The ‘Normans A’ team, from Normans Snooker Club in Bury, a site operated by Keeday Leisure, recently made BAPTO history by winning the annual BAPTO Team trophy for the 2nd year in a row. The same team has never won the Team Trophy twice, let alone two years in a row, certainly no easy feat. Normans got off to a tricky start and struggled to get through the group stages, but once in the knockout stages, they breezed through to the finals. Up against the formidable G-Men from Inverness, Normans were 5-2 down in the final stages and looked set to lose, as the G-Men only needed one more frame to clinch victory. But after some very tactical games the Normans made a comeback to 5:5, taking the match into the new ‘penalty shootout’ rule.
Excitement built in the arena as players took it in turns to try and pot the black, off the spot with the white anywhere behind the baulk line. Five players from each team were nominated ‘to take a shot’; the tension built in the air as player pressure was becoming abundantly apparent and the crowds were drawn in making it some of the most thrilling pool to watch. The G-Men missed their 3rd penalty and Normans went on the pot all five shots, engraving their names on the BAPTO trophy for the 2nd time and making history. This is the first year BAPTO used the ‘penalty shootout’ concept to decide the final frame if a draw occurred. It was hailed a massive success by players who really enjoyed the new dimension to the game, as it makes the final frame fairer as the whole team are involved in winning the final frame, rather than just putting forward your best player.
Dave Hunt won the Men’s trophy after making a comeback from being 3-0 down in the finals against Liam Bullock. Liam dished off first break and roared ahead to win the first 3 frames, pilling the pressure on Dave who kept his cool to equalize the score to 3-3. In the deciding frame Liam snookered himself on his final ball and Dave seized the opportunity to clear up and win a very close finals match.
Tess Aurmoogum became the new undisputed ladies champion by flawlessly beating Cath King 3-0 in the ladies final, but had a close 3-2 match to get her there in her semis against Julie Betteridge.
Congratulations to Adam Brown and Jaz Venning for winning the Mixed Doubles final 3-2, in a very close match against ladies champ Tess Aurmoogum and this year’s Golden 8 Ball champion Jack Whelan.
The Plate Trophy was won by ‘Cookie the Bookie’ a team from the Rock & Fountain pub in Shrewsbury, a site operated by Border Automatics. In an unstoppable run, Cookie the Bookie stormed to victory beating The Talbot Hotel from Burnley 6-1 in the plate finals, ‘Catch the Pigeons’ from the Academy club in Basingstoke 6-1 in semi-finals, and Chelsea Machine 6:1 in last 16.
This was BAPTO’s fourth year at Lyons Robin Hood Holiday Park, Rhyl, North Wales and this year’s tournament witnessed a big jump in team numbers, attracting 92 teams and over 600 players, up from 74 teams in 2011, making it BAPTO’s second busiest competition on record. Blackball rules are progressively growing in popularity, appealing to many new players who traditionally play to other rule sets such as Old EPA or World Rules. With the EBPF (English Blackball Pool Federation) rapidly growing and the recent move by the IPA to adopt the Blackball rule set, the tournament can expect to receive more interest from a wider variety of teams in the future.
The BAPTO mixed doubles charity cup, which raises money for smaller good causes, donated £625 to the local family of little ‘Paige Williams’, who sadly passed away this year before reaching her fourth birthday, after developing an inoperable brain tumour. The Normans A team and The G Men kindly donated £100 each from their prize money, bringing the grand total raised to £825.
BAPTO members can reward teams from their estate with FREE entry into the competition, worth £40 per team. This is a key benefit of BAPTO membership and can serve as a great PR exercise for operators. BAPTO supply its members with tournament registration forms at the start of each year, to be distributed across their estate with the message of free team entry. This year saw teams from Keeday, Tablesport , Border Automatics and Cherry Automatics enter, with many requests coming from houses not operated by current members, showing there is potential for new members to join and take advantage.
The competition was played on 28 SAM Atlantic tables with ProActive cushions and covered in the world’s fastest playing napped cloth, Hainsworth Match. This combination coupled with the new Aramith Super Pro balls, made for the optimum professional playing conditions, becoming to the prestige of the BAPTO finals, the UK’s longest running pool tournament since 1977. The players made many positive comments about the tables and voted by majority that they preferred playing with the new Aramith Super Pro balls.