Andy Appleton & Michael Tomlinson were the first non-favourites to win a group in the Eative Ultimate Pool Pairs Cup after another entertaining evening of 8-ball action at the Players Pool & Snooker Lounge.
The West Yorkshire partnership remained undefeated and topped the table with five points to qualify for the last 16 of the unique, live televised £32,800 event.
Despite being at different stages of their careers, Appleton & Tomlinson gelled very well throughout. They opened the night up with a 3-1 victory over Elliott Glover & Simon Phillips before later recording a 4-1 win against Mark Leathem & Steve Wall to keep themselves in control of their own destiny.
Ultimate Pool professionals and close friends Jimmy Croxton & Neil Raybone entered the group as favourites, but they were unable to find any sort of rhythm in this unforgiving format as they lost 3-0 to Leathem & Wall and then were eliminated after a 3-2 defeat to Glover & Phillips.
Going into the final round of fixtures, the other three teams were still in contention. Glover & Phillips kept their hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Leathem & Wall, but they needed Croxton & Raybone to take maximum points off Appleton & Tomlinson in order to force a 6-reds shootout.
It looked like plain sailing for the table leaders as they went 2-0 up, but they were soon made to sweat when Croxton & Raybone showed heart as they levelled at 2-2 with a few minutes remaining. In fact, when Tomlinson broke dry in the fifth frame, Croxton had a chance to reverse clear but he misjudged a positional shot which later led to him missing a very thin cut on his last red. Subsequently, Tomlinson was able to run the clock down and secure the point that he and the very experienced Appleton required to advance.
Next week’s group in the Eative Ultimate Pool Pairs Cup sees two-time world champion Chris Melling teaming up with current world blackball champion Scott Gillespie.