PONTINS TEAM HOLD THEIR NERVE
24th March 2007
After no less than 252 frames of snooker and nearly 17 playing hours of English Billiards three teams emerged victorious. The Senior Snooker was won by the narrowest of margins by a team of young guns Grant Cole, Matt Williams, both from Plymouth and Darren Bond, Tiverton representing Pontins International Snooker Team. The youth Snooker also went close with Cornwall taking the spoils. The Billiards event resulted in a Cornish double with Cornwall romping to victory.
The tournament was promoted and hosted at Rileys, Plymouth and sponsored by Rileys, Jersey Billiards & Snooker Association, Crownhill Taxis Services, Challenger Tyre Services & the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation (WEBSF). The WEBSF Management Team aided by Referees from around the region and Team Managers worked tirelessly to organise and run the event which proved to be a resounding success on all fronts. The event began with a civic reception with the Lord Mayor Mr Michael Fletcher and Lady Mayoress in the Mayor’s Chambers where both parties exchanged gifts and pleasantries.
The innovative format of the competition was designed to maximise the amount of play and competition. This also proved to be a recipe for nail biting snooker for most of the afternoon. As the day progressed of the twelve teams four pulled away edging neck and neck towards the winning line, each taking turns to hold the lead. It wasn’t until the final frames that the winners emerged. The first of the four to show signs of flagging were Cuestars, a team made up of top players from the southern half of England, at one point they looked to be the team to beat, forging ahead, but they faded in the closing stages. This left Rileys Newport, Rileys Exeter and Pontins to fight it out. In the final run in, it was the young Pontins team that held their nerve to win by just a single point in what was the closest of contests. The other two teams finished equal second and after a single frame shoot out, Rileys Newport secured second place.
BRITTON’S CENTURY BREAKS
Gary Britton (Jersey) showed his team the form required to compete at International level by recording two of the three century breaks that were made on the day. His first came early on against England International Kris Vincent, a magnificent 120 clearance, which sent a real sense of excitement around the Rileys matchroom. Britton’s second century was against Welsh International John Payne from Rileys, Newport in Wales. Britton was 36 points down before he once again found his touch constructing a fine 103. This served to inspire Payne who in a later frame posted a superb 116 clearance against Steve Thomas from Jersey D.
Jersey A beat Riley’s Plymouth 4-2. Jersey team captain Karl Le Fevre won both his frames, these were soon cancelled out by Michael Day, Plymouth who beat the in-form Britton. Jersey A then lost 1-5 to Pontins, Britton being the only winner against Matt Williams helped with a break of 57. Jersey A also lost by the same score to hot shots from the South of England, Cuestars. Britton, Jersey was first to notch up a win with a break of 45 but Cuestars came back via Ryan Mears (47 break) and Daniel Hildyard won both their frames to win the match 5-1. Jersey A won 4-2 against Rileys, Newport in an entertaining match. Britton won both his frames aided by that 120 break, team mate Chris Alexander produced a break of 44 in his win as Newport went down fighting with David Hard posting a fine 61 break and John Payne a 54. Against Cornwall Britton was again amongst the balls on 47 but couldn’t prevent his side losing heavily to Cornwall 5-1. Chris Timmins & Barrie McIntosh, Cornwall won both their frames aided with beaks of 66 and 42 respectively. Jersey A against the talented international trio from Rileys, Exeter Mike King, Greg Batten and Andy ‘Matchplay’ Radford, did not produce any breaks of note but turned out a hard fought 3-3 draw.
Jersey B had mixed fortunes throughout the day, they started well winning 4-2 against the Rileys, Plymouth. Lee Lamerton, Plymouth had a break of 42 and Ray Kilmartin (Jersey) won both his frames aided with a break of 51. Jersey B then came down with a bump when they were beaten 6-0 by Pontins. Matt Williams cleared the table with a break of 76 and England International Darren Bond followed up with a brace of breaks 57 & 50. Cuestars were next for Jersey B and things continued to get worse for them. Cuestars players Ben Harrison & Mears won both their matches to secure a 5-1 win. Jersey B’s next opponents Rileys Newport, proved too strong for them as they lost 6-0. Newport players John Bevan knocked breaks of 73 & 49 and John Payne rubbed salt into the wound scoring a 52 break to seal the match. Next up for Jersey B were the Cornish team who had Steve Downing winning both his frames helped by a break of 72. Jersey B showed great determination to level the match at 3-3. Against Rileys, Exeter, Jersey B could only watch and admire the prolific scoring of their opponents. Exeter won 6-0 scoring 401 points to 55. Mike King stamping his authority on this match with breaks of 84 & 54.
With Jersey fielding four sides their C & D teams where always going to find the competition tough but nevertheless they battled hard and will have gained much valued experience as well as making new friends & acquaintances. Jersey C’s only frame against Rileys, Plymouth came from Andy Stentiford. Kris Vincent, Plymouth forged a 76 break in this match. Darren Bond made a great 93 clearance followed by a 67, Matt Williams made a useful 63 and Grant Cole a 47 in Jersey C’s 1-5 defeat against Pontins.
The next four matches saw Jersey C lose them all 6-0. The first against came Cuestars, breaks of 69 from Ben Harrison and 60 from Daniel Hildyard. For Cornwall Barrie McIntosh recorded a 41 break. Rileys Exeter had all their three players recording breaks; King 81; Radford 62 and Batten 48. Jersey D faired slightly better wining 5 of the 18 frames available. There first match saw Rileys Plymouth win 6-0, the second saw Pontins drop one frame as they ran out comfortable 5-1 winners. In the third match Cuestars won 5-1 with Ben Harrison notching up a 47 break. In Jersey D’s next match their opponents, Rileys Newport won 5-1 with John Payne clearing the table win a superb 116 break. Barrie McIntosh constructed a break of 52 in the Cornish sides 5-1 victory over Jersey D. Jersey’s final match was against Rileys Exeter and must have thought their luck was changing when Guy Heys was 41-0 up against Mike King, as on numerous occasions, dug deep to knock in a frame-winning break of 69.
Guernsey teams A & B largely held their own with both teams recording three & four draws respectively from the six matches. Guernsey A held Rileys Plymouth to a draw with Glen Le Prevost wining his two frames. In their second match they came up against the eventual winners Pontins who won comfortably 5-1, Adam Shorto putting up most resistance with a fine 69 break against Matt Williams. Grant Cole posted a 55 and wining by just 1 point against Shorto. Bond was in devastating form making breaks of 84 followed by a 67 clearance. The match against Cuestars ended in a credible 3-3 draw. Against Rileys of Newport John Payne won both his frames which prove decisive aided by a break of 69. Guernsey A played well against Cornwall coming away 5-1 winners. Chris Timmins picking up Cornwall’s only frame. Guernsey A’s final match was against the much fancied Rileys Exeter, this was to be Guernsey best performance of the day. Adam Shorto won both his frames with breaks of 78 & 67. Glen Le Prevost beat Mike king with a well-crafted break of 88. However Andy Radford responded with a frame winning break of 83 to tie the match 3-3.
Guernsey B got off to a reasonable start against Rileys, Plymouth drawing 3-3. John Skillett, Guernsey won both his frames before Michael Day, Plymouth bounced back with a break of 77 and then had to sit out as Martyn Desperques rattled in a break of 53. Pontins were Guernsey B’s next opponents, and in and highly entertaining fixture the teams shared the spoils 3-3. Desperques and Ian Platt made breaks of 44 and 42 respectively. While for Pontins Grant Cole and Matt Williams recorded a 43 break apiece. Guernsey B then faced Cuestars and again came away with a creditable 3-3 draw. Ryan Mears Cuestars won two frames and posted the only break of the tie a 49. Little known Rileys Newport were by this time proving they were up for the challenge, defeating Guernsey B 5-1 aided by a 52 break from John Payne and a 46 from David Hard. Guernsey B bounced back raising their game against Cornwall earning a 3-3 draw. Desperques won both his frames with breaks of 55 & 42. Barrie McIntosh, Cornwall replied with a break of 73 followed by team mate Chris Timmins who posted a 43 break. Rileys Exeter proved too strong for the Guernsey B side as they ran out comfortable 5-1 winners, Greg Batten, Exeter made the only a break of the tie, a 48.
CORNWALL SHOW GRIT
The youth snooker consisted of 36 frames of snooker between three teams, the much fancied Cornwall, the unknown quantity of Jersey and the youngest side from the WEBSF comprising a 15, 16 & 17 years old trio from Plymouth Devon, aged 14, 15 and 16. The latter recently becoming Devon Youth Team Champions for the third year in succession. With the main event being so close the youth teams were intent not to go unnoticed. Favourites going into the match were Cornwall and they lived up to this appellation but not without a scare from the WEBSF team as the match wasn’t in the bag until the penultimate frame. Cornwall finished top with 17pts. WEBSF second with 15pts. Jersey finishing third. Jersey should take heart that they were up against tough competition and if a few of the close frames had gone their way it might have been different. What proved to be a main factor was that the Cornwall and WEBSF players get regular matchplay through playing on the WEBSF’s highly successful Waistcoat Tours. Jersey are interested in adopting a similar set-up which can only hone the skills these young players obviously have.
The match scores went as follows; Cornwall ran out 10-2 victors aided by the highest break of the day a 46 from Bobby Southworth, Cornwall. Southworth won three out of his four frames, losing to Joe Stewart, Jersey. Miguel Freitas was the other winner for Jersey beating Daniel Barnsley on the black ball. Darran Lock went undefeated. The WEBSF knew they had to play well if they were to stay in touch with Cornwall and play well they did! beating Jersey by the same score line of 10-2. There were no breaks recorded but as in the previous match and Jersey where a little unfortunate not to win some of the close frames. Especially Dane Jennings will no doubt be practicing black ball finishes for next year as he was on the losing end on more then one occasion. Stewart and Freitas were the winners for Jersey against Thomas Vanstone and Dale Branton respectfully. Mitchell Grinstead, WEBSF never dropped a frame in this match. When Cornwall meet Devon there is always an air of rivalry and this was to prove no exception. Cornwall were almost pushed to the wire by the young WEBSF team and by the more senior Cornwall players own admission had to fight for every point. Nevertheless as with the seniors winning team the Cornish side held their nerve edging it 7-5, Lock recording a break of 44.
CORNWALL ROMP TO VICTORY
The English Billiards was played between Cornwall, Devon and Jersey over eighteen, fifty-five minute games. Cornwall were simply too hot to handle on the day romping to victory in emphatic style. Cornwall recorded no less than sixteen of the nineteen breaks over forty made on the day. The legendary Cornish cueman that is Charlie Gay was prolific in making nine of those breaks. Cornwall came top with 12pts followed by Devon on 4pts and Jersey bringing up the rear on 2pts. Cornwall’s consistency of scoring over 300 points in their 55 minute games demonstrated how well they had played. This was emphasised by only one player in the other two teams having scored over two hundred points. That player was Bill Andress, Devon. Onlookers are often witness to fast, free flowing scoring from Andress but it was not to be on this occasion. In Cornwall’s 6-0 defeat of Jersey, Chris Mitchell recorded the highest break of the day a 78 to go with five other breaks of note.
Against Devon, Cornwall followed won comfortably 6-0. Gay proved he is still a force to be reckon with scoring nearly 700 points in his two matches and registering seven breaks over 40, the highest a 64, followed by 49, 47, 2 x 46 & 2 x 43. Mitchell made breaks of 50, 48 & 43. Not to be left out fellow team mate Geoff Lingard got in on the act with a break of 53. With both teams taking a beating from Cornwall, Devon and Jersey were left to fight for pride. Devon ran out 4-2 winners. Derek Walker and Andress both won two games apiece. Darren Malzard from Jersey had the satisfaction of recording the highest break for Jersey in this fixture, a 46 against Roger Folley.
The tournament concluded with the customary speeches and presentation of trophies and prize monies. Director of Operation, Roger Cole in summing up said “This initiative has proved to be a resounding success all round and will no doubt be an annual event in the snooker calendar for years to come. On behalf of the players I give thanks to Rileys, Jersey Billiards & Snooker Association, Crownhill Taxis Services, Challenger Tyre Services for their sponsorship and pay tribute to the amazing team work shown by the WEBSF Management Team, Team Managers, Referees & Officials who have made this event such a success”
Report by Keith Millard & Steve Canniford
Plymouth International Channel Island Challenge Results