The GB 9 Ball Tour will mark the end of an era next weekend as players descend on the Puma Court Hotel in Daventry for the final time for the 2012 British Grand Prix.
Much like this time three years ago, this tournament and the coming few months will bring with it a period of great transition for the tour. The end of the 2009 season signalled what remains the single biggest change in the tour’s history with the move away from Rileys clubs and into hotel venues. For the majority of the last three years and for the whole of the last two, events have been held at the magnificent Puma Court Hotel in Daventry (formerly named the Barceló Hotel). The hotel has proven to be a grand and spacious venue, with Daventry itself well connected to many of the country’s main roads and motorways. Countless thousands of racks have been played within the hotel, and many great memories from both on and off the table will be taken from our time here in the last three seasons. On behalf of all players, officials and all other parties associated with the tour, the GB9 committee would like to extend their utmost thanks and gratitude to the venue that many may now consider the spiritual home of 9-ball pool here in Great Britain.
However, as times change the tour looks to expand ever further. Back last month the tour announced exciting new plans for the 2013 season and beyond as a three-year contract was signed with the Carlson Rezidor group, proprietor of Park Inn and Radisson Blu hotels across the world. A three year deal was also struck with the Cedar Court hotel in Bradford which will see one event per season held there.
The tour will see in its sixth season of competition with the first ever professional 9-ball event to be held in Shropshire. The Park Inn by Raddison hotel in Telford will open the season by playing host to both the 2013 Midlands Classic in February and the 2013 Paul Medati Trophy in April, before returning for the 2013 British Grand Prix at the end of November. This town boasts modern amenities and ample transport links, making for an ideal location for players and families alike. The town is easily accessible from the M54 motorway, an easy hop from both the M6 and around Birmingham and the West Midlands. In addition, Telford railway station also has regular train services from Shrewsbury (for passengers from Manchester and the north) Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International. This should make for an event both well contested and well attended.
The tour then moves north to Bradford in West Yorkshire for the 2013 Northern Masters in June. This will be the first time since October 2009 that the GB 9 Ball Tour has visited Yorkshire when the Northern Masters was held in Barnsley. The Cedar Court group operate a number of hotels in both West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire and their Leeds/Bradford hotel has space and quality aplenty in order to accommodate the competition conditions that GB9 has come to demand. The hotel is right next door to the M606, a spurn from the M62 east-west link in the north of England. For those travelling on public transport, regular trains from both Manchester and Leeds operate into Bradford Interchange where you can alight for bus services towards the hotel. Given the strong Yorkshire contingent on GB9 both past and present, this is sure to be an electric stop on the 2013 tour.
The fourth event of 2013 will see the tour enter Essex for the very first time as the 2013 Southern Masters is contested at the stunning Radisson Blu hotel at Stansted Airport. It goes without saying that there could hardly be a better geographical location to hold an international standard pool tournament. Situated just 20 minutes from the M25, Stansted Airport is immediately adjacent to junction 8 of the M11. A fast and frequent train service also operates between Stansted Airport and Liverpool Street station in London, leaving a day out in the capital a viable option for both players and their families. Indeed, this event is open to players across the world with dozens of flights coming into and out of Stansted on a daily basis. With a steadily growing player contingent from around Europe, this tournament should appeal to players both within the country and within the continent.
This is your final chance of the season to see some of the world’s finest cueists battle it out in the toughest national tour on the planet. Dozens of players will be looking to pry the title away from defending champion Jayson Shaw, the British number 1 elect, as play begins on Friday 9th November and concludes for the season on the evening of Sunday 11th November. A players’ meeting will take place on the Friday of this event in order to personally ask the committee of any questions or queries competitors may have regarding the forthcoming season. If you haven’t made it down to the Puma Court Hotel in Daventry before, this is your last chance – why not take this opportunity to watch some world class pool in a world class venue.
With the players finishing ranked No.1 and No.2 gaining entry to the 2013 European Pool Championships (courtesy of the BPF), this is the last chance for everyone to try and wrestle those spots from Jayson Shaw and Imran Majid.
Entry to the Puma Court Hotel is free of charge once again . If you can’t make it down to the event, however, you can follow all the action LIVE on CueSport TV with some fantastic 9-ball pool being streamed live across the world.
We will also be providing Live-scoring throughout the event. Just click the link to track the competition round on round.