Bell a cool 7v6 winner.
Very well played Alan not only can you teach a good game you can also play a good game. Alan seems to be on a massive high form wise currently as he is now regularly achieving good results in all T9B events.
So with one event completed the players now knew this really was there last chance as event two kicked off. For the second time in this event Bob Harris received a bye as this time he was due to play his friend and travelling companion Alan Bell but as Alan at this point had already qualified Bob received a walkover. Mark Parker took full advantage of all chances against David Worrow the match ended 7v2 to Parker.
Moving onto the Quarter Finals of this Final qualifier and this is how the line up looked with results:-
Mark Williams 7v6 Mikko Tuomi (Mark led 6v0 Mikko battled back to 6v6. Mark Fluked a ball in decider which left him on an easy combo)
Wayne Rooke 7v2 Mark Foster (Rooke domintes from start to finish and looks a danger to all players remaining in the event)
Bob Harris 7v6 Mark Parker (Good fight back from Harris. Harris hooked Parker at 6v6. Parker fouled leaving an easy combo on the 9ball)
Colin Connor 7v3 Ant Ginn (Colin looked solid from start to finish. Flashes of good form from Ant but Colin was in no mood to be denied)
At the Semi Final stage of this event it was still hard to pick a winner as all seemed to be playing high quality 9ball. Wayne Rooke could do nothing wrong against Mark Williams, Mark commented after that he didn’t really do a lot wrong and just didn’t get a look in. Wayne Rooke 7 Mark Williams 3. In the other Semi Final Bob caught up the handicap quickly and built himself a nice lead. Colin fought back gallantly from 6v2 to 6v5 and had a chance levelling the match but a missed ball down the far rail ended up being Colin’s last shot in this event and it was Harris who reached his second final of the day.
The Final – Bob Harris vs Wayne Rooke
Both players seemed to be bang in form by this point and both knew just one more win would get them entry into the main event of the T9B season. Bob seems to have the measure of Wayne and that showed again in this match as Bob took the match 7v5. Wayne said ‘Bob always plays unreal pool against him, its like he saves his best for when he plays me’
Well Done Bob Harris a deserved place at the T9B Champions Of Champions event. Bob will join 15 other winning players from this season who will battle it out for a guaranteed £2000 prize fund on Saturday 5th December held at The Raging Bull venue in St Albans
Alan Bell just before leaving the venue realised he is double booked as he will be away coaching in Finland on the date of the event. Therefore a decision was made by T9B that Mikko Tuomi and Wayne Rooke will playoff for the final space at the T9B Amateur Series Grand Final held the week before. After the result of this match in known the Champion Of Champions Draw will be completed live at the venue.
Thanks to our Sponsors Dynamic Billard and The Raging Bull for sponsoring this event and for your ongoing support going into 2016. Also thanks to all players who support this event and other events throughout the 2015 season. 2016 is going to be our biggest season yet and some big announcements are coming soon.