Pontefract pool star elected to America Hall of Fame

Darren Appleton, from Pontefract, is one of the world's greatest-ever pool players.
Darren Appleton, from Pontefract, is one of the world's greatest-ever pool players.

PONTEFRACT pool star Darren Appleton has been elected to the greatest player section of the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.

The 41-year-old three-time world champion has described it as “the pinnacle and biggest honour of my career.”

Appleton said: “It’s really amazing to know I’m in the BCA Hall of Fame. I can’t really put it into words. To be playing American pool full time for only 11 years and achieve this recognition is incredible.

“There is no bigger honour for a pool player. This is the pinnacle. It’s been a difficult year for me personally, so this is the kind of news I really needed. I’m very thankful.”

Appleton won the junior national English eight-ball championship in 1996 at the age of 16.

He became a full-time professional player four years later and over the next decade he was the world’s top-ranked player seven times.

In 2006, Appleton left the English game and went to the USA to compete in the short-lived International Pool Tour. His career in the USA took off after his surprising win over Jiaqing Wu in the final of the World 10-Ball Championship in the Philippines. He followed that by winning the World Pool Masters title in 2009.

Appleton won the first of his two consecutive US Open Nine-Ball Championships in 2010 and captured his second WPA world title in 2012 when he beat Hewen Li, of China, in the final of the World Nine-Ball Championship.

He won the Challenge of Champions in 2011 and 2012 and the World Tournament of 14.1 in 2013 and 2014.

In 2013, he pipped Taiwan’s Jung-Lin Chang 11-10 to win the gold medal at the World Games in Cali, Colombia. Appleton added the World Cup of Pool title to his list of achievements in 2014 when he teamed up with Karl Boyes

In 2015, Appleton won his third world crown, this time capturing a world eight-ball title by beating world snooker champion Mark Selby in the final of the Chinese Pool World Championship.

Appleton has been a member of the Europe team that has beaten the USA for the last seven consecutive years in the annual Mosconi Cup tournament.

He said: “There have been so many highlights in my career but to get to the top in three different disciplines - English pool, American pool and Chinese eight ball and to beat all the best players in the world - is something I am very proud of .

“I have been involved in incredible finals under the most extreme pressure. These are the moments I worked hard for and I passed the test. With over 500 flights and visiting around 60 countries, I can’t complain. It’s been an amazing life and journey.”