English Billiards / 2016 LITEtask Irish and European Opens
21st-26th May 2016 / The Ivy Rooms, Carlow, Republic of Ireland
FAMILIAR NAMES TAKE TOP HONOURS IN IRELAND
Former World Champions Peter Gilchrist and Mike Russell were the winners from a six day English Billiards extravaganza on the 'Emerald Isle'. It would be their first titles on the circuit this season.
This back-to-back ranking double header featured players representing eight different countries - Canada, England, France, India, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Singapore and the host nation.
The weekend's action consisted of the Irish Open (level 3 ranking event with £2,100 total prize money); which would witness one of the most exciting and dramatic ever finishes to a World Billiards event in the final.
Defending champion Gilchrist, who is a citizen of Singapore, beat rival David Causier 436-435 - passing his opponent at the last possible avenue after scoring points from an in-off white with just seconds to go!
It was a sweet success for Gilchrist; gaining some measure of revenge for final defeats to the World Number 1 in the World Championship (Long-Up) and British Open in recent times. It also meant denying 'Player of the Season' Causier a seventh trophy of the campaign.
Triple World Champion Gilchrist comfortably qualified top of his group before eliminating English trio of Brian Harvey (564-316), Chris Taylor (837-198 - Peter made a 391, which would be the highest of the competition) and an in form Rob Hall (515-392) in the Knockout Last 16, Quarter and Semi-Finals respectively.
Causier himself was undefeated on route; relentless with a string of very heavy one sided victories after some clinical, blistering scoring.
However, he also exhibited his ability when trailing too. In his semi-final clash with Phil Mumford, David made a 149 unfinished break in just 11 minutes to win 501-470. He came to the table at the start of that visit 116 points behind!
With Gilchrist retaining his Irish Open crown, it was a similar story in the European Open (a level 5 ranking event with £6,060 total prize money), as Mike Russell (pictured above) defended the title with a bruising 1759-509 final win over Gilchrist; therefore stopping him claiming the Ivy Rooms double.
The vastly decorated Russell emerged unscathed from his round robin group, and then broke through the thousand points barrier during L16 and QF wins over Irish duo Aidan Murray (1005-235) and Wayne Doyle (1197-403).
In the semi-finals, Hall put up a gallant effort, but went down 764-535.
Gilchrist's bid for successive glories nearly came true; he also got the better of Causier again, this time by the far more convincing result of 1081-334 during the Last 4 stage.
46 year old Russell made 25 century plus breaks throughout the tournament, including the highest of 601.
For more information, and the full results, please visit the World Billiards website here.
Photo credit - The Ivy Rooms Facebook page / World Billiards
Written and published by Michael Day on the 28th May 2016