Stocker wins sixth North Island title
Paul Stocker from Hawkes Bay beat Merv Stewart from Auckland
1226-628 to win the 2000 North Island Billiards Championship held at
Snooker World, Auckland May 14-16. This was Stocker’s sixth North
Island title, just two behind Thorney Huston’s record of eight wins.
Stocker also had the highest break in the tournament, a 123 scored in
Section play of two hour matches began on the Sunday with the field of
17 divided into one group of five and three groups of four. Section 1
with Wayne Carey, Joe Ifa, Malcolm Cooke and Russell Robinson and
Colin Dudley was the one to watch. Carey won all four of his games to
top his group, although he had a close match against Cooke, winning by
just two points. Cooke, Ifa and Robinson all finished with two wins,
Cooke got the nod because of a superior points differential. In Section
2, Merv Stewart won all his matches by good margins to finish top,
scoring a break of 100 in his match against Ray Habgood. However,
Habgood had the satisfaction of being the section runner-up and scoring
his highest break in a ranking tournament, a 98, missing a top pocket
Tony Stephens won Section 3, beating Darcy Boyce 582-306 in the
crucial match, to leave Boyce the runner-up. Paul Stocker easily won
Section 4 with Ron Milicich the runner-up. The two qualifiers from
each section were seeded into post-section play according to their
previous performances. This meant Stephens and Boyce played one
another again. This time Boyce, aided by a break of 91, won 522-363.
Stewart and Milicich had a close match,
Stewart winning 455 (73, 66) – 406 (73,
69), Milicich not helped by some
soreness which forced him to modify
his stance. In the remaining matches,
Carey beat Habgood 635 (80, 66, 58) –
275 and Stocker beat Cooke 725 (83,
76, 60, 53, 51) – 352.
The semi-finals saw clear wins to
Stocker and Stewart in the three hour
matches, Stocker beating Carey 827 (87,
57, 55)-549 and Stewart beating Boyce
860 (118, 72, 63)-526 (58, 51). Stocker
good form continued in the final with a
1226 (123, 92, 61, 53)-628 win over
Stewart in the four hours.
Three in a row for Oliver
Gary Oliver beat fellow Canterburian Ted Hardiman 610-214 to win
his third consecutive South Island Billiards title. The championship,
held May 27 and 28 in Invercargill, attracted 12 players, the largest
field in recent years. The players were divided into three sections of 4
with the top two in each section and the two best third-places qualifying
for post-section play.
In Section 1, all matches went according to seeding with Oliver the
winner and Mike Lilly runner-up. Section 2 produced an upset when
Hardiman beat the experienced Ron Wilson. Hardiman finished with
the highest points differential in the section but came second to Hurley
who won all his matches. In Section 3, Alan Glennie and Tom Sherriff
both finished with two wins, Glennie won the section because of his
superior points differential. The two other qualifiers were C. Keats
from Section 1 and D. Taylor from Section 3.
In the quarter-finals, Oliver beat C. Keats 561-298, Lilly beat Glennie
345-292, Hurley beat Taylor 445-290, and in a low scoring match
Hardiman beat Sherriff 262-249. Oliver and Hardiman continued with
their good form in the semi-finals, Oliver beating Lilly 503-308 and
Hardiman beat Hurley 399-218.
Oliver made a good start to the three hour final and at the halfway mark
was about 350 points in front. At this point both finalists and the
tournament organiser agreed to shorten the match to two hours so that
Hardiman who was suffering with a neck problem could complete the
match. Oliver went on to win 610-214.
Brian Kirkness, one of New Zealand’s finest billiards and snooker players, died in Christchurch on 14th May after a
long illness. He was 66 years-old and had been suffering with
cancer. During a career which saw him dominate the New Zealand
national scene for more than 35 years he won many of the various
New Zealand titles, becoming National Billiards Champion on
four occasions. An adept top-of-the-table player, Kirkness held
the New Zealand record break of 301 under the old five-pot rule
and had a personal best break of 911.
He played in several World Amateur championships during the
1970´s and 80´s with one of his greatest achievements coming
when he defeated World Champion Michael Ferreira in the group
stages of one of these events.
He owned and ran the Olympia billiard room in Christchurch,
and eventually giving up playing at the top level to concentrate
on his business. Last year, he was given a lifetime achievement
award by Canterbury Cue Sports for his contribution to the
game. He is survived by his wife, Marion, three sons, and two