King Cassidy Rules at T9B Search For a Star Event
Saturday 1st August saw the annual T9B Search For A Star (Rookie) event take place. 36 players in total competed for the beautiful glass trophy, prize money on the day, a £250 T9B sponsorship deal and an elusive space within the T9B Champion Of Champions Event. The format was 9ball pool with alternate breaks and each match was a race to 7 racks plus handicaps (Max -1 rated players). Each player would compete in three random league stage matches with the top 16 players ranked in order of matches won followed by racks won as a second separator. The league stages sure were going to be cutthroat as the sport of 9ball is itself, as less than 50% of players would qualify, meaning some players with 2 out of 3 wins would miss out based on racks won. The power was in the players hands before a ball was hit as 3/3 wins would guarantee qualification but 2/3 you would be relying on results.
The Annual Search for a Star event always creates a fantastic buzz as without some of Total9ball’s top plays involved it’s felt this is a massively open event and any player who plays with confidence on the day can be the eventual winner.
Thanks to Dynamic Billard for sponsoring this event.
Six players in total advanced through the league stages without defeat, in alphabetical order they were Jaspal Bamotra, Mike Dixon, Mikko Tuomi, Nick Hampton, Rodrigo Quarinte and Shakz Islam. Well done to those players who were clearly on top of their game. Joining them as seeded players for the knockout stages were Kev Kelleher and Laszlo Zsom who recorded two winning results and their only defeats were of 7v6 scoring them 6 racks each. The next eight players qualified as non-seeded players. Marlowe Malicderm was involved in the final game to finish and it was a cracker. Marlowe, part of the $MB team, needed any victory to secure his place, and the pressure was on with other players watching on hoping Marlowe would be defeated so they would qualify. Marlowe was behind by 5 racks to 6 but of course to build the tension he took the 12th rack to provide a hill-hill decider. The balls in the final rack fell a bit scrappy and both players missed a few half chances but it was in Marlowe’s hands as he was left with just three balls remaining, he potted the 7 and 8 balls but fell out of shape on the 9ball. A few safety shots followed but it was Marlowe who smashed in the all crucial 9ball and advanced killing all hope for Mark Williams and Robin Cripps.
After the grueling league stages were completed it was time for the break dish to take centre stage. T9B put up a starting pot of £100 and the players purchased a total of £230 of raffle tickets making the main prize for the clearance £330. The first lucky player drawn at random was Rich Fulwell. This is the second successive event that Rich has made an attempt however on this occasion it was a dry break rather than a miscue that cost the High Wycombe shooter. Next up was Adrian Hickson.unfortunately it was another dry break. The final player to step up was Paul Taylor… he would compete for a reduced pot of £5 per ball potted and a £50 bonus for the clearance. He hit a near perfect break with 2 balls dropping into pockets. £10 was called by T9B Founder Phillip Wildman, Paul elected to continue and potted a 3rd ball to make his prize £15, unfortunately Paul hooked himself on the next ball and decided to collect the £15 prize. The collected money will be separated between the Champion Of Champions event and the main break dish roll up pot. The break dish will be available next on Saturday 22nd August at The Amateur Series Event 6.
So just 16 player remained as we moved into the knockout stages of this top value event. The top eight players were placed in one pot and drawn as seeded players while the other eight qualifiers were paired up against them. Below Is the draw with results.
Kev Kelleher 7v2 Marlowe Malicderm
Brian Cassidy 7v3 Rodrigo Quarantie
Mikko Tuomi 7v6 Chris Parker (MIkko trailed 4v6 and came back to win)
Laszlow Zsom 7v3 Jamie Hobbs
Jaspal Balmotra 2v7 Del Sim
Mike Dixon 4v7 Mark Hughes
Nick Hampton 7v2 Mark Parker
Shakz Islam 7v6 Roderick SMB
Del SIm and Mark Hughes were the only two non-seeded players to advance to the Quarter Final stage.
Now that there were just eight players remaining it was time that all players got serious and realised today could be their day. Brian Cassidy made the most of Kev Kelleher’s errors and produced an excellent 7v3 victory while Laszlow Zsom took out one of the in form players Mikko Tuomi by the same score line. Del Sim trailed Mark Hughes for most of the match in their Quarter Final encounter, it looked like it may be Hughes into the Semi Final as at 6v6 Hughes had Del on two fouls but Hughes took the attacking option and went for the clearance rather than the 3rd snooker. He paid the price however as he didn’t get enough spin on the cue ball and hooked himself leaving a great match to final with Del running out the remaining balls. Nick Hampton has been on fire latterly like a runaway train in fact, Shakz Islam wasn’t going to stop him either as Hampton stamped him out of the event 7v2.
Both Semi Final matches ended 7v3 as Brian Cassidy and Nick Hampton both looked like the eventual winner in this round. Del Sim and Lazslow Zsom collected their £80 cash for reaching this stage of the event.
It was Final time and what a final this was going to be. At the beginning of the event these would be two of most players 5 picks to win the event. Would it be Cassidy or Hampton who received the beautiful glass trophy and the sponsorship? The answer was… Brian Cassidy!!! He looked the only winner in the Final really. Brian was taking advantage of all chances given by Hampton and it seemed every time I looked over it was Brian at the table mopping up. Hampton was given a +1 handicap against Brian’s -1 but Hampton only managed two winning racks during the Final and they were gifts as Brian did miss a couple 9balls. It was great to see two of the best players involved in the event go toe to toe in the Final of this popular annual event and I’m sure Brian will kick on now after this win. The end score was 7v3.
Well what can I say. What an event. It ran smoothly from start to finish as Phil Wildman and Sharon Allingham worked well as a team behind the tournament desk. There were some funny moments during the event, Jermaine Pierre and Tony Burton began discussing terms for a money match when the Quarter Finals started and I kid you not 90 minutes later they were still haggling on the handicap… the match never started. Jon Butterworth not in the event wanted some action and offered to put £5000 on Tony Burton against Brian Cassidy, Brian had just finished a match and didn’t want any more action but never likes to turn down a bet and put £2000 on the table offering Butterworth a head or tails for £2000 a man. Jon was talking big cash earlier but looked almost scared of Brian’s proposal and had to walk away.
Thanks to everyone who made this event as good as it was that includes, our sponsors Dynamic Billard, St Albans Hurricane Room and Talisman tips. Mark Parker for taking some brilliant action photos, Sharon Allingham for helping on the tournament desk and to all the players who supported this event. I can’t wait to run this event again next season and the plan is to run two rookie event in 2016 a 9ball and a 10ball version.
Next up is the T9B Amateur Series Event 6 held at ST Albans Hurricane Room on Saturday 22nd August. This event has had the max 32 at all 5 events so far and spaces are never available for long so if you would like to enter please contact Mark Parker or myself asap to save disappointment.