ENGLISH AMATEUR BILLIARDS
The Reardon, Stoke
All games one hour
A total of 41 players made it to the last tournament of the English
Amateur Billiards Circuit which took place at The Reardon in
Stoke on Sunday 16th April 2000. It was an important event for the
top three players in the ranking list as with only 2½ points separating
them, this would decide who was ranked No.1 in England. Philip Welham
(137½ points) held the advantage over Lee Lagan and Stephen Crosland
(both 135 points) and the current system which requires the points
from one of the six events to be dropped, was also in Welham’s favour.
Any win was guaranteed to improve Welham’s position, Lagan had to
progress to the quarter-final to advance his total, and Crosland needed
at least a semi-final place.
Lagan almost missed his chance completely as he arrived some 20
minutes after the official closing time for accepting entries. However,
he managed to telephone the venue en-route, allowing the organisers to
make arrangements for both him and his fellow travellers to take part.
Welham´s advantage over his main rivals proved meaningless as he was
dumped out of the competition in the preliminary round by Tony
James. Despite making two 60+ breaks he finished well behind the
Tyneside player, who himself contributed a run of 69 in a 278-203
scoreline. Also playing in the preliminary rounds, Lee Lagan looked to
be in ominously good form, a break of 107 taking him to a 464 point
total in his win over Robert Shanks.
Lagan continued in much the same fashion in the First Round, breaks of
76, 112, and 91 overpowering fellow-Teessider John Hartley, who
despite a break of 69 was only allowed to accumulate 170 points
against Lagan’s total of 495. Stephen Crosland, who had avoided the
preliminary matches, cruised to an easy win over young Matthew
Peaker, while Tony Keeling and Richard Lodge also displayed good
form in winning their respective matches, each making three breaks
over 50. Norman Routledge and Alf Nolan contested the closest match
of the day, with Routledge eventually scraping through by just 2 points!
The second round saw another power display by Lagan. This time it
was Jim McCann who was at the receiving end as Lagan rattled in
breaks of 133, 89, 73 and 102 unfinished in a 429-190 victory. John
Smith was the only other player in this round to threaten a century
break. His effort failed at 99, but this was still enough to help him to a
very creditable victory over English International, Gary Rogers.
This win earned Smith a quarter-final clash against Lee Lagan, who,
again in irresistible form, put together breaks of 85, 126, 102 and 54 in
a 463-110 victory. Stephen Crosland also progressed to the semi-finals
with a 332-204 win over Tony Keeling which included breaks of 60 and
Norman Routledge recorded his best result of the season by reaching
the semi-final at the expense of Dennis Marr. Breaks of 60 and 51 by
Marr were not enough to prevent him finishing at the wrong end of a
Michael White left it a little too late to get going in his quarter-final
match against David Nichols. A break of 131 unfinished still left him 41
points in arrears at the bell, Nichols having previously contributed runs
of 51, 58, 76 and 57 in a 311-270 result.
The battle for the No.1 ranking position was decided at the semi-final
stage as the two contenders, Lee Lagan and Stephen Crosland were
drawn against each other. In recent matches Crosland seems to have
brought out the best in Lagan who has recorded some impressive figures
against the Yorkshire Champion. This proved to be another of those
occasions, as Lagan put together breaks of 109, 77, 100 and 174 to win
508-199, this being the highest one-hour total of the day. In the other
semi-final, David Nichols reached his second consecutive final by
defeating Norman Routledge. This was highlighted by a fine break of
138. Routledge, despite a break of 68, could not keep up with the
heavy scoring of Nichols who drew away to win comfortably, 362-
Nichols’ previous encounter with Lagan in the final of the Newmarket
tournament resulted in a massive defeat by almost 400 points. On this
occasion he did considerably better, but breaks of 48, 45 and 49 were
not enough as Lagan countered with runs of 141 and 47 to win by 62
points, his position as English No.1 having already been confirmed.
Lagan’s break of 174 against Crosland in the semi-final was the highest
of the day.
Lagan finished the season with four victories from the six regional
tournaments and his position 15 points clear at the top of the ranking
list could easily have been much greater if it were not for his regrettable
disqualification from the National Championship. There seems little
doubt that over this season in particular, Lagan has opened up some
daylight between himself and the rest of the players on the national
McCann (78) 346, D. Townend 172; D. Bavister 211, B. Bousfield 129; G. Rogers (79) 258, R.
Whitten 141; D. Nichols 328, W. Andress 300; D. Rees 290, G. Dickson 102; T. James 278 (69),
P. Welham (69, 67) 203; J. Rees 283, M. Kaye 187.
Rogers 263, I. Stevenage 115; J. Smith 203, G. Bell 126; S. Crosland 385, M. Peaker 146; R.
Lodge (61, 51, 50) 291, T. Terry 197; T. Keeling (75, 63, 53) 296, C. Scott 143; P. Davis 223, M.
Donnelly 137; D. Richardson 285, J. McGregor 133; D. Marr 269, D. Peaker 154; R. Haigh 292,
P. Shelley (51) 259; N. Routledge 226, A. Nolan 224; P. Dunning 387, E. Gratton 110; M. White
236, B. Cousen 113; D. Nichols 345, D. Rees 145; T. James 294, J. Rees 83.
(52) 178; S. Crosland (76, 71) 361, R. Lodge 161; T. Keeling (79) 217, P. Davis 140; D. Marr 285,
D. Richardson 188; N. Routledge (60) 277, R. Haigh 126; M. White 289, P. Dunning (53) 167; D.
Nichols 281, T. James 191.
(57) 204; N. Routledge (55) 261, D. Marr (60, 51) 231; D. Nichols (76, 58, 57, 51) 311, M. White
Routledge (68) 224.
Peter Shelley is usually a formidable opponent on his “home” tables at
the Reardon and rarely finds himself taking part in the Plate competition.
His surprise elimination from the main event by Ronnie Haigh seem to
act as a spur as he progressed undefeated for the rest of the day to take
the Plate, defeating Alf Nolan in the final. He was particularly impressive
in his first round match where a series of big breaks saw him achieve a
30 minute score of 362!