The annual Billiards International Trophy Tournament took place at Celbridge Snooker Club on Saturday and Sunday, 17th and 18th November last. This year it was the turn of the Republic of Ireland to be the host nation and it was very rewarding to welcome the many visitors who travelled with the visiting teams and generated a marvellous atmosphere throughout the weekend.
The format of the tournament was that each contesting nation, the Republic of Ireland, Austria, England and Northern Ireland put forward a six-man team to contest against each other in two segments, two sets of 150 up, with 1 point awarded for each set and a 90 minute timed game, which counted 2 points per game.
Action got under way at 10.30am on Saturday in the short, 150-up format. England made a strong start in their match against Ireland, taking the session by 9-3, Wayne Doyle and Robert McCrum being the only Irish players to score. Northern Ireland made a similar very good start to their tournament in their match against Austria, the result going to Northern Ireland 9-3. In the next segment, the only 90 minute timed format segment in Saturday’s schedule, Ireland met Austria, resulting in an 8-4 win for the Republic. England again had a very good second session in their match against Northern Ireland, finishing with a convincing 10-2 result. In the final segment of Saturday’s schedule England surged further ahead with a clean-sweep victory over Austria while the Ireland v Northern Ireland match finished 7-5 in favour of the Republic.
At the end of Saturday’s play, a very strong England finished the day with 31 points from a possible 36, needing only 6 more points from a possible 36 in the next day’s play to retain the title. Ireland’s Saturday points were 18, Northern Ireland’s were 16 and Austria finished the day on 7 points.
Action continued on Sunday with the first of the two timed matches. Northern Ireland made a great start to their second day with a 10-2 result against Austria. England’s dominant form continued with a 10-2 victory over Ireland, which was enough to secure the 2012 tournament title with two segments still to play. Ireland then met Northern Ireland in the second of Sunday’s timed matches, which was effectively a contest for tournament second place, which went convincingly to Northern Ireland, with a 10-2 result. Meanwhile England, now in unstoppable form, took a clean sweep 12-0 result against Austria. At this stage of the event, with five segments played, and all positions now established, no mathematical result from the sixth and final segment having any possible effect on the final placings, this last segment of the tournament was effectively a contest of honour. The scores in segment number six were Ireland v Austria 7-5; England v Northern Ireland 11-1.
The final outcome was that favourites England again won convincingly with Northern Ireland second, Republic of Ireland third and Austria fourth.
Republic of Ireland
|Saturday 10.30||2 x 150 up (6 x 1 point per game)|
|Saturday 12.30||90 minute timed (6 x 2 points)|
|Saturday 14.30||2 x 150 up (6 x 1 point per game)|
|Sunday 10.30||90 minute timed (6 x 2 points)|
|Sunday 12.30||2 x 150 up (6 x 1 point per game)|
|Sunday 14.30||90 minute timed (6 x 2 points)|
Results, of course, tell only half the story. What they cannot convey is the buzzing atmosphere of the occasion and the excellent standard of play. The tournament also produced its quota of high breaks, with more than sixty half centuries and twelve century breaks, including, not the highest of the event, but a magnificent personal best of 176 by Terry McDowell of Northern Ireland. Century breaks were also made by Billy Bousfield, Rob Hall, Darren Kell and Chris Taylor of England and Christian Kirk of Northern Ireland. Congratulations to them and to all the participants who contributed to a most successful event.
It was a great pleasure to see so many skilled exponents of the beautiful game of Billiards in simultaneous action and our congratulations must go to the England side on their convincing victory. On our own front, congratulations are due to the whole team for the impressive way they contested their matches.
Another feature of the occasion was the Saturday evening Gala Dinner at the Spa Hotel in Lucan where Aonghus McAnally, accompanied by Martin Schmidt and Patrick “David” Stegmeier, entertained us with lively music and lots of light hearted quips, gags and comments.
Our thanks are due to the EABA Referees who travelled from various locations throughout the UK and gave unstintingly of their time with referee and scorekeeping duties throughout the weekend. A special word of thanks is also due to Clive Scott, whose experience in tournament direction ensured an efficient and smoothly run event.
We would also like to thank Bernard Burke and Phil Martin of Celbridge Snooker Club for their preparations for the event and the excellent playing conditions they provided, and to staff members James and Tom who looked after our needs throughout the weekend.
The format of the event presents an excellent opportunity to renew friendships and enjoy the atmosphere of the occasion and the weekend this year at Celbridge was no exception.
Full official results with scores, breaks, etc. will be posted when available.
Brendan Devlin, Team Manager, Republic of Ireland Team