ALF NOLAN 1927 to 2014
The EABA’s first President Mr Alf Nolan sadly passed away on 6th October after a long fight against cancer. Will there ever be a greater enthusiast of the 3-ball game? Alf was a fine player with an extensive knowledge of billiards and the people who played it. A compulsive talker about billiards and just about everything else but also interesting and entertaining. Alf’s main profession was as a psychiatric nurse. It is easy to imagine Alf’s personality and outgoing nature being a vital ingredient in a demanding job.
Born in Newcastle he started playing the game as an eight year old and achieved his first century break at the age of thirteen. A Yorkshireman called Harry Plunkett was Alf’s first coach in the Newcastle area. On the merit board of the club where they practised Harry had top place with a break of 385. In 1946 at the age of 19 Alf gained top spot with a break of 426.
Strangely Alf’s first national title was as the 1950 English Amateur Snooker Champion. In the final he defeated Gary Owen 6-5 after trailing 5-3. Owen was a top amateur who went on to become a leading professional. Billiards was always Alf’s priority but he had to wait until 1964 to gain the national title when he defeated Leslie Driffield in the final. In 1964 he played in the World Amateur Billiards Championship in New Zealand and in 1999 in the IBSF World Championship in Ireland at the age of 72. Over the years he must have travelled thousands of miles around the country by public transport to play billiards. Mention a railway station and Alf had been there on his playing travels and he could describe the place in detail.
Roll of Honour
English Amateur Champion 1964. Runner-up 1955,1965 1966,1970,1972 and1974.
C&IU All England Champion 1953,1956,1967,1968,1969,1971 and 1989
Runner-up 1954,1966 1972,1983 1987 and 1991
Alf used to say: ‘but for the presence of the great Norman Dagley I would have won far more titles ‘.
Of the twelve years as runner-up above, seven were due to Norman’s supremacy.
In 1964 on his way to New Zealand he stopped off in Karachi to give an exhibition and was presented with a tray of silver serviette rings for making a break of 390. A few months ago these were auctioned on BBC’s ‘Flog It’. Alf doubled the amount raised and donated £160 to the EABA to be directed to the junior championships. It came as no surprise that he appeared totally at ease on television such was his demeanour and self-confidence.
Alf was a dedicated amateur and a proud President of the EABA. He was also a generous sponsor of the English Amateur and Grand Masters Billiards Championships in recent years.
He will be sadly missed but long remembered.