` THIS WEEKS NEWS....... (Last updated 13/06/19)
Only one game to report on this week, the Billiards Pairs final at the Deaf Centre, featuring current holders Richard Bowes and Ralph Allan, against Steve Gatenby and myself. Thanks to all those who turned up to watch - not quite as many as for the individual finals the week before but enough to create a good atmosphere for a final.
Ralph Allan started 15 behind Steve Gatenby at 75 - 90 but was in front before Steve had scored and over 100 before he had got more than a 2 for his opponent's safety miss. Ralph rarely let up, with one break over 20, and another in the late teens which was matched by Steve. Both players looked good value for their handicaps and with Ralph getting the more favourable running, a winning margin of over 50 was scant reward for Steve's efforts. The tea break came after about 40 minutes!!!
My task looked harder than I had hoped, starting 20 behind Richard instead of 30 in front, but after such a free flowing first game we both struggled to keep any sort of control of the balls. I seemed to be doing better than Richard and without making a break of more than about 20 I got in front and led 280 - 230 at one stage. Richard was back in front at 300 and despite my best effort of 35, he ran out with 27 to win by about 50 - the game lasting roughly twice as long as the first pair had taken.
So congratulations to Richard and Ralph who have now won the trophy 3 times in a row and while last years success in the final was all down to Richard, it was Ralph's performance this time which put them in the driving seat. Certainly a team effort over all.
That brings down the curtain on the 2018/19 season, but we don't have long to wait before we start looking forward to next season, as the League AGM is on Wednesday 10th July at 7.30pm at Cornerstone Methodist Church (formerly Gt Horton Methodist). At the time of writing I don't have any proposals for changes for next season but I hear that some ideas may be forthcoming from the Deaf Centre. I will put the Calling Notice on the web site when I return from holiday on 1st July
MINUTES OF LEAGUE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD WEDNESDAY 27TH MARCH 2019
Only the Chairman Secretary and Treasurer present. Apologies received from Bradford Deaf Centre.
Minutes of January meeting approved. Meeting of 6th March had been abandoned due to lack of attendees
Since handicap review John Bedford had won 1 game out of 3 (2 out of 7 for the season) and Gareth Kershaw had won 4 out of 10 (11 out of 19 for the season)
Treasurer reported balance in hand of £287.79 which should cover anticipated expenditure for the rest of the season. Agreed redundant bank account be closed.
Agreed that Keith Whitham be allowed to replace Steve Wilman in the Individual Billiards Merit as he had not yet been drawn to play. Draws made for next round of all Merit and Pairs competitions.
As there were teams from all venues in the Knock Out Competition semi finals it was left to the secretary to arrange a neutral venue once the finalists were known.
Agreed that prizes be to same overall budget as last season
Centenary Celebration (2019). The quote received from Cue Garden for a Centenary Competition in the week prior to next season was deemed to be too expensive. The Chairman and Secretary to come up with alternative ideas for discussion at the next meeting.
Secretary reported that over the course of the season there had only been 2 instances of a player needing to play twice in the same match and one of an occasional player at Princeville playing for both teams in the same week (Monday and Tuesday). This was a significant reduction on the previous season
Next meeting Wednesday 1st May, when remaining Merit and Pairs matches will be drawn and arrangements made for Finals Night and Prize Presentation. Also date fixed for AGM
11 March Individual Billiards Preliminary Round
18 March Team Knock Out Quarter Final
25 March Billiards Pairs Preliminary Round
1 April Team Knock Out Semi Final
8 April Individual Billiards Round of 16
15 April Team Knock Out Final
22 April Individual Snooker Round of 16 Easter
29 April Billiards Pairs Quarter Final
6 May Individual Snooker Quarter Final May Day Bank Holiday
13 May Individual Billiards Quarter Final
20 May Individual Billiards and Snooker Semi Finals
27 May Billiards Pairs Semi Finals Spring Bank Holiday
3 June Finals Night and Prize Presentation
STEVE WILMAN – BILLIARDS PLAYER
Steve played his first match in the Bradford & District Sunday School Billiards League as a teenager on 13th February 1968, for Gt Horton Methodist B 2nds, losing 120 – 83 to Gt Horton Cricket Club veteran Norman Coates. Perhaps being preferred to his father, who played his solitary game of that season 3 weeks before and lost 120-67 to a youthful Mick McCabe, in what would be a 'derby' fixture against Gt Horton Methodist B 2nds. Steve didn't however get another game that season
Gt Horton Meths then had 4 teams (2 in the First Team League and 2 in the Second Team League) and also 4 tables. The following year they entered a 5th team and Steve gained a regular place in the new team and started off with a win away at Prospect Methodists against another young player Chris Langwade. Then it was a team handicap with second team games being 120 up off a level start. In the new team Steve slotted in at number 3 and consequently didn't end the season with a plus average. In fact he had a minus average in both the following 2 seasons, but then individual handicaps came along in the summer of 1971 and Steve was given Rec 100. He made slow progress and 6 years later had only moved to Rec 90, but remarkably, in the 34 seasons he has played since individual handicaps were introduced (He's had 14 seasons off in 2 spells) his handicap has only gone up twice in the 1980's, both times from Rec 20 to Rec 30, and once in 2000 from Scratch to Rec 10 but on each of the 3 occasions the increase has been reversed the following year. So it has been pretty much continuous improvement and after a 3 year break, he returned 9 years ago, on Scratch and has progressed to Owe 50 this year and was well on the way to another reduction next year.
Steve also, of course, played for many years in the South Bradford League for both The Harold Club and Gt Horton Conservatives and I'm sure with similar distinction and respect.
He was always a tough opponent, modest in victory and gracious in defeat. He will be greatly missed throughout the league by teammates and opponents alike. Several years ago I had difficulty persuading him he was good enough to represent Bradford in the Yorkshire League, but after persistently pursuing him, he finally agreed ,and after winning a few matches found that he fit in very nicely. In recent years he, Paul Devitt and I have travelled to away matches together in the same car, along with our loyal supporter Bill Oates, and strong friendships were formed which we will all sorely miss. Over the last couple of years or so Steve has had the confidence to enter a few competitions outside the local leagues and notable successes have been winning the Yorkshire Billiards Handicap last year and coming through the local qualifying area of the English Championship to qualify for the Intermediate (last 32 nationally) stage this season,which ironically was being played the weekend of his death. He was also waiting to hear if he had qualified for the finals day of the English Grand Masters (Over 50's) which is due to be played on 24th February
The last time I saw him was at the qualifying day for that competition on 9th December, which I think was probably the last time he played. It is said in many sports that you are only as good as your last game, so that being the case his last ever games are a great way to be remembered
If any of the players within either leagues, have any info they wish to share with the rest of the league, please send an email to the address shown below:-