Brian Harvey West of England Champion
Seventeen players took part in the annual West of England billiards competition held at Rileys club Exeter on Sunday 27th April. The contestants were split into two groups of four and three groups of three who played a ‘round robin’ format of one-hour matches to decide the eight players who would contest the quarter-finals of a straight knock-out to decide the winner.
Newlyn’s Steve Downing won group ‘A’ with Bradninch’s Bill Andress runner up. Andress recorded a break of 131 in one of his round robin matches, a score which was to remain the highest until beaten by Redruth’s Charlie Gay with an unfinished run of 134. Defending champion Brian Harvey, from Bridgwater, won group ‘B’ with Corsham’s Martin Phillips as runner-up. Groups ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘E’, the sections of three players from which only one player qualified, were all won by men from Cornwall with English Grand Master Chris Mitchell from Liskeard winning group ‘C’, Charlie Gay succeeding in Group ‘D’ and Geoff Lingard from Bude triumphant in group ‘E’ The quarter final line-up was completed by Plymouth’s Matt Williams who had the best record of the non automatic qualifiers.
Lingard beat Downing by six points (232-226) in the first semi-final, Harvey overcame Gay by 307 to 267, Andress defeated Mitchell by 367-280 and Williams completed the semi-final line-up with a 322-237 win over Phillips. In his semi-final against Geoff Lingard, Matt Williams recorded a break of 121 which was enough to secure a narrow (333-301) victory despite a run of 117 by the Bude player. Brian Harvey won the second semi with a 312-282 win over Bill Andress. Harvey retained his title with a 321-238 win over Williams asserting his superiority only in the closing stages of what was largely a closely fought final. The Cup and a prize of £100 – kindly donated by Royal Cafes (Liskeard) Ltd – were presented by Mr. Alan Lovegrove, President of the Devon County Billiards and Snooker Association. Grateful thanks were expressed to the sponsors and to Rileys Club for the use of their facilities.
Report by Geoff Setter