Symons Steals The Show
The Total9Ball Amateur Series kicked off yesterday (31/01/2015) at St Albans Hurricane Room. A full 32 player field was assembled and many players brought their ‘A’ games. The T9B Amateur Series has always been very popular but a few new additions to this season including prize money for the top three ranked players (1st £250, 2nd £150 3rd £100), The winner of each event is invited to play in the newly formed Champion of Champions event (current pot £600) and the top 32 ranked players at the end of the season are invited to the Grand Finals. It’s not hard to see why this is the UK’s biggest and most successful Amateur Series.
New rules for this season mean that only the first 32 paying amateur players are accepted for each event. Yesterday we saw why this new pay in advance rule is so important. It meant even though a few players couldn’t make yesterday’s event due to various reasons, we still gave the attending players the event that was promised with the prize money announced. T9B put together a super strong field of players and I’d say once again pretty much nailed the handicaps with lots of 7v6 and 7v5 scores lines.
Thanks to Dynamic Billard for sponsoring this event.
Matches kicked off at 10.30am with 14 players immediately in action. Richard Twomey’s day began with a tough match against Hungarian talent Zoltan Kojska, Rich played some good pool and ran out a 7v2 winner, it wasn’t long before Twomey was in action again this time against Total9Ball’s very own Phil Wildman. Two players not currently playing decided to have a side bet on this match as £200 was placed on a Twomey win, this was matched with £200 on a Wildman win. Twomey’s backers were in luck on this occasion as an even encounter ended 7v5 in favour of the Twominator. Aslam Abubaker was pushed right the way to a final rack decider by local talent Mike Stanley, Aslam did manage to get over the line 7v6, it was a great match to watch as both players seemed to be playing well, it was a shame there could only be one winner. Courtney Symon’s event began with some tough action against his friend Nick Hampton. Again a high quality match and another 7v6 result this time in favour of Courtney Symons. Unfortunately Courtney couldn’t continue his winning form to Aslam Abubaker’s delight as he reported a magnificent 7v1 end result. Mark Hughes ended Zoltan Kojska’s event at the first hurdle as Hughes looking in good form advanced 7v4. Tom Staveley needed every rack available to overcome Dave Hopkin 7v6 (from 0v3 down) and followed this result with a cool 7v3 victory against Dan Lim. Dan commented after the game full of praise for Tom ‘he played some perfect 9ball and literally chances for me were at a minimum’. Improving Mark Williams of Leicester looked to be on the verge of a good scalp of Reggs Bituin. Williams led 6v0 but couldn’t quite get over the line as Reggs battled back to win dramatically 7v6.
After the completion of the first round matches it was BREAK-DISH TIME!!!! Ticket sales closed and the pot was boosted to a whopping £600. This was broken down to £50 per ball potted! with a £100 bonus for a ten ball clearance! Players purchase raffle tickets with the hope of being pulled out of the hat to make an attempt at the big money clearance. The rules are simple, pot off the break and pot the balls in order from 1-10. Players can stop and collect at any point but if they carry on and miss… the accrued money is lost! The first player drawn at this event was Brian Cassidy, this was Brian’s first ever attempt at the T9B Break-dish. He placed the cueball just to the right side of centre table. He broke the balls well with a well-timed punch break. A single ball was potted and £50 was announced. Brian I guess seeing this as his one chance at the break-dish and wanted to take the opportunity by the scruff of the neck. He decided to carry on taking on a bank shot to the middle pocket… could he of hit this shot any sweeter? I very much doubt it, heart of the pocket with shape on the next ball, £100 was announced and now this was a great opportunity to clear the table or at the very least take a substantial amount from the £600 pot. Brian continued again potting another ball to up his potential winnings to £150. The next shot Brian needed to pot a relatively simple ball but a lot of power and side spin was needed for perfect shape on the next ball. Brian potted the ball but didn’t get the intended spin on the cueball and ended up short and hooked. Brian Cassidy collected £200 not bad for potting four balls. A second player was allowed to make an attempt. This time at a reduced pot of £100 that’s was £5 per ball with a £50 clearance bonus. Mark Foster was the lucky player pulled from the hat. Mark hit a quality break sinking one ball but just when it looked like he would have a chance of a shot on the one ball… the white ball was kicked into a position where Mark was hooked. £5 in and £5 out for Mark Foster. The Break dish pot of £395 will now roll over to Event Two.
Into round two of the competition and players winning these matches would be seeded players for Event 2. It was in this round that players performances really upped a gear. Courtney Symons down to one life shut out Adam Wale winning 7 racks to 4. Rich Twomey defeated local talent Mikko Tuomi 7v1 while Aslam ‘Hill-Hill’ Abubaker advanced again 7v6 this time against experienced Bob Harris. Paul Taylor played very well to take out Tom Staveley 7v5. Tom did however follow this defeat with an impressive 7v2 result against ‘The Essex Pantha’ Mark Parker. Darren Randall appeared to be playing very well as he ended Neil Margossian’s event with a confidence boasting 7v2 win. Shakz Islam seems to be improving with every event and this showed with a class 7v0 result against Jon Gonzales while Phil Wildman made the most of Darren Randall’s Bad luck winning 7v3. Phil said ‘an incredible match, I have never seen anybody have such bad luck, I believe Darren left me three 9ball combo’s throughout the game and potted some brilliant balls but each time the travelling white somehow ended up in a pocket like it was being sucked in’
We now knew who the seeded players for Event 2 would be
Left side of the draw Right Side of the draw
Courtney Symons Adam Wale
Dan Lim Aslam Abubaker
Darren Randall Brian Cassidy
Mark Foster Mark Hughes
Mark Parker Phil Wildman
Paul Taylor Reggs Bituin
Rich Twomey Rich Twomey
Shakz Islam Tom Staveley
(Players need to enter event two now to make the most of the seeding, only 19 spaces remaining)
At this stage of the event just 16 players remained in contention to become the first Champion of the new series. Courtney Symons seemed to be playing like a potential tournament winner as he end Darren Randall’s good run in the event 7v2. Rich Twomey was the only remaining player on for the double. This round of fixtures wouldn’t stop him as he seemed to be on a mission and now potting balls off the lampshades, dropping just one rack once the handicaps were removed as he passed by Mark Parker 7v0 and Adam Wale 7v3 (7v1 without handicap). Mark Hughes forgot to bring his break cue but seemed to be playing with some confidence and breaking very nicely. He led Phil Wildman 6v5 but in the end was narrowly beaten 7v6. Tom Staveley’s performances over the last few months have gone through the roof! This showed as he got the better of Reggs Bituin 7v4. Aslam Abubaker again was involved in yet another hill-hill match, this was the third match of his in a row that was down to a one rack decider. This time is was one deciding rack to many and Brian Cassidy prevailed 7v6.
All players remaining were now in the prize money and Rich Twomey was in there twice. Courtney Symons had to play well to defeat Shakz Islam 7v5 while Rich Twomey seemed to be on fire, he achieved another two impressive wins in this round defeating Brian Cassidy 7v0 and and local St Albans player Dan Lim 7v3. A great day for Dan who hasn’t entered a tournament for a few years, it seems he hasnt lost any of his ability. Tom Staveley also booked his place in the Semi-Finals winning 7v2 against Phil Wildman. Wildman was full of praise for Staveley after the match, Phil Said ‘all I can say is wow, I was shut out of the match by a near faultless performance, Tom broke well, potted well, had a good white ball and he jumps as good as anybody I have ever seen’.
This event was looking like the Twomey show, Rich was producing result after result, could anybody stop him steam rolling this quality field of players? The Semi-Final looked like this:-
Rich Twomey vs Tom Staveley
Rich Twomey vs Courtney Symons
First up to take on the Twomey challenge was Tom Staveley. Players who stayed on to watch the conclusion of this event would of expected a very close nail biting match here as both players seemed to be hitting the ball well in their previous matches. Tom seemed to struggle to get going in this match and Twomey showed his ruthless potting ability. Twomey finished the match with a nice clearance and took the first space in the Final 7v3.
With just Courtney Symons and Rich Twomey remaining and with both players being on a level handicap they agreed to shorten the matches to a race to 3. So Courtney would need to win The Semi Final first to advance to play Rich again in the Final. Courtney took the Semi Final 3v0. This result meant Rich finished just one win short of being only the 5th player to complete the double and only the 2nd to do the double at an Amateur Series event, unlucky Rich.
It was time for the Final! Again the players agreed to shorten the match to a race to 3 racks. I was surprised the players agreed this as it wasn’t just prize money and the beautiful glass trophy on offer but also space two of 16 in the Champion Of Champions event at the end of the season.
Courtney again got off to a good start and lead 2v1, Rich potted an impressive long shot but lost the white and it unfortunately ended up in the centre pocket. This left Courtney an relatively simply five ball clearance which he took out with confidents to steal the event from Rich Twomey.
WOW WOW, WOW. An amazing start to what is going to be a memorable season. The players who attended brought there best form and battled hard. Courtney Symons, Rich Twomey and Tom Staveley were in my opinion the outstanding players of the event. Having said that there were a lot of players who performed well on the day. Well done to Courtney Symons on winning his final event before his first baby is born in two weeks time and for gaining a position in The Champion Of Champions event. Thanks to The Hurricane Room St Albans for playing great hosts and for their kind sponsorship towards this series, also to Dynamic Billard for sponsoring and supporting T9B, to Kim Rowlett who did a great job of keeping the tournament running smoothly and to all players who attended the event and made it the success it was.
Feedback regarding the event has been brilliant and we are sure we can fill all 32 spots at each event. The second event will be held at High Wycombe Hurricane Room on Saturday 28th Feb. Already there is only 19 spaces remaining and they are available on first paid first play basis. This season we are taking the best 6 results of 8 event towards the final rankings therefore missing event one wont cost players in the long run as long as they attend 6 of the next 7 events.