CHRIS Melling ended the season like he started it, with a stunning tournament victory.

The Keighley potter won Sunday’s Ultimate Pool Champion of Champions Shootout at a canter, dropping just five frames in four games en route to victory.

It bookended his campaign nicely, with him having won the first Ultimate Pool event of the season too, the Champions League back in March.

Sunday’s event brought together the winners and best performing players from this year’s Professional and Challenger Series and Melling belied his wildcard status to romp home, sealing the title with a 5-1 victory over outsider Chris Day in the final.

The Keighley star said: “I played unbelievably from ball one.

“I had a bounce out on my first visit in the first frame of my first game, and that can play tricks on your mind, but I adjusted well.

“I didn’t actually feel that great in myself, and I felt tentative with my shots, but the balls all seemed to be going in.”

Melling has spoken in the past about how he enjoys quick play, so the format at the Champion of Champions event suited him down to the ground, with best-of-nine frames matches and a 25-minute match-clock.

He needed less than 100 minutes of action to win the event, and he said: “I’m a very quick player, so when the shot clock is only at 15 seconds, I feel I’m at an advantage, as I can see patterns quickly.

“Some players like to have a good 30 seconds, so when they don’t get that, I just feel like it very much puts me at an advantage.”

Melling obliterated one of 2021’s standout players, Shane Thompson, 5-2 in the semi-final of the Champion of Champions event, and he said: “I would say that was my best win of the four.

“But I’ve had a good year myself, getting to a couple of semis and a couple of finals.

“I won that first event of the year, then generally played well without getting any more victories, so to come out on top in the last one, against the best of the best, I’m delighted.”

Melling pocketed £5,000 for the win, and he’ll be in line for even more money if he retains his crown next year.

He explained: “The event was only added to the calendar about halfway through the season, so any winnings were always going to be a bonus.

“Next year is due to be a £15,000 winning prize, which is more like what you’d normally get for a tournament victory.”

Melling has been a delivery driver for Keighley printing company Raiseprint since January, and he says he is hugely thankful to them for offering him that opportunity and allowing him to take time off for tournaments.

But he admitted he is likely to return to pool full-time for 2022.

He still has to get his cue out a couple more times in 2021 first though, as he explained: “I’ve got an exhibition event this Sunday in Kendal, which will help raise money for a homeless charity.

“Then there’s an event that’s being televised on BT Sport from December 27-30.

“That’s called the Ultimate Pool Professional Cup, but because I’m seeded, I won’t be playing until the penultimate day.”