English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : November 2001

The Amateur Billiard Player : November 2001

IBSF WORLD OPEN BILLIARDS CHAMPIONSHIP

11th-23rd September 2001 – Hornby WMC, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Players

Australia
Matthew Bolton
Neil Croft
Frank Humphreys
John McKay
Joe Millen
Joe Minici
Brian Moulday
Keith Taylor
Tim Walters
Rex Swain
Eric Worsley
England
John Hartley
India
Arun Agrawal*
Balachandra Bhaskar*
Devendra Joshi*
Manoj Kothari*
Alok Kumar*
Vishal Madan
Geet Sethi*
Ashok Shandilya*
Dhruv Sitwala*
Malta
Paul Mifsud
New Zealand
Wayne Carey
Malcolm Cooke
Derek Gibb
Peter de Groot
Ray Habgood
Joe Ifa
Peri Lilli
Ron Millicich
Gary Oliver
Merv Stewart
Paul Stocker
Gus Templeton
Tony Stephens
WPBSA
Nalin Patel*
* Denotes professional

For two weeks in September, New Zealand became the focal point of
World Billiards when they staged the IBSF Open Championship at
the Hornby WMC in Auckland. As could be expected from the location,
the field was comprised largely of entries from the host country and
nearby Australia. Notable absentees from the latter country were top
professional Robby Foldvari and the National Champion David Collins.
Unfortunately the dates for this event clashed with the South East Asia
Games in Malaysia which meant that neither Thailand nor Malaysia
were able to send representatives.

Photo of John Hartrley (5k)

John Hartley was the only player to
be entered from England.

Without any financial assistance
from their Associations it was not
anticipated that any players would
travel from England, either Amateur
or professional. In fact, England
managed one entry with John
Hartley who under his own initiative
arranged sufficient private
sponsorship to finance his first
overseas trip. English Champion,
Lee Lagan, had also hoped to make
the journey, but at the last minute
had to withdraw because of work
commitments. Both players were
nominated by the IBSF affiliated
body in England, the WPBSA
subsidiary, EASB. However,
Hartley was not entirely without
English companions, with New
Zealand entries Derek Gibb
(Northumberland), Malcolm Cooke

(Surrey) and Paul Stocker (Worcester), all exiles from these shores.
Sri-Lanka, who had nominated two unnamed representatives, decided
at the last minute not to send anyone, so their places where rapidly
filled by reserves Rex Swain (Australia) and Gus Templeton (New
Zealand). Rex Swain, who is President of the Australian Billiards &
Snooker Council and Chairman of the IBSF Billiards Committee, had
no competitive billiards experience prior to this event, although he
claimed a highest practice break of 82. He dismissed the EABA call for
the IBSF to run a World Amateur Championship by saying “The IBSF
have to provide a World competition for elite players, not 2nd or 3rd
rate players”.

India ensured that some top class billiards would be seen when they
sent a strong squad which included all their best professional players.
Nalin Patel, who is not recognised by the Indian Association as he
holds a British passport, still managed to make the trip as an entry
from the WPBSA.

In contrast to the 50-up games last year, the Championship was
conducted under the more traditional time-limit format with the opening
games played over four hours and the final extended to six hours. A late
suggestion by the IBSF representative that the opening group matches
should be reduced to two-hours because longer matches were “boring”,
was rejected. The field of 36 players was divided into six groups with
the first and second places progressing to the knock-out stages by
right. They would be supplemented by the best four third-placed
players.

The tables were installed by a local supplier using Strachan professional
30oz match-cloth and pocket templates supplied by the IBSF. These
are understood to be the same used on the WPBSA professional snooker
circuit. It may be remembered that the Professional Billiard players had
a set of templates specially made for their matches a couple of years

ago, as it was felt that the standard WPBSA templates were “too easy”.

The rules of billiards revised and published in September 1995 were
applied throughout the competition, in preference to the “professional
rules” which require a baulk-line crossing at each 100 points of a break,
and which ban the “coup”. Strangely, this latter rule, which only really
becomes significant in the time-limit format where it is perceived as a
time-wasting tactic, had been adopted by the IBSF for the 50-up
championship last year, but was now dropped. It is regrettable that
billiards seems to be subjected to such a deliberate variety of conditions
and rules which makes the comparison of performances very difficult.

With a first prize of NZ$3,000 (£1,000) being barely sufficient to
cover travelling expenses for entries outside the host country. This at
least ensured that those who did turn up, regardless of their status,
followed at least one tenant of the amateur ideal, which was to compete
for the love of billiards rather than personal profit.

Section 1
PosPlayerCountryWonPoints Diff
1Geet Sethi *India510875
2Joe MillenAustralia41177
3Eric WorsleyAustralia3-2648
4Merv StewartNew Zealand2-1712
5Peri LiliiNew Zealand1-2715
6Rex SwainAustralia0-4977
Photo of Eric Worsley (4k)

Eric Worsley displayed his
expertise with nursery cannons.

Geet Sethi was outstanding throughout his group matches, winning all
his games. Unhindered by the requirement for a baulk-line crossing
(which is also used by the Indian Association for their championships)
he displayed a standard of billiards not seen for many years under the
Amateur rules. His group statistics after 20 hours play, speak for
themselves. They read “points for: 13,224; points against: 2,349”
Sethi finished off his series of matches with the highest break of the

group stages when he put together a
run of 495 against Rex Swain. Two
triple centuries and three doubles
helped him to a four hour aggregate
of 3,135 and a match average of 74.6
Runner-up in the group was Joe
Millen with four wins but just one
century (115).

Eric Worsley who is a nursery
cannon expert, managed three wins
to finish the group in third place,
giving spectators some relief from
the more usual methods of break
building by demonstrating his skills
in this department. In his match
against Merv Stewart, he nursed the
balls along the length of the top
cushion, rapidly advancing his score
from 16 to 76 in a break of 80.

Results
Geet Sethi (495,396,339,268,218,205,157,156,121,84,81,73,73,71,66) 3135
(74.6) Rex Swain 290 (7.0); Geet Sethi (471,269,208,156,132,119,108,68,62,62,54) 2020 (34.2)
Joe Millen (83,55) 827 (14.0); Geet Sethi (345,272,216,163,147,146,136,99,93,86,70,65,56) 2373
(33.0) Merv Stewart 550 (7.5); Geet Sethi (321,308,256,223,222,218,204,167,153,132,
99,94,91,91,90,72,75) 3084 (67.0) Eric Worsley 286 (6.0); Geet Sethi (253,238,201,
188,146,140,126,119,94,89,80,72,69,60,57,53,52) 2612 (50.2) Peri Lilli 396 (7.5); Joe Millen
(115,87,83,70,65,61,61,61,57,55,52) 1493 (15.2) Rex Swain 502 (5.1); Joe Millen (76,64,56) 1062
(12.2) Merv Stewart (50) 603 (7.0); Joe Millen (72,61,58,52) 1191 (13.2) Eric Worsley (56) 782 (8.7);
Joe Millen (66,61) 1115 (10.2) Peri Lilli 604 (5.6); Eric Worsley (97,72,57) 1103 (8.1) Rex Swain
639 (5.5); Eric Worsley (80,58) 916 (10.2) Merv Stewart (55) 881 (9.8); Eric Worsley (61) 903 (7.0)
Peri Lilli (64) 843 (6.5); Merv Stewart (77) 1030 (8.7) Rex Swain 573 (4.8); Merv Stewart (63,54,52)
930 (9.3) Peri Lilli (61,54) 782 (7.7); Peri Lilli (72) 993 (7.4) Rex Swain 773 (5.8).
Section 2
PosPlayerCountryWonPoints Diff
1Nalin Patel *India54842
2B.Bhaskar *India41827
3Neil CroftAustralia2-398
4Tim WaltersAustralia2-742
5Derek GibbNew Zealand2-1433
6Ron MilicichNew Zealand0-4096
Photo of Nalin Patel (5k)

Nalin Patel by-passed his
National Association and was
entered directly by the WPBSA.

Nalin Patel headed Section 2 with a
consistent display which saw him
score winning totals of between 1,507
and 1,785 in all his five matches. His
best break was 350 made against the
24 year-old Australian Tim Walters.
Big breaks were the order of the day
in a high class match between Nalin
Patel and Neil Croft. In the first
session Patel made consecutive runs
of 242, 126, 104 and 192 to take the
initiative, but Croft responded in the
second session by opening his account
with a break of 319. However, Patel
would not be denied victory, finishing
off with three single centuries and a
fine break of 206 to win 1578-856.
His match average was an impressive
52.6.

Balachandra Bhaskar had dropped out of the professional circuit last
year and was therefore short of recent match-play experience. He did
little to further his chances by arriving from India on the opening day
when the long journey and jet lag were bound to further affect his game.
Nevertheless, he managed to produce a personal best break of 346 (20
minutes) in his second match, with the unfortunate Tim Walters again
the player on the receiving end. Losing only against Patel, Bhaskar´s
four wins were sufficient to see him through to the next stage as runner-
up in the group.

With the remainder of the group finishing with two wins apiece, Neil
Croft’s superior points differential gave him third place. Despite his
nine centuries and average of 17.1 overall, this still did not qualify
amongst the four best third places which would make up the last
sixteen. Nevertheless, he could be well satisfied with his performance
with his break of 319 against Patel being his first triple century in
competition.

Results
Nalin Patel (279,273,197,156,96,86,84,79,79,70) 1606 (39.2) B. Bhaskar
(148,83,77,50) 624 (15.6); Nalin Patel (242,192,126,104) 1578 (52.6) Neil Croft (94,87,54) 856
(27.6); Nalin Patel (350,243,194,94,69,62,62,58,52,51) 1726 (31.4) Tim Walters (72,52) 675 (12.5);
Nalin Patel (172,135,128,91,89,85,77,70,55,53,53,50) 1785 (23.2) Ron Milicich 554 (7.3); Nalin
Patel (221,207,105,104,82,56,54) 1507 (25.1) Derek Gibb (85) 601 (10.0); B. Bhaskar
(287,143,137,121,120,79,69,68,64) 1458 (34.7) Neil Croft (128,120,112,78,73) 1029 (24.5); B.
Bhaskar (346,96,92,85,66,58) 1411 (23.5) Tim Walters (97,86,69,63,51) 776 (12.9); B. Bhaskar
(125,105,103,94,81,73,66,63,60,57)1554 (17.5) Ron Milicich 535 (5.9); B. Bhaskar
(267,233,182,88,79) 1379 (28.1) Derek Gibb (111,76,64,58,53unf) 709 (14.8); Neil Croft
(129,119,112,82,60,55) 1367 (17.5) Ron Milicich 778 (10.0); Neil Croft (129,90,61,61) 903 (11.1)
Derek Gibb (67,57) 690 (8.6); Tim Walters (123,83,77,59) 983 (18.2) Neil Croft (147,81,58,56,56)
934 (17.0); Tim Walters (168,125,111,96,87,76,74,70) 1473 (18.2) Ron Milicich 548 (6.9); Derek
Gibb (73,62,58) 795 (12.6) Tim Walters (102,74,71,50) 765 (12.1); Derek Gibb (66,59,57,52) 887
(8.4) Ron Milicich 561 (5.3).
Section 3
PosPlayerCountryWonPoints Diff
1Ashok Shandilya *India57415
2Alok Kumar *India44086
3Frank HumphreysAustralia3-194
4Gary OliverNew Zealand2-1975
5Malcolm CookeNew Zealand1-2873
6Keith TaylorAustralia0-6459

Ashok Shandilya had been suffering from a severe cold at the start of
the tournament, but this didn’t prevent him from producing a fine break
of 464 on the second day of competition as he powered through his
match against Malcolm Cooke, winning 2295-585. Shandilya exceeded
2,200 points in three of his five games and his 464 was a personal
record. Shandilya’s previous highest break in competition being 450.
With all results going as predicted by the seeding, Shandilya and Alok
Kumar filled to top two places with Frank Humphreys’ three wins
also seeing him through. Kumar’s best break was 309 while Humphreys
managed three centuries with a best of 162.

Results
Ashok Shandilya (337,264,204,150,108,93,86,82,59) 1750 (38.0) Alok Kumar
(195,146,99,89,64) 927 (20.2); Ashok Shandilya (250,189,165,153,134,125,103,85,80,77,73,70)
1960 (47.8) Frank Humphreys (96,80,78,52,51) 759 (18.0); Ashok Shandilya
(249,247,205,192,166,144,126,97,73,71,69,63,55,55) 2201 (37.9) Gary Oliver 501 (8.5); Ashok
Shandilya (464,181,166,164,120,114,99,97,97,80,79,74,73,57,54,52) 2295 (29.8) Malcolm Cooke
(70) 554 (7.3); Ashok Shandilya (162,159,126,121,113,112,85,85,84,78,67,62,58,57,56) 2280 (25.4)
Keith Taylor 229 (3.7); Alok Kumar (211,176,110,97,71,54)1368 (22.4) Frank Humphreys (81,50)
866 (14.0); Alok Kumar (176,176,139,135,134,126,100,92,85,68,59,50) 1968 (29.4) Gary Oliver
(74) 653 (9.7); Alok Kumar (193,78,76,71,69,54,53,53)1676 (17.3) Malcolm Cooke 700 (7.2); Alok
Kumar (309,229,173,167,114,88,88,81,73,73,71,68,67,62,60,54,51) 2493 (33.7) Keith Taylor 377
(5.1); Frank Humphreys (101,84,71,68,56) 869 (13.2) Gary Oliver (63,53) 656 (9.8); Frank
Humphreys (162,78,71,65) 1160 (15.9) Malcolm Cooke (88,52,51) 737 (10.2); Frank Humphreys
(138,92,84,79,62,58,56,54) 1316 (17.1) Keith Taylor 443 (5.8); Gary Oliver (126,90,74,60,50) 1104
(12.8) Malcolm Cooke (63,53) 762 (8.9); Gary Oliver (84,79,71,59,58,52) 1437 (13.6) Keith Taylor
526 (5.0); Malcolm Cooke (67,53,50,50) 1314 (9.3) Keith Taylor 736 (5.2).
Section 4
PosPlayerCountryWonPoints Diff
1Dhruv SitwalaIndia53396
2Joe MiniciAustralia4568
3Devendra Joshi *India34841
4John HartleyEngland2-2258
5Joe IfaNew Zealand1-2075
6Ray HabgoodNew Zealand0-4472
Photo of Dhruv Sitwala (4k)

The form of Dhruv Sitwala was the
surprise of the Championship.

Dhruv Sitwala was the surprise
package of the championship, as he
rose to the occasion with some great
play to go through the group
undefeated. He made four double-
centuries with a best of 295 (made
against Ray Habgood) falling
tantalisingly short of his first triple-
century. Having a previous top break
of 236 in competition, this
represented a personal best
performance.

Top seed, Devendra Joshi, had started
the tournament well, putting together
breaks of 330 and 234 on the opening
day in his 2030-577 win over Joe Ifa.
He improved on this the following day
when he knocked in a run of 456 at his

second visit against Ray Habgood. He won this match 2454-701, but
left complaining that this efforts had given him an aching back!
From this point, his fortunes took a turn for the worse. In his key
match against Sitwala he started well enough, making back-to-back
contributions of 236 and 204 to establish an advantage of almost two
hundred points at the interval. Not deterred, Sitwala fought back strongly
in the last two hours to edge an excellent victory by 68 points.
The following day, Joshi again suffered a shock defeat against Joe
Minici. This time Joshi was 262 points in front at the interval, but
breaks of 285 and 243 by Minici gave him the lead, and he clung on to
win by 101 points. Both players averaged over thirty for the match,
and although Joshi was relegated to third place in the group behind
Sitwala and Minici, he still qualified for the knock-out stages as one of
the best third placed players.

Joe Minici had cut things fine when he turned up one minute before the
scheduled start of his match against Ray Habgood, the pair having to
string after the other tables had commenced play. Thereafter, however,
Minici had things all his own way and untroubled by his last minute
rush to the venue, finished a 1155-644 winner.

John Hartley finished his involvement in the competition on a high
note, with victories over Ray Habgood and Joe Ifa securing fourth
place in the group. Against Ifa he advanced his personal best match
break by three points with a run of 109. Not content with merely
watching the closing stages, and with typical enterprise, he managed to
secure a position with Ace Video Service as a commentator alongside
Michael Ferreira, who was attending the championship as manager of
the Indian squad. The video company had been engaged by the local
Canterbury B&S Association to record not only the final stages, but
also produce 30 minute recordings of each player during the group
stages, with the tapes being presented to them as a souvenir.

Results
Dhruv Sitwala (130,125,109,107,105,99,72,52,51) 1269 (31.0) Devendra
Joshi (236,204,104,76,73,60,54,52,51,51) 1201 (28.6); Dhruv Sitwala (187,118,97,95,
90,77,70,70,52) 1358 (25.6) Joe Minici (179,93,86,53) 831 (16.0); Dhruv Sitwala
(205,98,98,92,64,54) 1409 (15.7) John Hartley (95) 571 (6.1); Dhruv Sitwala (295,166,147,129,
114,100,85,84,83,77,53,53) 1697 (26.1) Ray Habgood (58) 456 (6.9); Dhruv Sitwala
(111,70,69,68,64,62,62,50) 1292 (16.0) Joe Ifa (59,51) 570 (7.1); Joe Minici (285,243,82,
72,61,56,52) 1367 (34.1) Devendra Joshi (201,147,127,113,108,94,61) 1265 (32.4); Joe Minici
(157,110,68,54,54,50) 1250 (14.4) John Hartley (76,71,58,50) 966 (11.2); Joe Minici (130, 110).
1155 (10.1) Ray Habgood 644 (5.6); Joe Minici (131,121,72,56) 1052 (12.8) Joe Ifa (55) 854 (10.3);
Devendra Joshi (241,238,233,203,135,128,117,113,100,78,76,58,56,52,51) 2174 (37.5) John
Hartley (70) 715 (12.3); Devendra Joshi (456,286,244,208,121,101,89,83,78,71,62,61) 2454 (37.2)
Ray Habgood 355 5.5); Devendra Joshi (330,256,234,151,146,142,141,99,76) 2030 (29.9) Joe Ifa
577 (9.2); John Hartley (88,79,58) 934 (9.3) Ray Habgood 701 (6.9); John Hartley (109) 907 (12.8)
Joe Ifa (63,61) 817 (11.3); Joe Ifa (72,70,63) 948 (9.9) Ray Habgood 560 (5.7).
Section 5
PosPlayerCountryWonPoints Diff
1Matthew BoltonAustralia54699
2Manoj Kothari *India41820
4Vishal MadanIndia3-313
3Peter deGrootNew Zealand2-1833
5Gus TempletonNew Zealand1-1412
6Tony StephensNew Zealand0-2961
Photo of  (4k)

Matthew Bolton: in dispute with the
Australian officials.

As expected, Matthew Bolton
finished undefeated in Section 5 his
closest match being against the 19
year-old Indian, Vishal Madan.
Although he won this 1448-713, late
breaks of 310 and 204 made the
winning margin more impressive that
it might otherwise have been. Bolton
also made a triple century (304)
against Manoj Kothari and four more
double centuries in his group
matches.
Kothari, losing only to Bolton, was
runner-up and Madan also went into
the draw for the last sixteen with his
three wins having secured one of the
best third places.

Photo of Vishal Madan (5k)

At 19 years old Vishal Madan was
the youngest competitor.

In between their respective group matches, there was a heated encounter
between the two Australian representatives, Matthew Bolton and Rex
Swain. Bolton was unhappy that he had still not been reimbursed his
winnings from last year’s IBSF Championship, blaming this on Swain
in his capacity of Australian B&SC President. By way of response,
Swain challenged the entry of Bolton to the current Championship, his
Western Australian Association apparently being in default of their
annual subscription to the National Council. The row was eventually
ended by Tournament Director Alan Parris, who threatened to disqualify
both players.

Results
Matthew Bolton (304,183,172,170,120,120,104,59,55) 1670 (32.7) Manoj
Kothari (143,99,83,76,62,50) 906 (17.4); Matthew Bolton (193,168,148,123,85,72,67,59,50) 1702
(26.2) Peter de Groot (74,67) 733 (11.1); Matthew Bolton (310,204,138,123,113,63,54,54) 1448
(30.8) Vishal Madan (88,55,51,50) 713 (15.5); Matthew Bolton (133,103,82,73,72,68,64,62,59,57,55)
1510 (16.2) Gus Templeton 638 (6.8); Matthew Bolton (254,233,211,110,79,74,62,57,57,53) 1832
(29.5) Tony Stephens 473 (7.8); Manoj Kothari (220,135,112,108,84,78,71,59,54,52) 1724 (26.9)
Peter de Groot (54,51) 788 (12.3); Manoj Kothari (118,78,75,71,70,57,56,50) 1275 (16.8) Vishal
Madan (78,64) 813 (10.8); Manoj Kothari (94,79,73,64,59) 1123 (11.1) Gus Templeton (81) 866
(8.4); Manoj Kothari (127,83,88,58,58,56,55,95unf) 1636 (20.7) Tony Stephens 707 (8.9); Vishal
Madan (118,83,60,59,59) 1084 (13.4) Peter de Groot (65,57,55) 685 (8.4); Vishal Madan (97,79,56)
1071 (11.5) Gus Templeton 587 (6.3); Vishal Madan (130,105,62) 1036 (11.3) Tony Stephens (59)
735 (8.1); Peter de Groot (56) 964 (9.7) Gus Templeton (65,50) 845 (8.5); Peter de Groot
(80,69,63,62,56) 1087 (13.9) Tony Stephens (51) 735 (9.4); Gus Templeton 830 (8.5) Tony Stephens
(61,57,56) 810 (8.4).
Section 6
PosPlayerCountryWonPoints Diff
1Paul MifsudMalta55223
2Arun Agarwal *India3866
3Paul StockerNew Zealand3721
4Wayne CareyNew Zealand3-634
5John McKayAustralia1-2753
6Brian MouldayAustralia0-3423

Paul Mifsud was not quite the oldest competitor, that distinction going
to Merv Stewart who was 73. Nevertheless the 55 year-old Maltese
was certainly the most experienced having made his first International
appearance in the 1969 World Amateur Championship, subsequently
winning the event in 1979.

Demonstrating that he is still capable of producing plenty of good
billiards, Mifsud carried all before him in this group, winning all five of
his matches with ease. His performance was highlighted by a fine break
of 358 against John McKay and he also knocked in four more double
centuries in his other matches.

Wayne Carey, consistently the most successful New Zealand player in
recent years produced the closest finish in any of the group matches
when he edged out Arun Agarwal by a mere six points. Carey, aided by

a break of 104, led 469-419 at the interval and the match remained close
throughout. In an exciting finish, Carey held on to win 882-876.
Carey’s victory meant that he finished in a tie for the minor placings
with Agarwal and Paul Stocker. However, Agarwal’s superior points
difference gave him the runner-up spot, with Stocker edging out Carey
for third. His results also being sufficient to take him though to the
closing stages.

Results
Paul Mifsud (281,189,152,110,100,69,59) 1506 (27.9) Arun Agarwal
(79,78,74,74,69,54,53) 949 (17.6); Paul Mifsud (293,252,124,104,76,75,68,53,52,51) 1888 (25.2)
Paul Stocker 703 (9.4); Paul Mifsud (220,147,130,111,104,103,92,89,78,75,69,68,67,63,57) 1883
(36.9) Wayne Carey (61,51) 736 (14.2); Paul Mifsud (358,131,119,99,90,67,59) 1737 (19.1) John
McKay 602 (6.7); Paul Mifsud (160,103,95,89,74,74,73,63,57,50,50) 1746 (16.6) Brian Moulday
546 (4.8); Arun Agarwal (82,59,50) 1009 (9.0) Paul Stocker (56) 808 (7.2); Arun Agarwal (98,75)
1245 (9.7) John McKay 631 (4.9); Arun Agarwal (134,112,56,52,50) 1282 (12.2) Brian Moulday
(96) 668 (6.4); Paul Stocker (83,81,55) 988 (13.5) Wayne Carey (53) 708 (9.8); Paul Stocker
(88,86,80,77,64,63) 1371 (15.1) John McKay (55,53) 619 (6.9); Paul Stocker
(113,107,91,80,77,59,56,55,55,55) 1546 (18.2) Brian Moulday 471 (5.6); Wayne Carey (104,56)
882 (11.3) Arun Agarwal (109,74,51,51,51) 876 (11.3); Wayne Carey (120,93,78,61) 1091 (12.0)
John McKay 561 (6.2); Wayne Carey (78) 1040 (9.7) Brian Moulday (50) 783 (7.3); John McKay
971 (7.0) Brian Moulday 693 (5.0).
Last 16
Geet Sethi
246, 160, 125, 123, 117, 88, 70, 69, 65, 62, 61, 55
1649 (23.2)Paul Stocker
62, 52
816 (11.7)
Alok Kumar
318, 273, 128, 126, 103, 77, 67, 61
1547 (32.2)Joe Minici
175, 98, 64, 60, 60, 53, 52
1003 (20.9)
Matthew Bolton
329, 230, 176, 120, 113, 110, 109, 72, 65, 60, 52
1785 (26.3)Arun Agarwal
61, 54
791 (16.5)
Devendra Joshi
540, 233, 171, 165, 118, 116, 70, 69, 60
1931 (53.6)Nalin Patel
401, 83, 67, 54
983 (27.3)
Paul Mifsud
184, 181, 143, 126, 122, 109, 103, 103, 89, 53, 53, 51
1687 (32.4)Vishal Madan
108, 77, 68, 67
757 (14.6)
Dhruv Sitwala
463, 212, 190, 170, 144, 141, 107, 60
1829 (44.6)Joe Millen
58, 51
555 (13.5)
B. Bhaskar
244, 211, 189, 157, 136, 124, 93, 78, 73, 69, 55
1762 (30.9)Manoj Kothari
94, 67, 59, 53
827 (14.5)
Ashok Shandilya
296, 264, 204, 167, 145, 112, 96, 91, 75, 65
1708 (37.1)Frank Humphreys
158, 68, 66, 57
732 (15.6)

The draw for the last 16 was reseeded, the positions being determined
by the number of matches won, and where these were level, the points
differential. The IBSF regulation requiring that the winner and runner-
up in a group be in the opposite half of the draw was then applied, so
that the performance of the players did not entirely decide their seeding.
Geet Sethi, after his fine performances in the group stages, struggled to
reproduce this form against Paul Stocker. However, Stocker was unable
to capitalise on Sethi’s many unforced errors allowing the Indian to
cruise into the quarter-finals.

Alok Kumar couldn’t have started his
match against Joe Minici any better, a
break of 318 being his first scoring
visit. Ending the first session with a
contribution of 273 he was over 500
ahead at the interval and could afford
to ease back a little in the second half
of the match. Minici matched the
scoring of Kumar in this period, but
could make no overall impression on
this deficit.

Photo of Arun Agarwal (6k)

Arun Agarwal’s return to
International competition was
ended by Matthew Bolton.

Matthew Bolton and Arun Agarwal
started their match with a protracted
spell of tactical play, which apart from
isolated breaks of 176 and 113 from
Bolton, barely saw a contribution in
double figures from either player.
Towards the end of the first session,
Bolton again capitalised on an opening
to add 329 which put him firmly in
control. Playing more productively in
the second session, the Australian
No.1 added a break of 230 and three
more centuries to win by almost a
thousand points.

Nalin Patel would have liked nothing
better than to defeat the current Indian
National Champion, Devendra Joshi,
his current dispute with the Indian
Association debarring him from
entering that particular competition.
However, it was Joshi who started
the better, a break of 171 coming at
his second visit. Adding a contribution
of 233 and concluding the first session
with runs of 70, 118 and 165, he was
almost 700 points in front after two

hours. Patel, who had not recorded a century in this period, hit back
with a massive break of 401 shortly after the resumption to put him
back in the match. But his hopes where then quenched as Joshi settled
the match with breaks of 116 and a terrific 540.

Dhruv Sitwala has been playing billiards for only eight years, but his
performances in this Championship had the Indian newspapers taking
of him as a successor to all-time greats produced by that country,
Wilson Jones, Michael Ferreira and Geet Sethi. In his match against Joe
Millen, he again extended his personal best match break to 463, totally
overwhelming his Australian opponent.

Vishal Madan managed to hold onto Paul Mifsud during their early
exchanges, but a break of 184 from the Maltese Champion opened a
gap that would never be closed. The final session of their match saw
Mifsud open up and fluently produce six centuries to complete a
comfortable win.

Bhaskar and Ashok Shandilya made up the quarter-final draw, Shandilya
in particular looking impressive as he made three double-centuries
against Frank Humphreys.

Quarter-finals
Geet Sethi
515, 248, 120, 110, 103, 87, 83
1735 (39.4)Alok Kumar
119, 108, 73, 62, 52
943 (22.5)
Devendra Joshi
505, 296, 282, 229, 88, 78
1584 (72.0)Matthew Bolton
271, 252, 195, 131, 68, 68, 66, 52
1227 (58.4)
Paul Mifsud
151, 151, 148, 137, 122, 118, 76, 70, 59
1527 (27.8)Dhruv Sitwala
107, 105, 94, 75, 64
1035 (18.8)
Ashok Shandilya
216, 192, 159, 154, 146, 133, 118, 95, 93, 91, 60, 51
1887 (27.8)B. Bhaskar
140, 86, 67, 62
791 (11.3)

Geet Sethi struggled to find his touch over the first session of the match
but Alok Kumar was unable to capitalise on his openings, appearing to
be very nervous, and Sethi finished the session ahead 711-342. Shortly
after the start of the second period, Sethi produced a massive break of
515 which ended the match as a serious contest. With Kumar becoming
clearly disheartened, a further run of 248 by Sethi was of academic
interest.

Devendra Joshi made his intentions known at an early stage of his
match against Matthew Bolton, when at his second visit to the table,

he put together a break of 505.
Showing incredible resolve, Bolton
replied immediately with 271 and
when Joshi missed the next shot to
give the Australian another good
opening, he fired in 252. An 88 by
Joshi was cancelled by 145 from
Bolton and suddenly, after seven visits
and only a few minutes left in the
session, Joshi was facing a 50 point
deficit. Both players averaged over
80 for this session, and it would
require a long search or the record
books to find the last time a player
had made a 500+ break and found
himself trailing after two hours. But
perhaps this effort had taken
something out of Bolton as he was
unable to respond in the second half
of the match as Joshi put together
runs of 296, 229, and 282 to lead 1557-
906. Although Bolton subsequently
made some inroads with useful
contributions in his final visits, he
never looked like catching the Indian
Champion, finishing 357 points adrift.
Almost twice the age of his 28 year-
old opponent from Mumbai, Paul
Mifsud applied his greater experience
to draw steadily ahead of Dhruv
Sitwala. Mifsud established a lead of
268 at the end of the first session,
with three centuries, and with a repeat
performance after the interval,
eventually ended the hopes of India’s
newest prospect by a margin 492
points.

Bhaskar started his match against Shandilya by racing into the lead
with a break of 140, but this proved to be the high point of his challenge
as Shandilya struck back with breaks of 159, 154, 216 and 133 to lead
785-338 after two hours. Thereafter, the match became something of a
procession, Shandilya winning easily 1887-791.

Semi-finals
Geet Sethi
551, 300, 171, 146, 104, 97, 57
1529 (80.5)Devendra Joshi
444, 278, 168, 55
1063 (55.9)
Ashok Shandilya
254, 183, 178, 114, 100, 98, 92, 89, 74, 69, 60, 58, 58, 50
1797 (35.9)Paul Mifsud
213, 98, 72, 60, 52
873 (17.1)
Photo of  (6k)

Indian Champion Devendra Joshi
brought out the best in Geet Sethi
during their semi-final clash.
Photo of  (4k)

Paul Mifsud has been a World
Championship player since 1969.

The clash between Geet Sethi and Devendra Joshi proved to be a
memorable encounter. First session breaks of 57,146, 300 and 104
from Sethi were countered by runs of 55, 278 and 226 unfinished from
Joshi. He carried this break on to 444, giving him the advantage 847-
655. Sethi re-took the lead with a 97 and a 171, but Joshi showed no
signs of pressure, and a break of 168 put him 105 ahead with 50
minutes remaining. It was then that the four times World Professional
Champion moved into a different gear, and for the next 37 minutes he
held to table to make the highest break of the competition so far, with
a magnificent effort of 551. The break featured a series of superb
recovery shots just after Sethi had passed the second century, which
brought gasps of appreciation from the audience. When he eventually
missed a fine cannon Joshi was left with no hope of recovery. Respective
match averages of 80.5 and 55.9 reflect the high standard of play in this
match.

Ashok Shandilya had a relatively easy passage against Paul Mifsud,
who struggled throughout the game to find the form he displayed in

earlier matches. Shandilya made three centuries in the first session to
lead 880-328, while Mifsud could only contribute runs of 52 and 98. In
the second session, Mifsud picked up his game to produce a fine break
of 213, but Shandilya immediately replied with a 254 and from this
point Mifsud was never in contention again. He added breaks of 72 and
60, but could not keep up with Shandilya who knocked in another
century and five more 50+ breaks to give him a comfortable 1797-873
win.

Final (6 hrs)
Geet Sethi
856, 636, 349, 301, 205, 185, 144, 133, 127, 121, 78, 66, 61
3484 (77.4)Ashok Shandilya
333, 136, 128, 82, 68, 56, 56
1289 (29.3)
Photo of Ashok Shandilya (6k)

Ashok Shandilya made a
personal record break of 464 on
his way to the final.

Sethi rounded off the championship with a performance worthy of the
occasion. Opening with breaks of 61, 121, 349 and 144, another run of

236 unfinished established a lead of
700 points at the first interval. He
took his unfinished break to a massive
856 on the resumption, and then sealed
the match with another great run of
636, an almost incidental 78 and an
unfinished contribution of 150. His
second session average of 248.3 was a
record under the rules used on this
occasion, and a magnificent
performance under any circumstances.

Shandilya also contributed to this
session with a fine break of 333 which
helped him to an average of 69.3 for
the session. Not surprisingly, Sethi
admitted to feeling “drained” as he
returned for the last 2-hours of the
match, but he still managed to carry
his unfinished break to 301, and
following this almost immediately

with a 133 took his lead to over 2,000 points. Both players finished the
match in style, Sethi with runs of 185, 205 and 127, to which Shandilya
replied with 136, 128 and 82. Sethi completed a conclusive victory by
2,195 points although Shandilya with a match average of 29.3 was far
from disgraced against a resurgent Sethi whose performance was the
best he has produced for several years.

Photo of Geet Sethi (10k)

Geet Sethi added the IBSF “Open” to his
collection of World titles.

Sethi had collected the Arthur Walker Trophy on two previous occasions,
1985 and 1987, when this trophy had been allocated to the World

Amateur Championship. He
would also have collected it
for the first time as a
professional had the IBSF
managed to arrange the
shipment to New Zealand in
time. As it was, he had to be
content with a trophy
generously purchased for the
occasion by the New Zealand
Association, while the
symbol of the IBSF Billiards
Championship sat in the
Christchurch Customs
Offices.

Having failed the one task
entrusted to them, it is
fortunate that the remainder
of the arrangements were in
the capable hands of the New
Zealand B&S Association.
Their organisation throughout

the event received universal praise from all involved and the standard of
play bears testament to the excellent playing conditions provided.
Crowds in excess of 200 people were in attendance during the final
stages and additional seating had to be installed to accommodate them.
Exposure was given on local television, and in general, the contrast to
the shambles of the previous championship in Middlesbrough could
hardly have been greater.

The Arthur Walker trophy was eventually released from Customs
three days after the competition finished and Tournament Director
Alan Parris managed to make a belated presentation to the Champion at
Christchurch Airport just before Sethi boarded his flight back to India.


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