It gives me very much pleasure and exceedingly great joy to pay
tribute to two highly respected stalwarts on the English amateur
billiards scene, certainly not the youngest pair of characters in the
billiards orbit by any means, but undoubtedly two of the most
enthusiastic. First we have Tony James, a man whose appearance
greatly underestimates his skill and ability as a fine billiards player, and
a man who could quite easily be expected to step into the ring as a bareknuckle
fighter. Tony’s gentle and quietly unassuming disposition
seriously belies his determination and stamina on the green baize. A
previous Northern Regional Snooker Champion, and now the new
English Billiards Champion, Tony has reached the very zenith of his
billiards career, and to lift the Herbert Beetham Trophy at Darley Dale
must have been one of the proudest moments of his life. A tear in the
eye of veteran and much loved Alf Nolan put the champion’s
achievement in perspective, and gave an indication of their great
friendship and of their respect for each other. This is a memorable
result in English Amateur Billiards and a fitting tribute to an amateur
game that provides a final round between two players with an age
difference of almost fifty years. The ABP congratulates Tony James
and Matthew Sutton on a splendid achievement.
Secondly, through this magazine I would like to express the sincere
thanks of all the billiards enthusiasts in this country to Mr. Eric Gratton
for his generous sponsorship and spontaneous support of the 2003
English Billiards Championship. Eric has been on the English billiards
scene for many years both as a referee and as a player. His interest in
refereeing was strongly rekindled about five years ago. Since that time
he has officiated at many national and international events. Eric’s love
of the game and his eagerness to take part is a credit to himself and a fine
model for all budding referees. The revival of English amateur billiards
owes much to the generosity and sincerity of people like Eric Gratton.
I regret to report that this will be the last issue of the ABP to be
published by Mr. Peter Ainsworth. Peter began his association with
the magazine some five years ago through his friendship with Albert
Hanson. The success of the magazine and the many congratulations
that have been received on its news content, historical articles, and its
very professional layout and format, are all due to Peter’s hard work
and his expertise in publishing skills. Peter will continue to write
interesting articles for the magazine but will relinquish his administrative
responsibilities. The readers of the ABP will join me in thanking Peter
for his contribution in lifting this magazine to its present high standard,
for the quality of its presentation, and the accuracy of its reporting.
The ABP management team are currently looking for a successor to
Peter Ainsworth, and welcome enquiries from persons who are both
interested, and capable of performing the required publishing skills.
The recent sad but not unexpected news that no funding will be
available for professional tournaments during the 2003/2004 season
has surely forced the professional players into a situation whereby
serious thought must now be put into organising their own game. Waiting
for miracles in the cut-throat business of professional sport is only a
dream. When the amateur game was faced with a similar predicament,
and put into jeopardy by the lack of interest; the amateurs answered
the call. Support was thin on the ground, but with good will and a
determination to succeed we have arrived at today’s happy position.
Go to it lads!
Have a jolly good summer.