POOL: Gray is king of the Castle

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Magic Mark Gray’s incredible form with the cue continued as he saw off a high-quality field to win the CastelBrando Cup in Italy last weekend.

Spalding and District Snooker League ace Gray, who racked up a stunning 141 break at the back end of 2012, was making a return to pool action at the Treviso event.

‘Granite’ saw off 95 other players at the invitation- 
only competition, which was played in a castle and in the ten-ball format of the game.

He banked the winners’ trophy and a cool €2,000 for his efforts. The resident professional at Bourne Snooker Centre credits his stunning form in Division Three of the Spalding and District Snooker League for his devastating display on the baize.

“I’m obviously really pleased to start the new year with a win in my first event,” said the Bourne SC A potter. “Hopefully this will give me confidence to kick on and have a great year.

“I’ve started playing snooker a fair bit again for the last four months after retiring for eight years and I think this has helped me with my pool.”

Gray, currently ranked second in the GB9-ball tour and sixth in Europe, was given a bye in the first round as he was seeded.

He then faced Italians in the next three rounds, comfortably beating Francesco Monopoli (8-5), Marco Pugasi (8-1) and Stefano Battelli (9-1).

Next to be dispatched was Mosconi Cup-winning Dutchman Neils Feijens (9-5) in the quarter final, before Gray sunk Italian number one Fabio Petroni 11-6 to reach the final.

Granite certainly saved his best showing for the big stage, as he crushed European number one Albin Ouschan of Austria 11-3 to seal the crown.

The Baston native is back in Italy on February 28 for the start of the European Tour.