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World Billiards Championship (English billiards)

The WPBSA World Billiards Championships are a pair of international, professional cue sports tournaments in the discipline of English billiards. The formerly singular championship has been divided, since 2010, into separate timed and points divisions, like the amateur world championships. In its various forms, and usually as a single World Billiards Championship, the title is one of the oldest sporting world championships, dating in earnest (though irregularly) to 1869.

The rules adopted by the Billiards Association in 1899 are essentially the rules still used today. The tournaments have been played on a regular annual schedule since 1980, when it became administered by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). The event was known as the World Professional Billiards Championship until 2010, and has had other names in the past, e.g. Billiards Championship of the World. In addition, the World Ladies Billiards Championship has been played since 1931 (with interruptions) and organized by World Ladies Billiards and Snooker since 1998.[1]

History

In the early 19th century, there was no recognised governing body or formal championship for English billiards. Jack Carr and Edwin Kentfield were prominent players when Carr challenged Kentfield to a championship game in 1825. Carr unfortunately died on the eve of the match, and Kentfield hence assumed the title. He would remain unchallenged for 24 years.[2]

John Roberts Sr., who had spent years touring playing billiards and establishing his reputation as a player, challenged Kentfield. There was much controversy over the table and the pockets to be used, and Kentfield declined to play, so Roberts styled himself as champion, a title he held unchallenged until 1870, when he lost to William Cook.[3]

William Cook, beat Roberts's son John Roberts, Jr. in a match in 1869, and challenged Roberts Sr. for the title. Due to this being the first actual match for the World Championship, the players themselves drew up a special set of rules for the game. Roberts managed to get the pocket width reduced to 3–inches (from the original 3​58–in), and the "D" and spots were adjusted so that Cook's spot stroke strength, derived from his proficiency at consecutively potting the red ball from its spot was weakened. Cook was nonetheless considered the favourite, and the 20-year-old had improved much from his win over Roberts Jr. the previous year. At 1:38 a.m. on the morning of 12 February 1870, Cook defeated Roberts to win the title, and won a newly created trophy, £100 and a Maltese cross. The Prince of Wales even attended the match at St. James's Hall. This match ended the dominance of Roberts Sr., as the wave of new players took over the game.[2]

That initiated the World Championship, and it led to many challenges for the title. Roberts Jr. and Cook were the dominant players of the era. There were occasional uncontested matches. The rule said that a player had to accept a challenge within two months of it being issued. If it were ignored, the challenger became World Champion.

There was still the issue of the rules however. Many players preferred the "spot-barred" style with restrictions on the number of consecutive pots of the red allowed, but some preferred the "all-in" rules that did not contain such a restriction. Repeated potting of the red was a great strength for William Peall in particular.

There were three all-in competitions held separately from the title that Roberts held. Roberts was never challenged for that title. Billy Mitchell and Peall excelled in the late 1880s.

Billiards Association and Control Council

In 1892, the Billiards Association (later Billiards Association and Control Council or BA&CC), was formed in February 1885, and produced a new set of rules in September 1885. They sanctioned two championships, a spot-barred and an all-in. Roberts ignored the competition, but the tournaments went ahead regardless. The "championship table" that Roberts Sr. had created was abandoned, and the normal table was instead used. Peall held the all-in title unchallenged, whereas Mitchell dominated spot-barred.

In 1899, after 5 years without challenges, the Billiards Association changed the rules of the game. After two spot strokes, the red would be replaced on the centre spot, to limit the repetition of "all-in" play. Peall accepted this, although at the detriment of his personal fortunes, voting for the introduction of the new rule. This collectively gave rise to the modern version of English billiards, still played (with minor changes) today.

Until 1910, there were many challenges, but in 1911, the competition was altered so that it became an annual tournament, to cope with the influx of new professionals.

In 1934, the tournament was won by Walter Lindrum, and the championship then collapsed. There were two matches held for the title in a span of decades, in 1951 and 1964.

In 1968, Rex Williams was on a trip to Australia, and decided to travel to Auckland to play the reigning champion Clark McConachy for the billiards title, the first contest since McConachy's 1951 win. By this time, McConachy was 73, and his play was affected by his Parkinson's disease. In a poor quality match, Williams won the title.[4]

WPBSA title

Leslie Driffield, a member of the BA&CC Council was present at a meeting where the Council nominated him as the challenger to Rex Williams for the professional Billiards Championship. Williams declined to play Driffield within the five months time limit that the BA&CC Council had set, which expired on 7 July 1970, and forfeited the title, which was then contested between Driffield and Jack Karnehm in June 1971. On 1 October 1970, the Professional Billiard Players Association, which had been reestablished in 1968 Williams and seven other players, disaffiliated from the BA&CC. The Professional Billiard Players Association changed its name to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association on 12 December 1970, and declared itself the governing body for the professional game, recognising Williams as champion. Driffield and Karnehm were, at first, the only two professionals to recognise the BA&CC as continuing to have authority over the game.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

In the 1970s, there were further challenge matches for the title. Rex Williams was dominant in this period. In 1980, Fred Davis won at the age of 67 to become World Champion. Since the 1980s, the world championship has sometimes been contested as a series of shorter games, for ecample in 150-up, the first player to win a designated number of games of first-to-150 is the victor.

From 1989 to 2011, Mike Russell was the dominant player, closely followed by Geet Sethi who won five titles. Some Australian players were successful in the 1980s, most notably Robby Foldvari (winner 1986, runner-up 1987) and Eddie Charlton (twice runner-up, 1984 and 1988).

In 2011 WPBSA formed World Billiards (Limited) to administer the sport worldwide. As of 2012, the distinction between professional and amateur players was removed and the WPBSA World Professional Championship was merged with the former IBSF World Billiards Championship and simply became the World Billiards Championship. Tournaments were held in both points and timed format.[11] In 2015, the IBSF withdrew from World Billiards Limited and reinstituted its own championship.[12]

David Causier (with six titles), Pankaj Advani (three titles), and Peter Gilchrist are other multiple title winners in the modern game.

World Championship Results

Main sources: English Amateur Billiards Association,[2] A History of Billiards (Clive Everton),[13] Cue Sports India[14]

Initial, self-declared World Champions

Date Champion
1825 England Edwin Kentfield Declared Champion when Jack Carr was unable to play him
1849 Wales John Roberts Sr. Declared Champion when Kentfield declined his challenge

Challenge World Championships

Additional Source: Billiards (1899) by Joseph Bennett[15]

As there was no governing body in place, the rules were agreed between players, with representatives of The Sportsman newspaper providing arbitration if required.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
11 February 1870 England William Cook 1,200 Wales John Roberts Sr. 1,083 St James's Hall, London
14 April 1870 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 1,000 England William Cook 552 St James's Hall, London
30 May 1870 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 1,000 England Alfred Bowles 752 St James's Hall, London
28 November 1870 England Joseph Bennett 1,000 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 905 St James's Hall, London
30 January 1871 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 1,000 England Joseph Bennett 637 St James's Hall, London
25 May 1871 England William Cook 1,000 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 985 St James's Hall, London
21 November 1871 England William Cook 1,000 England Joseph Bennett 942 St James's Hall, London
4 March 1872[a] England William Cook 1,000 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 799 St James's Hall, London
24 February 1874 England William Cook 1,000 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 784 St James's Hall, London
24 May 1875 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 1,000 England William Cook 837 The Criterion, London
20 December 1875 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 1,000 England William Cook 865 St James's Hall, London
April 1876 England William Cook   Declared Champion  
28 May 1877 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 1,000 England William Cook 779 Gaiety Restaurant, Strand, London
July 1878 England William Cook   Declared Champion  
8 November 1880 England Joseph Bennett 1,000 England William Cook 949 St James's Hall, London
12-13 January 1881 England Joseph Bennett 1,000 England Tom Taylor 910 St James's Hall, London
September 1881[b] England William Cook   Declared Champion  
February 1885 Wales John Roberts, Jr.   Declared Champion  
30 Mar-1 Apr 1885 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 3,000 England William Cook 2,908 Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, London
1-4 June 1885 Wales John Roberts, Jr. 3,000 England Joseph Bennett 1,360 Royal Aquarium

Unofficial "all-in" World Championships

These matches were arranged between the players, and not recognised by the Billiard Association.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
October 1887 England Billy Mitchell 15,000 England William Peall 13,733 Royal Aquarium
March 1888 England William Peall 15,000 England Billy Mitchell 6,753 Royal Aquarium

"Championship of the World" Tournaments

With the Billiards Association championship in abeyance, the billiard table manufacturers George Wright and Company organised a "Championship of the World" tournament. The tournament was played in heats, with the heat between Mitchell and Peall proving decisive on each occasion.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
January 1889 England Billy Mitchell Royal Aquarium
February 1890 England William Peall Royal Aquarium
March 1891 England William Peall Royal Aquarium

Billiard Association tournament World Championships

The Billiard Association organised separate championships for "all-in" and "spot barred" formats.

All-in

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
April 1892 England William Peall 5,000 England Billy Mitchell 1,755 Orme & Sons Showrooms, Soho Square

Spot-barred

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
April 1892 England Billy Mitchell 3,000 England John North 2,697 Thurston’s Showrooms, Strand, London
February 1893 England Billy Mitchell 9,000 England John North 7,525 Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London
January 1894 England Billy Mitchell 9,000 England Charles Dawson 8,163 National Sporting Club, London

Billiard Association challenge World Championships

The Billiards Association published a new set of rules 1 October 1898 that prohibited the push shot stroke, and promoted one championship rather than two.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
9-14 Jan 1899 England Charles Dawson 9,000 England John North 4,715 Gaiety Restaurant, Strand, London
April 1900 England Charles Dawson 9,000 England Harry Stevenson 6,775 Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, London
January 1901 England Harry Stevenson 9,000 England Charles Dawson 6,406
April 1901 England Charles Dawson 9,000 England Harry Stevenson 5,796
November 1901 England Harry Stevenson   Declared Champion  
16-21 Mar 1903 England Charles Dawson 9,000 England Harry Stevenson 8,700 National Sporting Club, London
September 1908 England Melbourne Inman   Declared Champion  
March 1909 England Melbourne Inman 9,000 England Albert Williams 7,662

Billiard Control Club Championships

The Billiard Control Club was established in 1908 as a rival to the Billiard Association and organised a separate championship.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score
February 1909 England Harry Stevenson   Declared Champion  
April 1910[c] England Harry Stevenson England Melbourne Inman
October 1910 England Harry Stevenson 18,000 England Melbourne Inman 16,907
April 1911 England Harry Stevenson 18,000 England Melbourne Inman 16,914
March 1912 England Melbourne Inman 18,000 England Tom Reece 9,675
March 1913 England Melbourne Inman 18,000 England Tom Reece 16,627
March 1914 England Melbourne Inman 18,000 England Tom Reece 12,826
March 1919 England Melbourne Inman 18,000 England Harry Stevenson 9,468

Billiards Association and Control Council Championships

After the 1919 Championship, the Billiard Association and the Billiard Control Club amalgamated and, as the Billiards Association and Control Club (later renamed as the Billiards Association and Control Council) organised an annual championship tournament.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
May 1920 England Willie Smith 16,000 England Claude Falkiner 14,500
March 1921 England Tom Newman 16,000 England Tom Reece 10,744 Thurston's Hall, London
May 1922 England Tom Newman 16,000 England Claude Falkiner 15,167 Thurston's Hall, London
May 1923 England Willie Smith 16,000 England Tom Newman 15,180
May 1924 England Tom Newman 16,000 England Tom Reece 14,845
April 1925 England Tom Newman 16,000 England Tom Reece 10,092
May 1926 England Tom Newman 16,000 England Joe Davis 9,505
May 1927 England Tom Newman 16,000 England Joe Davis 14,763
May 1928 England Joe Davis 16,000 England Tom Newman 14,874
April 1929 England Joe Davis 18,000 England Tom Newman 17,219
May 1930 England Joe Davis 20,198 England Tom Newman 20,117
March 1932 England Joe Davis 25,161 New Zealand Clark McConachy 19,259
May 1933 Australia Walter Lindrum 21,815 England Joe Davis 21,121
October 1934 Australia Walter Lindrum 23,553 England Joe Davis 22,678

Post-World War II Challenge World Championships

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
September 1951 New Zealand Clark McConachy 9,274 England John Barrie 6,691 London
August 1968 England Rex Williams 5,499 New Zealand Clark McConachy 5,234 YMCA Stadium, Auckland

Billiards Association and Control Council Challenge Matches

Date Association Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
June 1971 BACC England Leslie Driffield 9,029 England Jack Karnehm 4,342 Middlesbrough Town Hall
January 1973 B&SCC England Leslie Driffield 9,204 England Albert Johnson 4,696

WPBSA Challenge Matches

Date Association Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
1971 WPBSA England Rex Williams 9,250 England Bernard Bennett 4,058 Castle Club, Southampton
September 1973 WPBSA England Rex Williams 8,360 England Jack Karnehm 4,336 Marconi Athletic Club, Chelmsford
September 1974 WPBSA England Rex Williams 7,017 Australia Eddie Charlton 4,916 Geraldton
1976 WPBSA England Rex Williams 9,105 Australia Eddie Charlton 5,149 Geelong

WPBSA World Championships

Date Association Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
May 1980 WPBSA England Fred Davis 5,978 England Rex Williams 4,452 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
November 1980 WPBSA England Fred Davis 3,037 England Mark Wildman 2,064 Brownsover Hotel, Rugby
1982 WPBSA England Rex Williams 3,000 England Mark Wildman 1,785 Astra La Reserve Club, Sutton Coldfield
1983 WPBSA England Rex Williams 1,500 England Fred Davis 605 Court Snooker Club, Peterborough
1984 WPBSA England Mark Wildman 1,045 Australia Eddie Charlton 1,012 Majestic Snooker Club, Portsmouth
1985 WPBSA England Ray Edmonds 3 England Norman Dagley 1 Hatton Garden Snooker Centre, London
1986 WPBSA Australia Robby Foldvari 3 England Norman Dagley 1 Romiley Forum Stockport
1987 WPBSA England Norman Dagley 3 Australia Robby Foldvari 1
1988 WPBSA England Norman Dagley 7 Australia Eddie Charlton 4
1989 WPBSA England Mike Russell 2,242 Singapore Peter Gilchrist 1,347
1991 WPBSA England Mike Russell 1,352 Australia Robby Foldvari 957
1992 WPBSA India Geet Sethi 2,529 England Mike Russell 718
1993 WPBSA India Geet Sethi 2,139 England Mike Russell 1,140
1994 WPBSA Singapore Peter Gilchrist 1,539 England Mike Russell 645
1995 WPBSA India Geet Sethi 1,661 India Devendra Joshi 931
1996 WPBSA England Mike Russell 2,534 India Geet Sethi 1,848
1998 WPBSA India Geet Sethi 1,400 England Mike Russell 1,015
1999 WPBSA England Mike Russell 2,000 Singapore Peter Gilchrist 832
2001 WPBSA Singapore Peter Gilchrist 1,287 England Mike Russell 863
2002 WPBSA England Mike Russell 2,251 Singapore Peter Gilchrist 1,273
2003 WPBSA England Mike Russell 6 Singapore Peter Gilchrist 4
2004 WPBSA England Mike Russell 2,402 England David Causier 1,349
2005 WPBSA England Chris Shutt 1,620 England Mike Russell 1,365 Pontins, Prestatyn
2006 WPBSA India Geet Sethi 2,073 England Lee Lagan 1,057
2007 WPBSA England Mike Russell 2,166 England Chris Shutt 1,710 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2008 WPBSA England Mike Russell 1,823 India Geet Sethi 1,342 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2009 WPBSA India Pankaj Advani 2,030 England Mike Russell[16] 1,253 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2010 WPBSA England Mike Russell[17] 1,738 India Dhruv Sitwala 1,204 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2011[18] WPBSA England Mike Russell 1,500 England David Causier 558 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds

World Billiards Ltd World Championships

Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds in 2013
Date Association Format Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue
2012 WBL/IBSF Short[19] India Rupesh Shah 6 Australia Matthew Bolton 2 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Timed[20] India Pankaj Advani 1,895 England Mike Russell 1,216 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2013 WBL/IBSF Short[21] England David Causier 6 India Alok Kumar 1 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Long[22] Singapore Peter Gilchrist 1,500 England David Causier 1,085 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2014 WBL/IBSF Short[23] India Pankaj Advani 6 Singapore Peter Gilchrist 2 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Timed[24] India Pankaj Advani 1,928 England Robert Hall 893 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2015 WBL Short[25] England David Causier 6 England Robert Hall 1 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Long[26] England David Causier 1,500 Singapore Peter Gilchrist 1,277 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2016 WBL Short England David Causier 8 India Dhruv Sitwala 6 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Timed England Mike Russell 2,224 England David Causier 1,115 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2017 WBL Short England David Causier 8 India Sourav Kothari 4 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Long England David Causier 1,500 Singapore Peter Gilchrist 779 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2018 WBL Timed India Sourav Kothari 1,134 Singapore Peter Gilchrist 944 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2019 WBL Timed[27] Singapore Peter Gilchrist 1,307 India Sourav Kothari 967 RACV Club, Melbourne

Notes

  1. ^ Some sources say the match was in April
  2. ^ Bennett had broken his arm, and resigned the title
  3. ^ Match unfinished, due to the death of Stevenson's wife

References

  1. ^ List of winners Archived 19 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved May 1, 2017
  2. ^ a b c "The Professional Champions of English Billiards". The English Amateur Billiards Association. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  3. ^ Everton, Clive (2012). A History of Billiards. englishbilliards.org. pp. 46–58. ISBN 978-0-9564054-5-6.
  4. ^ Everton, Clive (1985). Guinness Snooker - The Records. Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 154–156. ISBN 0851124488.
  5. ^ Everton, Clive (14 November 1988). "A great billiards amateur". The Guardian. p. 39 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Guardian and The Observer. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Challenge taken". The Guardian. 30 September 1970. p. 19 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Guardian and The Observer. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  7. ^ Clive Everton (2 December 2011). Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards: The Inside Story of the Snooker World. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78057-399-1.
  8. ^ "WPBSA v TSN". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC Sport. 16 February 2001. Archived from the original on 1 January 2003. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  9. ^ "History of The WPBSA". wpbsa.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original on 10 August 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  10. ^ Everton, Clive (2012). The History of Billiards. englishbilliards.org. pp. 146–147. ISBN 978-09564054-5-6.
  11. ^ "2012 World Billiards Championship". world-billiards.com. World Billiards Ltd. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  12. ^ "IBSF cause damaging billiards split". Snooker Scene. No. August 2015. Everton's News Agency. pp. 28–29.
  13. ^ Everton, Clive (2012). A History of Billiards. englishbilliards.org. ISBN 978-0-9564054-5-6.
  14. ^ "Roll of Honour". Cue Sports India. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  15. ^ Bennett, Joseph (1899). Billiards.
  16. ^ Everton, Clive (6 September 2009). "Pankaj Advani seals World Professional Billiards Championship win". London: guardian.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  17. ^ "Knock-out Round". Cue Sports India. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  18. ^ "Russell Takes Billiards Crown Again". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  19. ^ Subbaiah, Sunil. "Rupesh Shah wins second world title". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Pankaj Advani wins World Billiards title". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 13 September 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  21. ^ Pathak, Vivek (25 October 2013). "David Causier, the new champion for World Billiards (Short format)". International Billiards and Snooker Federation. Archived from the original on 21 April 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  22. ^ "IBSF Long up Billiards Championships Long up – Leeds / England 2013". International Billiards and Snooker Federation. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  23. ^ "Advani stuns Gilchrist to clinch World Billiards title". The Times of India. 24 October 2014. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  24. ^ "Advani: first ever player to bag billiards triple double". The Hindu. 30 October 2014. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  25. ^ "World Championships (150-up)". wbeventsonline.com. World Billiards. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  26. ^ "World Championships (long up)". wbeventsonline.com. World Billiards. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  27. ^ "2019 World Billiards Championship". wbeventsonline.com. World Billiards. Retrieved 12 October 2019.

External links