CHRIS Melling is in the money after winning the Vinny Champions League Pool tournament on Monday night, and to be the best, he had to beat the best.

The Keighley potter scooped £10,000 after beating six-time World Champion Mick Hill in the final, though he only got there by winning a nail-biting semi-final shootout against Aaron Davies.

Toasting his victory, Melling told the Keighley News: "Mick and I go back more than 20 years, and I think he's the best pool player that's ever lived.

"If you're going to win a tournament, you want to play the best. But I know if I bring my A-game, I'm as good as anyone.

"I hardly made a mistake and basically took all my chances against Mick. I broke six times in the final and cleared up off five of those."

But "The Magician" needed to summon up something special to get to that stage.

Walking us through his semi-final against Davies, he said: "I won the first set quite easily but in the second, I had an unlucky bounce out on the third to last ball, which meant it went to a shootout.

"But I knew if I could win one of the two sets in any game on finals night, I'd have a good chance, as I'm faster than the other three that were there.

"The shootout was six reds racked up in a 3-2-1 position, and the clock started when you struck the cue ball and finished when you potted the last red."

Asked if he was surprised to win the tournament, Melling said: "I've not played a great deal recently, and had mainly been practising American and Chinese pool, rather than English pool.

"I'd been to Spain before lockdown and won four events in two years, so I knew I could compete, but I didn't know whether I could show consistency.

"But this Champions League event was short and played at a fast pace, which suited me.

"I'm normally a quick player and quite hard to peg back once I get in front. I get compared to Ronnie O'Sullivan in that regard, and people do call me the Ronnie of pool."

Melling's next big tournament is on the horizon, with Predator Championship League Pool getting underway from March 22.

The Keighley star might be in line for some extra money from that one, after a late change to the line-up.

He explained: "I was put in Group Three initially, but a couple of people dropped out due to sponsor issues, so now I'm in Group One.

"That has seven players in, and if you come in the top three, you'll get money. I think it's about $2,000 for coming third.

"The winner of Group One goes straight into a finals day group on March 29, bottom spot goes out of the tournament altogether.

"The other five get joined by another two players in the next group and that format repeats until finals night.

"Essentially, in a week-long tournament, I think you can earn up to about $20,000."