English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : Spring 2002

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EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : Spring 2002<br />

The Amateur Billiard Player : Spring 2002

WORLD MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP

The Centurion Hotel, Midsomer Norton, Radstock

26th February - 2nd March 2002


The Players

England

Roxton Chapman 
Mike Russell	
Peter Gilchrist	
Paul Bennett	
Mark Hirst  
Peter Sheehan
David Causier
Clive Everton
Gary Rogers
Chris Shutt
Ian Williamson
Brian Dix  

India

Devendra Joshi
Geet Sethi
Manoj Kothari
Dhruv Sitwala
Alok Kumar
Nalin Patel

Chris Shutt won his first professional ranking tournament when he defeated Roxton Chapman to take the World Matchplay
Championship at Midsomer Norton on Friday 2nd March. Shutt, who
was last year's runner-up in this tournament, also made the highest
break with 526.

The £25,000 event attracted 18 WBA members, twelve from England
and the remainder travelling from India. With just one tournament to
justify the long journey, there were a number of significant absentees
from the overseas contingent. These included the newly crowned Indian
Champion Ashok Shandilya (see report page 15), and Australian
professional champion, Robby Foldvari. It was the first time that
Foldvari had missed a professional billiards tournament since he was
elected to membership of the WPBSA in 1984. Recently married and
having taken a new position as Head of Business Studies at a College in
Melbourne, he now finds himself with new commitments. He said, "It
is a long way to come for one tournament, it's not the same adventure as
it used to be".

Preliminary Round (2 hrs)

Gary Rogers
53
352 (8.8)Clive Everton
239 (5.8)
Dhruv Sitwala
75,63,51,51
585 (12.2)Brian Dix
308 (6.3)
Mark Hirst
w/o  Ashot Potikyan
scr.  

The Russian based Armenian, Ashot Potikyan, had intended to make a
return to the professional circuit, but was regrettably stricken with
bronchitis and detained in a Moscow hospital, giving a bye to Mark
Hirst in the preliminary round. In the matches which were played,
Gary Rogers recorded his first win on the professional circuit when he
defeated Clive Everton in a low scoring match, and Dhruv Sitwala had
no problems in progressing at the expense of Brian Dix.

First Round (2 hrs)

Mike Russell
299, 267, 132, 127, 98, 53
1060 (44.2)Paul Bennett
96
286 (11.4)
Chris Shutt
132, 93, 92, 90, 74
804 (16.8)Mark Hirst
62
354 (7.5)
Roxton Chapman
197, 135, 58, 51
688 (27.5)Alok Kumar
68, 52
263 (10.1)
Devendra Joshi
141, 113
617 (18.7)Nalin Patel
60, 55
349 (10.9)
Geet Sethi
100, 70, 99unf
572 (22.9)Ian Williamson
50
247 (9.9)
David Causier
152, 120, 98, 91, 73, 60, 59, 54, 52
1041 (23.1)Gary Rogers
197 (4.4)
Peter Sheehan
103, 83, 80, 64, 51
702 (19.5)Dhruv Sitwala
102
439 (12.2)
Peter Gilchrist
111, 99, 98, 95, 75, 72, 56, 54, 54
920 (24.8)Manoj Kothari
70
291 (7.7)

Mike Russell soon showed his superiority against Paul Bennett as he
made two double centuries and two single century breaks, scoring 849
during a 6 visit period. Russell's 299 was floating-white perfection, on
reaching top-of-the-table his opponent's white moved no more than a
foot in the entire break! However, Russell once more displayed his
distrust of the referee's measuring gauge to determine whether the red
would go on it's spot. During one of his breaks, referee Bob Sconce felt
it necessary to use this implement, but Russell asked him to use the red
instead. The referee refused and having determined to red would not
spot, placed it on the pyramid spot, much to the displeasure of the
World No.1, who did little to conceal his feelings on the matter.

Although Chris Shutt had disposed of Mark Hirst without any apparent
effort, he revealed in a post-match drink with his opponent that he felt
he had been under-performing for the last three years and was thinking
of going back to using his old cue. Mark, feeling a little dejected by this
analysis of their match, forecast that not only would Chris go on to win
the event, but he could also see him making a 500 break. A prediction
which, as it transpired, was fulfilled in all respects.

After a slow opening, Roxton Chapman came through easily enough
against the Indian Snooker Champion, Alok Kumar. Chapman was
trailing for the early part of the game, but took control when consecutive
contributions of 58, 44 and 51 put him just over a hundred points in
front. From there, his progress was unchallenged, adding 135 and a late
197 to complete a 425 point victory.

Young Indian prospect, Dhruv Sitwala, put up a real fight against
World No.10 Peter Sheehan. Well in contention for over half the match,
it was only when Sheehan pulled away with late breaks of 64 and 103
that Sitwala began to fade, leaving Sheehan to cruise to what was
ultimately an easy victory.

The other first-round matches also went to form as the seeded players
all progressed to the quarter-finals. David Causier was particularly
impressive as he notched up some 700 points in the second hour of his
match against Gary Rogers.

Quarter-finals (2½ hrs)

Devendra Joshi
116,87,68,67
697 (20.5)Geet Sethi
160,108,89,56,55
655 (19.3)
David Causier
152,145,138,135,113,94,79,71,65,52,50
1446 (31.4)Peter Sheehan
78,59,50
409 (9.1)
Chris Shutt
231,192,159,102,64,57,52
1030 (44.8)Peter Gilchrist
148,104,78,67,63
587 (25.5)
Roxton Chapman
113,98,91,84,84,53
668 (24.7)Mike Russell
99,74,64
566 (20.9)

In recent years, the aura of invincibility which has set Geet Sethi above
his fellow-countrymen has slowly begun to erode. Several players now
have the confidence that they can defeat one of India's greatest exponents
of the game. Devendra Joshi is certainly one of those players. He
gradually outscored Sethi over the course of this match and with the
minutes ticking away had established a lead of 165 points. Sethi then
seemed set for one of his trade-mark come-backs as he came close to
levelling the scores with a break of 160. However, with 10 minutes
remaining and under great pressure, Joshi held his nerve, using up
precious minutes in compiling a break of 38, allowing him to hold on
for a 42 point victory.

David Causier was soon into his stride with an early break of 135 and
thereafter Peter Sheehan was a virtual spectator as the Teesside star
entertained the knowledgeable local crowd as only he is able. Five
centuries and numerous lesser breaks flowed from his cue as he ran up
an aggregate total of 1446 in this two-and-a-half hour match.

Chris Shutt had a convincing victory over current World Champion,
Peter Gilchrist. Starting with a 40 break at his first visit, he then put
together a run of 231 to establish a commanding lead. Although Gilchrist
struck back with breaks of 75 and 104 to reduce the deficit to eighty
points, he was never closer, as Shutt added three more centuries to win
by a 443 point margin.

It was left to Roxton Chapman in the last of the quarter-finals to
provide the biggest upset, as he put out defending champion, Mike
Russell. Although Chapman's 113 was the only century of the match,
he scored more consistently than Russell, who could not reproduce the
high scoring of his previous round. Even so, he was in with every
chance until a late break of 98 by Chapman gave him an advantage of
138 with just six minutes remaining. This proved too much for the
World No.1 who made little inroads into this deficit before time ran
out.

Semi-finals (4 hrs)

Roxton Chapman
367, 275, 177, 139, 55, 54, 127unf
1553 (40.9)Devendra Joshi
102, 98, 77, 78, 66
622 (15.9)
Chris Shutt
282, 251, 137, 106, 96, 86, 85, 77, 77, 75, 67, 58, 55, 54
1773  David Causier
290, 117, 88, 65, 59, 57, 55
1122 (22.0)

Roxton Chapman staked his claim to the £500 high-beak prize when he put together 367 in the first session of his semi-final against Devendra
Joshi. Following this almost immediately with another run of 275 he
went into the interval leading 834-287 having averaged 83.4 for the first
two hours. Joshi's position could have been worse had he not finished
the session with late contributions of 98 and 77, but when Chapman
returned to add 139 with his first visit of the second period, there
seemed no way back for the last Indian representative. A spell of
safety allowed Joshi to add his only century of the match, but thereafter
he could barely manage a contribution into double-figures as Chapman
cruised to an easy victory.

In the battle of the great Teesside rivals, it was Chris Shutt who struck
first, consecutive contributions of 75 and 77 taking him clear of David
Causier. A few visits later he added 282 and 96 to extend his lead to
almost 500 points. Causier replied with breaks of his own amounting
to 88, 290 and 57, but at the interval he was still trailing 827-609. With
tactical play prominent in the second session, Causier struggle to get
any closer than this, and with time running out it was Shutt who
completed the match is style, breaks of 54, 251, 137 and 67 coming
from his last six visits.

Final (5 hrs)

Chris Shutt
526, 200, 182, 176, 167, 145, 123, 111, 102, 97, 87, 76, 59, 51
2431 (69.4)Roxton Chapman
188, 99, 94, 82, 71, 203unf
1025 (29.3)

The final, extended to five hours, was played out to a full house at the
Centurion Hotel, and it was a stage where Chris Shutt took the starring
role. He dominated from the start, consecutive breaks of 76, 59, 167
and 111 taking him to a 422-149 advantage after just six visits. There
was nothing that Chapman could do to stop this heavy scoring and
after 2½ hrs the session bell saw him in a perilous position, trailing 983-
531. Any thoughts of a come-back must have been dashed when Shutt
took his unfinished break of 129 to 176, and followed this almost
immediately with another of 200. With the match beyond Chapman's
reach, Shutt then deprived his opponent of the high-break prize by
passing Chapman's semi-final 367, and securing the £500 reward for
himself with a massive run of 526. Additional breaks of 145, 87 and
182 followed in quick succession to add to Chapman's misery, but he
did at last restore some pride as he played out time with 203 unfinished.
Shutt scored 1,448 points in the second session for an average of 96.5
producing a fitting finale to the championship.

Shutt's reward for his brilliant performances totalled £7,500 and he will
no doubt be reconsidering whether he should revert to using his old cue.
Chapman collected £4,500 as runner-up.


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