S9B Grand Finals

Buckley starts 2020 in style

On Saturday 4th January 2020 the 24 highest ranked Cyclop Pool Series participants were invited back to Rileys Sports Bar Solihull for our series Grand Final. This event would see our highest pay-outs of the series, with a prize fund of ?1600 broken down as follows :
Winner £600, R.Up £300, Semis £150, Quarters £100.
Live streaming, and commentary, came courtesy of Extreme Q Sport TV. All players were
polled beforehand, with the option of playing either 9 Ball or 10 Ball on the day. The majority
voted for 10 Ball. All matches were a race to 7, subject to handicaps, played to a modified
double elimination format with the top eight ranked players seeded and given a bye through
to the second round.
The 8 seeded qualifiers were (ranking points in brackets) : Luke Garland (149), Kev
Simpson (145), Benji Buckley (128), Alan Coton (127), Ian McCormik (114), Andy Lacey
(109), Shane Conroy (108) and Ryan Coton (103).
The following sixteen players would enter the competition in the first round:
Elliott Sanderson (95), Carl Weaver (93), Raffy Gonzales (92), Daryl Garland (92), Kris
Kovacs (92), Steve Weaver (88), Keith Walkerdine (88), Kurt Weaver (87), Andy Carter (87),
Chris Seville (84), Chris Parker (84), Mark Eardley (83), Ryan Wissett (74), Danny Douane
(74), Shaun Berrisford (69) and Romy Roque (63). Unfortunately, Chris Seville and Romy
Roque were unable to attend but their spots were filled the 25th and 26th ranked players,
Alan Morgan and Matt Hawthorn.
Play began at 11:00am with the first live-streamed match pitting good friends Shaun
Berrisford and Mark Eardley against one another. As both players were off the same
handicap this would be a straight race to 7. Eardley, looking at home with his new cue, sent
Shaun to the loss-side of the draw (7-2). Alan Morgan, fresh from his recent Total 9 Ball
success, had a less than favourable first round match against Elliott Sanderson. Elliott
dodged this potential banana-skin (7-5) before defeating 6th seed Andy Lacey (7-2) in
Round 2. Daryl Garland came through his first two games with wins over Kris Kovacs (7-6)
and Shane Conroy (7-2) while Matt Hawthorn also progressed through the draw with
hard-earned victories over Andy Carter (7-3) and Ryan Coton (7-5). On paper Raffy
Gonzales had a tough route to the winner’s qualifying round but was more than up to the job
as he breezed Kurt Weaver (7-1) and Kev Simpson (7-2).
Our second game, on the streamed table, saw an intriguing clash of styles as Danny Duane
faced Al Coton. Victorious Coton was full of praise for his opponent, quick to point out that
the winning 7-3 scoreline was not a true reflection of Danny’s performance. He would then
book his place in the quarters with a 7-4 win over Ian McCormik. Joining Coton in the last
eight would be top seed Luke Garland who advanced at the expense of Ryan Wissett and
Matt Hawthorn (both a 7-2 scoreline). Luke would not be the only Garland in the money
as dad Daryl edged out Raffy Gonzales in a last rack decider. Benji Buckley inflicted a loss
on Mark Eardley (7-3) before a clash of the heavyweights saw Benji send Elliott Sanderson
left (7-5).
This all meant that there was some real quality on the brink of elimination. The loser’s
qualifying round featured three huge match-ups. Chris Parker fell to Raffy Gonzales (7-5),
Kev Simpson dumped out his good friend Ian McCormik (7-2) while Kurt Weaver maintained
his composure at hill-hill to knock out Elliott Sanderson. The last quarter-final place would go
to the winner of Carl Weaver and Matt Hawthorn. Despite going 2-1 down Carl held his
nerve, potting some testing long shots and making a crucial 3-10 carom. He advanced in
convincing fashion (7-3) earning himself a tidy ?100 in the process.
Unfortunately for Carl quarter-finals would be the end of his fantastic run. Despite a 7-2
defeat at the hands of Benji Buckley he can take a lot of confidence from his performances
throughout the day. Luke Garland was living up to his billing as top-seed but a missed tricky
nine ball, at hill-hill, would be his undoing. His opponent, Kev Simpson, pocketed the
hanging 9 but left himself a far-from-easy shot on the 10 for victory. However, Luke had
already unscrewed his cue, effectively forfeiting the match before Kev had got down to shoot
the money ball. Missed early opportunities would be Daryl Garland’s downfall as Kurt
Weaver advanced (7-2), closing the match out with some clinical runouts. Raffy Gonzales
continued to impress, a 7-3 triumph over Al Coton saw him fill the last semi-final spot.
A quality semi-final line-up would give Kev Simpson another crack at Raffy Gonzales while
Benji Buckley faced off against Kurt Weaver. Benji secured himself another final appearance
with a 7-2 success while Kev Simpson would have to settle for joint third place following a
second loss to Raffy (7-4).
Raffy Gonzales was competing in his first Solihull 9 Ball final while opponent Benji Buckley
had been here many times before. Benji looked to put distance between himself and his
opponent, racing out to a 4-2 lead. Raffy pulled himself back into contention taking the
next two racks. Effectively a best-of-five, Benji stepped up his game to win the final three
racks and earn the title of Cyclop Pool Series Grand Final Champion.
Again we find ourselves congratulating Benji for a string of outstanding performances
throughout the day. Despite giving a start in most of his matches Benji has won all three of
our 10 Ball tournaments. A fantastic effort. A huge congratulations must also go out to Raffy
who certainly had to work hard to earn his place in the final. A great prospect.
A massive thank you to our sponsors : GO Customs, Taom Billiards, Rileys, Supreme Shark
Rack and pro9. We would also like to express our sincere thanks to Kelly Fisher and Alison
Chang, of title sponsor Cyclop Billiard Balls. Their support and generosity have helped put
Solihull 9 Ball on the map. We would also like to thank Jason Herzeg, of Extreme Q Sports
TV, for the superb stream. Credit also to Shaun Berrisford, Ryan Wissett and Jan Ibrahim for
jumping in on commentary throughout the day.
Next up is our Q-School event which takes place on 25th January. The entry for this is ?30,
which includes admission in to three single-elimination tournaments. Each tournament
carries the first prize of fully paid entry to each of our seven GO Customs Pool Series events
(based on a minimum of 21 fully paid entries) meaning players have three opportunities to
win ?210 worth of pool in 2020 (prize will be retained Solihull 9 Ball, no cash alternative).
Players wishing to enter Q-School, or our GO Customs Pool Series, can do so at
www.solihull9ball.com? /entry-form.