English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : July 1997

The Amateur Billiard Player : July 1997


“Always the Blooming Bridesmaid, Never the Blushing Bride”

There is a once popular old-time music hall song which ended with those lines. The
couplet neatly sums up Terry Ward’s billiard career. A career which has seen the York player
in six English Amateur semi-finals, two finals and two appearances in the World Amateur for
good measure. A record to be envied.

I knew something of Ward but had never seen him play until the final stages of the
1995 Championship held at the Whitworth Institute, Darley Dale. Ward had reached the
semis despite a three year absence from competitive play. His progress had included a very
fine win over David Burgess. Burgess had made a break of 159, but it was the Northerner
who scraped home to book his place in Derbyshire. The other semi-finalists that year were
Martin Goodwill, Chris Shutt and David Causier. The wiseacres shook their heads and gave
Ward no chance, and that was the way of it. He was well beaten by Causier, who made five
centuries to win by just a single point short of 1200. Causier had always seemed destined for
a place in the Billiards sun and no-one was very surprised at the scale of his victory. In that
game, Ward made only one break over the half century, but I was not alone in admiring the
way he stuck to his hopeless task and the way he made the most of his very limited time at
the table, achieving an average of over 12. All amateur players, save those who have very
strong imaginations, are well aware that a double figure average in any competitive match is
quite commendable (if anyone should doubt it, then I can only recommend keeping your
average over your next few games and see how you get on!). Many players, including me,
would have surrendered after the first half hour or so. Ward did not. In conversation after the
match he said, ” enjoyed every minute of it”. Now i had a better idea of how this player of, it
should be said, fairly modest technique had achieved such a fine record.

His first appearance in the final stages of what used to be called the “competition
proper” was in 1985. His area heats had included a desperate finish against that well-known
Yorkshire amateur Steve Crosland, Terry winning by just one point. His semi-final match was
against that very good player and future champion Ken Shirley. Terry led by 132 after the
first session, by 134 going into the final session and eventually lost by only 100 or so. Other
semi-finals followed over the years against such fine players as David Edwards, Peter
Shelley and Martin Goodwill. He lost to Goodwill in the 1990 semi-final by a mere couple of

Terry reached his first final just a year ago where, at the Atack Club, Nuneaton, he
faced Chris Shutt, the latest Teesside prodigy. Shutt, with the CIU Championship already
under his belt, was a hot favourite. Shutt’s winning margin was 671, of which 566 were made
in one break! Ward actually out-pointed the 18 year old beanpole in the second session. This
year it was yet another of the Hanson brigade, one Paul Bennett, who like the rest of the
Teesside tribe is a get-’em-at-the-top, pot everything in sight merchant. Ward was perhaps a
shade unfortunate to see his chance of taking the title sink under a 160 break from Bennett
at a vital stage.

Terry’s record over the years twice brought him an invitation to the World Amateur
Championship. In 1987 it was held in Belfast and won by Geet Sethi. Terry found himself in
Sethi’s group and for a time headed the section with five wins out of five. His last three
opponents were David Edwards, David Elliott and Sethi himself. Edwards and Sethi were real
tough ones, Sethi made three triple centuries, with Terry achieving the very respectable
average of 17 in the first session. There was nothing in it after one session with Edwards, but
the Welshman was a little too good. Terry confesses to being rather disappointed at losing
his match with the Northern Ireland champion David Elliott. He lead by 254 at the interval, but
faded in the second session. He had finished fourth in the group and made five centuries.

It was a couple of years earlier that the most wonderful moment of his billiards career
arrived when he was invited to the World Amateur in Delhi, also won by Geet Sethi. Terry
has more than once spoken to me about how much enjoyed this once in a lifetime billiards
odyssey, of his fascination with the venue and the people, of the great billiards on display
and above all of his admiration for the 75 year old Bob Marshall. Marshall was the
undefeated winner of his group, Terry was sixth from eight, winning two games and making a
highest break of 106. Marshall beat him by over 1000 making eight centuries, with a highest
of 249. The York player considered it a privilege and could take satisfaction from a second
session with three breaks over 50 and an average of 14, not bad considering that his

opponent was monopolising the table and had a match average of 40! The second English
representative, Bob Close, finished third in his group. Marshall went on to the final, out-pointed
Sethi in the first session, but not surprisingly ran out of steam and was eventually
well beaten. Just to have been part of such a tournament is something for which most players
would give a year or two of their life.

Like most of us, Terry’s love affair with the billiard table began with snooker, but the
three ball bug struck and he made his first century break at the age of 15. Progress was
steady rather than spectacular, and encouraged by Stan Brooke and the late Alex French, he
began to spread his wings. He became a member of the team that won the 1990 inter-county
championship with Steve Hardcastle and Steve Crosland. He won the British Rail National
Billiards Championship nine times, and perhaps more impressively, the Yorkshire Open on
no less than six occasions. Many local titles have come his way and as if this were not
enough, he is no novice at the 22 ball game, winning both the Railway Championship and the
Yorkshire Open five times. He has a top break of 248, had his cue stolen but got it back after
a local TV appeal and, wonder of wonders, once played in an exhibition game with Willie
Smith – there are very few billiard players who can say that!

Terry is a section manager for a privatised railtrack company in Leeds. Norah, his
wife, is a chiropodist, and they have four children. Clearly he doesn’t have too much time for
billiards, but reckons that his greatest assets are those of being able to play a reasonable
game without a lot of practice, knowing his limitations and having a large innate dose of
typical Yorkshire bloody-minded never-give-upitis. He is not, however, the archetypical
Yorkshireman in that he is quietly spoken and modest of manner. I have often wished that I
could know as much about just one thing as many Yorkshiremen seem to know about
everything. Terry Ward is not like that.

At 48, some would say that he is in the veteran stage, others might say he is in his
prime. I would scribe to this latter view and reckon that he has plenty of years left to remain
near the top of the amateur game. Who knows, provided there are not too many of those
terrible Teessiders in the pipeline, provided that Championship Billiards is played in the way
that we old ‘uns think (mistakenly) that it should be, Terry Ward may yet strike a blow for
decrepitude and change his status from that of ‘blooming bridesmaid’ to ‘blushing bride’.

Tom Terry

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