English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : May 2000

The Amateur Billiard Player : May 2000

STRACHAN WORLD MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP

Centurion Hotel, Midsomer Norton

29th February – 3rd March 2000

The Players and Seedings

Australia:
Robby Foldvari (4)

England:
Paul Bennett
David Causier (3)
Roxton Chapman (8)
Bob Close (13)
Brian Dix
Clive Everton (16)
Peter Gilchrist (5)
Mark Hirst
Brian Morgan
Mike Russell (2)
Andrew Sage
Peter Sheehan (10)
Chris Shutt (6)
Ian Williamson (11)

India:
Michael Ferreira (14)
Manoj Kothari (12)
Devendra Joshi (9)
Nalin Patel (7)
Mukesh Rehani
Geet Sethi (1)

Republic of Ireland:
Eugene Hughes (15)

Peter Gilchrist added his name to the list of winners for the World
Matchplay Championship when he held his nerve to defeat Mike
Russell in a late night final session at the West Country venue of
Midsomer Norton.

The event was again held at the Centurion Hotel, and the popularity of
billiards in the area was, as last year, reflected in the excellent
attendances. Unfortunately, the entry from the 53 eligible Billiard
Members of the WPBSA was somewhat depleted due mainly to the
absence of many Indian players. With the reduced budget for billiards
this year, the normal back-to-back arrangement of tournaments was
not applied, making it difficult for overseas players to justify the
travelling costs. One player who was willing to make the long journey
to England was Rom Surin, who has now confirmed his billiards
membership with the WPBSA. Unfortunately, his application arrived
too late to be included in the draw. Amongst the 22 players who did
turn up were Clive Everton and Mukesh Rehani who had both been
away from the professional game for some years, and Brian Morgan,
who is better known for his abilities as a snooker player.

Round One (750 up)
Clive Everton
103
750 (14.8)Brian Dix
476 (9.2)
Mark Hirst
148
750 (14.4)Michael Ferreira
469 (8.9)
Bob Close
750 (17.1)Paul Bennett
644 (14.6)
Manoj Kothari
116
750 (25.0)Brian Morgan
115 (3.8)
Ian Williamson
750 (17.1)Andrew Sage
259 (5.9)
Mukesh Rehani
750 (6.5)Eugene Hughes
418 (4.6)

Both Everton and Rehani were successful in their first round matches.
Everton started with a 93 break at his third visit and thereafter was
never troubled by Brian Dix, cruising to an easy win.

Mark Hirst was always in front in his match against Michael Ferreira,
but struggled to establish a conclusive advantage until the very end of
the game. Breaks of 148 and 60 unfinished with his last two visits
produced a scoreline which hardly reflected the closeness of the contest.

Rookie professional Paul Bennett was too young to have met Bob
Close when he was dominating the amateur Leagues in Teesside, but
the veteran player gave him a glimpse of his previous ability as he
edged home in a desperately tight match. The result was still in doubt
right up to the final stages with Bennett holding a narrow advantage at
608-576. At that point Close raised his game and decided the contest
with his last four visits, which included consecutive breaks of 57, 63
and 41 without reply from his opponent.

Manoj Kothari, who has been struggling with his cue action of late,
looked something like his old self as he demolished Brian Morgan. A
string of useful breaks contributed to an average of 25.0, which was by
far the best performance of the first round.

Round Two (1000 up)
Geet Sethi
131, 111
1000 (15.4)Mark Hirst
761 (11.7)
David Causier
193, 173, 106
1000 (32.3)Ian Williamson
101
611 (19.1)
Robby Foldvari
146, 120
1000 (18.9)Manoj Kothari
809 (15.0)
Roxton Chapman
228, 137
1000 (18.5)Bob Close
140, 109
811 (15.0)
Chris Shutt
159, 135, 103
1000 (29.4)Mukesh Rehani
392 (11.5)
Mike Russell
202, 198, 177, 130
1000 (62.6)Clive Everton
183 (11.4)
Nalin Patel
200
1000 (20.4)Devendra Joshi
611 (12.2)
Peter Gilchrist
298, 144, 121
1000 (35.8)Peter Sheehan
169 (5.8)

The second round saw the entry of the seeded players including the
reigning Matchplay Champion, Geet Sethi, who started well enough
against Mark Hirst, producing a break of 131 at his third visit. However,
after this, he struggled to find his touch as Hirst passed his score and
generally held the advantage for much of the match. However, having
levelled the scores at 724 Sethi then drew upon his greater experience
to produced breaks of 111, 64 and 66 unfinished, which were enough
to see him through.

David Causier blasted into the competition with a run of 193 at his
second visit establishing an advantage he would maintain throughout
his match against Ian Williamson. The contrast in styles between the
two players was very evident, the deliberate, methodical pace of
Williamson ensuring that the match lasted over three hours. Although
the Leeds professional produced a performance which may well have
been good enough to win had the draw been kinder to him, Causier
just had too many big guns and never looked in any danger of losing.
The same cannot be said for No.4 seed Robby Foldvari. He came
perilously close to an early exit at the hands of Manoj Kothari, who
continued his good form of the earlier round. Kothari was some 200
points in front at one stage of the game, but the tough Australian
produced the goods when they were most needed, breaks of 76, 146
and 93 unfinished in the space of five visits proved to be decisive.
Roxton Chapman made the first double-century break of the
competition, his 228 against Bob Close ultimately being the difference
between the players. It was another patchy performance from Chapman
who could well have lost this match had Close not stopped scoring at
the end – his last 13 visits producing just 10 points!

Chris Shutt rattled though his 1,000 points in just under two hours,
leaving Mukesh Rehani little more than an interested spectator. It was
a similar story with Mike Russell against Clive Everton, the World
Champion requiring just 16 visits to obtain the required total. Everton,
who has not played a competitive match of billiards for over two years
prior to this event, was given no chance as Russell entered the
competition in ominously good form.

Nalin Patel has been excluded from the Indian National Championships
since 1998 due to him being the holder of a British passport. He
therefore had something to prove as he was drawn against Devendra
Joshi, who was a finalist in the recently completed Indian championship.
With steady, if unspectacular play, Patel gradually imposed himself on
the match, a fine break of 200 towards the end of the game putting the
result beyond doubt.

Peter Gilchrist almost produced a triple-century break as he dominated
his match against Peter Sheehan. Just falling short at 298, it was
nevertheless the highest break of the competition so far, and highlighted
a sparkling performance which totally demoralised his opponent.

Quarter-finals (1250 up)
Peter Gilchrist
290
1250 (34.7)Robby Foldvari
766 (13.1)
David Causier
113
1250 (25.0)Roxton Chapman
107
766 (15.3)
Mike Russell
475, 226, 184
1250 (62.6)Chris Shutt
101
362 (18.1)
Geet Sethi
290, 175
1250 (27.8)Nalin Patel
673 (18.7)

It is reported that Geet Sethi has now taken a serious interest in Pool
with an ambition to play on the American professional circuit, which
may explain to some extent the lapses in form he has been displaying
over the current season. His match against Patel started slowly but
came to life when he made a break of 290 followed by runs of 175, 92
and 82. These were interspersed with replies of 57, 53, 55, 54 and 89
from Patel, but they still left him trailing by some 400 points at 996-
570. Further efforts of 71 an 65 where enough to see Sethi through to
the semi-finals.

Peter Gilchrist again started brightly against Robby Foldvari, a series
of useful breaks gradually putting him clear of the Australian Champion.
Then, with the scores at 799-386, Gilchrist produced a late surge with
a fine break of 290 immediately followed by another of 63. A run of 56
unfinished a few visits later completed the job. Foldvari was later critical
of the match conditions, including the noise from the door to the match
arena, which could be heard by the players each time it was opened.
There was certainly plenty of traffic through the door during the course
of the match, which lasted 4½ hours.

David Causier extracted further revenge for his defeat by Chapman in
the final of the UK Championship, by totally outplaying the
Peterborough professional in a one-sided game. After his opening break,
Causier added consecutive runs of 60, 47, 32, 90 and 77 to establish a
lead of almost 300 points, and Chapman never came closer to his
opponent than this.

The starring role of the quarter-finals fell to the World Champion as he
put on a magnificent display, which was highlighted by a break of 475.
It wasn’t as if Chris Shutt played badly, an early break of 101 helped
him to a 130 point advantage after five visits. But at this stage a break
of 226 by Russell signalled his intentions. A couple of “warm-up” runs
of 87 and 90 preceded his major effort of 475, which ended unluckily
with a “kick” while still in prime position at the top of the table. A
period of safety play only delayed the inevitable for Shutt as Russell
completed the match with breaks of 184 and 91 unfinished in a little
over 2½ hours.

Semi-finals (1250 up)
Peter Gilchrist
166, 156
1250 (28.4)Geet Sethi
137, 137
1014 (22.0)
Mike Russell
490, 200, 307unf
1250 (37.9)David Causier
158, 140
786 (23.8)

With all the remaining matches all scheduled to be played on the same
day, the semi-finals commenced at the unusually early hour of 9.30am.
Perhaps this early start had an effect on Gilchrist and Sethi who started
their match quite slowly, both players struggling to find their touch.
Gilchrist was the first to open a significant gap when consecutive breaks
of 137, 33, 57 and 62 gave him a 504-255 advantage. Sethi’s response
was to produce breaks of 166, 156, 64 and 81 to go past Gilchrist and
establish a lead of over 200 points. Sethi still held this advantage with
the scores at 1004-829, but then Gilchrist produced some inspired
billiards. Breaks of 61, 99, 137 and 67 helped him to amass his required
358 points, while Sethi could only progress his score by another ten!
David Causier began his semi-final in confident mood, early breaks of
92 and 200 by Russell were countered by runs of 88, 59, 76, 73 and
158 giving Causier a lead of 646-454 half-way through the match.
Russell then kicked into top gear producing a magnificent beak of
490, the highest of the tournament. Causier immediately responded
with a run of 140, but when he broke down Russell gave no further
chances, completing the match with 307 unfinished. A truly awesome
display.

Final (1500 up)
Peter Gilchrist
297, 119, 114, 108, 108, 113unf
1500 (29.4)Mike Russell
252, 214, 212
1200 (23.1)
Photo of Peter Gilchrist (13k)

Peter Gilchrist becomes the World Matchplay
Champion by defeating Mike Russell.

The final commenced at 7.30pm with Russell considered by most neutral
observers to be the hot favourite. He had looked a class by himself in
the previous matches, and characteristically appeared to be improving
with each game. But the amount that these earlier contests had taken
out of the players soon became apparent with both appearing to be
very tired from the outset. An initial period of cautious play, which
saw a number of unexpected misses by both players, ended when Russell
put together a run of 212 to put him in front 411-279. If Gilchrist was
intimidated by this, it was not apparent, as he then confidently regained
the initiative with runs of 60, 114, 58 and 75 to forge his way back in
front at 697-530. Digging deeply, Russell summoned up a fine break
of 252 which was partially negated by an immediate response of 108
by Gilchrist, keeping him in front with a slender twenty point advantage.
Further contributions of 108 and 90 by Gilchrist once again brought
forth a typically tenacious response from the World Champion as he
levelled the scores at 1026-1026 with a break of 214. Now past
midnight, those hardy spectators who had remained to witness the
conclusion saw Gilchrist make the decisive move as he followed
Russell’s big break with one of his own – 297. An 87 break by Russell
gave the hint of another come-back, but this just provided the spur
necessary for Gilchrist to close the match with an unfinished run of
113. Finishing just before
1.00am, it was the end of a long
day for both players and
spectators, which had started at
9.30am the previous morning.

But it was still not quite over for
the players, who were required to
provided drug test samples before
they were allowed to leave.

Gilchrist’s win ends a two year
drought of major titles and it is the
first time he has won this particular
event. He took £7,000 for this
victory while Russell collected
£4,500 as runner-up and a further
£500 for his high break of 490.

Matchplay Stats:

The total time for Peter Gilchrist’s two games on the last day
of the World Matchplay was 9¾ hours!

Mike Russell was the only player to make any breaks over
300, these being 490, 475 and 307 unfinished.

Previous winners of the Matchplay title were Mike Russell
(1990, 1996, 1998); Geet Sethi (1999), and Robby Foldvari
(1997). From 1991 to 1995 the championship was not held.


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