February 23rd 2003 saw the
culmination of much organisational elbow grease applied by my friend Brian
The event that took up much of Brians time
was a small but select invitation Billiards event staged at the excellent Great
Horton Conservative Club near Bradford. The event started at 10 am and finished
at around 8:15 pm in the evening.
The field was made up of some of todays
premier Billiard players, Mike Russell, Chris Shutt, Mark Hirst, Paul Bennett,
Gary Rogers and David Causier. The first part of the event was a series of
round robin matches culminating in a final played over a one hour time
The tournament was run in an organised yet
informal way and we at Cues n Views had a small stand showing some old cues,
balls and books from years gone by, as well as selling some new cues and some
books from the 1970s and 1980s along with a couple of older books.
The hospitality from the club was first class as was the food provided at the
lunchtime interval and at the early evening intermission.
The highlight of the early round robin phase of
the competition was a break of 267 made by Mike Russell; this break was the
highest of the day. When you consider that the round robin phase was of a timed
duration of fifty minutes a match, this break was I feel outstanding.
The final was between David Causier and Mike
Russell. It was interesting for me as a relatively new viewer to this type of
top level competition, to be in a position to make a note of the contrasting
styles of the two finalists. David Causier has a much more definite, attacking
style, he plays as though it is necessary for him to impose his will onto the
balls. Mike Russell plays with a longer cue action and a touch that at times
strains the ears as well as the eyes of the referee, or at least that is how it
appeared to me. To explain further, on occasion some of Mikes cannons
barely brush the surface of the second ball, in an attempt to move it as little
a distance from shot to shot as possible. I feel sure that the second ball hit
barely moved and even in a hushed room the click was almost inaudible.
In the end David Causier took his chances with a
great deal of purpose and positivity. His long potting to get in was every bit
as good as the top Snooker players. He seemed to invent certain shots as he
went along, even when the balls ran unkindly. In terms of persistence and
invention he was a worthy winner on the day.
The event was officiated by a group of referees
who were at times invisible and at other times were full of fun and stories of
humour and character. They did an excellent and professional job and allowed
the day to pass smoothly and without incident.
Among these referees it was my pleasure to meet
a lady from Newcastle called Vera Selby, for those of you who do not know this
illustrious name, can I simply say that she was nine times world ladies
Billiards champion and twice world ladies Snooker champion. The refereeing
further enhances her CV as does the tutoring activities that she is involved
with. Ms Selby was most gracious and spoke of her days playing doubles with
John Virgo and her times spent watching the great Ray Reardon in action at the
All in all the day was excellent and gave
Billiards an intimate yet enthralling shop window, I hope that many such events
will take place over the coming years.