In a tournament which attracted a record 12 participants and 4 debutants, Poolmania VI looked to be most challenging one to date. What’s more, who would know that Poolmania would spawn only its third winner in as many tournaments, sparking a drift away from the dominance held by four-time consecutive winner, Greg Davies. As pundits we feared that no-one would be able to take the crown from Davies, until James Carling did so at Poolmania V by defeating him in the semi-final.
Enter Dale Thomas – a pool enthusiast who has often underperformed at Riley’s. Since being defeated in the tournament’s inaugural tournament by Davies, Thomas had struggled over the next three Poolmanias and failed to reach the knockout rounds. His fortunes changed however in Poolmania V where he ironically beat Davies in the third place playoff. Despite the bronze medal assured and his entry fee paid back, Thomas knew deep down that he missed a big opportunity by losing to David Weller in the semi-finals, who lost to new champ Carling in the final. This momentum had carried into this tournament where was determined to be the third person to win Poolmania.
Group One consisted of Davies and Thomas, who seemed favourites to progress despite the seedings. They raced ahead and
Davies continued his fine tradition of winning all his group games, like he did in the last two tournaments.This included a tight victory over Thomas to top the group. Thomas himself also eased into the semi finals, by not dropping a frame at all other than his match with Davies. The group’s debutants, David Maunder and Richard Male, also enjoyed some good results, coming 3rd and 4th respectively. It was another false dawn for Joe Newbury as could only muster a single win over the group’s bottom player, Tom Payne.
Group Two proved to be less than simplistic. Defending champ Carling opened with a good win over fellow favourite and Poolmania III finalist Jon Pride, but he failed to beat Poolmania II finalist Chris Phillips, who was keen to find good form and put the disappointment of his last appearance in Poolmania IV behind him. This defeat meant Pride was able to grab first place, as the frame he won in the 2-1 loss to Carling proved to be vital. Carling was pushed back into second place and Phillips missed a great chance to progress as he lost to debutant Luke Winston. Phillips came third, whilst James Perkins came fourth on his first Poolmania outing. Winston grabbed fifth and Matt Pride came sixth place.
The semi finals set up a mouthwatering set of games, with Davies meeting Carling in a replay of the Poolmania V final and Thomas against Pride. Thomas defeated Pride whilst Davies achieved revenge for the previous final. Carling bagged third place and Davies met Thomas for the second time on the night. Davies set up a comfortable 2-0 lead, however Thomas was able to come back and win the tie 3-2 to become Poolmania champion.
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