WEST OF ENGLAND ENGLISH BILLIARDS OPEN CHAMPION
Mears Doubles Up in Jesters
23rd February 2019
Versatile cueist Ryan Mears from Hampshire achieved the rare feat of adding the West of England Billiards Open title to the West of England Snooker Open title, which he won earlier in the season. In the final Mears was matched against Graham Ward from Devon, who has recently returned to playing tournament billiards after several years of concentrating on snooker. Neither player played as well as they had in earlier rounds. Ward, struggled to gather the balls at the top of the table, which is his preferred method of scoring, and his strength, this opened the door for Mears to fashion a modest fifty-three break and take the lead at the mid-point in the match. Mears then built on this break with some steady scoring and the occasional fortuitous shot for good measure, to run out a comfortable winner.
The early stages of the tournament saw nineteen players complete in fifty-seven round robin games, each game lasting forty-five minutes. This reduced the field to eight qualifiers for the main knock-out stage; Michael White (Somerset), Geoff Lingard (Cornwall), Steve Downing (Bristol), Ryan Mears (Hampshire) and Barry Russell, Chris Coumbe, Steve Brookshaw & Graham Ward all from Devon. The remaining players were invited to play in the plate which was won by Martin Phillips (Wiltshire) over Korbin Lowe from Hampshire. Best breaks in the knock-out stages came from; Brookshaw 53 and Mears 53,82 & 140.
Mears, with six wins from six, was the only player to be guaranteed a place in the quarter finals. For the remaining seven qualifiers it was a much closer affair. In group A, White edged out Brookshaw on points difference 668 to 624, relegating Brookshaw into second place. Coumbe proved the best of a four-way tie to finish in third place, 93 points ahead of Lingard. In group B two players finished level on games won, Ward ahead of Downing and then Russell were to qualify with Mears. The best breaks came from Brookshaw (101,86,56,55 & 52), Lingard (101), Ward (65,64,63), Russell (63), Mears (78,64,56,55,53,52 & 51) and Coumbe (160,87,59 & 57). Coumbe’s 160 break being the best on the day.
Tournament Director from the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation said, “Well done to Ryan Mears for wining and achieving the double at both Billiards & Snooker. This feat is often seen at local league level but rarely seen at regional level. We feel it is important to help keep this skilful, interesting and rewarding game from disappearing from our clubs.”
Any player interested in learning how to play English Billiards, enter any of the WEBSF events or becoming a volunteer willing to get involved with the work of the WEBSF they should contact Steve Canniford, Mobile 07891940995 or visit http://www.websfsnooker.com or WEBSF Facebook. The tournament was promoted by the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation and hosted and sponsored by Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon. Thanks to David Cook who did a sterling job of refereeing throughout the day.
Report by Steve Canniford