The Champions of the 2015 Chinese 8 Ball World Championships
Darren Appleton is the 2015 Chinese 8 Ball World Champion. In a great and consistent display of confidence and precision Darren Appleton achieved the pinnacle title of his career thus far by besting fellow countryman and 2014 World Snooker Champion Mark Selby 21-19 earlier this week in China to capture the title. Both players had a very difficult path to the finals as the field was heavily padded with Chinese professional players. I was told by many sources that this very difficult alternative to the American 8 Ball game has been played in China since 1988. Besides this the draw was set up so that more than half the players in stage 2 (everyone in the money) would definitely be Chinese players. Therefore the Chinese players had a powerful and definite advantage to the rest of the field. But even with this overwhelming advantage there were 3 International players in the final 4, and they were all from England. In fact the finalist Mark Selby is the current World Snooker Champion and Neil Robertson (3rd) is the #1 ranked player on the WPBA Snooker Tour. However Darren Appleton (Champion) is a pool player!!! How about that!
Another point of interest is that neither Darren nor Mark nor Neil had much experience playing Chinese 8 Ball before this tournament. In fact neither Mark nor Neil had ever played one game of Chinese 8 Ball before 2015. They all adjusted rather well, didn’t they! As I also competed in this event I can vouch for the fact that the differences between 8 Ball as we know it in North America and Chinese 8 Ball are many and profound. Firstly it is played on a 4 ½’ by 9’ table that is more like a Snooker table than a pool table. It is actually a table specifically designed for Chinese 8 ball. Here are some of the interesting specs: Rounded Snooker style pockets (tight but fair), One directional Snooker Cloth #10 (best cloth that I’ve ever played on), 2 ¼” Cyclops Pool balls, Snooker style rails (set high enough to bounce properly for the pool balls), slate heater (to keep the table always playing dry and slick). The tables were consistent from one table to the other and played perfect. No surprises other than a few skids from time to time. The referees did a great job cleaning the cue ball often during and between the matches. They also cleaned and ironed all the pool tables between each match.
In the Woman’s event Bai Ge from China is the 2015 Chinese 8 Ball World Champion. She bested an incredibly talented field of the world’s best Women pool players. This field consisted of all the top ranked Chinese women and many of the greatest international women including: Allison Fisher, Kelly Fisher, Jeanette Lee, Ga Young Kim, Jasmin Ouschan, to name a few. Allison Fisher was the only International player to make the final 4. She finished in 4th place.