Wayne Carey and Paul Stocker renewed their rivalry at the top of New
Zealand Billiards when the first open ranking tournament of the 2003
New Zealand season was held on 8th and 9th March. The North
Harbour Open was held at Snooker World, Auckland, and attracted a
field of 13. Unfortunately this was reduced to 11 when Kevin Crighton
fell off his motorbike beforehand and damaged a knee, and Darcy Boyce
rang from hospital to say that he was just about to have a by-pass
The 11 survivors were divided into 2 sections, one of 5 and one of 6 and
due to the large number of games required, play was over 1½ hours
instead of the 2 hours normal in New Zealand ranking tournaments.
Carey and Stocker were drawn in the same section, and their’s was the
feature match of section play. Stocker prevailed on this occasion 387
(81, 93) to 294 (70, 54).
In other section game results, Ron Milicich (the heroic fire-fighting
legend who missed the 2002 IBSF World Billiards Championships in
Sydney due to smoke inhalation) had a narrow 1 point victory over
Merv Stewart 276-275, and Ray Habgood had a narrow 2 point victory
over Dave Weir 226-224. The best breaks of the tournament were
Wayne Carey 101, 76, 70; Paul Stocker 93, 82, 81; Malcolm Cooke 80,
Ron Milicich 76, Grant Hayward 70.
The second New Zealand Open Ranking tournament of the year was
the Snooker World Open held at Snooker World, Auckland on 22nd and
23rd March. There was a field of 15 for the event, divided into 3
sections of 5. All matches were 1½ hours and the top 8 players qualified
for post-section play. The highest score in section play was recorded
by Malcolm Cooke who scored 547 points in his match against Peter
Hammington. Top qualifier was New Zealand No.1 Wayne Carey,
who won all four matches in his section. Carey was also expected to
feature prominently in post section play, but was surprisingly beaten
by Grant Hayward in the quarter finals. Carey has just taken delivery
of a new cue from England, and may take some time to rediscover his
Grant Hayward bt Wayne Carey 300-190; Merv Stewart bt
Malcolm Cooke 426-271; Tony Stephens bt Joe Ifa 294-290; Ron Milicich bt John Montgomery
Stewart bt Hayward 326-284; Stephens bt Milicich 354-281.
Stephens bt Stewart 376 – 308.