English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : Summer 2002

The Amateur Billiard Player : Summer 2002



Australian Open Championship

Joe Minici has won the 2002 Australian Open
Billiards Championship, defeating Frank
Humphreys 1566-1269 in the six-hour final held at
the Super 8 Entertainment Centre in Brisbane on 30
June. This is the second title for Joe, who first won
the event in 1998.

Minici came back from a shaky start to the week,
winning just one out of his first five matches in the
round robin section. His final group match against
Mark Hammer became a sudden death knockout,
with Joe needing to win to create a three way tie
with Hammer and Mac Rynkiewicz, and also needing
a margin of at least 28 points to go through on points
differential. Joe won the match by 129 to secure a
place in the quarter finals.

Matthew Bolton was the only undefeated player
throughout the round robin section, and looked to be
a certainty to take out his third successive title until
the final 10 minutes of his quarter final encounter
against Frank Humphreys. Bolton led by 200 points
at the end of the first session, but suffered from a
touch of complacency which allowed Humphreys
to claw back with some solid open game play.
Humphreys hit the lead with five minutes remaining
and held the table with a break of 114, leaving Bolton
with no time to come back. Humphreys won the
match 774-702.

Young Victorian Tim Walters showed a big
improvement in his top-table play from last year,
and made his mark as one of the elite players in
Australian billiards with two double-century breaks
and seven centuries throughout the tournament,
including a 242 in his quarter final match against
David Collins.

Six time former champion Phil Tarrant made a return
to the championship for the first time since 1993,
but failed to make a big impression, losing in the
quarter final to Ian Gilbee 648-638. Tarrant struggled
with a flu bug which made its way around the room
throughout the week, and seemed to have difficulty
maintaining consistency throughout the two hour

The highest break for the tournament was 591 by
Matthew Bolton, which is only the second 500+
break scored in Australian championship play since
1961. The other one was his 649 in last year’s final.
Coincidentally, both were scored on the same table
and with the same referee, Joe Saliba. Breaks of this
calibre cement Bolton as Australia’s number one
player, but a break of 633 by Danik Lucas in the
Queensland state championships last year suggest
that there may be a challenger to the crown.
Unfortunately, work commitments kept Lucas out
of the tournament.

Minici took an early lead in the final and managed to
maintain it throughout the match. At the end of the
first session he led by 250, and the result looked to
be a formality with Humphreys struggling to find
form. Minici extended the lead in the second session,
but Humphreys fought back towards the end to trail
by less than 200. Humphreys continued his run into
the third session with a break of 163, and when he
narrowed the gap to just 76 it looked as though yet another upset win
was on the cards. Minici managed a break of exactly 100 to regain his
buffer, and with 20 minutes remaining and a lead of 200 the title was
within his grasp. Minici sealed the win with a break of 154 at his final
visit to the table.

Quarter Finals
(3 hours)
Frank Humphreys
774 Matthew Bolton
Tim Walters
1035 David Collins
Ian Gilbee
648 Phil Tarrant
Joe Minici
908 Neil Croft
Semi Finals
(4 hours)
Frank Humphreys
998 Tim Walters
Joe Minici
1336 Ian Gilbee
(6 hours)
Joe Minici
1566 (19.6)Frank Humphreys
1269 (15.9)

Australian National Championship

The Australian National Billiards Championship over
the 50-up format was held concurrently with the
Open tournament. Joe Minici scored the double,
becoming the first player to win the timed format
and 50-up titles in the same year, again defeating
Frank Humphreys in the final.

Humphreys took the early advantage in the best of
15 game final, taking a lead of 5-2. Minici asked for a
break in play and took the chance for a cup of coffee,
which turned out to be exactly what he needed.
Humphreys still held on and led 7-4, needing just one
more game for victory, but Minici fought tooth and
nail to win the next four games to win 8-7.

Minici’s snooker ability turned out to be the deciding
factor in the match, with pot-red sequences winning
at least four games. The 50-up format remains a
contentious issue because of this fact, and there was
some discussion throughout the week on how to adjust
the rules to prevent the prevalent negative play. Some
of the suggestions were: potting the opponent’s ball
is a foul; the baulk line rule does not apply; consecutive
hazards limited to 5. However, a common opinion
was that if we need to change the rules to make 50-up
more interesting, then why should we play it at all?

NSW Open Championship

The New South Wales Open Billiards Championship
was held on 8-10 June at Shellharbour Workers Club
and was won by Phil Tarrant, returning to
championship play after a nine year absence. Tarrant
defeated Phillip Miller 1104-587 in the three and a
half hour final.

The match of the tournament was the semi-final
between Phil Tarrant and Joe Minici. Minici lead for
most of the match, but Tarrant struck back in the
final stages with breaks of 160 and 76 to snatch the
win by just 15 points, 513-498. Tarrant’s break of
160 was the highest for the tournament.

Quarter Finals
(1½ hrs)

Phillip Miller

335 Vic
  Sacco 325
Todd Hayward
334 Adrian Hinks
Phil Tarrant
529 Joe Millen
Joe Minici
567 Darren Martin
Semi Finals
(2 hrs)
Phillip Miller
497 Todd Hayward
Phil Tarrant
513 Joe Minici
(3½ hrs)
Phil Tarrant
1104 Phillip Miller

Tarrant’s absence from championship play was due
to a suspension after the Australian Billiards
Championship in 1993. This was triggered when
Tarrant walked out of the Hornsby RSL Club and
made an outburst in front of TV cameras after he was
not allowed to practice on the match table
immediately before the semi-final. Tarrant was banned
for one year and fined $200 for his comments against
the association. After nine years and countless letters,
Tarrant was re-admitted to competitive play on the
basis that he paid $100 of the outstanding fine.

Reports and photos: Adam Wyard

West Australian Championship

Matthew Bolton had a resounding victory in the West
Australian State Billiards Championship, defeating
Frank Humphreys 2515-1118 in the 6 hour final.
Bolton’s breaks in this match were 391, 281, 243,
233, 225, 180, 156, 117 and 100. The breaks of 225
and 233 were made in consecutive visits to the table,
and the 100 was made two visits later, making a total
of 558 in 4 visits. He also scored 1069 in the final two hour session of
the match, for a session average of 62.9 and an overall average of 34.0.
The semi-finals saw one of the closest games in the tournament between
Frank Humphreys and Neil Bolton, which finished at 707-682 after
three hours. Towards the end of the first session Humphreys led by
178, but Neil hit back strongly at the start of the second period to take
a 78 point advantage. The game remained in the balance to the end, but
Humphreys with a late 42, did just enough as the clock ran out for Neil,
in play with 20, but still 25 points behind.

In the other semi-final Matthew Bolton defeated Bryan Wright 1605(av
26.3)-511(av 8.4) making breaks of 211, 185, 128, 111. Wright was an
unexpected semi-finalist. In the previous round he was nearly 200
points behind with 15 seconds remaining when his opponent, Barry
Saxton (the No.4 seed) conceded the match. Apparently Saxton was
unable to make the scheduled date for the semi.

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