Friday, January 26, 2007
9 Ball Pool: 'Dynamic' Manchester Open II
British Professional Pool Players Association
‘Dynamic’ Manchester Open
BPPPA ‘Dynamic’ Tour Stop No. 2
Mark Gray one of the many former snooker players now playing 9 Ball once again rose to the occasion by winning the ‘Dynamic’ Manchester Open.
The latest B.P.P.P.A. event held in Stretford, Manchester, was the first time without B.P.P.P.A. President and Tournament Director Ted Bristow who was not officiating due to his recent health problems. The tournament however was left in the safe hands of Shirley Ang and Nigel Webb, both accomplished Tournament Leaders, who both did excellent work to keep things running smoothly all weekend.
Despite a very talented field of players it was experience that took the edge and brought Mark Gray and Daryl Peach to yet another final.
It looked like it was going to be one way traffic as Gray raced into a 3 rack lead even though Peach won the lag. Gray broke and ran his break in the second rack and Peach then scratched from his break in the third to see Gray leading 3-0.
In the fourth rack it looked certain that the score was going to be 4-0 but Gray left himself a very awkward shot bridging over another ball and missed his shot to let Peach back into the match to reduce the deficit. Peach broke and ran the next rack to bring the score back to within one rack, but Gray replied immediately with another superb clearance to lead 4-2. Peach kept the trend going with another break and run to close the gap back to one. From there on the game was equally matched and the battle of wits and accurate potting eventually gave the audience a hill-hill situation. The final rack in this race to 11 was very tactical with both players searching for that perfect safety shot. Eventually, it was Gray that found it and took the title with an 11-10 scoreline.
Earlier in the day both players along with Tommy Donlon were nominated for the 2006 Player of the Year award and there were no surprises here. Mark Gray won the accolade narrowly beating Daryl Peach for his outstanding and consistent performances throughout the season.
Gray had swept the field aside beating Simon Widlo 9-6, James Kay 9-2 and followed these up with thumping wins over Steve Brown 9-3 and Andy Worthington 9-4; whilst Peach was seeing off Lee Rigby and Jonathan Mathers and Jon Davies in the Quarter Final. Steve Higton was Daryl’s Semi-Final opponent and a tough match looked on the cards but that was never the case; not that Higton did anything wrong, Peach just did not miss and even had Higton himself leading the plaudits.
Andy Worthington was full of praise for his last 16 opponent Thomas Ainsworth-Smith who recently won the first ‘Dynamic’ Youth event and still a junior will surely be a name to watch out for in the future.