Darren Appleton has won the 2010 Player

Dynamite Darren is POY
Darren Appleton has won the 2010 Player of the Year honors from AZBilliards. He was the number one money winner for the year and took home in excess of  $118,000 for his efforts, but it was his consistency and his ability to come through with clutch shots when they were needed most that truly made him the undeniable choice for the year.

Appleton’s year began with a team loss in the Asia Vs Europe Challenge but he quickly bounced back with a victory in the World Team Championship in Hanover, Germany. He took second place honors in the 8-Ball division at the US Bar Table Championships and then traveled over to the UAE for a third place finish in the World 8-Ball Championships.

He had lackluster results (17th and 9th) at the World Pool Masters and the US Open 10-Ball event, but got back on track in the summer with a second at the GB9 British Grand Prix and a third at the Guinness World Series of Pool.

His late-year performance sealed the deal for Appleton. He took third at the Sarajevo Open, then emerged victorious over a field of more than 200 players at the 35th Annual US Open 9-Ball Championships. AZB reporter Skip Maloney detailed the win at the Open: “Appleton’s trail to the finals began on Sunday, October 17th with an 11-5 victory over Ronald Tutein. Over the course of the event’s six days, he would play a total of 154 games, winning almost 60% of them (91).  He gave up, on average, only seven racks per match. His nine-match winning streak included two wins over Deuel, as well as victories over Israeli champion Zion Zvi (11-8), Ronnie Alcano (11-7), Efren Reyes (11-5),  and David Alcaide (11-8). In the battle for the hot seat, he defeated two-time defending champion, Mika Immonen 11-9. Appleton denied Corey Deuel his second US Open title with a thrilling 15-13 victory in the finals.”

That victory, the first for a British citizen, catapulted Appleton onto the European team for the Mosconi Cup in London. Prior to the Mosconi Cup Appleton stopped off in Spain for another victory as he won the Eurotour Costa Blanca Open.

Then he wrapped his year in fine style by playing on the winning Mosconi Cup team and being declared the MVP of the event. Appleton’s record of 4 wins and one loss was the best of any Mosconi Cup player on either side and  some of his shots under pressure there were nothing short of amazing, including a table-length draw shot against Shane Van Boening in a match that he dominated 6-2 and that was the match that brought team Europe to the hill and dashed the hopes of the American side.

Appleton agreed that it was the end of year performance that made his year as great as it was. When told of being named the AZB POY he said: “To finish 2010 the way I did was a dream for me and the hard work over the summer paid off and to win awards like this over the whole world makes me feel really proud and honored. I am really excited for 2011 and hopefully I can win more titles, but to win Player of Year is an amazing feeling. Caps off an incredible year for me.”
By AzB Staff – 2011-01-05