Darren Appleton is the 74th World Tournament of 14.1 Champion
Photo courtesy of World Tournament of 14.1 Charles Eames
New York City, NY– England’s Darren Appleton capped off an amazing week of pool action by finishing off strong to capture his first ever World 14.1 title ! Appleton had lost in the finals last year, but sweetly rectified that with a resounding victory over America’s #1 ranked Shane Van Boening. The Andy Cloth 74th World Tournament of 14.1 6 days of grueling pool stamina battles ended with spectacular performances by the world’s greatest professionals.
The ANDY CLOTH World Tournament took place on August 4th-9th, 2014. Dragon Promotions and Dr. Michael Fedak were pleased to bring the 74th production of the oldest billiard event in the world . Also sponsored by Andy Cloth, Kamui Brands, OB Cues, Amsterdam Billiard Club, Realrealcool.com, Pool & Billiard Magazine , Aramith Balls, and George Beckman Kinetic Sculptures. Official patron 14.1 aficionados are Stu Mattana, Tom Gleich, Harold Siegel, Dr. Greg Diehl Plastic Surgery, and Official World 14.1 photographer Charles Eames. A star studded field has made it back once again to the 14.1 extravaganza taking place at Steinway Billiards Cafe, who is once more hosting the world’s greatest straight pool championship.
Notably this year’s event was particularly tough in the field of champions as former World 14.1 winners Thorsten Hohmann, John Schmidt, and Stephan Cohen all failed to qualify the top 16 final bracket!
The first semi-finals pitted Great Britain against Russia. Evgeny Stalev took the lead early and looked as if his smooth, super offensive style would lead him into the finals. Stalev had played some stellar 14.1 throughout the event, and Appleton had had medicore performances including a dogfest the night before against Mike Dechaine (USA). Down by 70 points, Appleton turned up the juice and made a run. Though Stalev kept the lead for the first half of the match, Appleton took over and never looked back with an eventual 200-145 win.
The next semi-finals was a battle of the Americans. Max Eberle of Las Vegas and Shane Van Boening of South Dakota were fighting to see who would have the right to play for the USA in the championship finals. At first, experience seemed to play in favor of Shane as Max botched many chances early on and Van Boening stretched to a 100+ ball lead. When Eberle had a chance again, he was down 40 to 147. And then he came back to life. Starting with a very tough shot, he went on to run 121 balls and take the lead. To date, Eberle’s highest run in competition. SVB eventually got back to the table, but was visibly shaken a bit in his game as he faltered, but Eberle had also used up alot of energy and they both traded safeties for several innings. Needing only 22 balls to make his first major championship finals, Eberle got another key opportunity and was faced with a good break shot into the side pocket. Unfortunately, he made the ball and busted the rack but scratched. Van Boening took the gift and scraped by to a 200-178 win.
„I felt and looked like I was buried. Was so easy to just give up and say I had a good tournament. But seeing Jim Rempe at the 14.1 Hall of Fame Banquer really inspired me. In the video, Nick Varner was congratulating Rempe and said Jim never gave up till the last ball. That was in my head. So I fought back and made the biggest high run of my World 14.1 experiences and made it into a real match“, said Eberle after the semi-finals ended.
Last year Appleton had made the error of over practicing before the final day matches, on top of a long 2 hour drive. This year he swore off practice and came into the finals fresh. In contrast, the war with Eberle may have drained Van Boening some as he missed his first chance to strike blood. We will never really know because, once again, Appleton put in a incredible performance. He Started off with a 69 ball run, and then finished with a 131 & out completing the entire championship match in 3 innings!
„Not much I could do there“, Van Boening said softly as he shrugged his shoulders. “ Darren played great and deserves it.“
„I really didn’t prepare as much this year for the tournament because been working on my new house and got my wedding this weekend. So I didn’t really expect to win at all. I really struggled in the early parts of the tournament including last night in the quarter-finals against Dechaine. But today I felt really good“, said Appleton after the finals. „This World 14.1 is one of my favorite tournaments. The win comes at a great time because all my family is coming into town and I can share this with them.“
As Darren Appleton’s name will be inscribed as the 74th World 14.1 winner, he requested (almost insisted) he be allowed to take home the World 14.1 Cup for the year to showcase in his private poolroom. After a Bronze, a Silver, setting the world record at 200 points, and shooting in 1450 balls this week en route to winning the Gold this year…Dragon Promotions decided he be the first player to earn the right.
Brackets & Stories at www.worldstraightpool.com . Numerous photos and highlights at www.facebook.com/worldstraightpool