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Jason Twist makes history as he retains IPA World Seniors title

Sean Trivass | February 7, 2016

Twist still the IPA Seniors champ

With the numbers decreasing and the atmosphere building, the penultimate day of the IPA World Pool Championships saw our first trophies handed out late into the evening as we finally reached the Seniors final.

A rule of age 40 or above ensured that plenty of the better tour players had entered, which made life pretty difficult for us normal folk (I lost 7-1 in the first round). A ridiculously high standard saw a semi-final line-up of Jeremy Hooper, Bash Maqsood, Jason Twist and Gareth Hibbott – not a bad quartet of blackball players by anybody’s standards with a long list of titles between them.

After a toe-to-toe battle with Maqsood, Hooper went through 7-6 to face 2015 champion Twist, who beat Hibbott by the same scoreline.

Twist 2

The odds with Coral before the first ball was struck suggested Twist was a shoe-in (1/6), and he put his years of top level experience to good use racing into a 3-0 lead. Hooper got on the scoresheet in the fourth frame, though, and took it all the way to a final score of 7-5, where Twist became the first person in the IPA’s history to retain a World title.

Happy as Twist was (ecstatic springs to mind), hats off to Hooper who was so magnanimous in defeat and seems sure to be back to fight another day based on this showing.

Lucas in Ladies final rematch with Burchell

Meanwhile, the Ladies got as far as the final (to be played on Sunday) and, with a touch of deja vu, Deb Burchell faces Shona Lucas in a repeat of last year, though the latter will be hoping to reverse that particular result.

They beat Samantha Hurst 6-5 and Terri Lapsley 6-2 respectively to earn their place in what seems sure to be a tense and close fought final that will be livestreamed to the watching thousands.

Dumortier and Lambert await Doubles final opponents

The Doubles have been even more nail-biting than normal this year with the continuation of a black ball shootout in every match that gets to “hill hill” – or 6-6 to the rest of us.

In a nutshell, it’s the equivalent of penalties in football, with each pairing getting five attempts at potting the black off it’s spot from anywhere behind the line (which they make look pretty easy to be fair). If it is still level, then the white has to be played from the centre of the baulk line – making the shot that much more difficult.

Pool

Today the competition was so tight that we had plenty going to the wire with Jason Twist and Arfan Dad going out to Gareth Hibbott and Dean Shields, Jimmy Croxton and Steve Wall losing to Josh Durant and Max Nosko, while Tom Ford and Connor Jones suffered the same fate at the hands of Christophe Lambert and Roger Dumortier – edge of the seat stuff.

When the dust finally settled, we were left with three pairings (Durant and Nosko v Hibbott and Shields – winner to play Dumortier and Lambert in the Sunday final at 16:30 GMT or thereabouts), and even more to look forward to.

McCarthy meets Hibbott in IPA final

As for the main event, the one that leads to the crowning of a new World Champion on Sunday evening, we have got as far as the last four and, although some of the better fancied players did drop away over the tournament, there isn’t an unknown name among them.

Irish legend Ronan McCarthy will take on Gareth Hibbott (2/1 tournament chance) in a match you would happily pay to see, while Clint I’Anson and Craig Marsh will start us off at 09:30 in a game equally worth watching if a bit difficult to call.

All in all, it’s been another good day, no complaints (well, not to our faces), and a smooth transition to the final day – hope to see you there!

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