Magic Mulholland Claims First Merseyside Major
Josh Mulholland claimed his first Merseyside Major title after he defeated Clayton Humphries 4-2 in the Merseyside Open final last month.
After years of trying, Mulholland finally broke his duck after a tense and thrilling finals day at George Scott Snooker Club which determined the Merseyside Open Champion of 2022.
Josh fought very hard, whilst not at his best, throughout the day with a string of 4-2 victories against Adam Brown in the Quarter Finals and Jamie Jones in the Semi Finals before a third 4-2 victory in succession in the final against 7-time major winner Clayton Humphries.
The feeling amongst other players was that Mulholland was the best player in the county who had never won a major event after losing 3 major finals and finishing runner up in the inaugural Merseyside Premier League last season. But now, finally, that has been put to bed he is certainly relieved. ‘I’ve known I’ve always been good enough, but there’s a lot of great players in Merseyside and these events are hard to win. It feels great and hopefully the floodgates open from now on.’
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Josh on finals day as in the Semi-Finals, he was 2-0 down to the talented Jamie Jones, but again his belief didn’t waver. ‘I was in trouble. Jamie is very natural and quick and can reel frames off very quickly. But I was proud of the way battled back and while it wasn’t my best but I played some very good match snooker to rattle off 4 frames in a row and make the final’.
Josh’s path to success, hasn’t been straightforward. After playing nearly full time a few years ago, he took time off to concentrate on studies and therefore his form and results had declined. But after making the decision to practice more and enter tournaments, he is now seeing the hard work pay off. ‘After a good 6-month break, I made it a priority to just enjoy playing and not force myself to play every day. Working full time makes it not possible to play all the time, so I chose quality over quantity. Travelling around the country from competitions has sharpened me up.’
‘I’m my own worst critic and I was frustrated a win hadn’t come earlier and doubts did creep in about whether I ‘’still had it’’ so to speak, but deep down I always knew if I did the right things and keep putting myself in there, that one day the tide would turn and luckily it did’.
Going forward, Josh will undoubtedly have more majors in his sights and a potential run at Q School to try and earn a 2 year tour card. ‘To be honest, I don’t really set goals except to just enjoy snooker and keep improving. But halfway through the season, I would like to win another major and potentially make a deep run if I decide to enter Q School to secure either a tour card or top up place’.
2023 North West Open – Qualifiers
The qualifying events for this years North West Open take place in just a few weeks time in Preston and Liverpool. Dates are listed below.
The entry fee has been reduced to £15 for this year to help players during the current cost of living / fuel increases this Winter.
Sat 11th Feb @ Preston (S Hendry Club)
Sun 12th Feb @ Liverpool (G Scotts)
Four players from each event will qualify for the Grand Finals in Preston on Sat 29th April.
All matches will be played over Best of Five frames up to Final (7 frames);
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Closing Date for Entries: Midday on Tues 31st January
The draw will take place at 2pm on Tues 31st January at Scotties.
The MDBSA Exec Committee decided at a recent meeting that the afore known competition called the ‘Mersey Masters’ will no longer be an official tournament of the MDBSA and has been removed from its calendar with immediate effect.
Q. How does it feel to finally win a Merseyside Major event?
A. First off, cheers for the “finally”! Yeah it feels great. I’ve always known I’ve been good enough to win these events but there’s a lot of great players in Merseyside and events are tough to win. I’m just glad I’ve got this one over the line and hopefully the floodgates open now and I can show everyone what I know I’m capable of.
Q. What was your toughest test throughout the event?
A. My toughest test throughout the event was probably in the semi finals when I was 2-0 down to Jamie Jones and looking in trouble. Jamie is a very natural and quick player who can dominate you if you’re not careful and it wasn’t looking good at 2-0 but I was proud of the way I battled back. Not necessarily with my best snooker but more so with some decent match play and a few good visits at the right times to win the next 4 frames.
Q. Did you ever think the first victory wouldn’t come?
A. No I always had enough self belief that I would win an event. I’m my own worst critic and I’ll always be frustrated it hasn’t come years earlier but as I mentioned previously these events are tough to win and it doesn’t take a lot to lose matches against the best players in Merseyside as the standard is so good in the latter stages of these events. Obviously as time went on you sometimes get the odd doubt if you’ve “still got it” so to speak, but deep down I always knew I was good enough and knew as long as I kept doing the right things I’d keep putting myself in contention to tuck one away, which luckily now I have.
Q. What if anything have you changed in the last year and how do you feel its helped your game?
A. The thing I’ve changed the most is probably making it a priority to actually enjoy playing the game. At the end of the day snooker is just that, a game, and down the years I’ve probably been guilty of allowing it to mean too much and putting too much pressure on myself. This undoubtedly hindered my performance at times as I’ve learnt this isn’t a game you can play to a high standard whilst angry, frustrated or in a negative frame of mind. So after a good 6 month break from the game earlier this year I’ve just made it a priority to enjoy playing and not forcing myself to play every single day if I didn’t feel mentally there. With working full time it’s not really possible to play everyday anyway so I just make sure I get the most out of the few hours a night I can get. Travelling around a bit more too and playing in English events and pro ams has definitely helped and sharpened my B/C game and allowed me to win matches I may have otherwise lost.
Q. What are your target and aspirations for the rest of the season?
A. If I’m honest at the start of the season I didn’t really set any specific targets, it was really just to enjoy my snooker and try to keep improving. I suppose now half way through the season if I was to set some more specific goals, I’d probably say to win another Merseyside major (MPL, NW open or Mersey Masters), and to make a deep run if I decide to/am able to enter Q School, knowing full well that if I play like I can I’d be well capable of securing a main tour place or a top up/Q tour place.
Q. What cue, tip and chalk are you using and why and Do they change at all throughout the season?
A. The cue I use is called a Stradarius, a lovely piece of wood which I got from ABCSnooker.com. As far as tips go I’m really not that fussy and will often stick anything on and just get used to it. Earlier in the season I had a century G3 tip, but now I have a standard elkmaster. With chalk, I’m working my way through the Taom chalks. After using their pyro one, I am now using the V2 and after this block runs out I will probably try the V10. After using Taom I definitely won’t be going back to any other brand any time soon.
Q. How do you think the tournament was as a whole?
A. As usual the tournament was well structured with dates/draw being clearly communicated weeks before the start. Hopefully it, and Merseyside snooker in general, can continue to grow and these events become bigger and better in numbers and stature.
2022 Merseyside Snooker Open – sponsored by JJM Services & Exports Ltd
The top half of the draw was played at Scotties over the weekend, with four players making it through to the quarter finals.
The day began with the tie of the first round where Wayne Brown beat John Welsh 3-0. Wayne then went on to beat Jack Fitzmaurice and Steve Pyper 3-1 and 4-2 respectively to ensure his place in the last eight where he will play Ian Brumby who didn’t drop a frame all day, including a 4-0 win over in-form Bob McCune. The second quarter final in the top half will see Clayton Humphries play Ben Heys. Clayton had a tough opening match against Andy Molyneux winning 3-2 which included a 73 break in the deciding frame before he overcame Andy Rae 4-1 in the round of 16. Ben Heys overcame Tony Cook (3-2) followed by Marc Shaw (4-2) to secure his place in a major Merseyside quarter final for the first time. Ian Brumby and Wayne Brown both hit breaks of 95 to make that the target for the high break prize.
The lower half of the draw takes place next Sunday at Scotties with matches starting at 10am as four more players will make it through to the last eight on 4th December.
Full draw can be viewed here.
The Full Draw for the 2022 Merseyside Open sponsored by JM Services and Exports LTD has now been completed.
Top half of the draw will play Sunday 13th November
Bottom half of the draw will Sunday 20th November
Finals day is Sunday 4th December
Merseyside got off to the perfect start this weekend with two big wins in their opening group games in Cueball, Derby.
After Leicestershire pulled out at the 11th hour, Merseyside have a group of 2 other counties to contend with and made light work of both Staffordshire ‘B’ and South Yorkshire ‘A’ to have one foot in the Quarter Finals.
Mark Richardson and Bob McCune both made impressive debuts while Jamie Jones made the highest break in the group with 122.
The return fixtures are played on 11th March 2023.
Merseyside 43-5 Staffs ‘B’
Merseyside 30-18 South Yorkshire ‘A’
Neal Jones has become the new Liverpool Alliance Snooker Champion after defeating John Whitty 4-3 in a very tense final in Scotties.
Neal came from 2-0 down against the newly crowned Northwest Open Champion John Whitty to force a decider, in which Neal prevailed to win his maiden Liverpool Championship.
Earlier in the day, Jones had beat English Amateur Runner Up John Welsh 3-0 in the Semi Finals while Whitty overcame Mark Shaw in another deciding frame to win 3-2.
Neal Jones 3 – 0 John Welsh
John Whitty 3 – 2 Mark Shaw
Neal Jones 4 – 3 John Whitty
The Semi Finals of the Alliance Liverpool Snooker Open Championship will take place on Sunday 16th October at 12:00 Noon with matches best of Five frames.
The Final will follow shortly afterwards and is best of seven frames.
Matches to be played in the Ted Robinson Match Room of the George Scott Snooker Club, Derby Lane Liverpool. 0151 228 5864
Neil Jones v John Welsh
John Whitty v Mark Shaw
Merseyside Open 2022
Sponsored by JJM Services & Exports Ltd
Venue: George Scott’s Snooker Club
Entries are now open to current MDBSA Members for this years prestigious Merseyside Open, which was first won back in 1938. Non-members will be invited to enter from next week.
The competition is open to all amateur players. The format is on a knockout basis with all matches in the Prelim / 1st & 2nd Rounds played over best of five frames. From the round of 16 onwards, all matches will be played over Best of Seven Frames, including the Final.
Dates to note:
Top Half of Draw: Sun 13th Nov
Lower Half of Draw: Sun 20th Nov
Semis and Final: Sun 4th Dec
£15 (MDBSA Members)
£20 (Non Member)
The Closing Date for entries is Mon 1st November at midday. The draw will also be made on that day.
Please send your entry to following
There will also be a six-red plate competition for prelim/1st round losers which will be held on the finals day.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all Merseyside Snooker and Billiards is suspended until further notice. Any remaining league games and competitions will be postponed and hopefully played at a later date. All national county games are also suspended until further notice.
Our association will follow government advice and will update our members as soon as we can on how the snooker and billiards season can be completed safely. We also urge all our members to stay safe during this unprecedented time.