Tuesday 28 June

Quartet Lift Trophies in Blackpool

Richie Oliver, Jez Graham, Harriet Haynes and Megan Randle all won events in Blackpool last weekend during the latest Ultimate Pool Series stop.

Oliver will bank a £7,000 payday after claiming victory in the Challenger Series Event 5 at the Grand Hotel.

The Caerphilly cueist didn’t get past the last 128 in the opening two events here in March, but went on a fantastic run this time which included wins over Elliott Glover 6-4, Rob Holt 6-2, Ashley Troath 6-4, Andy Cragg 6-4, Dan Wells 6-3, Ben Rowland 6-3 and fellow Welshman Andy Williams 6-2 in the semi-finals.

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His opponent in the title match was former snooker professional Lewis Roberts who reached his second career Challenger Series final after ousting Liam Monk in the other last four tie.

However, Roberts would have to settle for the runner-up spot and crucial ranking points as Oliver recorded a 7-5 win to lift the trophy.

Following his success at the unranked Challenger Grand Slam earlier this year, Plymouth cueist Graham claimed his second Ultimate Pool title with the Challenger Series Event 6.

Since the aforementioned live televised triumph back in February, Graham had not won a match on this season’s series having missed the opening stop here (events 1 & 2) and losing his first match in the next three events.

However, Graham bounced back in the best possible fashion, showing his class with victories over players from five different nations; Barry Lynn 6-0, Peter Martin 6-2, Jonathan McDermid 6-0, Kristian Philips 6-5, Dave Rogers 6-4, Marc Fleming 6-3, Ryan Marcus 6-4 and then Shaun Sharkey 6-3 to reach the final.

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Del Redmond would be in the opposite corner for the title match; ‘Del Boy’ booked his first Ultimate Pool final appearance with a narrow 6-5 win over Ricardo Jones in the semi-finals, but it was Graham who took the top prize following a 6-5 success.

Despite currently being an ‘amateur’, Graham has now won £15,000 this year from just two events.

Both Oliver and Graham put themselves in strong positions to earn promotion to the professional ranks for 2023, with the top 16 ranked Challengers at the end of this season all going up automatically.

From the six events so far, there have been 12 different finalists.

Harriet Haynes claimed her second Ultimate Pool Women’s Series title of the season – both coming here in Blackpool - after pipping Sharon James in a dramatic final via a historic 6-red shootout to win the third event of 2022.

Coming into the competition as the number two seed but level on ranking points with event 2 winner Amy Beauchamp, Haynes dropped just two frames in three matches during the groups phase to qualify for the knockout rounds.

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Placed in a stellar half of the draw, Kent cueist Haynes eliminated 12th seed Sharon Lunn 5-0, two-time world champion Deb Burchell 5-4, Charlee McDonough 5-2 and then event two runner-up and fourth seed Alexandra Cunha 5-1 in the last four.

World team champion and world ladies championship finalist James returned to form after a difficult spell, with knockout round wins over event 1 runner-up Sandy King (5-3) and number nine seed Danielle Randle (5-0) before denying Beckie Watkins 5-2 in the semi-finals.

James claimed the opening frame of the final, but current world champion Haynes strung together the next three, and later led by two once again at 4-2. However, James showed determination, drawing back level at 4-4 to force the first 6-red shootout at a Women’s Series event.

Going first, James recorded a time of 70 seconds, a target that Haynes comfortably chased down to double her trophy tally on this year’s campaign and move back to the top of the rankings.

In the Women’s Series Event 3 Plate, the Republic of Ireland’s Megan Randle won her maiden Ultimate Pool silverware after defeating Kim Beresford in the final.

Randle defeated Adrienne Flitcroft-Hurst 4-3, Emma Senior 4-2, Sandra Bryan 4-0 and Rachel Tucker 4-1 before just getting the better of Beresford, 3-2.

The final Women’s Series event of the year in December will be the Grand Finals which features a boosted prize fund.

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