– Final –
Oatlands Mount SC, Harrogate
(28th April 2001)
There was a good turn-out of some sixty people to watch the
conclusion of the CIU National Championships at the Oatland
Mount Club in Harrogate, and they were rewarded by a pulsating
match between two of the England’s best amateur exponents. Strangely,
despite their status in the game, neither player had won this event
before, Peter Shelley having reached the final at his first attempt in
1990 and again in 1993, while Lagan was runner-up in 1999. With both
players laying claim to personal best breaks in excess of 500, a good
match was anticipated and this was certainly delivered.
Lagan started so well that he threatened to run away with the game.
Early breaks of 57 and 100 opened up a sizable lead and with Shelley
struggling to put two shots together, he established an advantage of
almost 400 points after an hour’s play, helped by additional contributions
of 68 and 144. Shelley’s initial poor showing may have been due to
being delayed by traffic on his journey from Stoke which caused him to
arrive at the club just minutes before the scheduled start, barely leaving
time to change into formal dress before being called into action.
However, when Shelley did manage to find his touch, he closed on
Lagan with impressive speed. Starting with a break of 76 he added runs
of 62, 80 and 118 unfinished in quick succession, the latter taking him
into the mid-match interval with his deficit reduced to just 56 points.
During this 30 minute spell he had added 357 points against just 17 by
from CIU representative Colin Wright.
Resuming after the interval, Shelley took his unfinished break to 139
which ended in a miscue when still in good position at top of the table.
Lagan took advantage of the good leave to make 71 and following
immediately with a 57 seemed to be back in control of the match.
Shelley, however, had other ideas, and with his next three visits producing
breaks of 92, 58 and 67, he swept into the lead for the first time. Two
more useful contributions of 47 and 48 extended his advantage to 128
points with 40 minutes of the match remaining. Now facing the very
realistic possibility of defeat, Lagan put together his highest break of
the match176made almost entirely at the top of the table. He
broke down at a long loser from hand when in sight of the competition
high break of 183 which had been set by Tony Mackinder in the first
round. Nevertheless, this magnificent effort had put him right back in
the match with a narrow advantage of 48 points. This was immediately
cancelled out by Shelley with a break of exactly that amount and with
15 minutes remaining there was nothing to choose between the two
players. A period of tactical safety was ended by Lagan who succeeded
with a difficult cushion cannon
and held the table to make a
determined all-round break of
101 without ever managing to
secure his favoured top-of-the-
table position. With just 4
minutes of the match remaining,
he terminated the break with a
pot white and double-baulk
leaving Shelley neither the time
nor opportunity to recover,
finishing the winner of an
exciting match by 962-886.
Lagan thereby achieved the
double of winning both major
Championships this year and
Teesside continued its stranglehold on the CIU competition with the
trophy returning to the area for tenth time in the last eleven years. The
closing ceremony was conducted by Colin Wright on behalf of the
CIU, presenting Lagan with a cheque for £500 and Shelley one for
£300. Tony Mackinder’s break of 183 earned him the high break prize
of £100. The match referee was Colin Pattimore who also had a successful
day, turning in a faultless performance.
176, 144, 110, 101, 71, 68, 57, 57
139, 92, 80, 76, 67, 62, 58, 48, 48, 47
Notes from Harrogate …
¨ Shortly after the start of the match, play was halted for several
minutes while Lee Lagan searched for his chalk pouch which had
mysteriously disappeared from his belt. Assisted by the referee the
area around and under the table was thoroughly searched without
success. The offending item was eventually found lodged in the netting
of the centre pocket where it must have fallen when Lagan was stretching
over the table on a previous shot. It had to be delicately extracted to
avoid contact with the yellow ball which was hanging on the brink of
¨ Lagan, who is an owner of racing greyhounds and a keen follower of
this sport, is now being sponsored in his billiards career by Joe Atkinson
who runs Easington Greyhound Stadium. Joe will be helping Lee with
his travelling expenses, which for a player looking to compete in all the
National events, can become quite a sizable outlay.
¨ There were plenty of kicks and “dull” contacts from the Aramith
match balls affecting both players. Lagan in particular kept the referee
busy with frequent requests for ball cleaning.