The 2011 CU Masters took place on the 29th May at the Cambridge Snooker Centre. Coming at the end of a long and arduous season, the consequences were there for all to see as injuries and suspensions ruled out a number of top players. Nevertheless, the ten hardy souls who made it ensured that what was lacking in quantity was made up for in quality.
Due to the reduced numbers, a change of format was introduced, whereby each player was drawn into one of two groups, before going on to play five frames against every other member of their group. The top two in each group progressed to the semi-finals, the rest to the plate.
The small number of high-quality entrants ensured that every match held some interest (perhaps something for the organisers of the Champions League to look at?). Eventually, Hugh Lund came top of Group A by beating every other member of his group, with Paul Bradwell achieving a similar feat in Group B. The runners-up spots went to James Palmer in Group A (thanks to a scrappy 3-2 victory over the somewhat-unfortunate Tom Sutton) and rather more comfortably to Drew Miley in Group B.
The semi-finals proved somewhat predictable, with both group winners progressing on to final. In the first semi, Hugh Lund (by now at his optimum blood-alcohol level) overcame a disconsolate Drew Miley in a match filled with attacking pool, with both players playing aggressively and with no little flair. If the Brazilians actually player pool, it would no doubt be referred to as having been played 'the Brazilian way'. The other semi saw Paul Bradwell overcome the redoubtable ex-snooker amateur James Palmer 6-4, to take him into his first CUPC final.
The final was to prove something of a thriller, with the underdog Paul Bradwell triumphing despite being 4-1 down after 5 frames. This was not only his first CUPC trophy, but his first in any form of pool, and he was understandably elated. Interviewed after the match, he described winning as 'better than chocolate'.
The plate saw those players who failed to make it into the semi-finals compete for the chance of some minor silverware. The winner was Tom Sutton, who cruised to victory without losing a frame.