Gareth Potts & Mark Selby dethroned Karl Sutton & Shaun Chipperfield in the final to win the Ultimate Pool Pairs Cup after a thrilling night of entertainment, drama and quality of the highest order.
Known as ‘The Dream Team’, four-time world 8-ball pool champion Potts and four-time world snooker champion Selby – who was a world 8-ball champion in 2006 before he won those titles at the Crucible Theatre – lived up to expectations in front of an exuberant crowd in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
A total of 64 teams started the live televised competition, and after 20 weeks, 120 matches and two phases, Finals Night at the Players Pool & Snooker Lounge featured the four remaining partnerships.
First up where the defending champions Sutton & Chipperfield to face father and son duo Vic and Vivek Makh, the surprise package of the tournament and one of its most heartwarming stories.
However, despite putting on another fine display, the Makh’s fairytale ended in the opening semi-final as the champions won both sets by the odd frame.
Next into the arena were Potts & Selby, but they faced a stern examination against specialists Shaun Storry & Chris Day.
Former Pro Series event winner Storry and recent WEPF World Championship finalist Day showed streetwise clock management as they ousted the first set, 2-1. And when Day delivered a golden break at the start of Set 2, they were looking strong to go through.
Having spurned opportunities in the first set, though, Potts & Selby bounced back in perfect fashion, registering three break clearances and one reverse clearance to take the set 4-2 and level the match.
That meant a 6-red shootout was required, and after they were put in first having lost the lag, Storry & Day were disappointed with their time of 26.60 seconds. Still a very competitive target, Potts & Selby needed their wits about them, and they did as they bettered it by around two seconds.
With a quick turnaround between that semi-final and the title match, you could have forgiven Potts & Selby if they struggled to start well after that adrenaline rush.
In fact, they took that momentum forward and played simply perfect pool during the first set against the defending champions, not missing a single ball as they chalked up two break clearances and two reverse clearances in a 4-0 set win. The Chipperfield & Sutton combination had just two shots – both unsuccessful break-offs.
The theme amazingly continued in the second set as Potts & Selby completed a scotch doubles reverse clearance after Sutton went in-off his break before Potts compiled a break clearance in frame two for a 2-0 lead.
It wasn’t until the seventh frame of the final that the champions had a shot in open play, but given the chance they proved their class as Sutton scored a break clearance for 2-1, although their opponents resumed normal service in the next with another scotch doubles BC to move one away from definite victory.
On the edge of defeat, Sutton & Chipperfield were unwilling to relinquish their crown lightly, and the pendulum dramatically swung as former world champion Chipperfield struck with a rapid BC and then Pro Series event winner Sutton levelled up the set with a RC after a dry Potts break.
All of a sudden, with time still on the 20-minute set clock, there was a real possibility of an unlikely tied match and a 6-red shootout – proof of how volatile this format can be. It was looking that way too when Chipperfield & Sutton potted a ball of their break in frame seven and had a clearance chance, but when they accidentally snookered themselves on their last colour and failed to escape, it paved the way for Potts & Selby to clean up the table and win the title.
For Potts, it is his second Ultimate Pool title after a Pro Series event victory in 2021, not long after his return to the sport after a very successful time in Asia playing Chinese 8-Ball.
For Selby, it completes an incredible double having won the English Open snooker only the night before – possibly the first time someone has claimed two live televised titles in two days in two different cuesports.