Article by Martyn Royce
GB9 is delighted to announce that Gareth Hibbott, recently crowned IPA World Blackball Champion, will make his GB9 debut at the Paul Medati Trophy on 8th April 2016. Winner of both the singles and doubles titles in Bradford back at the beginning of February, Gareth is an extremely well respected player in the world of English pool and only time will tell whether his undoubted skill can transfer to the American code.
GB9’s press officer, Martyn Royce, caught up with Gareth:
MR: Firstly, huge congratulations on your recent World Blackball Championship victories. The fact that both your singles and doubles finals went right to the wire prove your tenacity and ability to hold your nerve at the business end of a match. Is this something you pride yourself on or did it just come to you in the moment?
GH: Thanks very much Martyn. I do feel like I usually play well in pressure situations, but being down to a black ball shootout and a single frame for world titles was certainly nerve wracking! All you can do is try and rely on your technique and hope it holds up – thankfully it just about did.
MR: Nice and simple, this one – why have you chosen to give 9-ball a go? Have you played any American pool at a competitive level before?
GH: This feels like a good time to give 9-ball a go. I’ve been invited to China to play Chinese 8-ball pool in March so I will be a little more used to the bigger balls and equipment. I was tempted to have a go a couple of years ago when my partner Viv was working on GB9, but around the same time the only club in my hometown Southport got rid of their American tables and the next nearest was probably 30 minutes away so decided not to. I’ve never played any competitive 9-ball but have always played snooker to a decent level so I’m quite used to a bigger table.
MR: A number of well-known faces in the world of English pool, not least the likes of Mick Hill and current GB9 player and IPA world #8 Andy Macdonald, have chosen to try out 9-ball. What do you think the lure of 9-ball is to these players and is there anything especially that lured you?
GH: I think 9-ball is an exciting game to play and watch. Also, a few players have become disillusioned with politics in English pool and the two different sets of rules. Obviously Karl (Boyes) and Darren (Appleton) came from English pool as well and with the level they’ve got to the rewards are greater. I’m sure they are delighted they made the change given how well they’ve done.
MR: What do you think your biggest strengths and weaknesses will be when it comes to competition level 9-ball?
GH: I think my break has always been pretty good at English pool so hopefully I can transfer that to 9-ball. I’m hoping my potting will be ok because of my snooker background. Maybe getting out of snookers and the speed of the table could be a problem for positional play. Also, at the moment I’m expecting to be using a thick snooker cue so that could be a problem at times. If this event goes ok and I enjoy it will then I will probably look at getting some American pool equipment.
MR: Lastly, you’ve got free rein of this one – tell us something we might not know about you!
GH: I’ve just become engaged to Viv Ruscoe who a lot of you might know from when she worked on GB9 for a season a couple of years ago.
MR: Thank you for your time and we very much look forward to welcoming a World Champion to Telford in April!
GH: Cheers Martyn – I’m very much looking forward to coming to Telford and competing against the best players in the UK.
Anybody wishing to play alongside Gareth in the Paul Medati Trophy is invited to enter now. There are only a limited number of places remaining in this event so please complete your event entry form without delay. Further information can be found on the event details page of our website.
In 2016 GB9 is proudly sponsored by Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls, McDermott Cue, Kamui Tips, Rasson Billiards and Carlson Rezidor Hotels making the perfect combination of the very best equipment in the most outstanding venues.