English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : June 1996

The Amateur Billiard Player : June 1996

Russell v Causier

David Burgess

An absorbing contrast in styles at this year’s UK professional final
The Bellingham Hotel in Wigan was once again the venue for this year’s UK final between Mike Russell
and David Causier. Causier with his pugnacious. fast scoring style has predictably ruffled plenty of
feathers in the pro ranks since his arrival last year and was looking to add the UK title to his earlier
victory in India. Russell must have approached the match with mixed feelings having been drubbed by
an inspired Roxton Chapman in the final of the British Open the previous week and now about to face,
albeit as clear favourite, the challenge of a fired up Causier with nothing to lose. However as an
antidote to any misgivings he might have had about the match Russell had the comfort factor of having
recorded a couple of high breaks, over 500 in the British Open and over 700 in this tournament, the
latter putting him firmly in the driving seat to pick up the high break prize of a new car offered by one of
the sponsors for the highest run over 600.

Both players started edgily and Russell in particular seemed ill at ease, over-reacting tetchily to every
distraction and murmur from the crowd and although he was first into his stride with a 73 ending with in
a straightforward missed pot. he clearly needed to settle himself. Causier, usually so fast off the blocks,
was unable to capitalise on a number of opportunities, breaking down twice due to poor second ball
contacts on drop canons and missing a long loser into the bargain. Russell eventually punished him for
these lapses with a fine effort of 183 at his sixth visit and followed up immediately with a 143 to open
up an early lead of around 400. Causier, sensing the danger of an insurmountable lead building up
against him, hit back immediately with a 123 which ended with a missed pot from the spot only to see
Russell move into his most fluent top of the table form with consecutive runs of 167 and 151, the latter
ending as the result of poor second ball contact from a drop canon, a recurrent them in these early
exchanges. Causier seemed in some trouble and kept missing in the 20’s and 30’s, a recipe for certain
disaster at this level and. as is usual in such circumstances, got the rough edge of some poor running.

He rallied briefly with a 73 only to see a careless attempt at a single baulk end with the red over the
middle from which Russell ran another century, 101 to end the session with the scores at 902-502 in his
favour.

Given Causier’s uncharacteristically subdued performance, few among the crowd would have fancied
his chances of giving Russell 400 odd start over 2 hours but on the resumption, with his opponent failing
at a simple in-off, Causier found himself in front after only his second visit of the session. Consecutive
breaks of 145 and a magnificent 295 saw him edge in front for the first time 945-941, the latter effort in
particular epitomising Causier’s cavalier style containing a full repertoire of audacious shots, deep
screw in-offs along the cushion, raking long pots and improbable forcing shots; predictable billiards it
most certainly was not but immensely entertaining for all that. After such a meteoric start to the session
the action returned to more pedestrian proportions for a couple of visits while Russell in particular took
stock of his new circumstances; to see a lead of 400 evaporate in a couple of visits together with the
prospect of a major upset to the form book was certainly going to test his resilience to the limit. Causier
was again in with 57 to maintain his small lead but Russell, no doubt mindful that another sizeable
break from his opponent would perhaps provide a launching pad for a sustained victory charge, dug
deep and constructed an out of character break of 168. out of character because it contained 10
consecutive in-off whites and only the briefest flirtation with the top of the table. With hindsight this was
probably Russell’s most crucial contribution of the session, if not the match, because at the very
moment when he seemed most vulnerable it consumed more than the usual amount of time, regained
him a lead of around 150, ended with a double baulk and. most importantly, drove a wedge in the
breakneck tempo that Causier’s earlier onslaught had imposed on the session.

Proceedings then settled into a more sober routine with Causier nibbling at Russell’s lead with
consecutive efforts of 86 and 73 to which Russell replied with 95 (ending with a missed forcing pot
necessitated by the ludicrous baulkline rule) and a further 85 to extend his lead to around 200 with only
15 minutes to go, certainly not a safe haven given Causier’s potential for rapid scoring. In the event it
was Russell who got in first to play out time with an unfinished 191. which included another long run of
11 losing hazards a fact which seemed to emphasise the point that he had no intention of relinquishing
his occupation of the table until the final bell sounded with the scores at 1690-1277.


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