Hamilton Billiards Open & Champion of Champions Report Saturday the 3rd of March saw the longest day on the New Zealand billiards calendar with six hours of section play in the Hamilton Billiards Open and then after a meal break the Champion of Champions tournament. The Hamilton Billiards Open saw an increase in field numbers this year after its initial running twelve months ago. Combatants included four New Zealand champions (23 out of the last 25 years), two NZ B-Grade champions and the current North Island champion. The field was split into two sections of seven playing hour long games to determine the top four who would progress past group play in a straight cross over draw. After 42 hours of play there were a few upsets that meant that Sunday’s play was still anyone’s. In the quarter-finals Gary Oliver beat Mike Harris, Mark Taylor recorded his first ever victory over Paul Stocker, Wayne Carey outplayed Darren Taylor and Adesh Shekatkar beat Derek Gibb. One semi-final pitted the two players who have dominated NZ billiards since the turn of the millennium and Oliver proved too strong for Carey. In the second semi-final Shekatkar’s experience in match play at the pointy end of a tournament proved the difference in seeing him through to the final outscoring Mark Taylor. The semi-final stage in the main draw saw the plate final being decided between Andrew Draper and Russ Delahunty. Draper copped the section of death in pool play and was unlucky to miss out on qualifying through to the championship draw, but recovered on the Sunday to overcome Delahunty’s challenge. Draper also made the plate high break with a well compiled 70 break. In the main final Oliver got out to an early lead over Shekatkar and the latter couldn’t find the form that got him to the final to stage any form of comeback against the current New Zealand champion. Oliver also made two centuries during the weekend with the best being the tournament best of 124 unfinished. In the Champion of Champions, which is set under Speed Billiards rules saw some decent billiards being played at the end of what was already a big day. In the blind drawer Derek Gibb beat Paul Stocker, Russ Delahunty beat last year’s champion Wayne Carey, Adesh Shekatkar beat Darren Taylor and Gary Oliver beat Mark Taylor. The winner’s names were put back into the hat to find the semi-final draw and Gary Oliver met Adesh Shekatkar and Derek Gibb met Russ Delahunty. Oliver crushed Shekatkar 211-83 in the 30 minute game. The second semi was a little closer and saw Gibb defeat Delahunty 116-86. In the final Oliver proved too consistent and ran out the victor over Gibb 154-64. Therefore Oliver had picked up the double for the weekend emulating the feats of Wayne Carey one year ago.
Cheers Darren Taylor Tournament Convenor