Monday 27 June

Champions League Glory for Dazzling Dempsey

Stevie Dempsey claimed his second major TV ranking title of the season after defeating Aaron Davies in the final to lift the 2022 Champions League trophy.

The Irishman joins an elite club of multiple Ultimate Pool tournament winners, doubling up from his triumph at the Grand Slam back in February.

After 20 weeks of Monday night action featuring 64 players and 120 matches, just four hopefuls remained for Finals Night at the Players Pool and Snooker Lounge in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The evening began with Dempsey facing two-time world champion Tom Cousins.

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Dempsey was sensational in the opening set, registering a reverse clearance and three break clearances to take it 4-2. However, Welshman Cousins forced a 6-red shootout, as he chalked up the second set 4-1 to level the overall match.

First to set a time in the tiebreaker, Cousins recorded an effort of 30.79 seconds. It was a target that Dempsey – who got through his last 16 group this way – looked comfortable eclipsing, as he bettered it with 24.30 to book a spot for the final later in the night.

Next to the table were England’s Aaron Davies and France’s Christophe Lambert. Former world junior champion Davies – who was celebrating his 25th birthday – was also in clinical form, crafting several break and reverse clearances in a 2-0 straight sets win (3-2, 4-1). It meant that Davies had gone further than his last four appearance in 2021.

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There was a quick turnaround for the final, but Davies settled down nicely with a reverse clearance in the opening frame before doubling his lead in the second. The match would see a momentum shift, though, as Dempsey started to find his rhythm with a break clearance in the third before levelling up the set. The Cootehill cueist even had a chance to pinch the set on his break in the fifth, but effectively ran out of time.

With the opening set drawn, both players took half a point each, meaning all outcomes were still possible in the second and final set. Dempsey continued to build in strength, going 2-0 up in the set with a break clearance before missing a double on the 8-ball in the third for a reverse clearance – an opportunity that Davies capatisled on to keep him in the contest.

Dempsey, though, has proved to be very resilient and resourceful in situations like these in the past, and once again under pressure he produced the goods, constructing a steely break clearance to move 3-1 up, which would eventually prove to be an unassailable lead.

‘The Hammer’ will collect £10,000 for his efforts in the event and he moves up to second in the provisional rankings.

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