Ryan Fleming has won the 2022 Ultimate Pool Amateur Championship in front of the live FreeSports television cameras to lift his first trophy within the organisation.
The multi-talented Scot – who competes on the Challenger Series – produced several moments of sparkling pool throughout the long weekend at Players Pool & Snooker Lounge, coming through a field of 64 entries to bank the £4,000 top prize.
Fleming’s trip to Newcastle-under-Lyme could have been so different, though, as he successfully doubled the 8-ball in the deciding frame of his first-round match against Ireland’s Liam Cannon to survive 8-7.
With that scare put to one side, Fleming produced one of the performances of the tournament in the main arena next round as he eliminated recent Challenger Grand Slam winner Jez Graham 8-3 in the last 32.
All matches in the competition from the last 16 onwards were showcased live on the television table. In a tie with good friend Vincent Kenny, Fleming may have struggled to maintain the same intensity but got the job done, 5-4.
That win put the Dundee cueist into the last eight and Finals Day, where he defeated India’s Guvy Gill 6-3 in the lunchtime session.
In the semi-finals Fleming faced fellow Scot Barry Lynn, who had made quite an impression throughout the weekend having dismantled three-time Mosconi Cup winner Mark Gray 8-2 and come back from 4-0 and 6-3 down to oust the in-form Phil Parkin 7-6 in the previous two rounds. However, his challenge was ended by Fleming, 6-2.
In the other corner for the final was another highly-rated figure in the form of local star Andy Blurton, who has been a professional in a different 8-ball ruleset in the past.
Blurton was classy and composed, and seemed to grow with confidence each match. The former professional snooker player dispatched the dangerous Darrell Whitworth 7-4 in the last 32, and following comfortable wins over Marc Fleming – Ryan's brother – and Rikki Jones, whitewashed Kris Hampson 8-0 in the last four.
Blurton’s sequence furthered as he chalked up the opening frame of the title match, although Fleming responded by producing a trio of fine frame victories to go 3-1 up.
After Blurton snookered himself on the 8-ball in the fifth frame, though, Fleming’s momentum was temporarily halted as he botched the clearance, allowing his opponent to eventually slot away the black. Blurton then also took the sixth frame to level the scores at 3-3.
However, Fleming would overcome that hiccup in tremendous style, stringing together the next six consecutive frames – which included a plethora of impressive shotmaking examples – to run out a 9-3 winner.
Both players will look to take this form into Challenger Series Events 3 & 4 which take place in Birmingham over the Easter Weekend.