2018 Finalists Terry Azor and John Mullane
Mullane's billiards masterclass knocks us for six!
John Mullane won his 6th Southampton Billiards Gordon Lewis Memorial Senior Scratch Billiards Championship with a fine display of all-round and top-of-the-table billiards against friend and Chandlers Ford Central team captain Terry Azor at the Chandlers Ford Central Club.
Mullane started the game with the yellow (spot) ball, but Azor was first in with his white at the start of the 2 by 1 hour timed final, but failed to convert a good opportunity by miss-cueing when in prime position. Mullane stepped in and made a break of 51 to settle into his familiar rhythm. After 15 minutes Mullane was leading by 71 points to 28. The Chandlers Ford match table was in beautiful playing condition, and Azor looked as if he was finding his own range, as he made a 25 break but frustratingly broke down again when in good position. Mullane countered with a superb 71 and a 24 break to lead by 169-84.
Mullane then made 40 points at the top-of-the-table, took the new red-spotted yellow, red-spotted white and red (the first time the league had used the newly-styled match balls) away to the middle of the table, and played some delightful cannons and in-offs from hand. He kept all three balls in a zone just in front of the ‘D’ and the middle pockets line. This was a joy to watch, and another selection of shots the spectators ‘put in their locker’ for future use! The 40 points soon became 60, 70, 80, 90. And with 18 minutes to go in the first hour, Mullane let the onlookers applaud the first 100 break!
Just when we thought he was going to get into a groove and make a double, if not a treble century, Mullane missed a relatively straightforward pot red at the top-of-the-table, to end the break at a magical 137. He admitted at the end that it was “really a run through in-off and not a pot”!
Azor responded well with a 33 break but still trailed by 345 points to 163 at the 55 minutes mark. Mullane was at the table on a break of 2 at the halfway stage, and resumed by taking the three balls back to the top-of-the-table and constructing a magical 113 in 9 minutes and 30 seconds! He also added breaks of 39 and 52 (breaking down after a ‘kick’ made him miss a standard in-off) to extend his lead by 549 points to 182.
Azor got to 17, but had a massive ‘kick’ himself off the red ball when playing an in-off from hand into a middle pocket. Mullane showed his killer instinct by adding a 56 break. But Azor threw caution to the wind and made a superbly fluent 63 break and a 32, to trail by 294 points to 605 with 18 minutes to go.
Mullane got to 6 and had a ‘fluke’, took the break to 54 but lost Azor’s white in baulk, then played safe. Azor responded with a 35 break but had another ‘kick’ when well set to leave himself dreaming of what might have been. The final few minutes of the match had Azor finish on 22 unfinished, to leave his friend winning the prestigious championship by 673 points to 375. Well done John!
Thanks go to Chandlers Ford Central for holding the final and Chandlers Ford Central’s Korbin Lowe and Totton Rec’s Tony Aldridge for refereeing and marking the final. The only sour note on a fantastic display of billiards was the number of spectators that turned out for the final. Perhaps we should make it compulsory for at least one team member from each club to attend next season…there’s a thought!
John Mullane 673 (51, 71, 137, 113, 39, 52, 56, 54) v Terry Azor 375 (33, 63, 32, 35)
A faultless refereeing and marking display by Korbin Lowe and Tony Aldridge
The 2018 Semi Finalists - John Mullane, Chris Bishop, Terry Azor and Mick Kunzi
Semi-finals Wednesday 2 May 7.30pm start. 2 x 3/4 hour sessions. At Sarisbury Social. Draw made on the night.
Terry Azor 309 (32) V Mick Kunzi 215
John Mullane 495 (93, 66, 50, 42, 38) V Chris Bishop 340 (60, 44)
Thanks to Sarisbury Social for holding the semi-finals and billiards captain John Oldfield (right) for refereeing along with Tony Aldridge
300 UP SCRATCH. MATCHES TO START AT 7.30PM AT HOME PLAYER'S CLUB
QUARTER FINALS TO BE PLAYED ON THURSDAY 8 MARCH OR ANY TIME EARLIER BY MUTUAL CONSENT
Tony Aldridge 143 V Terry Azor 300 (38)
Korbin Lowe 260 (33,39) V Chris Bishop 300 (38, 34, 35 unf)
John Mullane 300 V Daniel Zagaroli 145
Mick Kunzi 300 (43, 39) V Dave White 103
2 PRELIMINARY MATCHES TO BE PLAYED ON THURSDAY 22ND FEBRUARY OR ANY TIME EARLIER BY MUTUAL CONSENT
Paul Lawrence 115 V Daniel Zagaroli 300
Terry Azor 300 (62, 40, 40) V Trevor Thorn 250