‘Dynamite’ aims to rock Masters rivals in Gibraltar

Darren Appleton, who is currently back living in his home town of Pontefract, is a three-time world champion.

POOL star Darren ‘Dynamite’ Appleton will compete in the 25th annual World Masters in Gibraltar early next month.

The three-time world champion is currently back living in his home town Pontefract.

The World Masters - pool’s longest-runnning invitational event - will be held from March 2 to March 4.

It will be televised live on Sky Sports and involves 16 of the world’s best players who will gather in Tercentenary Sports Hall at Victoria Stadium in the shadow of the famous Rock of Gibraltar to compete for the $20,000 top prize.

Appleton has reached the final of the tournament three times in the last nine years.

He defeated Holland’s Nick Van Den Berg 8-4 in the 2009 final in Las Vegas but lost 8-6 to Holland’s Niels Feijen in the 2013 final in Barnsley and was beaten 8-2 by USA’s Shane Van Boening in the 2015 final in Manchester.

In the first round of this year’s tournament, Appleton faces USA’s Earl Strickland on Saturday, March 3 (1.30pm). If Appleton wins he will play Shane Van Boening (USA) or Daryl Peach (England) in the quarterfinals the next day (1.30pm). The semi-finals and final will be played that same evening.

The full first round draw is:

David Alcaide (Spain) v Tony Drago (Malta), Ralf Souquet (Germany) v Karol Skowerski (Poland, Niels Feijen (Hollands) v Raj Hundal (India), Wu Jiaqing (China) v Dennis Orcollo (Philippines), Shane Van Boening (USA) v Daryl Peach (England), Darren Appleton (England) v Earl Strickland (USA), Alex Pagulayan (Canada) v Alex Lely (Holland), Jayson Shaw (Scotland) v Francisco Bustamante (Philippines).

Matchroom Sport chairman Barry Hearn said: “We’re absolutely delighted to bring the Masters to Gibraltar. Matchroom have had great success on the Rock with darts and snooker events and I’m sure we will have similar success with pool.”

Globetrotter Appleton is one of the world’s greatest-ever pool players and has visited around 60 countries in his glittering career.

The 42-year-old was elected to the greatest player section of the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame last year.

He described it as “the pinnacle and biggest honour of my career.”

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