Eklent Kaci 1-5 Chris Melling
Albin Ouschan 5-2 Niels Feijen
Chris Melling is the first player through to Winners’ Group of Predator Championship League Pool after beating Albin Ouschan in the Group 1 final at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.
The Yorkshireman began the day with a 5-0 whitewash of Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet, although he eventually finished fourth in the group standings to take the final spot in the play-offs.aHformer
Ouschan had been consistent all day, finishing second in the league phase with four wins from six matches. In the semi-finals he beat European Mosconi Cup Legend Niels Feijen 5-2 to meet Melling for a place in next week’s big-money Winners’ Group.
After six racks of the final the pair couldn’t be separated, but as the match edged towards its conclusion Ouschan began to cut a frustrated figure. His dissatisfaction was visible as he struggled at the table and he earned a warning from referee John Leyman in the eight and ultimately final rack of the match.
“It feels great to be in Winners’ Group,” said Melling. “When you play the Matchroom events you want to perform the best you can. I am glad I don’t have to grind for the rest of the week!
“Beating Ralf 5-0, I didn’t expect that. He got a bad contact on the 9 and I didn’t look back. At 3-0 down against Chris Robinson that could have been a loss but I dug in, tried my best and came out on the winning side. I lost three matches, to Kaci, Niels and Albin, which I could have won. Kaci played well against me but I got my revenge in the play-offs.
“These are the best players in Europe and the world so you won’t get any easy games. A lot of people wrote Kelly off and it was the worst thing you could possibly do,” he added of Kelly Fisher, who started with wins over Feijen and Souquet before four defeats left her 6th on the table.
In his group semi-final, Melling defeated Eklent Kaci 5-1. The Albanian Mosconi Cup star had topped the league standings with five wins from six matches, but was on the back foot from the start of the start of his semi-final, finding himself 4-0 in no time at all.
In the second semi-final, Ouschan overcame Niels Feijen 5-2, pulling away from the Dutchman after the pair had shared the first four racks. Feijen and Kaci will both return in Group 2 on Tuesday, alongside Ralf Souquet and Kelly Fisher, who finished fifth and sixth in the league phase respectively. Chris Robinson, who won just one of his four matches, finished bottom and is eliminated from the event.
David Alcaide and Mieszko Fortunski will join the tournament in Group 2, which begins at 12 noon (UK time) on Tuesday.
Predator Championship League Pool has a prize fund of $85,950. Every day features a seven-player group, with each player facing every other player once in a race-to-5. At the end of the group the top four advance to the play-offs, playing a semi-final and then final, also played as race-to-5. Play-off champions will advance to the big-money Winners’ Group on March 29, which will provide the showpiece conclusion of Predator Championship League Pool.
Players who finished bottom of each group are eliminated from the event, while the remaining five players in each group will continue to the next day’s play, where two new players enter the tournament.
Action from Table 1 of Predator Championship League Pool can be seen live on FreeSports (UK & Ireland), DAZN and Zhibo.tv (China). Viewers elsewhere in the world can tune in at Matchroom.Live, which also carries global coverage of Table 2.