The Dream Team of Gareth Potts & Mark Selby returned to the Ultimate Pool Pairs Cup arena and did not disappoint as they won Group 9 of the unique doubles competition to qualify for the last 16 phase later this year.
The brothers-in-law combination – which has nine world titles between them – triumphed in all three of their matches at a buzzing Players Pool & Snooker Lounge venue, dropping just two frames in the process.
Following Ian Ali & Oussama Al-Masskini's 4-1 win over Hiten Patel & Steve Singh in the opening match, Potts & Selby entered the fray, but were made to work hard after losing the first frame and ousting Alex Bailey & Lee Grout 2-1 to collect maximum points.
Ultimate Pool professional Patel & current Seniors World Masters Champion Singh kept their hopes alive with a 2-1 triumph in match three against former England International Bailey & multiple Staffordshire county event winner Grout; a result that eliminated the latter.
Next up was a pivotal meeting between the opening session winners, and there was drama in the first frame as Selby unexpectedly missed an 8-ball down a side cushion. However, they were not punished, as Ali missed his first shot to gift them the lead.
The group favourites then went up a level and showed their pedigree as Selby produced a classy reverse clearance in frame two which was backed up by a break clearance from Potts in the third. They then chalked up the fourth for a 4-0 victory to take control of the group.
Former Premier League winner Ali and former Moroccan champion Al-Masskini stayed out in the arena and needed to pick up another win to stay in contention. They fell two frames down to Bailey & Grout but conjured up a brilliant 3-2 comeback victory to go joint top of the table on four points.
Heading into the final fixture of the evening, it was a bit of déjà vu for Potts & Selby who were in this exact same position last year. On that occasion, they lost their last match, forcing them to later come through a memorable three-way 6-red shootout - the first in history.
This time, though, there was to be no such frolics, as they registered a 4-1 success which included a scotch doubles reverse clearance in the first frame and a superb break clearance from Selby in the second.