What people say about the Festival of Pool

Craig Lakin – Top Level Player

Craig, 25 and from Derby is a top-level player and well known on the circuit, having won many major titles including the Golden 8 Ball team trophy, and also big money matches. He first started playing pool at the age of 13 in pubs and clubs, and quickly progressed at a young age to playing money matches, gaining him experience of playing in front of big crowds and noisy atmospheres. This invaluable experience gives him an advantage over his competitors and helps him stay focussed when playing at the Golden 8 Ball.

Craig says – ‘Playing at events like this, where it is a great atmosphere every time, everyone’s always having banter, I am use to it, I just feel comfortable now; where I guess a lot of players would struggle and feel a lot of pressure.’

What Craig loves about Golden 8 Ball – “It’s just a great event, everyone is always up for the crack. It’s a good atmosphere. The main thing for me is the high ceiling, it stops it being red hot. You go to a lot of events and you’re in clubs with low ceilings, and its red hot and it effects your game. Whilst here, the ceiling is very high and it benefits me a lot as a player. So I like that.”

Dave Griffiths – County Player

Named the ‘Ice Man’ from Chester, Dave started playing pool 40 years ago and is currently representing Cheshire pool and North Wales. Having previously played at international level for England, Dave has always loved pool and won a lot of titles back in the 90’s including the North West open. But now with so many quality players around, top titles are harder to win but The Ice Man’s undeterred and simply enjoys playing pool as a hobby. He has a chance to win something at the Golden 8 Ball.

Chris Sergio Welsh – Player

Chris Sergio Welsh is 35 and from Chester – also known as ‘Mr Showbiz’, he has been playing pool for over 20 years and often seen as an extra in Hollyoaks and other TV programmes. Been playing county pool for a long time and recently qualified for the international set-up. Discovered Golden 8 Ball 4 years ago, and has been attending events ever since.

Chris states – “Standard is fantastic, ranges from absolutely brilliant teams to your amateurs, and that’s the good thing, there’s something for the amateurs there, the way the set-up is, the gold, the silver, the bronze, the wooden spoon events, so if you’re not the greatest team in the world and you get knocked out of the gold, then you’re in the silver. You could be in the Bronze and if you get beat, you’re in the wooden spoon. Everyone’s got a chance to win something.”

Shona Locus – BAPTO Champion

Shona is from Scotland but lives in Cambridgeshire and has been playing pool for around 20 years. Her first time at the Golden 8 Ball, but no amateur, she has won many major titles over the years, including BAPTO ladies champion three years in a row. Married to Andy Lucas, ex-professional pool player, then often win mixed doubles events as husband and wife partners.

Shona Says – “It’s my first time here,  lots and lots of people were saying what a great atmosphere it is, it’s far more relaxed, as you can see, especially the first night, they had a disco, I’ve never seen that,  all the years I’ve been playing I’ve never seen that at a pool tournament, but it works, it’s fabulous, it really is, very relaxed, they’ve got a very good mix of top class players, good pool, I’ve noticed there is a lot of people from World Rules are swapping over to Blackball rules, which has brought the standard up again.”

Laura – Team Supporter

Laura is a newbie to the game of pool and has come as a spectator to support her boyfriend and his team mates. Golden 8 Ball is her first team event and she has found the spirit and camaraderie exciting.

Laura says – “It’s quite exciting to be honest; I don’t know much about pool apart from watching my partner, but coming here it’s a really good atmosphere and it just seems like a good laugh really, as well as the pool. It’s the first team event I’ve come to watch, normally I go to individuals. I think the spirit and the camaraderie is quite exciting. Everyone’s in it for each other.”

Reggie Gill – Team Champions

Reggie from Derby has been playing pool for around 24 years and represents the renowned Desi Daredevils – previous Golden 8 Ball team Champions. He started his cue sports career playing snooker and only got into pool when a friend, who was so impressed by Reggie’s snooker skills, encouraged him to join their pool team in 1992. Reggie thinks the standard of pool has gone up with a lot a lot more skilful players about. The lower level players are progressing and taking their game to a higher level.

Mel Harley – Head Referee

Mel Harley has been refereeing for over 40 years and is Head Referee of the Golden 8 Ball. Originally involved in World Rules exams, he moved to Blackball rules in 2011 and is one of the most experienced referees in the country. Mel looks after a team of eight referees and will intervene when a player disputes a referee’s decision, to help make the final call. Often, players need clarification on the finer details of the rules, as many unusual scenarios and questions can occur during the event; the referees are there to give the correct answer and make sure players are playing them properly.  The ‘Total Snooker’ rule causes the most disputes.

Alistair Bailie – Cue Maker

Alistair ‘Aggie’ Bailie is the master ‘cue’ craftsman of the Golden 8 Ball. Aggie will nurture your cue in preparation for some serious play, from changing the tip to a full cue refurbishment, giving you added confidence at the table.

Ashleigh Dinsmore – Player

Ashleigh Dinsmore from County Down, Northern Ireland, talks about Women’s pool and G8B.

Arthur Lewis – Player

Arthur Lewis from the Norfolk N Chance team, playing from Astley Arms in Greater Manchester. Been playing pool for over 45 years and loves coming to the Golden 8 Ball.