Borders players prove they’ve pot the lot

BORDERS Pool League players took part in their first tour event of the season at Dumfries last week.

And it turned out a tremendous day for the local potters as the quality on show was second to none with the UK number three, six Scottish Internationalists, a trio of top Cumbrian county players and the 2010 Border Classic winner all vying for top spot.

The early rounds saw Kieran Riddell (Bridge, Gala) beat last year’s No1 seed Barry Young – a notable scalp.

Mick Robertson (Fleece, Selkirk) also started well on his first tour and Scott Bowers (Niki’s, Gala) took out top Cumbrian John Elliot in a pulsating match while Stan Thomson (St Boswells Legion), Fred Bell (Fleece) and Gary Loughlin (Bridge) all went out to top opposition.

Ian McCombe (Waverley, Hawick), Scott Simpson, Craig Reid and Chris Wildig (all Niki’s) all progressed quietly into the quarters along with Bowers.

Four of the five Borderers ended up playing each other.

McCombe overcame a gutted Wildig who had an easy black to win decisively and Simpson also took advantage in a last-frame thriller, when Bowers hung the final black, to clear up a difficult finish.

It was left to Reid to produce probably the biggest upset of the year, ousting UK No3 Barry Kelly (Liverpool) in a tremendous potting match with no quarter given by either player. Eventual winner Gary Southern (Cumbria) took the other quarter in impressive fashion.

On to the semis – and the adrenaline rush did Reid no favours and he folded rather tamely to McCombe, while Southern made few errors in edging out Simpson who played some cracking pots to keep in touch for a while. The final was a touch one-sided in Southern’s favour as he took advantage of a few uncharacteristic errors from McCombe to take an unassailable lead and collect the trophy in style.

Borders manager Scott Simpson told TheSouthern: “Ian took advantage of a cracking draw to capitalise on a great tournament, while Craig Reid and myself played great pool at times to progress. Scott Bowers and Chris Wildig were at their silky best and there were great debuts for many of our other players. Considering the calibre of opponents, to get five through to the quarters was an unbelievable achievement and some of the individual performances were world-class at times, which is no exaggeration.

“So, on to tour two at Lockerbie and I hope the guys repeat the dose again, maybe take the title next time.”