Stuart Hamper Individual Handicap Billiards Challenge semi finalists – From left to right, Paul Tavender, Nick Alford (winner), Tony Aldridge and Chris Pullen
Curdridge's Nick Alford wins the
2015 Stuart Hamper Individual
Churchills Eastleigh, Wednesday 22 April
Curdridge's Nick Alford made it two wins in two years for the Curdridge billiards team, after compatriot Derek Fry's win last season, as he beat Park Gate's Paul Tavender in the final held at Churchills Eastleigh.
The semi finals, played on the same evening, paired Alford against Totton Rec's billiards veteran Tony Aldridge and Tavender squared up against fellow Park Gate team player and captain Chris Pullen.
Pullen (receive +130), who beat Daniel Zagaroli in the quarter-finals, kept his handicap advantage over Tavender (receive +55) well into the game. But thanks to some near misses from Pullen, clawed his way back to trail by only 40 odd points. Pullen looked set to win, requiring three to reach the required 200 points mark, but unfortunately played his opponents ball for a two point penalty! Tavender took advantage and made a fine 22 break under pressure and eventually won, leaving his friend stranded on 197. Hard luck Chris!
In the other semi, Alford (receive +85), who beat Totton's Steve Allen in the quarter finals, started well against Aldridge (receive +30) and led by 50 for most of the game. Aldridge however showed why he has won multiple billiards titles with Pot Black Snooker Club and numerous other teams over the years, by playing some fine cannons across the table to claw his way back. Alford made runs of 19 and 20, but Aldridge responded with a 33 break and a 21 to leave himself on 198. Alford held his nerve though and fell over the line for a memorable win to put himself within touching distance of the title.
The final pitted the wits of two original snooker players, who are finding they love the three ball game more than the congested free for all that the former game brings! Both players struggled somewhat on the faster, tighter number one table at Churchills, but still treated the spectators to some exciting, nerve jangling play.
Alford played some fine in-offs, but looked nervous in the early stages, missing some simple shots at the top-of-the-table. Tavender made a fine 34 break, and along with mixing his consistent potting with two wonderful 'short jennies' in a row into the left hand middle pocket, clawed his way back from the handicap advantage in favour of Alford.
As the game neared its conclusion, both players started to play some great cannons and in-offs, but Tavender missed a couple of relatively easy pots to let Alford in with some coolly taken in-offs to eventually win by 200-179. The late Stuart Hamper, who played for Curdridge, would be proud to see a second Curdridge player lift the trophy in two years. Well done Nick!
Daniel Zagaroli (Chandlers Ford Central) -160 -20
Chris Pullen (Park Gate RBL) +130 WINNER 200
Keith Castles (Shirley Cons) +115 196
Tony Aldridge (Totton Rec) +30 WINNER 200
Nick Alford (Curdridge RBL) +85 WINNER 200
Steve Allen (Totton Rec) -65 12
Paul Tavender (Park Gate RBL) +55 WINNER 200
Clive Gamblin (Curdridge RBL) +30 116
Nick Alford (45) 200 V 190 Paul Lawrence
Daniel Zagaroli 200 V 175 Mike Thatcher
Mike Henstredge V W/O Paul Tavender
Steve Allen (55) 200 V 158 Mike Kunzi (40)
Malcolm Willis 130 V 200 Tony Aldridge (35)
Sid Hunt V W/O Chris Pullen
Clive Gamblin 200 V 175 Ray Smith
Keith Castles 200 V 183 Chris Christodoulou
Brian Bull 194 vs 200 Mike Thatcher
Rob Shattock vs Nick Alford Winner
Brian Cannons vs W/O Daniel Zagaroli
Mike Henstredge W/O vs Lee Fitzpatrick
Tony Aldridge 200 vs 174 Will Mildenhall
Dave Baker 187 vs 200 Chris Christodoulou
Terry Azor vs WINNER Chris Pullen
Steve Boterhoek 168 vs 200 Steve Allen
Malcolm Willis 200 vs 180 Derek Fry
Bye: Sid Hunt
Bye: Ray Smith
Bye: Paul Lawrence
Bye: Clive Gamblin
Bye: Paul Tavender
Bye: Keith Castles
Bye: Mike Kunzi