This was the inaugural running of the new short format Minor Billiards event. This event will become a regular annual tournament recognising the increasing popularity of the shorter match lengths than the traditional timed Billiards events. A new perpetual trophy recognising one of the NSW Hall of Fame members Les Manglesdorf was awarded for the first time to first time State tournament winner David Walsh, who defeated Peter Tankard in the final 2 frames to 1
The event was played in the brand new Guildford Leagues Club Billiards room. The room is equipped with 4 classic Heiron and Smith tables refurbished to tournament standard and is a shining addition to the clubs supporting cue sports in NSW. This room is very special combining architectural flair with first class playing conditions. Peradon lighting, elevated seating, cue case shelves and a separate room away from the noise and lights of the main club will make this the venue of choice for all serious cueists.
The tables are equipped with IBSF templated pockets and brand new 30 oz 6811 cloth. The slick conditions found out many of the local players who are used to the duller reactions of worn cloths. The wide throw of the cueball can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing if you are accustomed to it as there are many in-offs available which would not be possible on a worn or unstretched cloth. A curse if you have not played on fresh cloth in a while.
It would be fair to say that the eventual winner was at long odds starting the tournament as the field was exceptionally strong for a Minors events as this was the initial running of this format and was open to all senior players. Recent State Open winners Micheal Pearson and Joe Minici elected not to play but that still left 4 former State Open semifinalists in the field in Ron Tulloch, Vic Cravino , Vic Sacco and George Chammas.
Nevertheless David won through against more experienced and pedigreed players through a combination of dogged determination and a philosophy of keeping the game very simple. While his opponents attempted to play comprehensive 3 ball billiards in slick conditions with a view to getting to top quickly David was content to just keep scoring his natural losing hazards, punctuated by some very sound potting skills. His pace control was the best in the field and that allowed him to play a solid strategy which others struggled to emulate.
He seldom played screw or stun in offs and focused on pace control of natural angle losing hazards and the occasional forcer. If the opponent’s cue ball ran out of position he would flog the red ball in pots and in offs and then hand over the difficult leave to his incoming opponent. His composure in keeping the scoreboard ticking over at almost every visit had his opponents playing catch up with a fast approaching finish line.
In the knockout section David defeated an in form but luckless Andy De Haan and then had an extended battle with the always competitive Gene Crossingham from Illawarra who had secured an upset win over Ron Tulloch. On the other side Peter Tankard secured unlikely wins against the maestros from Marconi Vic Cravino and Vittorio Sacco.
In the end the final was a tense affair, a dogfight where neither player played attractive billiards and were wary of the short format. The result was in the balance until the final break with David winning the final frame by 11 points 150-139 and recording both his first win over Peter and his first state title.
He joins friend and practice partner Adwin Teh as one of the two Minor event winners this year. Both are part of a developing cohort of younger players who will take the game forward for years to come. The sport is in safe hands.
Special mention to the other rapidly improving young player Brice Hilliard. Brice actually defeated David 2-0 in the round robin section and looked certain to progress instead of David, before dropping a frame to Steve Fabian and then David pulled off a major upset in knocking off the great Vic Cravino 2-0.
Many thanks to the real heroes of the tournament Alan Crow GM at GLC, Steve Cowie ESM, the world’s best Billiards TD and the tireless Neville Moore who played, reffed faultlessly, videoed and kept good order throughout the competition. Neville you are a champion!
Thanks again to Guildford Leagues Club Members and staff and we look forward to a long association.