The Northern Snooker Centre is one of the best competition venues in the world, sponsoring and hosting tournaments from local junior events right up to the World Billiards Championship.
Here are just some of the events that we sponsor and host:
- Leeds City Championships
- Yorkshire Championships
- English Junior Championships
- English Amateur & Open Championships
- World Billiards Championship
Click here To View Upcoming Events at Northern Snooker Centre
For Pool competitions see 8 Ball Pool page
For in-club events see Club Competitions page
EASTER FESTIVAL OF SNOOKER
Sponsored by Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
The festival will take place from Friday 3rd April, 2015 to Monday 6th April, 2015 inclusive. This is the Easter Holiday Weekend.
An Opening introduction and Event Draws would take place on the evening of Thursday 2nd April, 2015.
All entries would need to be made by 8:00pm on Thursday 2nd April, and payment made in full to guarantee a place. PAYMENT CAN ONLY BE MADE VIA THE ONLINE SHOP. ENTRIES ARE NOT ACCEPTED VIA TELEPHONE. Players who may not know if they can attend until near the event can join online even from the venue, and our office administrators will be in attendance from 6pm on the Thursday night finalising late entries direct from Northern Snooker Centre.
There is a £50 entry fee to cover entry into all Festival events that a player is eligible for.
All events would be open to all players from any Nationality, regardless of their playing status (ie amateur or professional).
Current Main Tour Professional players would concede 14 points start per frame in the Paul Hunter Memorial Open only. All other events played off scratch.
With the World Championship Qualifiers starting on the 8th April in Sheffield, this is a perfect opportunity for professional players to get some match practice before the big event, and also a great chance for amateur players to compete against top pro’s in great match conditions.
The Paul Hunter Memorial English Open Event
This event would be played over FOUR days.
Two stages, Round Robin Groups, Best of 5 frames, followed by Knockout Stage – best of 7 frames. The final would be the best of 9 frames. The defending champion, Stuart Carrington, would be seeded through to the Knockout Stage if he enters. The groups would be seeded, with one seed in each group based on the Main Tour Rankings, then the PTC ranking list, then the EASB Ranking Series rankings. The remaining group positions are drawn at random.
Under 21’s Open
This event would be restricted to players aged UNDER 21 as of 31st December, 2014.
This event would be played over THREE days.
Two stages, Round Robin Groups, Best of 3 frames, followed by a Knockout stage, best of 5 frames. There is no seeding in this event.
This event would be restricted to players aged 50 or OVER as of 31st December, 2014.
This event would be played over THREE days.
Two stages, Round Robin Groups, Best of 3 frames, followed by a Knockout stage, best of 5 frames. There is no seeding in this event.
Middle Age Madness
This event would be restricted to players aged 21 or OVER, and UNDER 50, as of 31st December, 2014. There is no seeding in this event.
This event would be played over THREE days.
This event would be played using the DOUBLE ELIMINATION FORMAT.
This event would be played over TWO days.
All players are drawn at random to find a partner. Winning players then go back into the hat, and new partners are drawn at random for each subsequent round until the Semi-Finals, where the winning pairs stay together for the Final.
Matches are played under the Scotch Doubles Format , ie alternate shots.
This event is a straight knockout event. Up to and including the Last 32 would be a ONE FRAME shoot out.
The Last 16 onwards, including the final, will be over the best of 3 frames. There is no seeding in this event.
On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, commencing at 8pm, a ONE FRAME KNOCKOUT FLYER will take place. Each event is restricted to the first 64 players signed up as per rules given on each day by the Tournament Directors.
There would be a seperate £5 entry fee for this event – raising to £10 for players who have not played in the Festival events. Entries to this event are in cash only, payable on the day of the event to the Tournament Directors.
This would give a minimum of £320 prize fund each night, which would be split by the Last 4 players remaining in a suitable fashion.
The Northern Snooker Centre are boosting the total prize fund by £1,750.00.
From the total entry fees received, an amount of £1,100 is required to pay for the Referees and Tournament Directors for the 4 days, including accommodation costs.
The remaining money will then be split into the following categories:
PAUL HUNTER OPEN = 40%
UNDER 21s = 15%
NIFTY FIFTIES = 15%
MIDDLE AGE MADNESS = 15%
DOUBLES = 5%
We would hope to be paying out £1,000 to the winner of the Paul Hunter Open as a minimum.
EASB takes the remaining 10% and will re-invest this into the Amateur game.
LEEDS plays host to women snooker players from 13 countries over Easter.
A stellar international cast will be competing in the £5,000 Eden Resources World Championship at the Northern Snooker Centre.
Players from as far afield as Russia, Australia, Hong Kong and Brazil will be cueing up in a bid to stop Reanne Evans claiming a record tenth successive title.
Evans, 28, from Dudley, West Midlands, is sure to start as favourite for the World Ladies Billiards & Snooker Association’s blue riband event.
But she faces stiff opposition from world number one Maria Catalano (also from Dudley), the current IBSF world and European champion Wendy Jans (Belgium), two-time IBSF champion Ng On Yee (Hong Kong) and former European champion Tatjana Vasiljeva (Latvia).
The 2013/14 Eden Resources Festival of Snooker (and Billiards) in Association with Northern Snooker Centre includes a Seniors (40+) Championship, an Under-21 Championship, Ladies Pairs, Mixed Pairs, Billiards and a Plate for those not qualifying for the knockout stage of the World Championship.
Main Tour professionals Michael Holt, Kurt Maflin, Ben Woollaston and Martin Gould will be in action during the Mixed Pairs on Good Friday.
Ten-year-old Derby schoolgirl Ellie Jones, sister of world junior champion Hannah, is the youngest entrant.
The six-day event is sponsored by Eden Resources, Northern Snooker Centre, and Holiday Inn.
WLBSA World Championships
Friday, April 18, to Wednesday, April 23
Northern Snooker Centre
92 Kirkstall Rd
Tel: 01132 433015
Browse our new archives page, for all reports from previous seasons.
Click on the link below:
2012 WORLD BILLIARDS CHAMPIONSHIP
India’s Pankaj Advani regained the World title he first won in 2009 by beating 11 times champion Mike Russell in the final of the timed event. Advani surged into an early lead and was never caught as he strolled to victory by around 600.
Advani’s victory justified his decision to withdraw from the International Championship on the professional snooker tour to compete in the billiards.
Rupesh Shah made it an Indian double by beating Australia’s Matthew Bolton to win the 150 up event, which ran alongside the timed championship in a revamped and extended championships.
2011 WORLD BILLIARDS CHAMPIONSHIP
Mike Russell once again proved he is the best Billiards player in the world by winning his 11th World title, a record in the modern era, beating David Causier in the final.
Russell came through both group stages unscathed before wins over Peter Gilchrist and Pankaj Advani gave him his place in the final.
Causier came into the event in fine form having won the Jim Williamson memorial competition the weekend before and defeated Rupesh Shah and Australian Matthew Bolton to reach the final.
However Russell was unstoppable in the final winning by almost a thousand making three double centuries and a further two singles.
The chief surprise of the group stage was the failure of Indian legend Geet Sethi to qualify, although with a new Open format the field was much stronger in depth than in previous years.
Peter Lines was the winner of the Northern Snooker Centre Summer Open and with it £1,000 with a 4-1 victory over Accrington’s Chris Norbury in the final.
Lines started the finals day by beating Brett Miller 4-0 but only edged James McGouran 4-3 in the quarters before beating Anthony Parsons 4-1 in the semis.
Norbury, who beat UK Championship quarter finalist Mark Joyce 4-3 in qualifying, ousted Jamie McArdle 4-2, Allan Taylor 4-1 and Michael Wild 4-2 to reach the final.
The finals were the culmination of weeks of qualifying satellites, and special mention must go to Trevor Smith and Brian Pritchard, who despite not qualifying made their own mark on the event. Drawn together in qualifying event 1, Pritchard prevailed 4-3 on the pink after a battle lasting over 4 hours, a new club record!
Last 16 (£25):
Damien Wilks 4-1 Oliver Lines
Anthony Parsons 4-1 Gavin Lewis
James McGouran 4-2 Kamran Ashraf
Peter Lines 4-0 Brett Miller
Allan Taylor 4-0 David Grace
Chris Norbury 4-2 Jamie McArdle
Craig Steadman 4-3 Kevin Firth
Michael Wild 4-3 Shaun Wilkes
Quarter Finals (£50):
Parsons 4-3 Wilks
Lines 4-3 McGouran
Norbury 4-1 Taylor
Wild 4-1 Steadman
Semi Finals (£200):
Lines 4-1 Parsons
Norbury 4-2 Wild
Lines 4-1 Norbury
WORLD BILLIARDS CHAMPIONSHIP
Mike Russell was again crowned World Billiards Champion beating a new face in the final, young Indian Dhruv Sitwala 1738-1204. Russell top scored with 450 and that break proved to be the difference in the end.
Russell began the group stage beating home clubs Ian Williamson but suffered a shock defeat to amateur Robert Marshall to leave his very qualification in doubt with a match against Peter Gilchrist still to come. But he overcame this obstacle and then defeated Rupesh Shah in the quarters, making a tournament high 589 break in the process. He made breaks of 305 and 371 in beating David Causier 1529-1279 in a fast and furious semi final.
The other semi final however was the match of the championship. Indian legend Geet Sethi facing Sitwala, the match was nip and tuck all the way, with Sethi in play with just a couple of minutes to go he trailed by 58. Unbelieveably, he made 57 unfinished to the bell to lose by just a single point after 4 hours play.
PAUL HUNTER ENGLISH OPEN
Robbie Williams followed up his victory in the first Pro-Ticket event of the season by winning the Paul Hunter English Open, beating Stephen Craigie 6-4 in the final. Williams also constructed the highest break of the event 137 during the final.
Williams was in superb form throughout the event, topping his group comfortably before a 4-0 win over Tom Maxfield highlighted by a break of 96. He then made breaks of 68 and 85 in a 5-3 win over Michael Rhodes, before hitting top gear against former winner Matthew Couch, making breaks of 54, 59, and 123. Although outscored by number one seed Daniel Wells, he still emerged a 5-3 victor before beating Kuldesh Johal, again 5-3, with breaks of 72, 79 and 128 to reach the final.
Craigie in the group stage found himself in the bizarre position of having qualified before he started due to two no shows, but took full advantage in the knockout stages beating Ryan Mears and Richard Beckham, before an epic 5-4 win over Craig Steadman in the last 16. He then stepped up a gear crushing Chris Norbury 5-0 with breaks of 52, 88 and 88, before beating ex pro Andrew Norman 5-2 in the semis.
A total entry of over 100 was highly satisfactory considering the event was played mid week and with the PTC’s draining the financial resources of some. Perhaps this explained the disappointing entry from the professional ranks, just 5 pros entering.
Of the local hopes, Johal fared the best by reaching the semis, Peter Lines and David Grace both exited at the last 16 stage, to Chris Norbury and Jamie Barrett respectively.
David Grace won the latest midweek Pro-Am from a high quality field of 35 that included 4 professionals and a number of PTC players. Grace survived deciding frames in his closing four matches, to collect the £120 first prize.
Irish Professional Michael Judge, practising at the club in the build up to the World Open qualifiers, was first to bow out, losing 3-2 to Dane Hall, and was soon followed into the plate by Jimmy Michie, who was beaten by Doncaster’s Chris Keogan. Young James Jagger posted a personal best performance beating PTC player Damien Wilks 3-1.
Three of the quarter finals went the distance, Grace edging improving Gene Lam from 2-1 down, Lam’s younger brother Sanderson, the English U16 & U19 runner-up, beating Mitchell Travis, and Simon Bedford edging his fellow professional Kuldesh Johal.
The semi finals again saw Grace record a narrow 3-2 victory over Craig Steadman, while Bedford ended Lam’s run 3-0. The final, reduced to best of three due to the lateness of the hour, was nevertheless of the highest quality.
Grace opened with a run of 107, only for Bedford to respond with 14 reds, 14 blacks, before misjudging his positional shot for the last red with a maximum in sight. In attempting to take the cue ball in and out of baulk, he missed the final red on 112. Bedford struck first in the decider with 68, but missed match ball red. Grace cleared to the yellow, snookered his opponent and from the resulting in-off cleared for victory.
Judge recovered from his early defeat to win the plate, beating Farakh Ajaib in the final.
WORLD OPEN QUALIFIER
James McGouran won a coveted spot in the World Open with a 3-0 win over Liverpool's Allan Taylor in the final of the pre-qualifying event at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
With the winner's entry fee of £300 guaranteed to be paid by the club, a total of 45 entrants lined up, with the goal of going through to the professional qualifying rounds to be staged at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield from August 21-24.
McGouran trod a precarious route, edging both Jamie Barrett and Chris Norbury 3-2, before beating Charlie Walters 3-1 and Leighton Gauci 3-0 to reach the final.
Taylor was also made to work hard, recording 3-2 wins over Robbie Williams and David Grace followed by a 3-1 win over Andy Lee in the semis.
McGouran, from Hull, is a former Pontin's Open winner and recently reached the last 32 of Star Xing Pai Players Tour Championship Event 2. He now has the chance to battle for a place in the televised stages of the World Open, to take place from September 18-26 in Glasgow.
With the number of entrants exceeding expectations, a plate competition was organised for first round losers. Mitchell Travis collected a £50 consolation prize beating Farakh Ajaib in the final.
Leighton Gauci 3-2 Shaun Wilkes
James McGouran 3-1 Charlie Walters
Andy Lee 3-1 Curtis Lewis
Allan Taylor 3-2 David Grace
McGouran 3-0 Gauci
Taylor 3-1 Lee
McGouran 3-0 Taylor
Sanderson Lam was outplayed in both of his recent English Junior finals, but his cause was not helped by getting lost on his way to the Academy at Sheffield and being docked the first frame. His opponent Joel Walker then went on to a blitz of scoring, making a break above 50 in every frame topped by a century to win 6-0 in the Under 16s.
The following day in the Under 19s final Sanderson this time managed to find the venue on time, and produced a much better display, leading Kamran Ashraf 4-3 at the interval before losing 8-4. Neither defeat takes anything away from his outstanding performance to reach two English Junior finals in the same year.
SANDERSON SLAMS HIS WAY INTO TWO FINALS
15 year old Sanderson Lam made a staggering breakthrough to reach the finals of both the English Under 16 and the English Under 19 Championships at the Northern SC.
In an unfortunate draw, Lam was paired with another NSC junior, Oliver Lines in the last 16 of the U16s, and emerged a 4-3 winner before dispatching Zac Barton and Jordan Rimmer by 4-2 scorelines to reach the final. He will face Joel Walker, the reigning champion, who recently was crowned Ronnie O’Sullivan Star of the Future, a competition for Under 16s for which he will receive coaching and advice from Ronnie himself. Sanderson certainly has a tough game on his hands!
His most impressive win came in the semis of the U19s, beating PIOS player Sam Craigie 5-1. He will face Kamran Ashraf in this final, both of which will be played during the EASB finals weekend on 22nd/23rd May at Sheffield’s World Snooker Academy. We of course wish him all the best in both matches.
Also appearing in the finals weekend amongst others will be Shane Castle and Adam Bobat, two highly rated youngsters from the South coast, in the final of the U14s. James Pearson, who receieved the club’s Steve Prest Scholarship to further his fledgling career, reached the quarter finals. Exeter will face West Midlanders in the final of the Team Championship.
Damien Wilks secured his first ever tournament win, beating Oliver Lines 5-4 in the final of the latest Under 21 Open to be held at NSC. Due to low entry numbers the entrants were split into two groups of round robin snooker, with the top two comprising the semi finals. Wilks beat Sanderson Lam to reach the final while Lines desposed of PIOS player Darren Burns.
Lines, son of Main Tour professional Peter Lines, was also in form at the April midweek Pro-Am, recording one of his best ever wins in reaching the final. He defeated professional Craig Steadman 3-0, receiving just 18 points start. His run was ended in the final with a 3-0 defeat by David Grace, who collected his 3rd first prize in the Pro-Am series since the turn of the year. Richard Binns lost to Grace in the first round but made a superb 126 in the plate competition.
PRO-TICKET STAGE 2 EVENT 1
Stephen Craigie triumphed in the first event of the second phase of this years Pro-Ticket Tour with a 6-3 win over local hero Kuldesh Johal in the final. Craigie played solidly building a 5-1 advantage, before a touch of clinchers disease set in, only to slam the door firmly shut with a century break in the final frame.
Johal now takes the lead at the top of the rankings as most of his challengers for the number one spot fell by the wayside early in the tournament.
FEBRUARY COMPETITION ROUNDUP
Richard Binns and Blackpool’s Robert Valiant were the finalists in the February Open, unfortunately having played best of 7’s all day due to a slightly lower entry were forced to share the prize money due to the lateness of the hour. Binns had produced a mammoth recovery from 3-1 down to former pro Steve Meakin in the semis, while Valiant saw off the challenge of Chris Hall in the other semi.
Kuldesh Johal won the February midweek Pro-Am, with a convincing display all day. Johal made 7 breaks above 60 during the day, rounding off with a 3-0 win over regular finalist David Craggs.
The Under 21 Open was affected severely by the decision to hold the Leeds Under 18 Championship on the same day, but still attracted a number of keen youngsters, who were split into two groups to maximise the days play. Emerging from the groups were Gareth Green, Oliver Lines, Daniel Womersley and Ryan Hickman, who scored a notable win over Gene Lam in their group decider. It was Green who beat Lines 3-2 in the final to collect the prize money.
JANUARY MIDWEEK OPEN PRO-AM
David Grace was the winner of the latest midweek Pro-Am at Northern SC, beating David Craggs 3-0 in the final.
Grace was in good scoring form in the semis, compiling breaks of 111, 54 and 51 in beating Joel Walker 3-0, and followed up with 71, 95 and 59 in the final against Craggs. Walker had crushed Richard Binns 3-0 in the quarters with breaks of 63, 68 and 75.
EASB PRO-TICKET EVENT 4 NORTH
Kyren Wilson won the fourth event on the EASB’s new look Pro-Ticket Tour with a 5-3 win over Stephen Craigie in the final.
Wilson, who recently made a 147 maximum break in a junior tour event in London, was relatively untroubled on day one as he made his way into the quarters. He seemed set for another comfortable passage when he led Northern’s David Grace 3-0, but Grace showed great tenacity to battle back to 3-3. However, it was Wilson who had the last laugh edging the decider. In the semis he beat David Craggs, who had produced a recovery of his own in coming back from 3-0 down to beat Leeds’ Jonathan Bagley 4-3 in their quarter.
Craigie, who has dominated on the junior tour this season, winning 5 out of 5 events so far, beat Stuart Carrington in the quarters and Adam Duffy in the semis to reach the final.
Rankings leader Kuldesh Johal survived a scare, going 3-1 down to young prospect Gene Lam before winning 4-3, but the exhersion caused him to lose in the next round 4-2 to Steve Judd. He does however go on to the final three elite events, incorporating the top 16 from the north and south rankings. Grace unfortunately will not be among them, a first round exit from the English Amatuer not helping his cause.
YORKSHIRE JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Oliver Lines added the Yorkshire Under 15 title to his already impressive list of tournament victories which include the English Under 14s and an EASB regional junior tour event.
Meanwhile, Damian Wilks edged Bradford rival Anthony Green 2-1 to win the Yorkshire Under 19 Championship, his first Yorkshire title. Wilks came close to losing in the semi finals, surviving a decider against Daniel Womersley.
EASB PRO-TICKET EVENT 3 NORTH
Kuldesh Johal followed up his final in event two with winning event 3 to soar to the top of the North rankings, beating Jamie O’Neill 5-3 in the final. Johal led Kyren Wilson 3-1 in the semis before being taken to a decider but held firm to win 4-3.
Johal made breaks of 63 and 62 as he brushed aside Stuart Carrington in the quarters, and beat Stephen Craigie 4-0 for the second event in sucession. However, his most important result was a 4-2 win over David Lilley in the second round, a massive win in the context of the rankings as it was Lilley who had been number one.
O’Neill beat Anthony Parsons 4-2 in the semis, Parsons appearing in his third consecutive semi so far this season, and was pushed to 4-3 by both Alan Taylor and Jeff Cundy on the first day of the event.
Our other players failed to make any impact on the event, David Grace losing 4-1 to James McGouran in the first round. Grace’s 125 stood as the highest break of the weekend, but proving scant consolation for desperately needed ranking points.
The popular Pro-Ams continue to attract sizeable fields of quality, and provide good match practise for players at all levels during normally quiet spells of the season.
Jamie Barrett defeated Robert Valiant 3-0 in the final of the November Midweek event, while Castleford’s Pete Raby was perhaps a surprise winner of the next Sunday event, beating junior Anthony Green in the final. Raby however was good value for his win, defeating Main Tour professional Craig Steadman in an earlier round.
December 23rd brought almost 32 players in desperate need of some extra Christmas money and it was David Craggs who departed with a little extra festive cheer beating David Grace 3-0 in the final to collect £120, restricting Grace to just two potted reds in the whole match.
Daniel Womersley produced his finest performance to date to win the first event of 2010 with a 3-1 win over Damien Wilks. Both players recorded fine wins earlier in the event, Womersley beating Kuldesh Johal in the semis while Wilks beat Peter Lines 3-1 in the second round.
REGIONAL JUNIOR TOUR EVENT 2
Oliver Lines, last years English Under 14 Champion, produced a quality performance in a much higher age group in winning the second Regional Junior Tour event of the season at Northern SC, Leeds.
The tour includes players up to the age of 20, and Lines’ win means he is in with a good chance of promotion to the Premier Junior Tour for next season. Lines beat Chris Keogan (Doncaster) 2-0 in the final at almost 11pm to complete a long days snooker which began at 10am. He also made the two highest breaks of the day, 75 and 71 to underline his supremecy.
Anthony Green (Bradford) was also in fine form, making five breaks over 40, but was edged 2-1 in the semis by Keogan.
EASB PRO-TICKET EVENT 2 NORTH
David Lilley soared to the top of the fledgling EASB Pro-Ticket North rankings after victory in event two. Lilley, who reached the quarter finals of event one, thrashed a tired Kuldesh Johal 5-0 in the final.
Incredibly, Lilley dropped just three frames all weekend and they all came in his opening round 4-3 win over Lee Shanker. He won his other 5 matches without losing a frame.
Johal struggled on day one edging Scott Raper 4-3 in round one but hit form on the second day, restricting Stephen Craigie to a handful of points in a 4-0 drubbing, then beating Jamie O’Neill 4-1 in the semis.
Craigie was responsible for the exit of David Grace in the highest quality match of the weekend, Grace making breaks of 61, 94 and 60, Craigie compiling runs of 81, 54, 84 and 100. Adam Duffy made the highest break with 128 but was beaten 4-2 by Gareth Green.
Ben Harrison won the Southern Event two, beating Alfie Burden in the final. Burden made a maximum 147 break in an earlier round.
The Pro-Am Series at the club is still going strong, regularly attracting 40+ entries. Mitchell Travis edged David Grace 3-1 to win the October event, having earlier beaten Kuldesh Johal 3-0. Grace made a break of 127 in an ealrier round against Gene Lam and made a 61 clearance to edge Kevin Firth in his semi final.
David Craggs was a familiar winner of the midweek October event, but Richard Binns was a surprise finalist. Binns however showed his potential with wins over Main Tour Simon Bedford and Grimsby’s Jamie Barrett in the semis.
David Grace got back to winning ways with a 3-1 defeat of Craig Steadman in the November event. Grace recovered from 2-0 down to edge Jason Stockton in the semis, with Steadman surviving a tough route to the final beating Binns, PIOS player John Whitty, Craig Barber and Gareth Green in the semis, Green having beaten Johal for the 2nd time in recent events in round two.
EASB PRO-TICKET EVENT 1
David Craggs, from the North East but a regular visitor to the club for pro-ams and other events, won the first Pro-Ticket North event of the season with a 5-2 victory over local hope Jonathan Bagley.
Craggs set off with a 4-1 demolition of Pontins Plate winner Jake Nicholson, and was in fine form on the second day, defeating three times English Amateur Champion David Lilley 4-1. He reserved his best performance of the weekend for Robbie Williams in the semis, who sat out a quickfire break of 113 as Craggs romped home 4-0.
Bagley made a break of 121 against Shaun Wilkes on day one, but was pushed all the way for his final place, coming from 2-3 and 1-3 down to beat Ian Burns and Anthony Parsons respectively.
Bagley also led 2-0 in the final, winning a black ball second game with a terrific pot on the final ball, but Craggs turned on the style once again. Breaks of 52, 76 and 52 ensured Bagley did not register again, coasting away to a 5-2 result.
Bagley’s final appearance was the shining light on a weekend when the other local hopes failed to impress. Kuldesh Johal and David Grace, both on the professional tour last season, were beaten on day one. Robbie Williams beat Johal 4-1 while Mitchell Travis beat Grace by the same score.
Richard Binns and Gene Lam both lost to tough opponents, Binns going down 4-1 to vastly experienced Jeff Cundy and Lam whitewashed by Stephen Craigie, another player to fall off the Main Tour last season. Thomas Wealthy made his debut in a Pro-Ticket event but was beaten 4-1 by Joel Walker.
This season sees the Tour initially split North and South, so while Craggs was winning in Leeds, Rob James defeated Adam Wicheard to win the first Southern event. The top 16 after four events in each region will then converge for the final 3 events to decide the pro-ticket and England team selections.
WORLD BILLIARDS CHAMPIONSHIP
Pankaj Advani (above) caused one of the biggest shocks in the history of the modern game in defeating 9 times champion Mike Russell to win his first World Billiards Championship. The 24 year old from India claimed victory by a margin of 2030-1253 to deny Russell his 10th title. Advani had previously won the World Amateur Championships in both billiards and snooker, so his pedigree was well known, but to step up so spectacularly against the undisputed world number one was especially impressive.
A massive undersog at the start of the final, Advani compiled breaks of 132, 170, 226, 101 and 106 in storming away to a first session lead of 1070-418, and although Russell countered with runs of 100, 219 and 129 in the evening, he could never make any serious inrodes into his deficit. Advani maintained his supremecy with breaks of 136, 147 and 106 in averaging 44.1 for the match.
Advani qualified from his round robin group 2nd after defeat to fellow Indian Dhruv Sitwala, although he defeated last year’s runner-up Geet Sethi which meant that Sethi failed to qualify, the only major shock of the group stages.
He then progessed through the quarters with a narrow 896-782 win over David Causier, and was again pushed all the way, recording an even closer 1037-972 win in his rematch with Sitwala to make his first World Professional final.
Russell had started the event in ominously good form, making the tournament high break of 545 against Ian Williamson, and 528 against B Bhaskar in the quarters. However, he struggled in the first session of his semi against another young Indian, Rupesh Shah, trailing by 410-608 at the half way stage. Shah, however could average only 11.8 in the second session as Russell eventually ran out a comfortable winner.
Home club’s Ian Williamson could not emerge from a very strong group, including Russell, Shah and Devendra Joshi, but did reach the semis of the Open event, losing narrowly to Joshi who played out time with a break of 90. Sethi went on to win the Open, defeating Joshi in the final.
Present at the final was Jim Williamson, who opened the Northern Snooker Centre 35 years ago. Jim has not been in the best of health but received a rapturous round of applause and heart felt praise from beaten finalist Russell, who paid tribute to the contribution Jim has made to the game of billiards over the years. Jim is pictured below congratulating the 2009 World Porfessional Billiard Champion, Pankaj Advani.
TOURNAMENT ROUND-UP: CRAIGIES TAKE OVER!
Geordie brothers Stephen and Sam Craigie have been dominating the recent events at Northern SC, with 5 final appearances between them. Younger brother Sam was first to taste success, winning a Pro-Am and beating his older brother in the final, after coming from 2-0 down to beat Scott Raper in the quarters. Craigie junior was also involved in the final of the inaugural U18 Open, although this time he had to settle for 2nd prize as the consistent Mitchell Travis beat him 3-1.
Stephen, who enjoyed some fine wins in his debut on the professional tour last season whilst just failing to retain his place, was next to step into a final in a Pro-Am event. However, he too was edged 3-2 by serial Pro-Am specialist Craig Steadman. This event saw some superb snooker, Steadman blasting in breaks of 57, 78 and a magnificent 141 against Gene Lam in round 1, and 64 and 126 against Ashley Hugill in the quarters. Craigie also registered a century, 111, against travelling partner Steven Gregson. Pete Fisher also weighed in with 109.
The last midweek Pro-Am of the summer was an all Grimsby affair, with Jamie Barrett beating his travelling partner Craig Waddingham 3-1 in the final. Main Tour player Lee Spick mdae the journey up from Mansfield and only just edge young Oliver Lines 3-2 before being ousted in the quarter finals by Barrett.
A superb entry of 44 lined up for the end of August Pro-am, and included Main Tour Matt Couch, PIOS number 1 Liam Highfield as well as Scottish International Anthony McGill. Barrett was quick out of the blocks in his first round clash with Alan Trigg making 125 in the first frame of the day, but Trigg’s experience saw him recover to win 3-1. Kuldesh Johal also posted a ton, 117 in his opening win over Daniel Womersley. Highfield was upset 3-1 by Paul Deane but recovered to win the plate competition.
Into the quarters, McGill edged David Grace 3-1 although he needed a snooker at 2-1 before Grace managed to angle himself in trying to free the blue and McGill gratefully potted blue pink and black to advance. Stephen Craigie beat Damian Wilks 3-1, the same scoreline by which David Craggs beat Paul Metcalf. Mitchell Travis edged Johal 3-2, after Johal had ended Couch’s dream in the previous round.
The semis saw the North East pair Craigie and Craggs progress to the final and it was Craigie who ensured more success for the household with a 3-1 victory.