Peter Shelley – Obituary
Peter George Shelley (1941 – 2018)
Peter Shelley did not discover Billiards – he was born into it quite literally. Born at Stafford Constitutional Club, home of his Grandparents where his Grandfather was the Club Steward and a decent player to boot. Peter’s father, a farmer was also a useful player and enjoyed a game of Billiards twice a week well into his eighties.
In Peter’s schooldays he lived with his Grandparents during the week and used to practice on the club tables two hours each morning before school and another hour in the evening. The practice paid off and he became the youngest ever British Boys Snooker Champion at the age of 13 and two years later won both British Boys Snooker & Billiards titles.
Although better known for his Billiards prowess he was no mean Snooker player, I personally watched him compile a break of 141 in a Pro-Am at the Ladbrook Club in Chester and he achieved a maximum 147 break in practice. He ceased playing Snooker competitively in 1988 to concentrate on his Billiards.
Peter’s chosen profession was Hotel Management & Catering, he held managerial positions at several Hotels and Golf Clubs before latterly becoming General Manager at The Reardon, Stoke-on-Trent a position he held for many years. An absolute workaholic, Peter was the first one on the premises in the morning and the last one to leave each night – this happened day after day after day and the only time he relaxed was when he was away from the Club altogether. The ABC at The Reardon became an annual event on the EABA Calendar not just for the quality of the playing conditions but also for the sumptuous Sunday Roasts served up by Peter and his team. I recall on one occasion when Peter needed to win the final ABC of the season to secure his place in the England Team for the following season, he not only blew the field away on the table but still managed to serve up about eighty Sunday Lunches in between!
In 2000 Peter was a founder member of a group of Billiard enthusiasts who were christened the “Loose Cannons” for a tour of New Zealand. They promoted the game of English Billiards on both North and South Island to young and old alike and became tremendous ambassadors for our Sport headed as always by Peter keen to impart his knowledge and experience. These tours continued for several years and even when the Loose Cannons were no longer, Peter enjoyed his annual pilgrimage to NZ and on retirement used to split his time between the UK and New Zealand.
A stickler for the history and tradition of our game Peter was always impeccably dressed both on and off the table. He was Chairman of the EABA for many years and was a fierce campaigner for the Amateur game while having total appreciation for the skills and achievements of the Professionals.
He loved his grandchildren and I was delighted to hear that his cue has been left to his Grandson George who I am sure will cherish that it has been bestowed by his Grandpa. Peter “tried” (Helen’s words not mine) to teach his daughter to play and she has promised she will be taking George to Stafford Constitutional Club where it all began to maintain the family tradition.
His career CV is outstanding:-
- 1955 British Boys Snooker Champion
- 1957 British Boys Snooker & Billiards Champion
- 1967 West Midlands Snooker & Billiards Champion
- Midland Counties Snooker & Billiards Champion at Junior & Senior level
- 4 times English Amateur Billiards Runner-Up
- 3 times National CIU Billiards Championship Runner-Up
- 4 times British Grand Masters Billiards Champion
- 5 times New Zealand Open Billiards Champion
- 11 times winner of New Zealand Open Billiards tournaments
- Winner of many County, Regional & ABC Billiards events
- numerous times England International
- Highest Break – 589 made in an Exhibition with a Grade 1 referee followed by a 385 break very next visit.
Personally, I am grateful to Peter for inviting me to join the Loose Cannons in 2001, for the opportunity to visit and play Billiards in the most spectacular country on the planet. I am indebted for the knowledge and expertise he imparted to me on our beautiful game but above everything I am honoured to have called him a close friend.
God Bless Peter, may you Rest in Peace.