English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : November 2000

The Amateur Billiard Player : November 2000

Tommy Coulton Invitation Billiards Tournament

South Bank St. Peters Club, Middlesbrough

Tuesday 4th & 11th July 2000 – All games one hour

The first of the Teesside Pro-Am events took place at the South
Bank St. Peter’s Club, in Middlesbrough on Tuesday 4th July.
Eight of the region’s best Amateur players competed in one hour games
to determine which of them would progress to meet professional
opposition the following week. Using both of the Club’s tables, the
outcome was as follows:

Lee Lagan
225, 77, 48
450 Simon Snee
45
142 
T. Mackinder
80, 76, 46
382 Robin Wilson
122 
Darren Kell
155, 75, 40
372 Jeff McKeown
122 
Geoff Charville
42, 44
279 Lee Connor
105 

Simon Snee was well in touch with the English No.1, Lee Lagan, for the
first 35 minutes of their match, at which time they were separated by
less than 10 points. Lagan then made a run of 77 and followed this at his
next visit by a magnificent break of 225, which settled the match.

The 1999 CIU Champion Tony Mackinder, put up a great performance
on the notoriously tight St.Peter’s “billiard” table. Robin Wilson played
well below his best and never threatened Mackinder who cruised to an
easy win.

After early breaks of 40 and 155 Kell always looked in control of his
match against Jeff McKeown. A late run of 75 in the last 10 minutes
when the game was already secure, completed a fine performance from
the current CIU Champion.

Geoff Charville was always scoring better than Lee Connor and drawing
steadily away was never threatened. Connor, who was English U-16
Champion in 1986, had particular difficulty with the accuracy required
on the Peter’s “billiard” table, many attempts narrowly failing with the
ball “rattling” the pocket.

FINAL STAGES

Peter Gilchrist (World No.3), David Causier (No.4) and Chris Shutt
(No.5) were joined by rookie professional Paul Bennett to provide
formidable opposition for the four Amateur qualifiers. They contested
the final stages on 11th July 2000, again playing one-hour games, with
the professionals conceding 150 points.

Quarter-finals
P. Gilchrist
116, 101, 77
465 Tony Mackinder (rec.150)
264 
C. Shutt
110, 99, 80, 61
453 Lee Lagan (rec.150)
121, 50
382 
G. Charville (rec.150)
68
351 David Causier
58, 50
332 
D. Kell (rec.150)
64, 51
419 Paul Bennett
76
219 

Peter Gilchrist had things entirely his own way in the first quarter-
final, as Tony Mackinder failed to produce the form he had shown in
the qualifying stages. Two century breaks from the professional
completed an easy win.

Chris Shutt with breaks of 99 and 80 quickly cancelled out the 150
points start he was conceding to Lee Lagan. However, Lagan came back
with a break of 50 which saw him back in front at 254-227. At this
stage Shutt produced a run of 110, only for Lagan to respond at his next
visit with 121, the highest of the match. Thereafter the game remained
close until the end, but Shutt made fewer mistakes in the closing stages
and went through by 71 points.

Charville and Causier both found it hard going on the club “billiard”
table. However, with 20 minutes remaining Causier had eased past his
opponent’s score and looked poised to take a comfortable victory.
However, Charville, under extreme pressure, then put together a
carefully crafted run of 68 to give him an unassailable lead of 65 with
just a few minutes remaining. Causier made a bold attempt to close the
gap, but his reply was terminated at 46 by the bell.

There was great interest in the appearance of Paul Bennett as little has
been seen of him on Teesside since he turned professional at the start of
last season. However, it was a disappointing performance by him as he
never looked like pulling back the 150 points start he was giving to the
CIU Champion, Darren Kell. After 40 minutes Kell was still 170 in
front and a break of 64 at this stage made sure of the match. Kell
eventually winning by 200 points—50 more than his concession!

Semi-finals
Chris Shutt
361, 77
567 Darren Kell(rec.150)
52
365 
G. Charville(rec.150)
67
384 P. Gilchrist
152
290 

Chris Shutt settled his semi-final match at a very early stage as he put
together a magnificent run of 361, surely a record for the St. Peters’
“billiard” table. Kell, to his credit, never gave up the chase and produced
a string of useful breaks, the best of which was 52. However, it was
always a hopeless task and a further break of 77 by Shutt ensured a 200
point victory.

Geoff Charville played an intelligent game which ensured that the
opportunities for Peter Gilchrist were few and far between. With the
ex-World Champion making little impression, a break of 67 extended
Charville’s lead to over 200 after 30 minutes. At this point Gilchrist
produced a fine run of 152, but still 56 in arrears with 15 minutes
remaining, he was unable to secure the opening he needed and Charville
went away again to win by 96 points.

Final
Geoff Charville(rec.150)
380 Chris Shutt
94, 91
346 
Photo of Geoff Charville (8k)

Geoff Charville takes the Tommy
Coulton Pro-Am; defeating the World’s
No.3, No.4 and No.5 on the way.

Charville started brightly with a 33 break at his first visit followed by
another of 32 shortly afterwards. However, these were to be his best
contributions as Shutt closed the
deficit and swept into the lead
with consecutive runs of 91 and
94. With 30 minutes remaining,
this was beginning to look like a
formality. But, as with his match
against Causier, Charville again
fought back to hold the World
No.5. In a tense finish, it was
Charville who looked the more
composed of the two as he
played a fine tactical game to
complete a memorable victory
by 34 points.

Charville, modestly played
down his performance,
commenting, “I didn’t think I
played very well, but they kept

leaving me chances!” He
collected the winner’s cheque of
£200, whilst Chris Shutt, who won the event last year, received £140.
This included £40 for his high break of 361 in the semi-finals.
Proportionate prize money went to all the players on the night.

Another 50-up World Championship

With several of the top professionals gathered for the Arnott
Memorial Pro-Am in Middlesbrough, it was announced that a
Professional (WBA) World Championship was being arranged to
take place in India during October (dates subsequently changed)
where the controversial 50-up format would again be used.
It was originally intended that only the top four players in the
World rankings will be seeded through to the main event with the
remainder having to qualify from best of 21 games. This was later
changed to exempt the top eight seeds with four places reserved
for qualifiers.

Chris Shutt (No.5) was strongly opposed to the format and asked
that his views be publicised. “I have not bothered to practise for
the last 9 months” he said “What’s the point for a game of 50-up?”
“It is every professional´s ambition to make a thousand break at
billiards, what chance do I have now?”

Chris, who has just set up home with his girl-friend is obviously
deeply disillusioned with the state of the professional game. “If I
could get my £100 membership fee back, I would take it” he said,
adding “it would help with the decorating!” David Causier, who is
a known opponent of short games generally, was even more
forthright. “It’s just a joke” he said.

Peter Gilchrist justified the decision by saying “We have been
given 8 hours of TV coverage for the event and don’t want to
waste it”. It is understood that current World Champion, Mike
Russell is also in favour of the change in format.


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