THE WHITWORTH BILLIARDS TOURNAMENT
Sunday 14th November 1999
The Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale.
The professional players who are lucky enough to be invited to take
part in annual Darley Dale tournament appreciate not only the
opportunity for some match practise before the start of the English
season, but also the excellent condition of the tables which are
maintained to the highest
standard by tournament
organiser Jim McCann. The
event, which was for so many
years a showcase for the talents
of the late Norman Dagley, was
held for the first time without
the participation of this famous
player. However, to
commemorate his involvement,
a new trophy bearing his name
was introduced for the highest
break. As events unfolded, the
new trophy was inaugurated in
the best possible way, as in his
match against Mike Russell,
Peter Gilchrist made a record
break for the tournament, and
personal best, with 707
Chris Shutt was also in the line-up, as was Paul Bennett, who will
soon be joining the ranks of the professionals. In recognition of his
current amateur status Bennett was conceded 100 points by the other
players in the round robin format of 50 minute matches. After a nervous
start, he put up a great fighting performance to come out on top of this
very select group. Although his 300 point allowance over the three
games was the deciding factor in his clinching overall victory, his two
wins against Peter Gilchrist and Chris Shutt were achieved on merit,
winning by over 100 points in each case.
109, 98, 74, 72
Peter Gilchrist appeared with a brand new cue, having recently discarded
the one which he had used since he was 14 years old. However, he
never really threatened to win this opening match as Chris Shutt, starting
with a break of 98 at his second visit, drew steadily away. A break of
91 by Gilchrist closed the gap a little, but an immediate response of 74
by Shutt restored his dominant position. A final effort of 109 recorded
the first century of the day and sealed a comfortable win for Shutt.
|436||(36.3)||Paul Bennett (rec.100)||238||(11.5)|
Bennett, who has recently secured sponsorship for his professional
career from his employer, Ladbrokes, started his match against the
World Champion rather nervously. His top break of 35 stirring Russell
to respond with a run of 255 which put the match beyond doubt.
|Paul Bennett (rec.100)|
131, 67, 57, 72unf
Bennett stayed at the table to meet Peter Gilchrist, and started this
game in altogether different mood. His first three visits produced runs
of 28, 131 and 67 to put him in a commanding lead. Gilchrist threatened
to get back in touch with a break of 163, but Bennett closed the match
with consecutive visits producing 57 and 72 unfinished.
|Paul Bennett (rec.100)|
80, 64, 67
the winners trophy by EABA
President, Alf Nolan.
Bennett completed his programme by defeating Chris Shutt, again by
a greater margin than his allotted start. Starting slowly, Shutt was always
behind but finished strongly, his last three visits producing breaks of
80, 64 and 67. Bennett however, responded with 42, 47 and 98 to
maintain his advantage.
from Nita Dagley for his break of 707.
Also pictured is tournament organiser Jim McCann.
At first, Mike Russell seemed to be well in command of this game.
Responding with a miss to Gilchrist’s opening double-baulk, he took
advantage of his opponent’s failure to score by putting together a break
of 126. However, this was to prove his last chance, as Gilchrist
monopolised the remainder of the session to complete an magnificent
unfinished break of 707. Continuing after the bell, he took the break to
917 before losing position and failing at an attempted thin cannon
against the nap. Gilchrist, with just two completed visits in the game
(one of them the break-off) returned a rather impressive average of
354.5 For his part, Russell may well have established a modern-day
record by being on the losing end of a match with an average of 63.0 !
Prior to this, Gilchrist´s best match-break had been 647, made under
the baulk-line rule, which was not a requirement on this occasion.
For the final game of the series, both Shutt and Russell needed victory
to equal Bennett’s two wins in the competition. Chris Shutt would pass
Bennett’s aggregate if he scored 487, and Russell needed to win with
more than 619 points on the scoreboard. Both targets were not outside
the bounds of possibility for such prolific scorers, but shortly into the
game both seemed to give up the chase, conceding overall victory to
Bennett. In a non-too-serious conclusion, Shutt just had the better of
matters against the World Champion.
Bennett earned £125 for his day’s work, receiving the cheque and trophy
from the event sponsor’s T. Nutt & Sons who operate a firm of local
carpet fitters. Results : Bennett, 2 (1181 pts); Shutt, 2 (1024 pts);
Gilchrist, 1 (1194 pts); Russell, 1 (865 pts).