English Billiards - 2017 HIBSF Home Internationals / Northern Snooker Centre Open
17th-20th August 2017 / Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds, England
TITLES DEFENDED IN DOUBLE HEADER
Rob Hall finished the season on a high when captaining England A to Home Internationals success and by claiming the Northern Snooker Centre Open in Leeds this past weekend. These were the same outcomes in 2016.
The 58 player NSC Open was the last World Billiards tournament of the 2016/2017 campaign. The circuit has seen ranking events held in New Zealand, England, Scotland, Australia, Republic of Ireland and Canada.
Numbers in the NSC Open were very good as it involved players who had stayed over from the annual Home Internationals event which took place earlier in the week at the same venue.
A very strong England A unit consisting of captain Hall, Steve Brookshaw, Ryan Mears and Nalin Patel were just too strong throughout; winning all 7 matches to top the league table and retain the title they won here 12 months previously.
In fact, they very nearly achieved ultimate perfection. Having won their opening six fixtures 3-0, it was only the Republic of Ireland's Wayne Doyle who denied them the clean sweep by taking a point off them during the final encounter of the competition. Opponent Patel seemingly looked on course to notch up yet another point, but he cruelly got a kick on a break of 101, from which Doyle capitalised.
Doyle finished top of the averages; winning 7 out of 7 points for his team, whilst Hall dominated the upper echelons of the breaks table - registering 6 centuries and a double century of 213 which was the highest across the two days.
The final individual stats for England A were - Hall (6 out of 6), Mears (5 out of 5), Brookshaw (5 out of 5) and Patel (4 out of 5).
Republic of Ireland came second, whilst Jersey A completed the podium in third. Overall, 8 teams took part in this year's edition.
The second half of this 'Double Header' featured the individual action.
Split into Round Robin groups of either 4 or 5 players, 32 qualified for the Straight Knock-Out stage.
Interestingly, this tournament format showcased a random draw for the Last 32.
As luck would have it, the top two seeds from the Group Stage - David Causier and Robert Marshall, drew each other first up. Just like two big Premier League football teams playing each other in the Third Round of the F.A. Cup, Causier advanced 359-216.
Hall faced very competitive opposition in the qualifying section, but still emerged top with 4 wins out of 4. In the KOs he then defeated Phil Davis (England) 272-126, Brian Harvey (England) 579-207, Brookshaw 514-312 and Mark Hirst (England) 542-260 to make the final.
There he crossed cues with Causier, and despite neither player making a century in it, Hall came through a 470-270 champion.
During the Round Robins Causier constructed a magnificent 512 break - the best of the competition. In the Semi-Finals he overcame 15 year old 'wonderkid' Ryan Davies (England) who was only competing in his second individual World Billiards event.
The multi-talented teenager - who has apparently already made a 147 in snooker, is the current EASB Under 16 and 21 English Billiards National Champion. He was also part of the England B team in the Home Internationals which was made up of youth players.
Elsewhere, Wales' Alex Donne won the Plate Competition after the narrowest of 133-132 victories over England's Bernard French.
As the World Billiards season has now come to a close, I will be writing a review of the last 12 months on The Cue View later this week.
Pictures above are courtesy of Rob Hall
Written and published by Michael Day on the 21st August 2017