Martin Goodwill, Lee Shanker and Josh Thomond were all event champions on the EPSB scene this weekend in Liverpool, Northampton and Leicester respectively.
Great Win for Goodwill
Goodwill became the first event winner on the EPSB’s inaugural English Billiards Tour held at Scotties on Saturday.
The experienced cueist won all four of his round robin matches in Group A to qualify top for the quarter-final knockouts. Subsequently in the last eight he made a break of 153 as he defeated Chris Taylor 274-103 before an effort of 73 helped him get the better of Adam Clarke 206-100 in the semi-finals.
In the 60-minute title match he faced Peter Sheehan who too had a 100% record throughout the day. Sheehan got himself to the final after an impressive 210-168 last four victory over world number three Rob Hall; Sheehan made contributions of 68 and 104. During his quarter-final win over Eddie Duggan, Hall crafted the event’s highest break with a 231.
Goodwill was not to be denied in the final, though, as the world number eight racked up a trio of half-centuries in a relatively comfortable 294-179 success.
Martin Goodwill (left) and Peter Sheehan (right)
Shanker and Thomond Secure Open Series Triumphs
Shanker won his first EPSB Open Series event when he was victorious at Barratts on Saturday.
He defeated Ben Pacan 3-0 first up before needing to win the final two frames in order to squeeze past youngster Halim Hussain.
In the last four he was taken to a deciding frame by John Fearick, but once again managed to keep his challenge on track with a 3-2 win.
His opponent in the final was Patrick Whelan – an event winner at Tradewell in Hull during the opening weekend. Sitting in second place in the overall rankings coming into this weekend, Whelan saw off another event winner this season in Thomond in the other last four tie.
Shanker opened the final with a 71 break but Whelan levelled and then made breaks of 35 and 52 to put him in front. However, Shanker claimed the final two frames to bank the top prize.
The following day at the Winchester, Thomond would be celebrating his second successive Open Series title at the venue.
Thomond was dominant throughout the day, dropping only two frames in five matches.
The Mancunian defeated youngster Samuel Lee Stevens 3-0 and then registered a 62 during a 3-1 victory over recent event winner at Breakers, Chae Ross. Thomond repeated that scoreline over Kayden Brierley in the last eight before seeing off rankings leader Ryan Davies 3-0 in the semi-finals – it was the second time in as many days that he had eliminated the teenager.
In the final he came up against Hayden Staniland, who in his previous Open Series outing made the final of Tradewell event 2.
The former European under-21 finalist dispatched Whelan 3-1 in the last four with a break of 73 in the final frame. However, Thomond would make it nine matches undefeated at this venue on the Series, totting up runs of 30 and 72 in a 3-0 triumph.
Elsewhere in the event, Whelan compiled a 133 and current English under-16 champion Paul Deaville made a 100.
A gap has now developed between the top three in the rankings with Davies still leading the way on 94 points – Whelan (91) and Thomond (80) are behind him.
Current professional Craig Steadman is in fourth with 65 points, but as he is on the first year of a two-year tour card, he wouldn’t be able to use one of the four Q School places up for grabs for the top quartet of players at the end of the campaign. The fourth position currently sits with Brandon Sargeant (48), but there are several players just behind him.
Thank you to all the players, officials, venues and staff that helped contribute to this weekend’s events.
The next EPSB Open Series events are both on Sunday (17th October) with action at Breakers in Leicester and Sam’s in Hartlepool.
Josh Thomond (left) with The Winchester’s Mukesh Parmar