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New season kicks off in Blackpool with the IPA British Open - blackball pool at its very best
An international cast of the best players to hold a cue have arrived in Blackpool for the first tournament of the 2013 pool season
By: Sean Trivass
Some saw the switch from the less popular “world rules” as a risk, but the IPA (International Professional Pool Players Association)
Scottish legends Ross McInnes and Pat Holz will be in action over the weekend while I have been told by IPA Chairman Kevin Barton to keep an eye out for up and coming youngsters Jon McAllister and Liam Dunster as well - you read it here first!
Naturally the UK are well represented with home advantage, but that has not stopped players flying in from France, Malta – even South Africa where the game is as popular as anywhere at the moment. Expect South African broadband to be put under stress when Sandile Madlala comes to the table as his many fans back home seem sure to be watching the live streams (www.ipapool.com/
Regular tournament winner Christophe Lambert could fly the tricolor for France and if I had to pick one “must watch” match from round one then Lambert v Welsh Wizard Jonathan Bushnell could see a few fireworks.
Ten new professionals have joined the tour for 2013 (so we must be doing something right) including 2012 amateur tour winners Simon Ward and Lee Anderson, who will be pitting their wits against fan favourites like Gareth Potts, Phil Harrison, Adam Davies and provisional number one Gareth Hibbott who will all be looking to do well and cement their places at the top table - though their adaptation to the different rules will be a whole new challenge.
In conclusion, with the best players from old and new codes going head to head in what is sure to be an amazing tournament (free spectator entry for anyone in the neighbourhood all weekend) and over £14,000 in total prize money over the weekend, let the action begin!
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