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Canada [Day 6]



Semi Finals
Another increase in match length to 1000up allowed the players to stretch their wings a bit more than had been possible in the previous rounds. Winner of the Vimy Ridge Classic Rob Hall was unable to capitalise however, several 50+ breaks were no match for the scoring power of the 16 time world champion Mike Russell who simply overpowered Hall with breaks of 181,191 & 205 in winning 1000-498.

In the other semi final, the last remaining Indian Devendra Joshi put up a stiffer challenge to Martin Goodwill, but he too couldn’t manage a century; 92 being his best effort. Goodwill combined consistent break building (125,97,97,72) with his vast experience to carve out a 1000-707 victory and set up a final against Mike Russell, the player he had beaten quite comfortably in the quarter final of the Vimy Ridge Classic 4 days earlier.

Following the shock result in their match in the previous event there was certainly an air of expectation for the rematch, and some obvious needle between the two players all added to the anticipation. Martin was going to need a good start to be in with a chance of holding the ex world champion over the longer distance but Mike had other ideas. Following an initial break of 97 he crafted the highest break of the whole 6 days with a run of 397 to put a lot of fresh air between the two players on the scoreboard. Martin continued to battle by trying to dictate the pace of the match and closed the gap with breaks of 122 & 85, but the damage was done in the first session. Following a few smaller breaks Russell closed out the match with an unfinished break of 190; final score 1250-587.

After the final Mike Russell thanked the organisers in Canada and also apologised for not performing to his usual high standard this week. Whilst he certainly wasn’t scaling the heights of some of his previous performances in terms of breaks made, Mike treated the Winnipeg billiards fraternity to some skills the like of which they have not seen before, and it will have not gone unnoticed by those familiar with his play that he is cueing as well as he has ever done. Despite not being the current World Champion it will be a brave person who would bet against him regaining that title in 7 weeks time in Leeds.

Winner £2,600.00 ? $4,247.52 Mike Russell
Runner-Up £1,300.00 ? $2,123.76 Martin Goodwill
Semi Finalists £650.00 ? $1,061.88 Devendra Joshi / Rob Hall
Quarter Finalists £325.00 ? $530.94 Dhruv Sitwala / Phil Mumford / Nalin Patel / Chris Taylor
Last 16 £175.00 ? $285.89 Grant Thiessen / Guy Heys / Steve Jones / Fraser Durham
Daniel Scullion / Warren Dyer / Rick Kendall / Garry Marshall
High Break £100.00 ? $163.37 Mike Russell (397)
TOTAL £8,000.00 ? $13,069.31

Canada [Day 5]


Day 5

The penultimate day of the Americas’ Cup began with the last 16 matches, all played as a single game of 500up.
Mike Russell exited the group stage as number 1 performer, and wasted little time in backing up that position with a 500-59 win over local player Grant Thiessen, including breaks of 109,106 & 123.
Number 2 group performer Phil Mumford encountered stiff resistance from Garry Marshall, who scored a respectable 237 points, but aided by a 118 break Mumford eventually ran out a comfortable winner.
Winnipeggers Rick Kendall and Warren Dyer made a game of it against fancied players Devendra Joshi and Chris Taylor respectively. The evergreen Kendall continued fighting until the end against former Asian Champion Joshi, scoring 289 points before succumbing. Warren Dyer also made Chris Taylor work for his 500-292 victory.
An in form Dhruv Sitwala made short work of Canadian Steve Jones; helped by a break of 164 Sitwala restricted his opponent to a mere 80 points.
There were also wins for Nalin Patel, Rob Hall and Martin Goodwill over Guy Heys, Fraser Durham and Daniel Scullion respectively.

The match length increased to 750up for the quarter finals. The match between Rob Hall and Dhruv Sitwala looked like going to the wire when the players were about level on 350 points each. However for the last 60 minutes of the match a dejected Sitwala could only manage a further 20 points, with Hall winning at a canter 750-370.
Devendra Joshi reversed the defeat he suffered to Phil Mumford in the Vimy Ridge with a 750-543 win, aided by his first century of the competition.
Tournament favourite Mike Russell continued his march to the final with a regulation 750-143 win over Nalin Patel which included breaks of 280 and 198.
Martin Goodwill had a tougher time of it however; a long match against the ever improving Chris Taylor was the order of the day, and it was only a late flurry of three 60+ breaks which saw the former English Amateur Champion home in the end.

Semi Final line up:

Mike Russell v Rob Hall
Martin Goodwill v Devendra Joshi

Canada [Day 4]


Day 4

The second day of group matches got underway today; first out of the blocks was Martin Goodwill with breaks of 207 and 108 against Blair Lawson, running out a comfortable 400-42 winner. Mike Russell continued his form from the previous day with 400-39 and 400-51 wins against Daniel Scullion and Jules Mortinson respectively, recording breaks of 272, 166, 121 in the process. Mike has only had a total of 210 points scored against him in all 4 group matches. Other centurions today were Dhruv Sitwala who made 174 and 102 in his wins over Steve Kingyens and Guy Smith, and Phil Mumford who recorded a 166 in defeating Pat Werner 400-116.  Several matches again went to the wire today, with Guy Heys victory over Fraser Durham being the closest; Guy finally dipping over the line when Fraser was on 396. Alan Senkiw recorded his first win of the tournament with a narrow 400-385 win over fellow Canadian Warren Dyer, and battle of the Rick’s, Kendall and Hutcheon resulted in a 400-324 win for Kendall.

7 Canadian players reached the knockout stage, with 2 Indians,  6 Englishmen and 1 Jerseyman.


Last 16 Draw:

(1) Mike Russell v Grant Thiessen (16)

(9) Nalin Patel v Guy Heys (8)

(5) Dhruv Sitwala v Steve Jones (12)

(13) Fraser Durham v Rob Hall (4)

(3) Martin Goodwill v Daniel Scullion (14)

(11) Warren Dyer v Chris Taylor (6)

(7) Devendra Joshi v Rick Kendall (10)

(15) Garry Marshall v Phil Mumford (2)

Canada [Day 3]


Day 3

The Americas’ Cup kicked off today with the first of the group matches. The format is single game target or up play, the group matches all being a race to 400 points, or 400up as it is more commonly known.

The Baulkline Crossing Rule is in operation during this event, currently the only event outside of the World Championship where this applies. Rather fittingly perhaps, Vimy Ridge Classic winner Rob Hall received the first Baulkline warning of the day at 80, but missed on 90. On the next table however Mike Russell channelled his frustrations from the previous day in to raising the bar again with an unfinished break of 384 in his 400-66 win over in form local player Rick Kendall. Other centuries of the day came from Russell, with 229 against Rick Hutcheon, Martin Goodwill with 162 against Shane Bartelette and Phil Mumford with 102 against Guy Heys.

Following his earlier 400-49 demolition of Alan Senkiw, Rob Hall encountered some serious resistance from Canadian Warren Dyer, who started off with a 63 break and maintained the lead until finally being overhauled in the latter stages, Rob eventually winning 400-253 after 2½ hours. Clash of the former World Championship finalists resulted in a 400-323 win for Dhruv Siwala over Indian compatriot Devendra Joshi. There were some close matches between several of the Canadians; former Northern Ireland player Daniel Scullion beat Rick Hutcheon by the narrowest margin of the day 400-389, and Steve Jones had a 20 point victory over Grant Thiessen.

The group stages continue for another day on Tuesday, following which there will be the draw for the last 16 knockout stage to be played Wednesday and Thursday.

Canada [Day 2]



Day 2 of the Vimy Ridge Classic saw the knockout stage from the last 16 through to the final played over 5 sessions of 90 minute matches.

Tie of the last 16 between Chris Taylor and Nalin Patel resulted in a 358-237 victory for Patel who recorded a single break of 64 in the process. Match of the round ended up being Dhruv Sitwala v local champ Rick Kendall who took his form from the group stages in to day 2. Kendall led for the entire match until a relieved Sitwala ran out with 93 to win by 76: final score 340-264. Mike Russell went in to demolition mode against Jerseyman Guy Heys, recording the high break of the round with 258, and the highest score in his 853-109 win. The battle of the Canadians resulted in a win for Blair Lawson over Daniel Scullion 308-246.

The quarter finals saw the biggest shock of the event with 6 times English Amateur Champion Martin Goodwill inflicting a heavy defeat over 16 times World Champion Mike Russell. The final score 458-170 included breaks of 86, 61 & 103 from Goodwill and just a single 51 from Russell. Dhruv Sitwala put an end to the Canadian challenge beating Blair Lawson 522-110 whilst Phil Mumford scored a 517-401 win over an out of sorts Devendra Joshi. Despite being behind for most of the match Rob Hall prevailed over Nalin Patel 393-322 aided by a break of 113 near the end.

The semi final saw Rob Hall take on Dhruv Sitwala and Martin Goodwill v Phil Mumford. Dhruv Sitwala took an early lead against Rob Hall with a 127 break and maintained it until Rob hit the front with a few minutes to go. Dhruv had another chance to take the lead but was unable to take advantage, Hall finally getting over the line by just 20 points: 316-296. Phil Mumford’s first scoring visit was 191 against Martin Goodwill and after adding another couple of smaller breaks never really looked in danger of being overhauled, eventually winning 535-245.

After the high standard of play from both players earlier in the day fatigue seemed to set in and the final was somewhat of an anti climax, both players struggling to get anything going at all for most of the match. The highest break for the first hour was only 40; there were 27 visits without any score and over 50 of the 69 visits in the match scored less than 10 points: a remarkable statistic after what had come from the players in earlier matches. Eventually Rob Hall kicked in to gear with breaks of 106 and 72, Phil Mumford only managing to counter with a break of 38, his highest of the match. The final score was a somewhat flattering 439-238.

The highest break of the event was 343 by Mike Russell. The Plate competition was won by 11 time Winnipeg champion Fraser Durham who defeated fellow Canadian Steve Jones 150-95 in the final.

Winner £600 (? $980) Rob Hall
Runner-Up £300 (? $490) Phil Mumford
Semi Finalists £150 (? $245) Martin Goodwill / Dhruv Sitwala
Quarter Finalists £80 (? $131) Nalin Patel / Blair Lawson / Devendra Joshi / Mike Russell
Last 16 £40 (? $65) Jon Miller / Chris Taylor / Daniel Scullion / Rick Kendall
Guy Smith / Warren Dyer / Guy Heys / Garry Marshall
High Break (343) £40 (? $65) Mike Russell
Plate Winner £80 (? $131) Fraser Durham
Plate Runner-Up £40 (? $65) Steve Jones
Plate High Break £20 (? $33) n/a
TOTAL £2020 (? $3300)

The Vimy Ridge Classic served as a warm up to the main Americas’ Cup tournament which is now underway and runs for the remaining 4 days


Canada [Day 1]



The first open English-Billiards event to be held in Canada kicked off yesterday with the Vimy Ridge Classic, named after a world war 1 battle fought in France by Canadian troops; upon their return to Winnipeg they were instrumental in forming the Winnipeg Veterans English Billiards League.

The group matches kicked off at 10am with everyone trying to acclimatise to the new cloths on the tables at the fantastic Manitoba Club. First man in to his stride was ex-World Champion Mike Russell who made breaks of 108 & 145 in his 509-36 win over local player Alan Senkiw. Several fancied players were defeated in their first match: Chris Taylor, Phil Mumford & Billy Bousfield all went down to Devendra Joshi, Nalin Patel & Dhruv Sitwala respectively.

Win of the day was undoubtedly local champion Rick Kendall who beat former professional Nalin Patel, who was once as high as 5th in the World Rankings, by the score of 161-140.

In all, 7 Canadian players made it through the groups: Blair Lawson, Jon Miller, Rich Kendall, Guy Smith, Garry Marshall, Warren Dyer and Northern Ireland ex-pat Daniel Scullion who now lives in Calgary and is playing his first billiards for many years.

Despite missing a match after falling asleep, tournament favourite Mike Russell recovered (woke up) in time to make the highest break of the tournament so far with a 343 in his last match of the day against Dave Larson. Other centuries came from Russell (167, 145, 112, 108), Martin Goodwill (115), Phil Mumford (114, 110), and Rob Hall (108). Rob Hall also finished the group stages as the overall top performer, courtesy of consistent scoring in all his 4 group wins.

Special mention to local volunteer Don Senkiw who refereed 8 matches on his first day of officiating at an international event and who will be taking charge of the Plate final later today.

The last 16 is now underway; the draw is:

(1) Rob Hall v Jon Miller (16)
(9) Chris Taylor v Nalin Patel (8)
(5) Blair Lawson v Daniel Scullion (12)
(13) Rick Kendall v Dhruv Sitwala (4)
(3) Devendra Joshi v Guy Smith (14)
(11) Warren Dyer v Phil Mumford (6)
(7) Mike Russell v Guy Heys (10)
(15) Garry Marshall v Martin Goodwill (2)

The very best of Wayne Carey

….just for Wayne, from Jim !!!

World Championships – 28-Oct-2012

Star Indian cueists Pankaj Advani and Rupesh Shah repeat unprecedented World Billiards feat

World Billiards (timed) prize distribution ceremony

India’s Star cueist Pankaj Advani notched up his seventh World Billiards title defeating Mike Russell representing Qatar in the final of World Billiards Championship 2012 (timed event) here at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds,England.

Playing the five hours match split into two equal sessions, Pankaj scored 1895 points and Russell managed to score only 1216 points before bowing down to Advani.

Pankaj gave a steady start since the match began. He got on the attack with first break of 147 points followed by 298 points to obtain a lead of 450 points. Russell, whose prowess in the game is feared most by one n all, fearlessly replied with a break of 397 narrowing the deficit to just 60 points. It appeared that was the only chance Russell had as after that Pankaj did not allow him to come near and kept producing breaks after break to maintain and enhance his lead. At the end of session one Pankaj was leading by 258 points.

In session 2, Pankaj carried the same rhythm and kept his onslaught scoring breaks of 100+ in almost every visit he played where as Russell could manage only breaks of 243 and 120 during the second session play.

Pankaj Advani with World Billiards trophy

Dedicating the title to his mother, an elated Pankaj said, “I am so pleased to have won my seventh world title. I took a gamble choosing to play the World Championships here in Leeds forgoing the International Championship in Chengdu,Chinaon the Professional Snooker tour and I am glad that the decision paid off.”

“I took a tough call earlier this year to play both Billiards and Snooker at the highest level, and I am glad that I have been able to maintain top form in both the games.”

“This victory like every other shall be treasured yet has its own special meaning given the unique challenges I have faced this year. This win is a testament that if you follow your heart, nothing’s impossible,” Pankaj added.

By winning this title, both the Indian cueists, Rupesh Shah and Pankaj Advani have repeated the unique feat they set in the year 2007 in Singapore where both had won World Championships of point and timed events respectively.

Prior to this Pankaj had also won World Professional Billiards title in the year 2009.

World Championships – 27-Oct-2012

Point Format

Rupesh wins second world title of his career

L-R: Steve Lock, Rupesh Shah (Winner), Jim Leacy, Clive Scott and Steve Starkie


Rupesh Shah with Winner’s Trophy (Point Format)

Rupesh Shah becomes the fifth Indian to lift world title twice. He did this by defeating Australian player Matthew Bolton 6-2 in the final of World Billiards 2012 (point frame) been played tonight here at Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds, England.

Though Rupesh lost the first game after winning the lag but after that he had no big difficulty in gaining 2-1 lead over Bolton. Later Bolton again leveled the match 2-all.

Fifth game was the turning point in this match where Bolton failed to clinch the game when he missed cannon on 148 and Rupesh settled the score 3-2 in his favour.

The next game, Rupesh made unfinished break to advance the lead and after that he had no big difficulty till the last moments of 8th game where he missed match winning red-pot. Bolton from there made a break of 83 points and went out of position on a score of 105. Rupesh played safe and Bolton attempted a long red pot but instead of that he got a lucky in-off. He further attempted short jenny on but this time he was got no luck and gave a chance of pot to Rupesh which he converted into his match winning shot.

Worth mentioning Rupesh had defeated big guns like Mike Russell (in Quarter), Peter Gilchrist (in Semi) now Matthew Bolton in the final to claim this world title.

Tomorrow there will be final of World Billiards 2012 (timed event) between defending champion Mike Russell (Qatar) and 7 times world champion Pankaj Advani from India.

Time Format

Pankaj Advani set stage with Mike Russell for the timed event final.

Pankaj Advani

Pankaj Advani

Former world champion, Pankaj Advani knocked out his compatriot Dhruv Sitwala in the semi final and confirmed his entry in the final of world billiards against defending champion Mike Russell (Qatar) to be played tomorrow at Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds, England.

Pankaj made a good start in the first session held this afternoon and with the help of three breaks of 167, 205 and 257, he built a lead of 600 points by the session break. Dhruv couldn’t do anything except an attempted century break that ended on 86 when he lost position.

In the second session Pankaj kept enhancing his lead using small breaks of 52, 71, 69 and 71. He knew as long as he kept rotating the strike, it would be difficult for Dhruv to recover that 600 points margin and the same happened as Dhruv had nothing much to do despite having breaks of 57, 52, 52, 56, 96, 56, 57 and 91. Finally Advani won the match by 514 points.

Mike Russell

Earlier, almost the same story was unfolding in the other semi final match between Mike Russell (Qatar) and Matthew Bolton (Australia).

Matthew made a good start with a break of 114 but got an instant reply from Mike in the form of a mammoth break of 740. That 740 break ended when he attempted a cannon on out of position balls. Though the break of 740 points from Mike was a disaster for Bolton, he fought back bravely and replied with a break of 236 unfinished to recover a little before moving on the session break.

In the second session he continued on the break of 236 but that didn’t last long and ended after an addition of 28 points. After that he had few good breaks including a century but Mike enhanced his lead by scoring breaks of 156 and 384 points. Matthew again made a few good breaks but couldn’t succeed and had to bow down to king of billiards.

World Championships – 26-Oct-2012

Time Format

Quarter Final 1: Pankaj dominates his compatriot and defeats him by huge victory margin.

Pankaj Advani

Rupesh Shah of India, who performed well in points format, failed to create any magic in time event while playing against his compatriot and former world champion Pankaj Advani. Pankaj took the driving seat since from the start of  the match and kept producing good century breaks to keep Rupesh off the table. By the time the first session of 90 minutes was over, Pankaj was leading by 551 points.

It was a similar situation in the second session with Rupesh having nothing much to do and only managed to produce a break of 199 points before bowing down to a brilliant performance and mammoth score of 1647 points from Advani.

Quarter Final 2

Dhruv Sitwala

On the adjacent table again there was another all-Indian contest where Dhruv Sitwala managed to take the match to a photo-finish in the last half minute. He outplayed Sourav Kothari by a mere 4 points. Sourav, who was maintaining a small but steady lead throughout the match, failed to carry the same in the closing moments. He gave Dhruv a  final chance in the last 6 minutes to score 40 points. Dhruv played patiently all the shots and scoring point after point managed to overtake Kothari’s score by 2 points but then he missed the red in-off. Instantly Kothari jumped out of the seat to play the white ball in-off but in doing so he played the shot whilst red was still in motion. The referee called that foul and awarded the match in favour of Dhruv.  However, the decision remains controversial as to whether the red was actually still in motion.

Dhruv will play Pankaj Advani in the semi final match tomorrow morning.

Quarter Final 3

Mike Russell

During the morning spectators were gathering near table no.2 to witness the ‘clash of the titans’. Both these legends, Mike Russell and Geet Sethi have played against each other many times but the charm of witnessing a match with them is still there.

In today’s match, Geet had a good start and had an initial break of 198 followed by 78, 73 and 86 points to obtain a handsome lead of more than 250 points in the first half of session one. Russell had to work hard to recover from that deficit but he did so by producing two breaks of 212 and 145 (unfinished) and stepped ahead by 69 points at the end of session 1.

In session 2, he continued with his unfinished break of 145 points but managed to add only 20 points before giving Geet a chance. Geet was little dicey on a couple of shots and returned leaving an inviting poor position for Mike who capitalized and produced a break of 482 points leaving Sethi in his trail. Mike came out with another break of 98 points before the match finished in his favour 1345-739.

Quarter Final 4

Matthew Bolton

Tournament favourite David Causier from England was seen struggling against the controlled game from Matthew Bolton from Australia. Matthew did no mistakes and had a steady start in the session one to lead by 300+ points lead over Causier.

Causier came back with breaks of 97, 110 and 85 in the second session but by that time it was too late and Matthew sealed the match comfortably by a 346 points victory margin.

Semi Final Line Up:

Pankaj Advani (India) vs. Dhruv Sitwala (India)
Matthew Bolton (Australia) vs. Mike Russell (Qatar)