Norfolk postman Shaun Chipperfield returns to the Imperial Hotel to defend his WEPF World 8-Ball Pool Championships title as the tournament gets set for a special year.
When the action starts today, it will signal the start of the 25th edition of the ever-popular event.
The World 8-Ball Pool Federation was formed in 1992 after a ground breaking trip by a group of British players to tackle Australia in Perth.
Consequently, it was agreed to introduce a World Championship the following year, hosted by the English Pool Association, with Manchester chosen to be the host venue for the inaugural competition.
Manchester, Chorley, and latterly Blackpool–for nearly two decades –have been host venues as the Championships have grown into the biggest event of its kind in the pool world.
Chipperfield, from Norwich, is seeded one as he returns to defend his men’s singles titles.
However, he has a tough job ensuring another red letter day for 2017.
Four former champions: are seeded in the top eight: Tom Cousins, Mick Hill, Phil Harrison and Adam Davis.
Cousins, also from Norfolk, looks the man to beat after winning three successive UK Tour events; the first time this feat has been achieved in more than 30 years.
In the ladies’ singles, England international Amy Beauchamp is seeded one this year.
Nevertheless, the unseeded Sharon James, who won the European title at the same Blackpool venue back in February, could be a major threat.
The strength of the tournament has always been its team events.
There are junior, Under-23s and seniors competitions as well as the men’s and ladies’ events taking place.
Australia have been annual visitors to the North West since those first shots were fired on the green baize in 1993.
However, as the event has grown so too the countries involved.
Morocco, Reunion Island, Mauritius, India, Malta and France are just some of the nations battling for honours.
Admission to the Championship is free apart from the last two days, July 4 and 5.
Tickets, however, start from just £2; the men’s singles final is £5 and a ticket for all sessions – seven in total – of the last two days costs £12.
For further details visit www.wepf.org and www.epa.org.uk