World Pool Series

Great Escape To The Final Four

Scotland’s Jayson Shaw Walks The High Wire At Chris Melling’s Expense To Grab A Semi-Final Spot At The Aramith Masters In New York City.


By Ted Lerner
WPS Media Officer
Photos By JP Parmentier/WPS

(New York City)–When you’re hot your hot. And when you’re not, well, you still find a way to win.

That could very well be the mantra of Scotland’s Jayson Shaw as tonight at the Aramith Masters at Steinway Billiards in New York City, the man who everyone agrees is the hottest pool player in the world right now, several times found himself on the verge of elimination in his quarterfinal match against fellow Brit Chris Melling. But lately, whether Shaw is playing his usual unstoppable pool, or is having a rare off day, fortune never seems to leave his corner. And fortune was certainly waiting for the Scotsman at the end of the line this night.

The talented duo had gone back and forth for several hours, with Shaw taking the first of the three sets, then Melling turning the tide to capture a thrilling second set. In the third and deciding set, Melling on several occasions looked like a shoe in for victory. But just when the tenacious and sharp shooting Melling looked like he had the 28 year old Scotsman on the verge of elimination, the pool gods intervened to save the day for Shaw. In the end the match went to a deciding shootout, and even there Melling had Shaw on the ropes. Shaw, though, held fast and stormed back to win the shootout 8-6 and grab a hard earned and somewhat lucky spot in Saturday’s semi-finals.

“I didn’t play that well tonight,” a relieved Shaw said afterward. “Actually I don’t feel I have played that well here in the last few days. But I grinded it out and hung in there. I got lucky on a few occasions and he got unlucky on a few of his shots. I’m just glad to still be alive.”

18 year old Albanian Klenti Kaci has been the surprise of the tournament as he surged into an unlike semi-final spot.

It was a tough slog of a day for Shaw, as earlier in the round of 16 he had to go three tough sets to beat a stingy Alexander Kazakis of Greece.  Now the Brit will have to regroup for Saturday’s semi-final, where he will face an unlikely foe in 18 year old newcomer Klenti Kaci from Albania. The upstart Kaci, who started playing in Euro Tour events in 2016 and has produced some terrific results, is on his third pool trip to the United States this week. And based on his impressive finishes, the tall and methodical youngster is no flash in the pan.

In the round of 16 today, Kaci dueled with another rising young star in Spain’s Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, outlasting the Spaniard in three sets. Then in the quarterfinals, the Albanian crushed the Philippines Jeffrey De Luna, 2 sets to nil, allowing De Luna only one rack the entire match.

The Philippines Carlo Biado took down two German greats today to book his spot in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Filipinos had started the day making up one fourth of the field in the final 16, but it wasn’t all bad news for the Pinoys. Carlo Biado stormed back from near defeat to Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann and the pair had to settle things in the Unilad TV arena with a shootout. The quiet Filipino got out to an early lead in the shootout and never looked back.

Biado then had to face another German great in Ralf Souquet in the quarterfinals. Souquet, however, came out flat and never got into the match. Biado won the match 2 sets to nothing to advance to the semi-finals.

Despite the massive distractions of being the event’s promoter, Darren Appleton still bore down to barge into the semi-finals.

His opponent there will be none other than the World Pool Series’ founder, Darren Appleton, who also reached the semi-finals in the first event of the World Pool Series, the Molinari Players Championship, back in January.  As the event’s promoter Appleton has been juggling two difficult hats this week in New York.  But when he gets on the table, the Yorkshireman knows how to tune out the distractions and bear down better than anyone in pool. In his quarterfinal match today, Appleton handily beat 20 year old American Billy Thorpe, 2-0. The Englishman then had to duke it out with Estonia’s Dennis Grabe in a slog of a match that went for nearly four hours.  Appleton grinded, scratched and clawed to a solid 2-1 sets win to advance.

“I didn’t play that well at first,” Appleton said. “But in the last set I kind of found a gear and he started to fade. It seems even if I don’t have the goods, I always know how to grind. I just hang in there and outlast them.” Then with a satisfied smile the 41 year old great quipped, “You could say I old-manned him.”

The Aramith Masters concludes on Saturday at Steinway Café-Billiards in Queens, New York City. Both semi-finals will be played at 12pm. The finals will be  begin at 7pm.

The winner of the Aramith Masters receives  $12,000.

*The second event of the World Pool Series, The Aramith Masters, is being held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from April 5-8, 2017. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Aramith, Molinari, Predator, Cheqio, RYO Rack, Iwan Simonis, Kamui, Billiards Digest, Cuescore, Ultimate Team Gear, and High Rock Productions.

For more information please visit the official website of the World Pool Series at

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Saturday April 8, 12PM
Best of 3 Sets, Each Set race to 6

Carlo Biado(PHL) vs. Darren Appleton(GBR)
Klenti Kaci(ALB)  vs. Jayson Shaw(GBR)

Saturday, April 8, 7PM
Best of 3 Sets, Each Set race to 6

Darren Appleton(GBR) 2 – 1 Dennis Grabe(EST)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 2 – 0 Ralf Souquet(GER)
Klenti Kaci(ALB)  2- 0 Jeffrey De Luna(PHL)
Jayson Shaw(GBR) 2 -1 Chris Melling(GBR) (Shaw wins by shootout, 7-5)
Darren Appleton(GBR) 2-0 Billy Thorpe(USA)
Dennis Grabe(EST) 2-0 Raj Hundal(GBR)
Ralf Souquet(GER) 2 – 0 Ramil Gallego(PHL)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 2 – 1 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)  (Biado wins by shootout)
Klenti Kaci(ALB) 2 – 1 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP)
Jeffrey De Luna(PHL)  2 – 0 Brandon Shuff(USA)
Chris Melling(GBR) 2 – 0 Roberto Gomez(PHL)
Jayson Shaw(GBR)  2 – 1 Alexander Kazakis(GRE)