2018 UKPT Event 1 - Blackpool
There's always a buzz around the place at the first event of the tour and this weekend was no disappointment. After the long Winter break, where not much pool is played, everyone is ready to get back to it and it was clear that this was the case.
The last event of the 2017 season saw Phil Harrison taking the tour title and Adam Davis topping the Premier League and no doubt both players would be looking to capitalise on this form and start 2018 with a bang! It was not to be, however, as both players had a good run to the semis but came up against two opponents who were in fine form and clearly up for the challenge.
The first semi final saw Lee 'The Fox' Kendall taking on Harrison. Kendall had a good year on the tour in 2017, finishing in the Premier League spots, but never really threatened a tour win. Here, however, he negotiated his way through a host of very good players including a convincing 7-0 win over Wigan's Kris Hampson and a close game against England team mate Ben Flack, which could have gone either way after a couple of unexpected last ball misses from Kendall gave Ben a chance to get back into the match. Bar this one close game Kendall had made short work of his opponents but Harrison is always likely to be a different story. The game was not without drama as no player could take a decisive lead and a deciding frame seemed inevitable. After 3 hours it was Kendall who dug deep and found a finish to take the final frame and the match 8-7.
On the other side of the draw Wigan's David Stock was having a fantastic return to the tour after a few years off. He started his campaign with a convincing 7-1 win over Morocco's Mohammed Adam and then took out the current World Masters Champion Josh Kane 7-5. After making his way to the semi he found himself up against one of the tours best, Adam Davis. This is never going to be an easy game and to beat Adam you have to be on top form and that is exactly the form Stock produced. A shaky start in the first frame looked ominous for Stock but once he got a frame on the board he never looked back and a thrilling game saw a host of fantastic clearances with Stock eventually running out an 8-5 winner.
Due to the first semi final overrunning the final was later than scheduled and the events of the day appeared to have taken their toll on Stock as he put in a lacklustre performance against a superb Lee Kendall who was giving very little away. Kendall's consistency in the final saw him run away with it, taking it 8-1, giving him another tour title to add to the collection along with £2400. Stock was a very worth runner-up and pocketed £1200 for his troubles along with a very important 12 points that put him well on the road to a Premier League spot for next season!
|FINAL||LEE KENDALL ||DAVID STOCK |
|SEMIS||Phil Harrison [8-7]||Adam Davis [8-5]|
|QUARTERS||Steve Smart [7-2]||Jed Thompson [7-4]|
|LAST 16||Lee Howitt [7-1]||Yasser Amrani [7-5]|
|LAST 32||Ben Flack [7-5]||Martin Wood [7-5]|
|LAST 64||Kris Hampson [7-0]||Joshua Kane [7-5]|
|LAST 128||Gurvinder Gill [7-1]||Mohammed Adam [7-1]|