Lee Clough battled hard all day against class opposition to take the IPA European open title. Victories over Simon Ward Jack Whelan and Craig Brown put Clough into the final against arguably his toughest opponent of the day Mark Boyle.
Mark must have felt like it was his title after beating Mark Farsworth 7-4 from 4-1 down.
He then beat Simon Fitzsimmons, Tom Cousins and Ryan Clark to set up an auld enemy final. Clough was clinical throughout and managed to stay ahead of Boyle the entire match and taking the title with a 7-5 victory. The IPA are leading the way for pool to become a professional sport and with the vast talent on display the game has never been stronger.
The Amateur event final was contested by 2 of the games best players, Tom Cousins and Scott Gillespie didn’t play on the IPA last season so have to earn the right to be a professional with a season in the amateurs. In opposite halfs of the draw it was no shock to see both come through to face each other in the final. Gillespie should have won the title comfortably after racing into a 6-1 lead but Cousins brought the score back to 6-3. Gillespie had a routine black to win but unusually for the current World & European champion he threw in a quick stroke and twitched the black, the writing seemed to be on the wall after that and Cousins grew in confidence to take the match to a decider. Both players now feeling the pressure and wanting to win so much missed chances galore before a failed skill shot by Gillespie resulted in a concessionary handshake to crown Cousins the IPA European amateur champion.
The third tournament of the weekend was the professional championship. Liam Dunster should have been eliminated in the quarter final with Ben Davies who had a routine screw back shot to land on the black but decelerated to finish short and failed in his double attempt before Dunster punished. Dunster then beat English star Clint I’Anson 8-5 in the semi final. Pre final most people would back Dunster to beat the outrageously talented Simon Ward simply because his high risk shot making style suits the way Dunster punishes any mistake. For me Liam Dunster is in the top 5 players in the world right now and with his impressive dedication to the game will go on to become the very best player on earth. The final played out exactly how you would predict with the ruthless Dunster taking down another major title.
People at times criticise the pace and style of the Scotsman but the guy is an absolute winning machine and has proven in recent events at the Taom Shootout that he can win playing at any speed.
Emma Cunnigham showed again that she is the very best womans player around winning the Ladies IPA European title beating Lauren Williams 7-2 in the final. The womens game has such depth its probably leading the way in womens cue sports.
Congratulations to all winners and also the IPA for putting on such a successful championship.
By Emma Maflin