Opinion: 2018 World Pool Masters


It’s 3 months since the Europeans added their eighth consecutive Mosconi Cup win, beating Johan Ruijsink’s American team 11-4 in Vegas. Thanks to Darren Appleton I was lucky enough to be there, it was the best week of my life. In the last few weeks there’s been a few tournaments including the first event of the GB9 season where Karl Boyes won his fifth GB9 event on the spin, a record.


Boyzi replaces Tony Drago in the Mansion Bet World Pool Masters, which begins tomorrow night (2nd March) live on Sky Sports. The Matchroom events are the pinnacle of our sport, the only time it gets on telly. It’s the 25th anniversary of the tournament, past champions were invited to celebrate the landmark with a couple of wildcards in the original lineup.

“Eagle eye” Jayson Shaw goes into the tournament as the favourite on the back of winning the US Open last year. Jay was meant to be playing Francisco Bustamante, but the Filipino legend had to pull out because he couldn’t get a visa. Busta has been replaced by “the Killer” Joshua Filler, anyone who watched the Mosconi knows he set fire to the event and picked up the MVP. For me that’s the toughest match of the first round.

“Dynamite” Darren Appleton returns to the big stage after being inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame, and the stage ain’t no bigger than playing Earl “the Pearl” Strickland live on Sky. It’ll be interesting to see how Dyno does, he’s a big time player with kahunas bigger than a beach ball.

It’s nice to see “the Hitman” Raj Hundal back on the big stage. I think Raj should have won a lot more than he has, he’s so talented, for whatever reason he hasn’t got as many international titles as I think his talent should have brought. “the Hitman” returns against Niels Feijen, who’s had an injury recently. Anyone who follows Raj on Instagram will know he’s been putting the work in on the practise table, don’t be surprised if the “Hitman” KO’s the “Terminator!”

The first English World 9-ball Champion Daryl Peach starts off against Shane Van Boening. The winner of that would play Appleton or Strickland .

If I had to pick a winner I would say whoever wins between Shaw and Filler, but if Appleton gets past Strickland I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another cue smashed up on the floor, and Darren will be doing his best John Travolta impression on top of the table after making the last 9-ball of the tournament.

Let’s get ready to rack em!

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