Pool: Davis hoping to cash in as pool seeks to become the new darts
WORLD champion Adam Davis believes pool is on the verge of an unprecedented new dawn after a bitter darts-style split shook the elite game.
George Harwood has been cast out as International Professional Pool Players' Association (IPA) chairman by disgruntled players after 20 years of pulling the strings.
But the veteran postmaster has stayed in the eight-ball sport, setting up a rival amateur UK Pool Tour at the same venues and supported by many of the sport's long-standing sponsors.
The landmark development has seen the likes of England captain Lee Kendall, from Norton Green, abandon their professional status to stay on a familiar circuit.
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However, Davis, from Meir Hay, remains under the IPA umbrella, now being run by Kev Barton, with visions of riches previously undreamt of in the pool halls of Britain.
He is joined by stars such as three-time world champion Gareth Potts, from Norton Heights, Staffordshire player Andy Blurton and Liam White, from Joiners Square.
Davis, aged 25, said: "In pool we have still been playing for the same prize money as was on offer 20 years ago and as players we decided we needed a change to freshen things up.
"When I won the title last summer it was the first time it hadn't been on television for 18 years. People still come up to me without realising I won it.
"But pool has one of the biggest sports participation rates in the world. There is a lot of potential and hopefully we can take the game forward."
The break-up is reminiscent of a 1992 rift within darts when the British Darts Organisations (BDO) was at war with the breakaway Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).
Following a four-year dispute, the Sky Sports-backed PDC went on to great success, its sell-out arena tours bringing money pouring into the game.
That saw Cross Heath's Adrian Lewis picking up £200,000 for winning the world championship in January, while Davis won £8,000 for the equivalent honour in pool last July.
This year's eight-ball World Championships remain in Harwood's control and many players are expected to boycott the event.
Instead, the IPA has set up the On-Q Promotions World Professional Championships, to be screened on Sky Sports with a minimum first prize of £10,000.
The new event will be held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester this October, with snooker aces Mark Selby and Jimmy White rumoured to be among the possible competitors.
"The mood on the circuit has been really good, the best it's been for years," said Davis, who won the UK Open last month.
"Despite everything that has happened since, it is still great to look back on the last World Championships. It was a dream of mine to win it, ever since I started playing at five or six.
"I want to go on and win as much as I can, and hopefully the sport will really take off as well."
The lack of cash in pool has meant Davis has been grateful for the support of his employees, Ageas Insurance Solutions, who are based at Trentham Lakes.
The company has always allowed the customer services team manager time off to compete in tournaments, and is now backing him with £3,000 in sponsorship too.
"Ageas have been great helping to cover my entry fees, accommodation and travel. I couldn't ask for more," said Davis, who has been in the job since 2008.
"But I do stay away from the pool table in the canteen.
"I don't think I could handle it if one of the staff happened to beat me."
His work-mates are thrilled to have a world champion in their office. David Harrison, head of human resources, said: "We are very proud of Adam as his employer and we are delighted to be able to support him take on the best in the world."