Chris Melling won the 2022 Ultimate Pool Professional Series Event Two at The Grand Hotel in Blackpool – his third title with the organisation, but his first on the Series.
Since his Ultimate Pool debut just over a year ago, two-time world champion Melling has been one of the most consistent players on the circuit, winning the inaugural Champions League and Champion of Champions competitions. After two runner-up finishes on the 2021 Professional Series, Melling made sure that the third time was a charm.
Like event one winner Michael Hill, Melling arrived with very fond memories of Blackpool having won both his world championship and masters titles at the seaside resort. Earlier in the weekend he made the quarter-finals of event one, only being pipped by eventual finalist Neil Raybone just before the buzzer. Melling was the only player throughout the weekend to make the last eight of both professional events.
The 43-year-old began his campaign in event two with 7-4 victories over the in-form Dylan Leary and 2009 World Champion Phil Harrison. He then dispatched number two ranked professional Shaun Storry 7-1 and number three ranked professional Declan Brennan 7-4 in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
In a blockbuster title match he faced career rival Gareth Potts. It wasn’t the first time that the duo had met in a major final; Potts defeated Melling in 2005 – in Blackpool – to win his first world championship, and out in the far east in the final of the world Chinese 8-ball masters.
Number four ranked Potts reached his second Ultimate Pool final following wins over Oly Bale, Christophe Lambert, Carl Morris and a 7-3 triumph against number one ranked player Shane Thompson in the semi-finals.
In stark contrast to the final four of event one the night before – where all players were looking for their first UPG trophy – the final four in event two were all ranked inside the top five and had already tasted success on the circuit.
The title encounter was predictably a very high-quality affair with 10 of the 12 frames either being a break or reverse clearance. Appearing in his fifth Ultimate Pool final – a record – Melling was majestic. Capitalising on Potts’ desperately unlucky break statistics during the match – incredibly, he went dry from all six of his attempts - ‘The Magician’ regularly made the balls disappear, break clearing in the twelve and final frame to ice a fantastic performance and record an 8-4 win.