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Billiard Records : 2001 CIU Individual

2001 INDIVIDUAL BILLIARDS CHAMPIONSHIP

Preliminary Round

Four of the players who had been scheduled for action in the preliminary round of the CIU National Billiards Championship, were favoured with walk- overs as their opponents conceded their games. Of those matches which were played, the 1999 Champion, Tony Mackinder, set the high-break target with a run of 183. Adding another of 58, it was not surprising that he defeated his opponent, John Hartley, by a sizable margin.

Another good Northern Area match saw newcomer Richard Beckham put out last year’s finalist, Geoff Charville. Early breaks of 63, 51 and 50 by Beckham gave him a lead of almost 200 points, and despite Charville replying with runs of 85 and 62, he held his advantage to the end, winning 500-390.

Veteran player, Alf Nolan, showed that he can still play a bit, producing a break of 80 in his tie against Tony James. However, this proved to be insufficient as the greater consistency of James saw him win by 118 points.

Lee Lagan had two century breaks in a comfortable win against Steve Best, while both Darren Kell and Neal Rewhorn came close to the century mark with runs of 94 and 93 respectively. Both of these players also going through without undue concern.

F.H. Page
(Swanley Junction)
scr. Jack Hedley
(Maidenhead Ivy Leaf)
w/o
Ivan Stevenage
(Nat. Ass. of Railway R&S)
w/o B. Hall
(Swanley Junction)
scr.
Maurice Chapman
(Selly Oak Inst.)
w/o A. Mellor
(Crewe Pioneer Anglers)
scr.
M. Faddes
(Crewe Pioneer Anglers)
220 Neal Rewhorn
(Unicorn Social)
93, 75
500
P. Johnson
(Monks Road WMC)
500 G. Hope
(Crewe Pioneer Anglers)
217
I. Arrowsmith
(Crewe Pioneer Anglers)
182 Peter Shelley
(Ball Green WMC)
500
John Ingleby
(Bradley & Colne Bridge)
500 M. Downing
(Crewe Pioneer Ang.)
310
Derick Townend
(Oatlands Mount WMC)
w/o P. Pearce
(Main Line SC – Leeds)
scr.
Darren Kell
(Acklam Garden City Social)
94, 78, 53
500 Jack Sinclair
(Northern Social)
156
Richard Beckham
(Redcar WMC)
63, 52, 51
500 Geoff Charville
(Acklam Garden City Social)
85, 62
390
John Hartley
(Acklam Steelworks)
242 Tony Mackinder
(North Ormesby Inst.)
183, 58
500
Lee Lagan
(North Ormesby Inst.)
114, 84, 116 unf
500 Steve Best
(Billingham Social)
193
Tony James
(Throckley Union Jack)
500 Alf Nolan
(Western Social)
80
382

Byes

P. Davis (Chippenham West End Club), M. A. Lowndes (Crewe Pioneer Anglers Club), A. Fry (Mudeford & Dist. Mens Club)
First Round

The first round of the competition saw the defeat of reigning champion Darren Kell at the hands of Tony James who accomplished the feat on Kell’s home table in Middlesbrough. The early part of the game appeared to be going the way of the champion as a break of 61 helped him to a 78 point advantage. However, after this, James was the more consistent and he gradually drew well ahead. Despite a late rally by Kell, James held on to win by 45 points, recording an average of 13.9. Such giant-killing acts are not new to James who also put an end to Tony Mackinder’s reign when he was defending champion last year.

Newcomer to the event, Richard Beckham, had put up an excellent performance to dispose Geoff Charville in the previous round, but found Lee Lagan just too much to overcome. He certainly had plenty of chances and was 160 points in front at one stage in the match. Lagan, however, came back strongly to finish with two 80+ breaks and progress to the quarter-finals.

Tony Mackinder’s campaign this season continued with an impressive home win over Derick Townend in a one-sided match, while Peter Shelley, despite breaks of 71, 58 and 53, struggled to overcome Maurice Chapman by just 50 points. Top break of the round came from Jack Hedley with 105 as he experienced little trouble getting past Ivan Stevenage 500-139.

Jack Hedley
(Maidenhead Ivy Leaf)
105, 79, 59
500 Ivan Stevenage
(Nat. Ass. of Railway R&S)
139
Phil Davis
(Chippenham West End Club)
500 A. Fry
(Mudeford & District)
386
Neal Rewhorn
(Unicorn Social)
w/o M. A.
(Crewe Pioneer Anglers Club)
Peter Shelley
(Ball Green WMC)
71, 58, 53
500 Maurice Chapman
(Selly Oak Inst.)
450
Phil Johnson
(Monks Road WMC)
500 John Ingleby
(Bradley & Colne Bridge)
371
Darren Kell
(Acklam Garden City Social)
61
455 Tony James
(Throckley Union Jack)
91, 64, 55
500
Tony Mackinder
(North Ormesby Inst.)
62, 61, 50 67unf
500 Derick Townend
(Oatlands Mount WMC)
82
Richard Beckham
(Redcar WMC)
398 Lee Lagan
(North Ormesby Inst.)
500
Quarter-finals

The quarter-finals saw Lee Lagan at his best, giving Phil Johnson no chance as he ran in breaks of 91, 110, 85 and 112 unfinished to complete a 500-95 victory. His match average of 41.7 was a nostalgic reminder of the days when Norman Dagley was sweeping all before him. Even so, Lagan was not entirely happy with his home venue. “I am not confident on this table—it rolls off too much” he said after the match, making us wonder how he would have performed on a table he liked!

Tony James put up another great performance to eliminate Tony Mackinder for the second year in a row. The match did contain some controversy however. At one stage in the game, Mackinder was fouled for playing with the wrong ball, which had been passed to him in error by the referee. This unfortunate incident provided what his supporters felt was a turning point in the match as James went on to clinch a 53 point victory.

In the other matches, Peter Shelley managed to overcome a strong challenge from Neal Rewhorn 500-425, while Jack Hedley had a more comfortable 500-368 win over Phil Davis.

Jack Hedley 500 P. Davis
52
368
Peter Shelley
83, 71, 50
500 Neal Rewhorn
89
425
Lee Lagan
110, 91, 85 112unf
500 Phil Johnson 95
Tony James
77, 65, 52
500 Tony Mackinder
67, 66, 54
447
Semi-finals

CIU semi-finalists Tony James and Lee Lagan pose with match referee Vera Selby.

Tony James looked as though he was set to continue his “giant-killing” run as he led Lee Lagan by 119 points at the interval of their three-hour semi-final match at the Witton Gilbert WMC in Durham. Staged in the Club’s games room, both players had to contend with the noise of no less than two televisions operating simultaneously in the adjoining bar area—one of these broadcasting the English International football match, the other horse racing—and both with a more enthusiastic and vocal audience than the billiards! Lagan, who had won the English Amateur title the previous week-end, looked sadly out of touch averaging just 8.3 over the first half of the match. However, picking up a break of 14 unfinished after the interval, he took this to 53 and was suddenly transformed. After 20 minutes he had added runs of 70 and 68 to convert his opening deficit into a lead of 63. Consecutive breaks of 93 and 55 followed soon afterwards and with James struggling to regain his scoring touch, completed a 376 point victory with additional runs of 53, 137 and 53. In the second 90 minute session Lagan had scored almost 700 points with an average of 30.

In complete contrast to the other semi-final, Peter Shelley and Jack Hedley arrived at the Walsgrave Club in Coventry to find a billiard table specially erected for the occasion in the Concert Room, providing an ideal setting for a National Billiards competition. Unfortunately the game did not manage to do justice to the conditions as both players found difficulty in producing their best form. The highlights of the early play were breaks of 54 and 96 by Shelley which gave him a lead of over 100 at one stage, but Hedley fought back and with an unfinished break of 68 had recovered to be 38 points in front at the interval. However, he could only increase this by two points on the resumption and the game remained close for much of the second session. Then Shelley, with a burst of two visits producing 89 and 48, took a decisive advantage of 123 which he held to the end of the match, concluding with an unfinished run of 61 to increase his winning margin to 211.

Lee Lagan
137, 93, 70, 68, 55, 53, 53, 53, 52
960 (17.1) Tony James
62
592 (10.6)
Peter Shelley
96, 89, 54, 61unf
886 (15.1) Jack Hedley
70, 62, 50
674 (11.3)

– Final –

Oatlands Mount SC, Harrogate (28th April 2001)

There was a good turn-out of some sixty people to watch the conclusion of the CIU National Championships at the Oatland Mount Club in Harrogate, and they were rewarded by a pulsating match between two of the England’s best amateur exponents. Strangely, despite their status in the game, neither player had won this event before, Peter Shelley having reached the final at his first attempt in 1990 and again in 1993, while Lagan was runner-up in 1999. With both players laying claim to personal best breaks in excess of 500, a good match was anticipated and this was certainly delivered.

Lagan started so well that he threatened to run away with the game. Early breaks of 57 and 100 opened up a sizable lead and with Shelley struggling to put two shots together, he established an advantage of almost 400 points after an hour’s play, helped by additional contributions of 68 and 144. Shelley’s initial poor showing may have been due to being delayed by traffic on his journey from Stoke which caused him to arrive at the club just minutes before the scheduled start, barely leaving time to change into formal dress before being called into action. However, when Shelley did manage to find his touch, he closed on Lagan with impressive speed. Starting with a break of 76 he added runs of 62, 80 and 118 unfinished in quick succession, the latter taking him into the mid-match interval with his deficit reduced to just 56 points. During this 30 minute spell he had added 357 points against just 17 by Lagan!

Lee Lagan receives the winners trophy from CIU representative Colin Wright.

Resuming after the interval, Shelley took his unfinished break to 139 which ended in a miscue when still in good position at top of the table. Lagan took advantage of the good leave to make 71 and following immediately with a 57 seemed to be back in control of the match. Shelley, however, had other ideas, and with his next three visits producing breaks of 92, 58 and 67, he swept into the lead for the first time. Two more useful contributions of 47 and 48 extended his advantage to 128 points with 40 minutes of the match remaining. Now facing the very realistic possibility of defeat, Lagan put together his highest break of the match—176—made almost entirely at the top of the table. He broke down at a long loser from hand when in sight of the competition high break of 183 which had been set by Tony Mackinder in the first round. Nevertheless, this magnificent effort had put him right back in the match with a narrow advantage of 48 points. This was immediately cancelled out by Shelley with a break of exactly that amount and with 15 minutes remaining there was nothing to choose between the two players. A period of tactical safety was ended by Lagan who succeeded with a difficult cushion cannon and held the table to make a determined all-round break of 101 without ever managing to secure his favoured top-of-the- table position. With just 4 minutes of the match remaining, he terminated the break with a pot white and double-baulk leaving Shelley neither the time nor opportunity to recover, finishing the winner of an exciting match by 962-886. Lagan thereby achieved the “double” of winning both major Championships this year and Teesside continued its stranglehold on the CIU competition with the trophy returning to the area for tenth time in the last eleven years. The closing ceremony was conducted by Colin Wright on behalf of the CIU, presenting Lagan with a cheque for £500 and Shelley one for £300. Tony Mackinder’s break of 183 earned him the high break prize of £100. The match referee was Colin Pattimore who also had a successful day, turning in a faultless performance.

Result
Lee Lagan and Peter Shelley pose with match referee Colin Pattimore.
Lee Lagan
176, 144, 110, 101, 71, 68, 57, 57
962 (24.7) Peter Shelley
139, 92, 80, 76, 67, 62, 58, 48, 48, 47
886 (23.3)

Notes from Harrogate …

¨ Shortly after the start of the match, play was halted for several minutes while Lee Lagan searched for his chalk pouch which had mysteriously disappeared from his belt. Assisted by the referee the area around and under the table was thoroughly searched without success. The offending item was eventually found lodged in the netting of the centre pocket where it must have fallen when Lagan was stretching over the table on a previous shot. It had to be delicately extracted to avoid contact with the yellow ball which was hanging on the brink of that pocket.

¨ Lagan, who is an owner of racing greyhounds and a keen follower of this sport, is now being sponsored in his billiards career by Joe Atkinson who runs Easington Greyhound Stadium. Joe will be helping Lee with his travelling expenses, which for a player looking to compete in all the National events, can become quite a sizable outlay.

¨ There were plenty of kicks and “dull” contacts from the Aramith match balls affecting both players. Lagan in particular kept the referee busy with frequent requests for ball cleaning.