2016 IPA pool season finishes with British Open success for Ward and Blurton
IPA season wrapped up with British Open
And so the final ball has been potted, the tables packed away and sold off ahead of brand new ones in time for the World Championships.
Three more champions were crowned on the last event of the 2016 IPA pool tour which will be remembered for all the right reasons.
With all the better players in attendance at the Brighton Hilton Metropole, which is always a popular venue with the seafront views from the restaurant, the action came thick and fast with match after match broadcasted to thousands via the HD livestream.
It’s been a huge year for the IPA with Coral seeing the potential for a sport already played by millions both in the UK and around the world, while other sponsors are eager to come on board.
With the 2017 season looking to be bigger, better and more financially rewarding for the players, as new venues and new events are under discussion, now really is the time to sign up as an 8-ball player with the Worlds open to all and entries being taken now at www.ipapool.com.
Davy and Hibbott star
On to the pool itself now and the British Open may have started with over 150 players but they were soon whittled down to the final four, leaving two classic semi-finals of Dan Davy against Andy McDonald and Gareth Hibbott versus Craig Marsh.
These four of the top professionals on the tour once again proved that the best really do rise to the top when the chips are down.
First up there was a titanic struggle before Davy came through after a last frame decider 7-6, while Hibbott had things slightly easier with a 7-3 win, and that may well have made a touch of difference when it came to Saturday night’s final.
Breaking smartly from the traps the current world champion quickly went 2-0 up and never really looked back, forging a lead of 6-1 before sharing the last two frames and adding the title of British Open Champion to a trophy cabinet that must be close to full by now with a 7-2 victory.
With value for money for the players, one of the many keys to the success of the IPA tour over any of its rivals, the Professional final comes next on our list.
Ward and Farnsworth faced off in final
After knocking out Craig Marsh and Matty Smith respectively, all eyes were on what looked sure to be a classic final as Simon Ward took on rankings number one Marc Farnsworth in front of a packed house.
Luckily it lived up to the hype from advertising, everything that is good about the blackball game, with some amazing potting mixed in with tactics, skill shots, snookers, the lot.
Like all of the great finals, the pendulum swung one way then the other as Farnsworth went 2-0 up and then 4-1 and 5-3 before Ward launched an unstoppable comeback levelling at 5-5 and 6-6. Though the latter went on to win the last two for an 8-6 victory.
Last up on Sunday night the Amateur final provided plenty of quality too, when Andy Blurton was pitched up against Gavin Robinson, who was in his first ever IPA final.
Experience seemed to count and, despite some excellent pool from both players, as Blurton pulled away for a rarely in doubt 7-3 success moving him up the rankings ahead of next season.