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Take a first look around Bears Pool & Snooker in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 19:44 29 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:38 30 July 2017

Jodie Wells and Kerry Murphy with managers Lisa Rozier and Jason Deverell at the new Bears Pool & Snooker club in Ipswich. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Jodie Wells and Kerry Murphy with managers Lisa Rozier and Jason Deverell at the new Bears Pool & Snooker club in Ipswich. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

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The owner of a new pool and darts bar which has opened in Ipswich has said he hopes to revive a passion for the games in the town by providing a much-needed space for development.

Mark Selby attended the opening of Bears Pool & Snooker in Ipswich. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDMark Selby attended the opening of Bears Pool & Snooker in Ipswich. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Robbie Williams, who used to run the Drum & Monkey pub and the Premier Pool Club, both in Ipswich, has taken over the former Bears Bowling site in Star Lane and transformed it into Bears Pool & Snooker.

On Friday the reigning world and UK snooker champion Mark Selby – whose wife Vikki is a former Holywells High School pupil and ex-professional pool player – was among the guests celebrating the grand opening.

Downstairs the venue boasts three nine-ball pool tables, seven eight-ball pool tables and four dartboards. Upstairs is still in construction, but is due to be complete in four to six weeks and will feature three snooker tables.

Mr Williams said: “We completely gutted the place and refurbished it within three weeks and I’m absolutely delighted with how it’s turned out and how the place looks.

“The response I have had so far is very impressive. We hope to introduce some new dart and pool teams and start to do coaching as soon as possible for juniors.”

The plan is to hold training days on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm for youngsters to get lessons from top players.

Robbie Williams outside Bears. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRobbie Williams outside Bears. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Williams said he hoped to the ‘fill the void’ left by the closures of Riley’s Sports Bar and his own Drum & Monkey pub, which both had pool facilities.

There are very few pubs in Ipswich which have a pool table.

One of the first customers through the doors of Bears Pool & Snooker was Stephen Ellis, from Ipswich.

Bears Pool & Snooker in Ipswich. Picture: NIGEL BROWNBears Pool & Snooker in Ipswich. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Mr Ellis was a regular at the Drum & Monkey and he said he was “heartbroken” when it shut in May last year.

He added: “It was the end of the pool playing community in Ipswich. At the Drum & Monkey everyone knew each other, it was the social place to go but we hope this will become that now.

“The Ipswich pool league were up to quite a high level – they have won national titles. Hopefully now we can get back to training youths and the young ones and we will have a future generation of players.”

Jason Deverell, who will manage the bar along with Lisa Rozier, said: “We hope to see a lot of the same faces and new faces too.”

Ms Rozier, who used to work at the Drum & Monkey, added: “Robbie has a lot of followers - he is well-known for nice tables.”

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