English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : Spring 2002

The Amateur Billiard Player : Spring 2002

ENGLISH AMATEUR BILLIARDS CHAMPIONSHIP

Final Stages – Whitworth Institute, Darley Dale

Sunday 3rd March & 16th – 17th March 2002

Lee Lagan marked the end of his Amateur career by retaining the
English Championship title on Sunday 17th March. Lagan has
already had his application for professional status accepted by
the WBA and intends to make his debut in the World Championship
which will commence a month after his showing at Darley Dale. On
the evidence of his performances throughout the Amateur
Championship, he can be expected to make an immediate
impression.

Lagan’s improvement this season has been nothing short of
amazing. From a highest competitive break of “only” 366 which he
made at the start of last season, it is now something of a
disappointment if he doesn’t reach the triple century in every
match! He has been practising intensely with David Causier at the
local Ironopolis club in Middlesbrough, and holding his own
against such an impressive opponent has given him real confidence
in his own abilities.

Last 32

Playing in the last 32 qualifying group at Bradford, Lagan
produced a performance which has never been equalled in the
Championship. In the first of his three 90 minutes games he
fashioned a string of big breaks to secure a 793-210 victory over
Ronnie Haigh, including runs of 196 and 183. Warming to his task,
in his next game he unleashed a sequence of 301 (23 minutes), 507
(32 minutes) and 68 to beat Paul Dunning 980-159 with a match
average of 89.1 After a 30 minute intermission he moved to his
third different table and opponent, to finish the day with
another massive break of 508, defeating Alan Edmonds, son of
ex-World Professional Champion Ray Edmonds. Additional
contributions of 93, 175 and 122 unfinished by Lagan helped to
produce a final score of 989-243 in this match and an average of
76.1 Edmonds was heard to comment as he left the table after the
match “It was a privilege to watch”. This feeling was undoubtedly
shared by all those fortunate enough to have been at Bradford
that day.

Although Lagan’s 508 fell short of the 566 made by Chris Shutt in
the final of the 1996 Amateur Championship, the achievement of
making a 500+ break in two consecutive sessions has never been
bettered by any of the great Amateur Champions who have gone
before him.

The other Group at Bradford was reduced to three
players when Neal Rewhorn failed to appear and Phil Davis
produced a sound performance to go through undefeated with David
Rees taking the remaining place by defeating Teesside’s Michael
Donnelly.

Cuedos, Bradford

Group A:
Lee Lagan
196,183,74,70,56,53
793 Ronnie Haigh
210 
Lee Lagan
507,301,68
980 Paul Dunning
159 
Lee Lagan
508,175,93,112unf
889 Alan Edmonds
80
243 
Paul Dunning
75
375 Alan Edmonds
53
284 
Paul Dunning
50
429 Ronnie Haigh
268 
Ronnie Haigh
74,53
374 Alan Edmonds
53
354 
Group B:
Phil Davis
80
370 Michael Donnelly
171 
Phil Davis
253 David Rees
232 
David Rees
67,62
471 Michael Donnelly
216 
Neal Rewhorn
scr   
Qualifiers: Lee Lagan, Phil Davis (Group winners) Paul Dunning and David Rees.

The qualifying groups at Lincoln produced a surprise when last
year’s finalist, Darren Kell, failed to progress any further in
the competition. Finding Peter Shelley in top form, he lost his
first match by almost 200 points despite making the top break of
the match with 120. This result proved to be crucial. With
Shelley unable to maintain the same standard against Matthew
Sutton, his loss in this match set up a three-way tie for the
group with Shelley and Sutton going through on points difference.

Dave Nichols, who has also expressed his intention to turn
professional after the English Championship, produced a solid
performance to go through Group B undefeated. David Burgess also
looked good, failing only against Nichols and going through as
runner-up.

Breaks SC, Lincoln

Group A:
Peter Shelley
77
471 Terry Azor
59
353 
Peter Shelley
115,82,74,57
514 Darren Kell
120
330 
Matthew Sutton
90,54
330 Terry Azor
163 
Matthew Sutton
56,54
330 Peter Shelley
66
243 
Darren Kell
99,81,56,56,50
585 Terry Azor
259 
Darren Kell
70,62,59,54
346 Matthew Sutton
59
314 
Group B:
Dave Nichols
510 John Ingleby
314 
Dave Nichols
90,81,72,69
538 Mohammed Shaq
58
347 
Dave Nichols
106,90,59,56,52,52
562 David Burgess
56,52
342 
David Burgess
58,55,52
542 John Ingleby
159 
David Burgess
92,75,53,51
598 Mohammed Shaq
275 
Mohammed Shaq
63,51
342 John Ingleby
322 

We erroneously reported in the last issue that Stephen Kershaw
qualified for the last 32 draw as one of the best runners-up in
the Yorkshire region. In fact this position was taken by Branson
Hoole who went forward to compete successfully in the groups at
Pockets in Kidderminster. He was involved in a three-way tie in
his group, going through on aggregate score along with Stephen
Crosland. The unlucky player to miss out was Geoff Lingard.

In the second group, Brian Harvey came through undefeated while
Bob Patterson edged out Tony James to take the second qualifying
spot. In their deciding heat, Patterson had won by just seven
points!

Pockets, Kidderminster.

Group A:
Stephen Crosland
90,84,58
545 Chris Ross
54
315 
Stephen Crosland
415 Geoff Lingard
324 
Branson Hoole
388 Stephen Crosland
328 
Branson Hoole
66
472 Chris Ross
264 
Geoff Lingard
64
414 Chris Ross
281 
Geoff Lingard
52
421 Branson Hoole
314 
Group B:
Brian Harvey
86
449 Tony James
279 
Brian Harvey
409 Bob Patterson
52
307 
Brian Harvey
54
483 Chris Mitchell
62
420 
Bob Patterson
99,69,56
500 Chris Mitchell
56
309 
Bob Patterson
319 Tony James
312 
Tony James
384 Chris Mitchell
54,52
342 
Qualifiers: Stephen Crosland, Brian Harvey, Branson Hoole, Bob Patterson.

Steve Brookshaw had the highest break of the day at Nuneaton with
a run of 115 in his first match against Dennis Marr, but he could
not sustain his bright start, subsequently losing to Phil Welham
and Robin Wilson, who progressed as group winner and runner-up
respectively. Wilson made the only other century of the day with
109.

Richard Lodge was undefeated in Group B albeit scraping a narrow
seven point victory over Jim McCann who qualified as runner-up.
This being his only loss.

Atack SC, Nuneaton

Group A:
Phil Welham
59,56,51
402 Robin Wilson
51
363 
Phil Welham
90,58
481 Dennis Marr
279 
Phil Welham
79,68,57
491 Steve Brookshaw
302 
Robin Wilson
109,54
567 Steve Brookshaw
379 
Robin Wilson
66
412 Dennis Marr
68
358 
Steve Brookshaw
115, 56
460 Dennis Marr
239 
Group B:
Richard Lodge
509 Keith Lloyd
225 
Richard Lodge
61unf
321 Jim McCann
314 
Richard Lodge
68
374 Colin Summers
259 
Jim McCann
50
415 Keith Lloyd
229 
Jim McCann
515 Colin Summers
251 
Keith Lloyd
291 Colin Summers
287 
Qualifiers: Phil Welham, Richard Lodge, Robin Wilson, Jim McCann.

Last 16 (4 hrs)

NE Derbyshire SC, Clay Cross

The last sixteen competitors moved to a straight knock-out
competition with four-hour matches, this round being held at the
North-East Derbyshire SC, Clay Cross on Saturday 2nd March.

Matthew Sutton probably produced the biggest shock of the day
when he defeated Robin Wilson. These two players may still only
be in their teens, but they have already established a
long-standing rivalry in their contests for Junior titles. Wilson
started as a strong favourite, based mainly on his brilliant
showing in the event last year, but it was Sutton who rose to the
occasion and with four centuries edged out the current Under-19
Champion by just 85 points.

Lee Lagan eased past Richard Lodge with a triple century break
(375) and three other centuries, also putting up the best
four-hour aggregate of the round with 1769. Although some
distance behind, Lodge’s total of 987 was still the highest
losing score of the day.

Jim McCann, who has been having a great season this year managed
to achieve the ambition of playing on home turf for the first
time since the closing stages were moved to the Whitworth
Institute in Daley Dale. He overcame Paul Dunning, who has also
been showing good recent form, by 1009-608.

Dave Burgess
55, 54
1284 David Rees
58
859 
Stephen Crosland
158, 116, 116, 102, 72, 70, 60, 59, 55
1476 Brian Harvey
63, 61
876 
Phil Welham
106, 77, 76, 74, 71, 64
1129 Phil Davis
85
655 
Matthew Sutton
132, 104, 102, 101, 82, 66, 65, 54
1022 Robin Wilson
74, 72, 66, 65, 56, 53
937 
Lee Lagan
375, 161, 151, 125, 86, 78, 77, 60, 55, 55
1769 Richard Lodge
116, 79, 68, 60
987 
Jim McCann
102, 73, 61
1009 Paul Dunning
68
608 
Peter Shelley
94, 79, 78, 75, 64, 56, 55, 54, 51
1643 Branson Hoole
57
825 
Dave Nichols
105, 99, 62, 59
1216 Bob Patterson
59, 55, 53
875 

Quarter-finals (4 hrs)

Whitworth Institute, Darley Dale

McCann’s delight at being able to display his skills at his home
club was tempered by being drawn against the formidable Lee Lagan
in the quarter-finals. In an awesome display of scoring power,
Lagan put together no less than three double-centuries and five
further “tons” in a huge four-hour total of 2,183.

Stephen Crosland had a great tussle with David Burgess, a string
of useful contributions seeing him through by 1275-992. Burgess,
who has been impressive on his return to the Amateur circuit,
must be numbered amongst the players with a realistic chance of
taking the title next season.

Dave Nichols also did well to overcome Peter Shelley by 230
points. His consistency seeing him through against the bigger
breaks of Shelley. In the remaining quarter-final Philip Welham
edged out Matthew Sutton in a slow-paced match.

Lee Lagan
293, 270, 265, 173, 168, 123, 114, 106, 94, 53, 51
2183 Jim McCann
57
560 
Stephen Crosland
83, 74, 73, 72, 71, 68, 56, 53
1275 Dave Burgess
97, 71, 70, 67
992 
Dave Nichols
96, 90, 61, 51
1194 Peter Shelley
115, 112, 76, 72, 65
964 
Phil Welham
61, 55
806 Matthew Sutton
74, 54
720 

Semi-Finals (4 hrs)

Photo of Stephen Crosland, Lee Lagan, Eric Grafton (17k)

Stephen Crosland and Lee Lagan pose with match referee Eric Gratton (far left)
who is holding the Silver Challenge Cup which
has been associated with the Championship since 1911 and is now presented to
the runner-up. Tournament Director, Clive Scott
displays the Herbert Beetham Trophy.

Lagan, despite hitting 51 with his first scoring visit, was
unusually subdued for the early part of his semi-final match
against Dave Nichols. After an hour he was trailing by almost 200
points at 360-176. Shortly after this however, he surged ahead
with a fine break of 286 and playing out the session with 303
unfinished, went into the interval leading 915-462. Having left
himself in perfect position at the top, there was speculation
that he might improve on his competition high break of 508.
However he could add just three more points on his return,
missing a regulation pot red from it’s spot. However, his lead
now looked unassailable and he was content to cruise until 45
minutes into the session when consecutive contributions of 79 and
95 from Nichols stung him into action again. He immediately
replied with 120, and then adding runs of 267, 106 and 99 in the
space of five visits, put the match well beyond reach at
1701-825. He maintained this advantage to the final bell with the
eventual winning margin being a comfortable 903 points.

Stephen Crosland soon took charge of his semi-final against the
2000 Champion, Phil Welham. At the interval he was leading
628-397 but shortly after the resumption Welham managed to close
to within 150 points. However, he could get no closer. With 30
minutes remaining, Crosland had restored his lead to around 200
points and then put together a decisive run of 82. After this,
Welham seemed to concede the struggle and the remainder of the
match was a formality. Crosland winning 1273-851.

Lee Lagan
306, 286, 267, 120, 106, 99, 89, 51, 51
1853 (29.4)Dave Nichols
95, 83, 79, 75, 54
950 (15.3)
Stephen Crosland
125, 92, 86, 82, 67, 62, 60, 57
1273 (15.0)Phil Welham
92, 55, 50
851 (9.9)

Final (4 hrs)

Photo of Alf Nolan presents the trophy (10k)

EABA President, Alf Nolan, presents Lee
Lagan with his trophy and winner’s cheque
after the final at Darley Dale. This was Lagan’s
third win in the last four years. He has not been
beaten in the competition since 1998, having
forfeited his chance in 2000 due to late arrival
for a match.

The last match of the competition proved to be Lagan’s toughest
test, against Stephen Crosland, the reigning English Grand
Masters Champion. Despite having been on the receiving end of
some of Lagan’s better performances during the course of the
current season, Crosland was evidently approaching the match with
every intention of taking home the winner’s trophy. This was
Crosland’s second appearance in the final of the premier event,
the previous occasion having been eleven years ago when he was
defeated by another Teessider, Martin Goodwill.

Lagan’s second
scoring visit produced 113, but Crosland immediately countered
with 85 and thereafter the match progressed with the scores
neck-and-neck. It was only at the very end of the first session
that Lagan, with breaks of 83 and 185 opened up a significant
gap.

After two hours Crosland was still in touch, although
trailing by 116 points at 655-539. Even so, few people would have
given him a chance against the hot favourite, especially when
Lagan opened the second session with runs of 45 and 181 with his
first two visits to extend his lead to over 300 points. But
Crosland maintained his self-belief and with a spell which saw
him add contributions of 67, 75, 42, 136 and 67 in the space of
six visits, he had pulled up to less than fifty points behind
Lagan. By this time everyone in the room believed he could
achieve the unthinkable. With his growing confidence reflected in
the fluency of his play, Crosland edged even closer to Lagan and
with less than 30 minutes remaining was just 36 points behind the
Champion. At this stage Lagan demonstrated just why he carries
that title by playing out most of the remaining time with a
tremendous break of 328, the highest of the match. When he
eventually finished, Crosland was in a hopeless position with
just five minutes of the game remaining. Lagan averaged 32.9 for
his second session and 26.3 for the match. Crosland finished with
a creditable match average of 20.4 and can certainly be proud of
his fighting performance on the day.

Lee Lagan
328, 185, 181, 120, 113, 83
1445 (26.3)Stephen Crosland
136, 85, 75, 67, 67
1102 (20.4)

The prize money for the event had been reduced this year, which
was the first Championship to be held since the EABA separated
from WPBSA affiliation and it’s associated funding. Lagan
collected £200 for his win. An additional £25 for his high break
of 508 made in the qualifying matches seems scant reward for such
a magnificent achievement. With Lagan’s departure for the
professional ranks, there is no doubt that next year’s
championship will be the most open seen for many years.


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