English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : May 1999

The Amateur Billiard Player : May 1999
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National Individual Billiards

The CIU National Billiards
Championships reached
its conclusion on Saturday
17th April at Middlesbrough
and resulted in a victory for
Tony McKinder, who defeated
newly crowned English
Champion Lee Lagan.

In the earlier rounds, Lee
Lagan had eliminated Paul
Bennett, a result which would
not have come as too much of
a surprise to the Teesside fans,
although the comprehensive
margin of the victory certainly
would. Bennett could only
manage a top break of 57 as
Lagan strung together runs of
145, 81 and 67 to win by more
than half the game.
Defending champion, Neal

Rewhorn gave Jack Hedley little chance as he collected 435 of his
required 500 points in just four visits, including a top break of 204. To
his credit, Hedley still managed to compile a break of 107 in a 287
point aggregate.

Peter Shelley made it a trio of “away” wins when he comfortably
disposed of Bem French, and it was left to Tony McKinder to record
the only “home” success of the round with an even more comprehensive
victory over P. Johnson

.

Third Round
Jack Hedley
107
287 Neal Rewhorn
204, 91, 76, 64
500 
Bem French
266 Peter Shelley
85, 67, 60
500 
Paul Bennett
57
231 Lee Lagan
145, 81, 67
500 
Tony McKinder
79, 67, 69unf
500 P. Johnson
102 

Both semi-finals—now extended to three hours duration—were held
at the Batley Carr WMC near Dewsbury. The first of these, on Saturday
6th March saw Lee Lagan in awesome form against EABA Chairman
Peter Shelley. In the first 1½ hour period, Lagan knocked in breaks of
83, 56, 177, 64, 67, 59 and 199, to average 48.0 in an aggregate of 883
points. This established an almost invincible 752 point lead at the
interval. Lagan made sure of the match with additional breaks of 67,
52 and 53, but towards the end, and with the match beyond him, Shelley
eventually displayed his true capabilities with excellent breaks of 127
and 161 unfinished. Even so, he finished 537 points in arrears at the
bell.

Tony McKinder, who had been kept apart from his team-mate Lee
Lagan by virtue of the CIU competition rules, had nevertheless just as
daunting a tie against defending champion Neal Rewhorn. However,
on the following Saturday he set up an all-Teesside final by recording
what must be considered the best victory of his career to date. Always
in front, McKinder´s highest break of 135 towards the end of the first
session took him to an interval lead of 160 points. He subsequently
held off the constant threat of Rewhorn to win by almost the same
margin.

Semi-finals
Lee Lagan
199, 177, 83, 67, 67, 64, 56, 52 127, 68, 57, 161 unf
1282  Peter Shelley
747  
Tony McKinder
135, 80, 72, 71, 53, 53, 51 86, 81, 74, 71
809  Neal Rewhorn
639  

The final was arranged at the home club of both players, North Ormesby
Institute in Middlesbrough and was played on a specially erected table.
From the start, both players were evidently unsettled by the ultra-fast
speed of the bed-cloth, such tables being a relatively rare commodity
on Teesside. McKinder adjusted to the pace more quickly, taking the
lead with a break of 55 which proved to be his highest of the match.
As Lagan continued to struggle, McKinder, with every visit producing
a small but useful contribution, built up a lead of almost 200 points

midway through the first session. His grinding consistency exerting a
pressure which it is difficult for the spectator to fully appreciate.

Not favoured by the best of running, and playing without his usual
confidence, Lagan was still 167 in arrears at the interval and amazingly
had a highest break of just 28. Neither he, nor McKinder, who had
made a break of 374 in practise just two days before the match, could
secure their favourite top-of-the-table position. However, while Lagan
made repeated attempts to do this, McKinder soon abandoned his
efforts and settled for an all-round game.

Lagan’s best spell came after 30 minutes of the restart when a break of
46 was followed by one of 101, the highest of the match. This helped
him to within 59 points of McKinder with just under an hour remaining,
giving his supporter’s renewed hope. However, he was unable to sustain
his effort and McKinder, continuing with consistent if unsensational
play, gradually drew away again.

A 41 break took McKinder into a lead of 158 with 15 minutes remaining
and this signalled the end for Lagan’s ambitions for an English/CIU
double. A final rapid-fire 60 break from the Park End player was of
academic interest, as McKinder secured his first major title by 143
points. The winner’s average of 12.1 reflects the low scoring nature of
the game, which contained little intentional safety play. However, on
his way to winning this competition McKinder has defeated the 1998
CIU Champion, the reigning CIU Champion, the current English
Champion and made a break of 255 in an earlier round. Such a record
makes him a worthy champion.

McKinder practises regularly with Peter Gilchrist, but does not compete
in any of the other national competitions due to his job in a Sports
Centre, which requires him to work most week-ends. It is to be hoped
that this success will encourage him to attempt a broader area of activity
next year. He collected the winner’s cheque of £500, while Lagan
received £300 as runner-up plus £100 for his break of 259 in his first
round match against Alf Nolan, which was the highest of the
competition. The all-time record break for this event is 398 unfinished,
which was made by Bob Close in 1985.

Final
Tony McKinder
55
714 (12.1)Lee Lagan
101, 60
571 (9.5)

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