Pat’s my Boy: A New Davies joins Poolmania Greats
Pat Davies notched up his first Poolmania victory with a crushing 3-0 win over finalist Callum Gigg to win a cool £60 cash prize.
On his second outing Davies continued his rich vein of form in the competition after reaching the final in Poolmania II and won this year’s tournament by only dropping two frames. He has only lost one match in two Poolmania competitions. With a record number of 13 participants and all the previous champions on the roster list, they were chomping at the bit to contest for their next trophy. However to the surprise of many, none of them actually succeeded in even reaching the semi-final round.
This year’s group of death contained 5 players and the two finalists – Gigg and Davies, plus Chris Phillips, Matt Atkin and Rich Hinchly – which lived up to its tag with the form book and seedings being thrown out completely. Favourite and former champ Phillips failed to qualify as only a single win over first-timer Atkin kept him off the bottom spot. As Davies topped the group with a flawless record, Hinchly took second place by losing the effective playoff group match against the group winner. Gigg was thankful for slipping through in third place, unaware that he would embark on an eventual passage to the final.
In the second group Greg Davies also secured a flawless run of results booking his place as winner of the group. The reigning champ Karl Manley took second place in a group which was more amenable to the bookmakers with the favorites riding through without too much of a sweat. Billy Collins pulled off a shock as he took third place with a victory over Tom Payne and with it by a stroke of luck, a place in the quarter finals.
Group C was not as a simple – Joe Newbury was top dog after wins over Dale and Haydn, plus by taking a frame against Carling. It looked like Haydn Gleed would join him in the Quarter finals however a last gasp win by Dale over him meant he leapfrogged Gleed and won second place. The group favourite also fell here as James Carling only managed to beat Newbury, but two losses before hand meant it wasn’t enough to keep him from winning the pool’s wooden spoon. Gleed won one of the best third place qualification spots, but he chose not to compete any further in the competition which meant the spot went to Collins in Group B.
Before the knockout stage began, the ladies took to the table for the first time in Poolmania history. Jenny and Kath played out the inaugural Ladies Poolmania Final. It was a tense affair, with some great pool being played and Jenny emerged the victor. She will hold the trophy until next year, when it is hoped that the tournament will be expanded – that includes Susie who said she’ll be back next year!
Prior to the men returning the tables the quarter final draw took place – top seeds were Pat Davies, Greg Davies, Newbury and Hinchly and the second seeds were Manley, Thomas, Gigg and Collins. Hinchly’s stolen frame against Pat Davies in the group stage was crucial in putting him in the top seeds over Manley. Fate of the draw would ultimately bring them together anyway, whilst Newbury faced Collins, Pat Davies faced Thomas and Greg Davies played Gigg. Hinchly played the usurper by taking the crown from the Poolmania VIII winner, Newbury brushed aside Collins and Greg Davies surprisingly fell to Gigg in arguably the shock of the night. Pat Davies eventually beat Thomas in a 2-1 win however it was shrouded in controversy due to gesture by Davies on what would have been Thomas’ final shots. The rules had been breached but both players came to an agreement to continue the game.
With a new champion now certain to be crowned, Pat defeated fellow Group A opponent Rich whose glittering debut was capped off with third place. Newbury reached his third and second consecutive semi-final but he succumbed to Gigg. Despite taking third place in Group A, the ‘Barbarian’ had now beaten the winners of Group B and C, to set up a replay the winner of his own group in the tournament’s climax. How disappointing was it for him to falter at the final stage as Pat Davies romped home with a 3-0 win – even finishing before the third place playoff despite being best of five frames!
Pat Davies is now Poolmania’s sixth champion and avenges the defeat to Greg Davies in Poolmania II which goes down in history as one of the most tense finals in the tournament’s history. They managed to avoid each other in Poolmania IX, but there’s always next time for this long standing rivalry to be stoked up once again.
Do you have any memories of this Poolmania tournament? Put them in the comments below!