Snooker Professional Ian McCulloch from Preston arrived in Plymouth City centre on Saturday to give an exhibition of Snooker in Rileys Pool & Snooker Club.
The evening of Snooker entertainment was organised by the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation (WEBSF) in conjunction with Rileys Club in order to promote Snooker in the City.
McCulloch, Embassy Worlds Professional semi-finalist and ranked 16th, (provisionally 12th ) in the world, entertained an enthralled the crowd all evening with a superb array of shots, break building and friendly banter.
McCulloch played eleven frames of snooker against local players from across Plymouth as well as signing autographs and photos. During the first session of the evening McCulloch played five frames against youngsters from the WEBSF Coaching School. The youngsters wearing bow ties and waistcoats provided a spectacle fitting the occasion. First up was 15yr old Paul Johnson quickly followed by Danny wicks who watched as McCulloch knocked in a 48 break to take the frame 83 – 13.
Daniel Bellamy from the Victoria Snooker Centre was the next player in line. Bellamy managed to amass 28 points only to watch as McCulloch built a break of 36 to run out an 81 – 28 winner.
Fourth player to be introduced was the 10yr old potting machine from Rileys, Dylan Chilcott. Chilcott could only watch in awe as McCulloch made a superb 115 break, to the delight of the crowd.
Next in line before the interval was the natural cueist Danny Bolt who went the same way as his predecessors.
When the exhibition resumed McCulloch’s next opponent was the reigning WEBSF South West Bronze Waistcoat Champion Dale Branton. 13yrs old Branton looked on in admiration as McCulloch compiled the first of two consecutive centuries the highest break of the evening, a magnificent 126.
Plymouth Social League Under 21 Champion Alan Dunnington was the next player to experience the deadly accuracy of McCulloch’s cueing McCulloch fashioned a beautifully 101 century break.
Mike Day, the all round cue sports specialist was next in line to face McCulloch. Day potted well at the start only to watch McCulloch to run out a 76 – 43 winner.
The final trio of players to face McCulloch were the newly crowned English Amateur Team Champions from Riley’s. Kris Vincent, Lee Lamerton and Neil Chiswell. These three have been bestowed the honour of representing their country next year in Ireland. First up was Plymouth Champion Chiswell who lost 31 – 69. Lamerton also went down 41 – 59. Last but not least was English International Vincent who coolly compiled breaks of 48, 33 & 25 on his way to a well earned victory.
In summing up a fine evening of snooker entertainment Wayne Branton of behalf of the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation stated that the evening had been a resounding success. Everybody had a great time, with Mr McCulloch proving to be a class act both as a professional snooker player and entertainer.
Report by Keith Millard