Twelve year old Byron Mcgrail reaches last 16 at the UK Open 9-Ball Tournament
The Jayson Shaw Junior UK Open took place from May 30th to June 4th at the Copper Box Arena in London. Named after two-time Mosconi Cup MVP Shaw, the tournament offered 64 of the best up-and-coming players the opportunity to play alongside the pros in the second edition of the UK Open. The Junior Open in London invited players from around the globe and was an under-17 event. Byron McGrail was invited to take part in this exclusive event by Matchroom. Byron arrived in London after having a very successful season locally, competing and training in all local events within the GPA 9-Ball league at only 12 years of age.
In his first match, he competed against Shane Balden, a player from the UK. In his first international match, Byron started well, winning the first four frames and did not show any signs of nerves. Shane got one back to make the score 4-1, then Byron won the next to make it 5-1. After that, Shane got another point to make it 5-2, but Byron then displayed great skill and won the next two consecutive frames, sealing the win. The final score was 7-2 in favor of Byron.
The next match saw him waiting for his opponent from the USA to play, but the player did not show up on time. Therefore, Byron was allowed to practice and secured an automatic win, advancing to the last 16.
In his last 16 match, Byron faced a very strong opponent, 14-year-old Marko Benko from Slovenia. Byron had very little chance against Benko, as Benko won frame after frame, eventually winning 7-0. “Marko Benko was the eventual winner of the tournament.”
Byron’s finish in the Last 16 showed everyone what he is capable of at such a young age. His presence and attitude on the table were an example for all those witnessing his matches, and I am sure we will see more of him in the future. Gibraltar truly has a future star in cue sports.
All juniors competing were provided with a free custom Onboard Sportswear jersey and a special KAMUI gift pack that included Roku chalk and a set of cue tips.
Byron also wanted to thank “those who have helped him make this tournament a reality, especially the FEC Stars for their kind donations, and those who contributed through the JustGiving page that the Gibraltar Pool Association 9-ball committee set up for him.”