English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : November 1997

The Amateur Billiard Player : November 1997

World Open Billiards

Billiard Player (No 6) last reported that
the EABA were not prepared to fund
the entry and expenses of our English
Amateur Champion Paul Bennett to the
World Open event in Malta because of the
involvement of professionals in what was formally known as
the World Amateur Championship.

This decision was consistent of the EABA ruling a year earlier
relating to Chris Shutt. As was then the EASB, to whom we are
affiliated, determined that the English Amateur Champion should
represent England and the entry should be submitted and the
costs be deducted from the EABA budget allocation.

Before the EASB determination, Paul and the Teesside public
were made aware of the EABA decision and there was strong
reaction to it.

The clubs that Paul represents in local leagues considered that
Paul should be allowed to compete in Malta and vowed to fund
the trip.

Some 20+ years ago clubs in the area rallied to send Bob Close
to New Zealand and more recently Mike Russell’s trip to India
to compete in World events when no funding was available to
them, indeed Hemlington Social Club were prepared to fund the
whole anticipated cost of £650 if required.

Support from the Cowpen Social Club and Acklam Garden City
meant that Hemlington didn’t have to bear the brunt of the cost
but they did provide the bulk of the required funding.

The Hemlington ‘A’ and ‘B’ games league teams played against
each other on a home and away basis with blind cards, raffles,
etc; providing incomes.

The clubs ladies darts section provided further impetus to funds
by organising a 12 hour dart marathon on Paul’s behalf.

With funding assured from local sources Paul’s entry to the
World Open was submitted without recourse to the EABA funds.

Meanwhile a 2nd place was allocated to an English player
providing that costs were met by the player. Fellow Teessider
Darren Kell, the national CIU Champion, was invited to fill the
slot and the Teesside fund raising machine swung back into
action.

The CIU recreation Committee granted their champion the sum
of £200 and the Cleveland branch of the CIU chipped in with a
further £50, Nottingham’s Tom Terry, the former editor of the
BQR, became aware of events and made a personal contribution
to funds.

The Beechwood and Easterside Club along with the Ironopolis
Club, for whom Darren competes, provided sufficient support
to ensure that Darren would join Paul on the flight to Malta.

Look out World, the Teesside boys are on their way!

THE TOURNAMENT

Organised by the Maltese Billiards and Snooker Association
between 25th September and 5th October the event attracted 28
entries of whom 3 have professional status.

The Maltese openly stated that there would be no prize money
on offer to dissuade the professional involvement in the
tournament which they hoped would accentuate the Amateur
status of the event. Billiards pro’s Ashok Shandilya (No 9) and
Bhaskar (No.25) of India chose to enter as did snooker pro Joe
Grech (No.l55) of Malta.

What surprised me was that the Maltese restricted pro billiards
entry to those outside the top 8 when my understanding of
IBSF rulings states that “open” means pro’s regardless of
rankings are entitled to enter IBSF events.

The 28 players were split and seeded into groups, where
possible, countrymen would not be expected to compete against
each other in the round robin groupings.

There were 9 different countries represented with home country
Malta providing 5 entrants, India 4, Australia 4, New Zealand 4,
Eire 3, Northern Ireland 2, Sri Lanka 3, South Africa 1 and England
2.

Play was to be held in the Maltese Association Snooker Centre
in Rabat with accommodation in the Kennedy Nova Hotel in
Sliema some 25 minutes drive away.

Qualifying Competition

25th-30th September 1997
(2 x 2hr sessions)
Group “A” Table
Won Lost
1 JoeGrech (Malta) 5 0
2 David Elliot (N.Ireland) 4 1
3 Wayne Carey (New Zealand) 3 2
4 Richard Brennan (Eire) 2 3
5 Ariand Rao.(India) 1 4
6 Ray Habgood (New Zealand) 0 5

The Maltese snooker pro came through round robin group ‘A’
unbeaten and was joined by Northern Ireland bookmaker David
Elliot whose only defeat was by Grech.

Match Details
A. Rao

766 R. Habgood

694 
W. Carey

874 R. Brennan

753 
J. Grech

225, 164
1,542 D. Elliot

930 
W. Carey

936 A. Rao

737 
J. Grech

121, 121, 102
2,037 R. Brennan

119
873 
D. Elliot

1,354 W. Carey

579 
J. Grech

187, 173, 135, 133, 121
2,136 W. Carey

744 
R. Brennan

1,310 A. Rao

910 
D. Elliot

110
1,469 R. Habgood

523 
J. Grech

412, 193, 144, 141, 127, 103, 100
2,472 R. Habgood

452 
D. Elliot

184, 184, 151, 101
1,804 A. Rao

520 
W. Carey

972 R. Habgood

568 
D. Elliot

100
1,282 R. Brennan

660 
J. Grech

171, 156, 144, 140, 135, 121
2,004 A. Rao

908 
R. Brennan

1,148 R. Habgood

675 
Group “B” Table
Won Lost
1 Paul Bennett (England) 6 0
2 B. Bhaskar (India) 5 1
3 David Meredith (New Zealand) 4 2
4 Neil Croft (Australia) 3 3
5 Philip Martin (Eire) 2 4
6 Alfred Micallef (Malta) 1 5
7 John McIntyre (Nth. Ireland) 0 6

Paul Bennett having seen the grouping wanted to meet Indian
pro Bhaskar first “to get it out of the way”. The 21 year old
English Champion got his wish and was heartened by a 627 –
309 first session and ran out an easy winner 1,335 – 674. A 1,669
– 618 victory over Eire’s Philip Martin followed.

A problem arose at the mid-point of his match against Australian
Neil Croft when Paul was decidedly unwell with a stomach illness.

A retirement was contemplated but with an extensive gap
between sessions Paul thanks to acceptable medication
managed to recover sufficiently to win 1,049 – 791.

New Zealander David Meredith went down 1,279 – 770 and Alfred
Micallef of Malta followed 1,594 – 913. Paul rounded off his
group with a 1,631 – 759 victory over Northern Ireland’s John
McIntyre to go through to the quarter finals unbeaten.

Bhaskar recovered sufficiently from his opening defeat to win
all other games to qualify in 2nd place.

Match Details
P. Bennett

1,335 B. Bhaskar

674 
N. Croft

983 A. Micallef

797 
D. Meredith

1,136 P. Martin

554 
B. Bhaskar

100
1,255 J. McIntyre

535 
D. Meredith

139, 121
1,340 A. Micallef

650 
P. Bennett

138, 121, 110, 109
1,669 P. Martin

618 
B. Bhaskar

118
1,154 P. Martin

724 
P. Bennett

1,049 N. Croft

791 
D. Meredith

174, 109
1,400 J. McIntyre

424 
B. Bhaskar

168, 118, 114
1,242 D. Meredith

103
798 
P. Martin

109
1,008 A. Micallef

865 
N. Croft

101
1,069 J. McIntyre

640 
B. Bhaskar

133
1,178 N. Croft

789 
A. Micallef

1,148 J. McIntyre

729 
P. Bennett

123
1,279 D. Meredith

770 
P. Bennett

151, 114
1,594 A. Micallef

913 
D. Meredith

130, 122
890 N. Croft

828 
P. Martin

1,020 J. McIntyre

680 
B. Bhaskar

237, 133, 123, 111, 101
1,690 A. Micallef

686 
N. Croft

151
1,480 P. Martin

643 
P. Bennett

108, 106, 103, 103, 100
1,631 J. McIntyre

759 
Group “C” Table
Won Lost
1 Paul Mifsud (Malta) 5 0
2 P.Pradesh Sivalingaiah (India) 4 1
3 Danik Lukas (Australia) 3 2
4 Aidan Murray (Eire) 2 3
5 Paul Stocker (New Zealand) 1 4
6 Terry Reilly (Sth. Africa) 0 5

Malta’s Paul Mifsud won group ‘C’ by being unbeaten and
was joined by Indian Prem Pradesh Sivalingaiah who lost only
to Mifsud.

Match Details
P. Mifsud

206, 187, 122, 108, 101
1,860 T. Reilly

654 
P. Pradesh

102
1,015 D. Lukas

114
999 
A. Murray

658 P. Stacker

464 
P. Pradesh

101
1,547 P. Stacker

898 
A. Murray

810 T. Reilly

496 
P. Mifsud

180
1,386 A. Murray

526 
D. Lukas

122, 117, 112
1,389 T. Reilly

566 
P. Mifsud

1,507 P. Stacker

933 
P. Pradesh

798 A. Murray

698 
P. Mifsud

170
1,220 D. Lukas

1,203 
P. Stacker

1,205 T. Reilly

619 
P. Pradesh

114
1,644 T. Reilly

892 
D. Lukas

161
1,532 P. Stocker

838 
P Mifsud

137, 129, 124, 101
1,783 P. Pradesh

940 
D. Lukas

950 A. Murray

785 
Group “D” Table
Won Lost
1 Ashok Shandilya (India) 6 0
2 Darren Kell (England) 5 1
3 K.H. Sirisoma (Sri Lanka) 3 3
4 Derek Gibb (NewZealand) 3 3
5 Frans Mintoff (Malta) 2 4
6 George Gannim (Australia) 2 4
7 Alfred Borg (Malta) 0 6

Tournament favourite Ashok Shandilya was Darren Kell’s first
opponent. The Indian was untroubled and went on to win 1,389
– 696, He next won 1,395 – 932 before hitting some fine form with
victories of 2,333-553,2,012-863,1,968-780 and 1,925-967.

Darren qualified by winning his other group games, Malta’s
Alfred Borg went down 1,327 – 924 then Darren beat Australia’s
George Ganim 972 – 850 then New Zealander Derek Gibb 943 –
695, he was much more comfortable when beating Frans Mintoff
of Malta 1,536 – 687 then Sri Lankan K.H. Sirisoma 1,083 – 932.

Match Details
A. Shandilya

161, 136, 119
1,389 D. Kell

79
696 
F. Mintoff

998 G. Gannim

977 
D. Gibb

1,100 A. Borg

594 
A. Shandilya

230, 140, 110
1,395 K. Sirisoma

100
932 
D. Gibb

946 F. Mintoff

685 
D. Kell

123, 93
1,327 A. Borg

924 
A. Shandilya

180, 159, 133, 132, 122, 108
2,333 A. Borg

553 
D. Kell

110, 75, 80
972 G. Gannim

850 
K. Sirisoma

122, 110
1,068 D. Gibb

797 
A. Shandilya

257, 150, 128, 111, 102, 109
1,968 D. Gibb

780 
F. Mintoff

1,352 A. Borg

1,058 
G. Gannim

165, 114
1,184 K. Sirisoma

1,047 
A. Shandilya

261, 216, 169, 150, 124, 106, 101, 100
2,012 G. Gannim

863 
K. Sirisoma

1,357 F. Mintoff

964 
D. Kell

88
943 D. Gibb

695 
D. Kell

99, 96, 87, 84
1,536 F. Mintoff

687 
D. Gibb

844 G. Gannim

810 
K. Sirisoma

253, 145
1,878 A. Borg

720 
A. Shandilya

265, 128, 121, 100
1,925 F. Mintoff

967 
G. Gannim

144, 100
1,552 A. Borg

798 
D. Kell

87, 81
1,083 K. Sirisoma

82
932 
Quarter Finals
2nd October 1997
(2 x 2hr sessions)
J. Green

155, 147, 119, 104
1,405 D. Kell

87
937 
P. Mifsud

136, 122
1,374 B. Bhaskar

128, 101
988 
P. Bennett

1,282 P. Prakash

129
1,171 
A. Shandilya

171, 111
1,159 D. Elliot

126, 116
1,070 

The quarter finals pitched Darren against Grech and 3
centuries put Joe in an unstoppable interval lead at 730 –
428 which was taken to an overall 1,405 – 937 result to end
Darren’s continuing involvement.

Paul Mifsud held a slender 593 – 557 lead at the interval and
ran out comfortable winner over Bhaskar 1,374 – 988.

Paul Bennett trailed Prem Pradesh Sivalingaiah 688 – 564 at
the interval but came through 1,282 – 1,171 to move into
the semi-final.

David Elliot was still in touch with Shandilya at the interval
when trailing 636 – 517 and ran the Indian Pro all the way
to the bell before losing 1,159 – 1,070.

Semi Finals
3rd October 1997
(2 x 3hr sessions)
J. Grech

272, 211, 189, 120, 117, 110
2,160 P. Mifsud

127, 121, 116, 106, 105
1,987 
A. Shandilya

212, 202, 188, 152, 104, 101
2,641 P. Bennett

164, 135, 118, 115
1,757 

The semi-finals put the Maltese pair of Grech and Mifsud
together. Grech appeared to have things his way as he held
a 400 + lead at the interval 1285 – 830. Breaks of 272, 211
and four centuries took Grech to a 2,160 total while Mifsud
had five centuries and made a creditable response to total
1,987.

Ashok Shandilya gave Paul Bennett little opportunity to win
and by the interval led 1,365 – 615. Ashok accumulated
2,641 points with runs of 212, 202 and 4 other centuries.
Paul made 4 century breaks to score 1,757 in response.

The Final
4th-5th October 1997
(4 x 2hr sessions)
Session 1Joe Grech

107, 105, 223unf
723 Ashok Shandilya

129
652 
Session 2Joe Grech

238full, 242, 126
743 Ashok Shandilya

310, 192, 54unf
753 
Session 3Joe Grech

9unf
369 Ashok Shandilya

184full, 218, 210
989 
Session 4Joe Grech

101full, 226, 161, 140, 128, 109
1,060 Ashok Shandilya

105
442 
Final ScoreJoe Grech

2,895 Ashok Shandilya

2,836 

The final brought the snooker pro Joe Grech against top ranked
billiards pro Ashok Shandilya, Grech had been a world billiards
finalist in 1987 when losing to Geet Sethi.

Joe’s competence was never questioned in the 3 ball game as
his major breaks in the tournament had proved. Played over 4
sessions the final saw Shandilya leading early in the first stint
but as the bell sounded Grech was in play with a 223 unfinished
break.

The run ended shortly after at 238 but further breaks of 242 and
126 took him to a mid-point 1,466 points. Shandilya made breaks
of 192 and 310 to have 1,350 on the board and be 54 unfinished
at the bell.

The 3rd session was all Indian as Grech scored only 369 points
while Shandilya piled on 989 points thanks to breaks of 184,218
and 210. Many would have thought that the end of the struggle
but Grech returned to the arena with revived determination.

The crowd had diminished as Grech had wilted but news quickly
spread of a revival and supporters appeared to come out of the
woodwork to spur on the home based player.

Grech made runs of 101, 226, 109, 140, 161 and 128 to total 2,895 to
overtake Shandilya’s 2,836 total by 59 points. There is already
the prospect of Grech and Sivalingaiah joining the billiard pro
ranks.

In Conclusion

Statistically there were 136 century breaks in the tournament, 11
double centuries a 300+ and tournament best of 412 made by
Joe Grech.

Both Darren and Paul relished the experience of the tournament
and acted as marvellous ambassadors for their country with
their exemplary conduct and manner throughout their stay.

They both expressed their thanks to their sponsors who provided
the funds for their stay and to the EASB for providing the
opportunity to compete.


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