Saturday 28th August saw the Total9Ball Grand Finals take place at the Raging Ball Venue in St Albans. 23 players competed in what was set to be a brilliant event with over £500 in sponsorship added by Total9ball on top of the players entry fees. This meant the prize money for this one day finale was as follows:-
Runner Up £250
Semi Finals £125
Quarter Finals £60
The event was run to the standard Amateur Series format of 2x double chance. Each player was therefore guaranteed two knockout matches. The first side of the draw was seeded with the top eight ranked players receiving a bye into round two. The second side of the draw was drawn at random live at the venue before a ball was hit. Total9ball also guaranteed the break-dish at this event at a minimum of £300. With so much to play for there was an incredible buzz in the venue with all players looking to end on a high and become T9B Grand Final Champion 2015.
Matches kicked off at 10.30am and the first shock result wasn’t far away. Nathan Virica is clearly a very talented player but has yet to really perform at a T9B event.. this event however began well for Nathan as he produced a cool 7v3 victory against Mark Parker. It was great to see Sefton Payne back in action, Sefton has only been seen a handful of times at T9B events but in known as a top English Pool and Snooker player, he has also as expected adapted well to 9ball and this showed as he defeated the recently in form Wayne Rooke 7v5. Paul Taylor put in an impressive display as he took on the most recent T9B Champion Of Champions qualifier Bob Harris, Paul ran out a 7v2 winner in this match and advanced to the next round. There was no messing around as Richard Twomey cut Mark Parker’s event short in double quick time with a 7v2 victory. Phil Wildman dropped just two racks across his first two matches as he got the better of Oli Waters and Rich Fulwell. Jamie Bryan also made a brilliant start to this event winning 7v4 and 7v2 against Chris Parker and Nick Hampton respectively.
At this stage of the event the final ranking positions were announced for this season. The rankings this year were sponsored by Raging Ball and £500 was split between the top three ranked players. In 3rd position collecting £100 was Brian Cassidy, In Second place collecting £150 was Steve Chick and The rankings winner for 2015 collecting £250 was Phil Wildman.
On to the break dish. As this side event was guaranteed at £300 T9B added £130 to the pot as there was £170 in ticket sales. The £300 was broken down to £25 per ball with a £50 bonus for the clearance First up was T9B’s founder Phil Wildman. Phil always purchases a lot of tickets but Is known for many dry break attempts. Could he change this at the Grand Finals? No was the answer another dry break. Next up was Lionel Brown again unfortunately another dry break! As this was the Grand Final T9B allowed the 3rd lucky player to shoot at the full pot of £300. Up stepped Sefton Payne… Sefton crunched the break with great power, two balls were potted. £50 was announced, Sefton looked at his options but found no value in continuing and collect £50. Well Done Sefton.
Due to a Champion Of Champions qualifier now not being available next Saturday there was a last chance one rack shoot-out held at this event. Eight players took part hoping for to qualify for the main event of the season. Wayne Rooke is proving to be the Jimmy White of T9B as he has missed out at the final stage three times already. In the One rack shoot-out he reached the Final again but on this occasion lost out to Sefton Payne. Sefton takes position 16 in the 16 player event with £2000 in guaranteed prize money.
Back to the small matter of the T9B Grand Finals. Who would be crowned Champion Of the Amateur Series and scoop the £500 top prize or would one player scoop the Jackpot of £750 by remaining undefeated throughout the event? Matches were beginning to get tense with 10 of 16 matches ending 7v6 or 7v5. Phil Wildman was involved in one of these close matches as he took on Mark Williams of Leicester for the first time ever. Mark began the match on plus four racks while Wildman started way back on minus three racks. This was always going to be a battle as Wildman had to try and stop Williams from winning just three racks. Its looked bleak for Wildman as he trialled 3v6 but an area of Wildman’s game that has really improved lately is his mental approach and he never gave up as he battled back to 6v6. Williams had an opportunity to complete the victory but a thin length of the table cut 9ball stood in his way. He hit this shot really well and it looked for all money like it was in but it hit the jaws of the bottom left pocket and hung on the lip of the pocket, relief for Wildman as he slotted it home and advanced by the skin of his teeth. Another player who snuck through was Rich Twomey. Rich trailed 3v6 to Brian Cassidy before he battled back to take the match 7v6 to set-up a match against Wildman in the next round. Local talent MIkko Tuomi confirmed his space in the Champion Of Champions event as he defeated Wayne Rooke. Mikko also began this event well as he recorded wins against Paul Taylor 7v2, Steve Chick 7v6 and Wayne Rooke 7v5.
We now move on to round three of the event and winners of these matches would be guaranteed £60 in prize money and of course as players are entered in both sides of the draw if two wins were recorded then to lots of prize money would be paid to the same player. The closest match of this round went all the way as Lionel Brown Ended Sefton Payne’s event 7v6. Phil Wildman continued his good form and kept both his chances intact as he took on two in form players Mikko Tuomi and Rich Twomey. The matches ended 7v4 and 7v5 as Wildman continued on the Jackpot trail and looked a good bet to retain the Grand Final title he won last season. Brian Cassidy took on Veso Papradanov and looked un-fazed by the large handicap head start given as he made few mistakes winning 7v4. Chris Parker is well regarded a top player who plays with a lot of flair and everyone knows he has so much ability, it’s strange that Chris has been struggling in T9B events of late with results . A 7v3 win over Mikko Tuomi perhaps showed today was the day that Chris got back into form. Aslam Abubaker ended Steve Chick’s event 7v5 while Veso struck a cool 7v3 against Ian Cherry.
So, on to the Quarter Finals and each player now guaranteed some prize money with each win now doubling the amount. Phil Wildman remained in the event twice but unfortunately it was this round where his Jackpot hopes were dashed. First up for Wildman was a tricky match against an under the weather Brian Cassidy. Wildman took full advantage ending Brian’s event 7 racks to 3. Chris Parker was the next challenge for Wildman and he was one challenge to much, Wildman caught the handicap up quickly and lead 6v4 only for Parker to battle back to 6v6. At Hill-Hill both players missed half chances and both had a bit of run but the final mistake came from Wildman as he failed to hit a rail after escaping from being full ball hooked, Chris with ball in hand held himself together well and took his chance… 7v6 Chris Parker. Bob Harris seems to be enjoying some good form now at T9B and looks a danger at each event he attends. In this round Lionel Brown was on the receiving end of a good Bob Harris performance result 7v4. Veso Papradanov continued his fine form of late to reach yet another T9B Semi Final, this time off his new reduced handicap. Veso winning meant his opponent Aslam Abubaker of Leicester was on his way home 7v3.
Four Players remained and the Semi Finals were upon us. Phil Wildman took on experienced Bob Harris while Chris Parker was paired up against the kamikaze Veso Papradanov. Both matches were very close and could have gone either way but it was Chris Parker and Phil Wildman who potted the final 9ball in each match and both reached the Final by a 7v5 result. Bob Harris and Veso collected £125 for their days play.
So it was a Chris Parker v Phil Wildman final. Parker looked confident after beating Wildman 7v6 in there earlier tussle but Wildman has lots of winning T9B form on his side and therefore it was with the handicaps a 50/50 match as it should be. Wildman made a composed start and reduced the handicap start but then Chris Parker pulled clear again. Wildman recently has massively improved his mental side of the game thanks to his coach Alan Bell and this showed as he knuckled down and got to work to pull the match back to 4v6. In the 11th rack however Chris had a great chance to tie up his first Total9ball win but his positional shot from the 8 to 9 ball was nervy and was slightly over hit. Chris took on the long 9ball with confidence but it wasn’t to be as he missed the pocket, gifting Wildman a get out of Jail free card 5v6. Under T9B rules at hill hill the winner of the lag gets the break should a match go to the dramatic hill-hill situation, this meant Wildman knew the match was in his own hands as he would break both of the remaining racks if needed. Wildman told himself two break dishes needed and nailed the break in rack 12 he converted the remaining balls 6v6. Wildman broke off in the decider potting a ball but failing to score the three points. Advantage Chris Parker. He slotted in a few balls and was cueing up on the next legal ball when he was distracted by somebody walking in the line of his shot. Chris stood back from the table and composed himself, he potted the ball after the distraction but didn’t land perfect on the next ball. Chris left a very makable shot but the white would be colliding into other balls. Again he potted in the heart of the pocket but the white connected with the following legal ball which also went in the opposite pocket meaning the next ball was the 8ball which was tight on the top rail and therefore potting wasn’t an option. Chris played his shot and left a long 8ball for Wildman who looked mega confident having almost returned from the dead again in this match. There was no mistake from Phil as he sunk the 8ball and landed perfect on the 9ball. Wildman becomes the first player to retain title and is crowned The T9B Grand Final Champion 2015.
Friends off the table Chris and Phil chatted about the match after and Chris commented on the missed 9ball ‘it was a weird shot as if you had of left me there I would expect to pot it but because I left myself there it make the pot that much harder as I was disappointed not to leave it easier’ Chris Also commented on Facebook, ‘disappointed to lose to Phil Wildman 7v6 but i’l get you next time’.
Well what can we say? Total9ball produces another fantastic and dramatic event. Lots of hard work is put into T9B by the directors to make sure we put on the finest events and we are looking to improve something at each event with investment. Well done to Phil Wildman on winning this event but also to Chris Parker as a brilliant and sporting runner up.
Thanks to our sponsors, Raging Ball and Dynamic Billard for your ongoing support. We really do appreciate your support. Thanks also goes to the players who support T9B events, you keep supporting and we will keep improving.
2016 looks very exciting for Total9ball and its members as we launch the new and improved Amateur Series for its 7th season, the addition of regular pro-am scratch events, new sponsors on board and new technology to improve our events. To join Total9ball for 2016 just contact Mark Parker on 07764485711. Membership for 2016 is currently £25 and for next season gives players priority entry to all events, member avoids the £5 non-member charge, only members will score ranking points at event and gain invites to the roll up events such as the Champion Of Champions 2016. Pledge your support asap as the first 50 members will be placed in a draw for a T9B equipment package including a couple of tips from our latest sponsors Talismann, Taom tips, a cue towel, predator chalk and £10 off a T9B event of your choice