Wales ‘Pool’ Together Their Talent As They Prepare To Defend Title

With the Nations Cup around the corner, we sat down with Phil Hoskins, the Chairman of the Wales Pool Association, to find out more the work that goes on behind closed doors.

The Cup takes place in Bridlington, England and will see competitors from 14 different nations all vying for the chance to prove their worth in one of professional pool’s most important tournaments.

Wales will be heading into the competition as the reigning champions and will need to defend their title against players from nations such as Malta, South Africa and Mexico, no easy feat considering these are some of the best players the world has to offer.

“There’s the team event, a five-person team so we send a 7-man squad. Then there’s also an individual tournament which runs right alongside. You have to qualify to play for your country to be able to play in the singles event,” explains Hoskins, who will be playing in the tournament alongside other big names.

Providing the experience in the team is captain and 2017 IPA Professional World Champion, Craig Marsh, former Welsh Open Champion, Jonathan Bushell, and Hoskins.

The rest of the team is rounded out by Curtis Lee, who won the last ranking event of the season, and Mark Bowen, one of the team’s senior players and holder of the 2007 World Title.

Of course, it’s not just the men’s team who are competing at the Cup. Speaking on the Welsh women’s team, Hoskins said:

“The ladies’ team have brought in a new manager and she’s made some really positive changes.”

Wales also have a learning difficulties team, who have been gaining particular prominence and success after they won the world title out in France this year, beating Scotland in the final.

“The learning difficulties team are probably who have galvanised us as a country. Watching them win out in France was something else.

“It was so inspirational. All the Welsh teams just got behind them,” says Hoskins.

While Wales won the previous Nations Cup, the team still feel like they have something to prove and will put everything they have into taking home the title this time around.

Hoskins however seems to relish the opportunity to defend the title and keep the winning streak alive in Wales:

“We’re amongst the favourites going into it. I’m confident that we can walk away having defended the title.”