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Obituary

Timmy Murphy

We have just receive the sad news that Irish International player Timmy Murphy has passed away. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends.

John Richmond

The EABA is deeply saddened to announce the death of Mr. John Richmond. He passed away on Sunday 17 May 2015 after a short illness at the age of 77 years.

John was a devoted supporter of the game of billiards. He played in his local league representing his club in Pateley Bridge where both he and his father before him had served numerous years as club officials. He really enjoyed watching billiards, especially the world class players of the modern era.

His involvement with the EABA goes almost back to its beginning. He served as secretary, he was a grade1 referee and also a well organised Tournament Director. He was a life member of our Association and a generous supporter, particularly towards the junior game.

John was liked by everyone. He had a lovely dry sense of humour often accompanied by a cheeky smile: a true gentle man without malice or aggression who will be sadly missed by us all.

The funeral service is at Stonewall Crematorium, Wetherby Road,

Harrogate on Friday 29 May at 13:40

John Smith

The EABA is deeply saddened to learn about the sudden passing away of John Smith.
John passed away at home peacefully but suddenly on Saturday 18th July 2015, shortly after his 72nd birthday.
He was a long standing member of the EABA and served a short spell on its committee. It is true to say that he was well liked by everybody in billiards being a kind, friendly and generous supporter of the game.
John owned the Pockets Snooker Club in Kidderminster as well as one in Worcester and visitors always received a friendly welcome. He also put a great deal back in to the game and organised and ran the Midlands Counties Billiards League for 22 years almost single handed. Such a contribution will be difficult to emulate.
In his prime John was a fine amateur billiards player who displayed an orthodox and uncomplicated game which led to numerous century breaks and international honours in the England Amateur Team.
He will be sadly missed by the billiards fraternity and the EABA sends its sympathy and kindest thoughts to his family and friends.
JOHN SMITH – 1943 to 2015
John’s funeral service will be held at  the Church of St. Martin, Holt, Worcester. WR6 6NJ on Wednesday 5 August at 2 pm.

ALF NOLAN              1927 to 2014

The EABA’s first President Mr Alf Nolan sadly passed away on 6th October after a long fight against cancer. Will there ever be a greater enthusiast of the 3-ball game? Alf was a fine player with an extensive knowledge of  billiards and the people who played it. A compulsive talker about billiards and just about everything else but also interesting and entertaining. Alf’s main profession was as a psychiatric nurse. It is easy to imagine Alf’s personality and outgoing nature being a vital ingredient in a demanding job.

Born in Newcastle he started playing the game as an eight year old and achieved his first century break at the age of thirteen. A Yorkshireman called Harry Plunkett was Alf’s first coach in the Newcastle area. On the  merit board of the club where they practised Harry had top place with a break of 385. In 1946 at the age of 19 Alf gained top spot with a break of 426.

Strangely Alf’s first national title was as the 1950 English Amateur Snooker Champion. In the final he defeated Gary Owen 6-5 after trailing 5-3. Owen was a top amateur who went on to become a leading professional. Billiards was always Alf’s priority but he had to wait until 1964 to gain the national title when he defeated Leslie Driffield in the final. In 1964 he played in the World Amateur Billiards Championship in New Zealand and in 1999 in the IBSF World Championship in Ireland at the age of 72. Over the years he must have travelled thousands of miles around the country by public transport to play billiards. Mention a railway station and Alf had been there on his playing travels and he could describe the place in detail.

 

Roll of Honour

English Amateur Champion  1964.   Runner-up 1955,1965 1966,1970,1972 and1974.

C&IU All England Champion  1953,1956,1967,1968,1969,1971 and 1989

Runner-up  1954,1966 1972,1983 1987 and 1991

 

Alf used to say: ‘but for the presence of the great Norman Dagley I would have won far more titles ‘.

Of the twelve years as runner-up above, seven were due to Norman’s supremacy.

In 1964 on his way to New Zealand he stopped off in Karachi to give an exhibition and was presented with a tray of silver serviette rings for making a break of 390. A few months ago these were auctioned on BBC’s ‘Flog It’. Alf doubled the amount raised and donated £160 to the EABA to be directed to the junior championships. It came as no surprise that he appeared totally at ease on television such was his demeanour and self-confidence.

Alf was a dedicated amateur and a proud President of the EABA. He was also a generous sponsor of the English Amateur and Grand Masters Billiards Championships in recent years.

 

He will be sadly missed but long remembered.

Mike Wright  (10 Shot)

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you of the passing of Mike Wright.

Mike as we all knew him to be 10 SHOT, actually played Peter Gilchrist in a competition when he got his 10 shot and recieved more Euro’s for the 10 shot than Peter did for winning the competition and used to rib Peter about it .

Mike was not only a fine Billiards player but also an accomplished Grade 1 Billiards Referee who was proud to have refereed not only a regular at  ABC’s but also at World Championship level.

Our thoughts are with his family.

I spoke to Theresa last night and she told me that he was fighting his way back to strong health and had just started to put a little weight back on up until last week when things started to go down hill a little.

I have spoken to many EABA members and have all asked me to send our condolences onto Theresa.

R.I.P. Mike a true EABA Gentleman.

From all your Billiard  Collegues

Tom

Tom Terry, who was a popular and ever-present figure on the English billiards circuit, died at his home in Brinsley, Nottingham, on 1st March 2004. He was 71 years of age and had been suffering from cancer of the colon for some time.

Never amongst the top flight of billiard players, he was nevertheless a useful performer, being a lifelong member of the Bulwell Church Institute, Nottingham, for whom he played as a team member in the local leagues. He also won the Nottingham Amateur Billiards Championship on several occasions and appeared in almost every tournament he was eligible to enter. Probably his best result on the national circuit was to reach the quarter-finals of the English Amateur Championship. He also managed to achieve the target of a double-century break, a rare feat for an amateur player.

He was part of the original group of enthusiasts which formed a committee to save the English Billiards Championship after the collapse of the B&SCC in 1992. This action resulted in the formation of the English Amateur Billiards Association the following year.

A lecturer at Nottingham University, he spent many years writing for Snooker Scene becoming known as the “voice of billiards” and in 1991 he founded his own magazine, The Billiards Quarterly Review, which was devoted to the game. Shortly afterwards, he became more involved in the administrative side when he took over the running of the Mini-Prix Pro-Am billiards tournaments. He was eventually forced by ill-health to reduce his commitment to billiards in 1995, when he also ceased publication of his magazine.

During the preceding twelve years he had attended most of the major billiards events to be held in England, and during that time, either covering for “Snooker Scene,” or for his own magazine, had also been present at every professional event.

MARSHALL, Robert (Bob) James Percival

A Legend in Amateur Billiards

Billiards legend Robert (Bob) Marshall, died in his home town of Perth, Western Australia, on Monday 23rd February 2004. He was 93 years of age.

Bob Marshall, seen here in action in 1951

Marshall first saw the light of day in 1910 in the small mining town of Kalgoorie, which had also been the birthplace of Walter Lindrum. Like Walter, he would become one of the most dominant billiard players of his time, albeit in the ranks of the amateur players. He once said “I have been asked many times to turn professional, but have no intention of doing so. I have two ambitions in connection with the game, one of which is to visit England, the other to make a thousand break in championship play.” Although his first ambition was achieved in 1951, the latter remained unfulfilled, although he is credited with a personal best break of 1,056 in practice.

Comparisons with that other great Australian player were made throughout his career. In 1964, Fred Davis observed: “most noticeable about his style is his compactness, so like Walter Lindrum, and the shortness of his back-swing, hardly more than a couple of inches.” While ten years earlier, Lindrum himself had declared that Marshall was one of the greatest amateur players he had ever seen.

Marshall’s first line of work was as a hairdresser, but he subsequently opened a dry-cleaning outlet which led him to success as a businessman. He later entered the world of politics, winning the West Australia State elections and becoming a member of parliament. Physical fitness was always of importance to Marshall. When preparing for vital matches he went to bed at 9.00pm, getting up in time for morning exercises which often included a four-mile run. This regime, and his abstinence from smoking and drinking, were undoubtedly factors in sustaining his standard of play over such an incredible period.

His career was highlighted by winning the World Amateur Billiards Championship on four occasions (1936, 1938, 1951 and 1962), which is more than any other player. He was additionally runner-up three times (1952, 1954 and 1985).

Playing his great rival, Tom Cleary, in the final of the Australian Amateur Billiards Championship in 1953 Marshall compiled a break of 702, which was the highest ever made by an amateur in a championship match. This remained a record until 1984 when it was eventually bettered by Subhash Agrawal’s 716.

Using top-of-the-table techniques for his break-building, all his records were made under the “two-pot” rule, and those which still remain to be beaten under this limitation include: the highest aggregate in two hours play (1,876), also four hours (3,391), and a two-hour session average of 118.7.

Marshall’s billiards career was not only interrupted by the war, when he spent over 4 years in the Royal Australian Air Force, but also his decisions to retire from the game on several occasions, the first time in 1963 and again in 1970. After his first retirement, Marshall made a comeback in 1969 for a series of exhibitions against the late Clark McConachy, and regained his Australian title the same year, defending it successfully in 1970 before calling it a day again. He was once more tempted to make a return in 1985 when, at the age of 75, he won the Australian Championship and just failed to secure another World title when finishing runner-up to Geet Sethi, the Championship that year being held in New Delhi. Speaking at a later function, Marshall raised a laugh as he wryly commented “When the field was declared, the Indians were looking forward to meeting my son.” His last retirement came after winning his 21st Australian Billiards Championship in 1986 – the first of these victories having come fifty years earlier!

Even though he is known essentially as a Billiards player, Marshall also contested four Australian amateur snooker finals, was champion in 1956 and had a personal best break of 139. Not a bad record in itself, but almost a footnote compared to his other achievements.

In 1960 Robert Marshall was made a “Life Member” of the Western Australian Billiards Association, in recognition of the services he has rendered to billiards both in Australia and overseas. Three years later he was named Western Australia’s Sportsman of the Year, and finally, in 1980, national recognition came his way with the award of the “Medal of the Order of Australia” (OAM).

Ken Shirley

1934-2006

 

Ken Shirley died aged 71 on 14th March 2006, while returning home from a family holiday in Italy.

Ken, a genial and outgoing man, was born just a few years before the war into a family where there had         been no particular sporting connections of any kind. Ken was thirteen before he saw a table – an age which is considered rather old to be just starting the game, and it was not until he was 21 that Ken made his first century break. But like his great friend and sparring partner, Herbert Beetham, a late start proved to be no barrier to billiards distinction, a distinction which earned him the title of English Amateur Billiards Champion in 1986.

Ken learned the basics of the game from watching better local players, a path trod by many other famous players of his era. This experience came to fruition after Ken’s National Service when he started taking the game more seriously. He became a regular century break player and eventually reached his peak with breaks of 248 in competition and 513 in practise. Ken’s occupation of policeman gave him little time for practise and possibly precluded him from greater heights and distinction in the game.

Sixteen times National Police Champion; six times National British Legion Champion and six West Midlands Championships were a measure of Ken’s success and his billiards prowess. It is, of course, the ‘English Amateur’ which is the height of any billiard player’s ambition, and Ken was to win the ‘English’ in 1986 after many great efforts which were not without some success. In the final of the 1979 championship Ken met the great Norman Dagley. Ken made a good start; in his own words “for about 30 minutes everything looked good. We had both made two centuries. I sat down after my second, a 169, which had put me about 80 in front. Three visits later I hadn’t scored again and was over 800 behind! Norman had put me firmly in my place”. For his success as runner-up in the 1979 championship, Ken had the honour of representing England in the World Amateur Championship in Sri Lanka in 1980. He finished third in his qualifying group behind Michael Ferreira and Mohammed Lafir, having played 7 and won 5, having scored a break of 195 and thirteen centuries he was far from disgraced.

In 1986 the format of ‘The English’ was changed to best of five 300 up. This suited Ken’ style of play and he achieved his hearts desire with a 3-1 win over Mike Russell. Russell was just a month short of his seventeenth birthday and the youngest ever English Amateur finalist. In Ken’s own words “In 1986 I reached my third final playing Mike Russell who was only seventeen years of age. The match was the best of five 300 up – the only way I was ever going to win it. Mike won the first game and early in the second he was in with a break of 90 when he suddenly stood up and declared a foul that no one else had seen. I am convinced that but for that, Mike would have been the youngest ever English Champion”.

A formidable player with a tremendous physical presence, I’m sure that Ken only had to enter the arena to frightened many of his opponents. An ungainly stance was no detriment to his remarkable cue-power and exquisite touch. A knowledgeable raconteur on all aspects of billiards, Ken’s style, his achievements, and his character will live on in the archives of English Billiards for many years.

Our condolences and sympathy go to his wife Rita and to his children Andrew, Richard, Victoria and Rachel at this very sad time.

 

Jock McGregor

1920-2006

John Henderson McGregor died in Swindon General Hospital on 16th February 2006 aged 85, after a very short illness. More affectionately known as ‘Jock’- but without any known Scottish connection – he was possibly the most well known and well liked character in English Billiards. Jock’s enthusiasm for billiards, his generous support of the sport and his vivid and astonishing historical knowledge of the game were unmatched by any standards.

Born at Brentford on 20th October 1920, a well educated man with a gentlemanly disposition, slightly eccentric but with a character as large as life, Jock was loved by all. Little is known of his early childhood, but we do know that Jock worked for a bank from leaving school to his retirement. He started playing billiards at 14 years. When introduced to Claud Falkiner, a family friend, Jock was told by the great man ‘that he might do well if he stuck at it’. He certainly did stick at it, and was still sticking at it almost up to the day that he died. Jock wasn’t the greatest billiards player the world has ever seen but, for enthusiasm, he was the top of the tree. A little bit of progress was for Jock like ‘finding nuggets of gold’. Since the start of the Amateur Billiards Circuit in 1991 there had been only two occasions when Jock missed tournaments; only hospital treatment had prevented him from turning out. Before the ABC events Jock was a regular entry in the ‘Mini Prix’ series, and he never missed an English event for which he was eligible.

Jock and I had at least three things in common. We were both in the RAF and served in Malta at the same station; we were both very fond of jazz, and we were both, of course, billiards buffs. When we had the time to relax and reminisce these three subjects usually engaged our conversation. Whereas my RAF service was in peacetime, Jock was in the thick of it, at the sharp end as they say. He served as a radar operator in Malta from 1942 to 1944, during the Malta siege and when the garrison was under heavy bombardment from axis air attacks. Incessant air-raids from the German and Italian aircraft raining their bombs on the scarcely defended islanders gave Jock plenty of work to do on his radar scanner. It was during Jock’s service in the Mediterranean that the island of Malta and its people were awarded the civilian Victoria Cross for their courage in withstanding a relentless enemy onslaught and for their sufferings from the privations of the siege. Jock had vivid and painful memories of the Maltese and their plight in those terrible times.

I was never sure which was Jock’s greatest love, his billiards or his jazz. In the 1950s and 60s Jock was a regular columnist in contemporary jazz magazines. An aficionado on the national and international jazz scene with a profound knowledge of jazz history, jazz musicians and those wonderful jazz vocalists, Jock was a mine of information, and very well known, and respected, for a tremendous knowledge of jazz. A trip to New Orleans and a wander down Basin Street held lasting memories for Jock and was one of the highlights of his life. Sharing a bottle of red one evening and discussing the life and times of ‘Billie Holliday’ brought a tear to Jock’s eye; ‘poor girl’ he said.

The generosity that Jock McGregor extended to English Billiards has been well chronicled, and is held in the highest regard by those responsible for organising and administrating the game in England. His support for the E.A.B.A has helped to give the Association its firm footing and its bright future. His popularity extended across the Irish Sea and condolences have been received from Davey Pogue, Secretary of the Northern Ireland Billiards Association and his many friends over the water. There were very many happy moments to savour on those International weekends. One of the funniest occasions was when a bunch of the boys were approaching the famous ‘Crown Bar’ in Belfast City, calling there for the traditional ‘Irish stew’ and a jar of the ‘black stuff,’ when who should walk down the street but Jock McGregor, looking as pleased as punch, on the arm of a very smart, very attractive and apparently well-to-do lady. The boys stood there gaping and gob-smacked, in stunned silence, as Jock and his lady acquaintance sailed by completely oblivious of the inquisitive onlookers. Later the same evening when Jock was ‘politely’ reminded about this very swift and apparently friendly relationship, he had to think for a moment. ‘Oh yes? Oh yes!’ he said. ‘A very nice lady! A lovely lady! She was showing me the way to the railway station ‘.

The style is ‘The man himself’. Jock was a gentle man, a caring man, he enjoyed his life, he loved company, he had an eye for a pretty girl, and he loved his game of billiards; what more could a friend ask for? Thanks for the memories Jock.

Thanks go to Martin and Nicola Goodwill for their care and consideration at the time of Jock’s sudden demise and to the staff of the A. & E. Unit at Swindon General Hospital for their care during Jock’s short illness.

The funeral service, which will conducted by the Rev. Mark Powell, has been arranged to take place at St. Barnabas Church, Pitshanger Lane, Ealing, W5 1QG on Friday 17th March at 1.00 p.m. should friends need any further information please contact Derick Townend on 01423 563469.

The Red the White and the Spot

In clubs and in halls
The sound of those balls,
Is joy beyond compare.
The scent of a whiff,
No hint of a tiff
If there’s one place to be, it’s there.

A rub of the chalk
And we talk, and we talk,
Of Lindrum & Russell & Co.
The green baize and leather,
We’re all in together,
There’s nowhere else to go.

When the game is no more
And we add up the score,
Of the loser, the cannon, and pot.
We thank our good maker,
The almighty laiker
For the Red, the White, and the Spot.

Derick Townend

James Mackenzie Williamson

(1929-2009)
A great beneficiary to the games of billiards & snooker
Jim Williamson died on 7th October 2009, aged 80 years after a long illness. It was with great pride that he was able to present the World Professional Billiards Championship winner’s trophy to Pankaj Advani the 23-year-old billiards wizard from Bangalore, India. For Jim It had been a lifetime ambition to stage the championship at the Northern Snooker Centre. His wish came true after he successfully struck a three year deal with the World Billiards Association to stage the billiards showpiece event of the year. It must have given Jim great satisfaction to know that the players and everyone involved in those championships over the past three years enjoyed immensely the playing conditions, the service, and the great atmosphere of tradition and interest at the Northern. The last time I spoke to Jim he said simply that he was pleased that the championship had gone so well and that the winner was a credit to the game.

Jim Williamson was a patron of English Billiards for many years. He travelled many miles in support of the game and rubbed shoulders with the best. His love of the game and his interest never waned, right up to the end he was full of enthusiasm for the success of the tournaments and was keen to ensure that everyone enjoyed their time at the Northern.

Jim was the head of a very loyal and mutually supportive family. We extend our sympathies to Jim’s family in their grief at this time. Jim was a keen businessman whose ambition was to give his customers good service and the best playing conditions he could provide. He was very successful in his goals and we the billiards and snooker playing fraternity thank him for his efforts.