The National Billiards ranking 1, Stars Academy Masters, got underway at the new RILSA Academy Sharkx Newbridge recently with 8 players which is the biggest entry to date for an event.  A 25 minute time limit was agreed with a 5 minute break between each session along with a 20 minute break after session 4 made for a safe and comfortable evening of billiards for all.

The usual guidelines were adhered to during the event as we slowly return to competition.  We were delighted to see Tina Keogh back playing after taking a year out and newcomer to our billiards team, Michelle French and we wish them well for the season ahead.

Due to the shorter time limit and the fact that our players were out of practice for such a long time, the scoring was somewhat less than normal but otherwise it was a very successful event indeed.

Session 1 saw Annette Newman from Carlow and current National Billiards Champion take on our current National Intermediate Billiards Champion, Valerie Maloney from Laois.  Valerie started well but soon Annette got into her stride and began to put a number of small breaks together to finish strong on the alarm to take the win 63-29.  Tina Keogh from Offaly was pitted against newcomer Michelle French from Kildare in this session, while it took both players some time to get into their match, Michelle got the upper hand towards the final minutes to take her first win at billiards 40-27.  Former number 2 Christine Carr from Kildare and Jennifer Earle from Dublin were slow to start as the scoring was low for the first 15 minutes as the situation on the table dictated the scoring, however Christine secured the win on the alarm 30-16.  The current National number 2 Joanna Ward from Kildare was up against Stephanie Foley from Carlow, as the match progressed the scoring started to improve but it was all down to the clock ticking away again with Joanna finishing strong taking her first win 35-20

Session 2 would again prove difficult for some of our players to get into their potential scoring.  Christine moved up a gear against Tina in their match and kept Tina from scoring as she ran out the winner on the clock 49-17.  Annette kept to her form against Jennifer scoring well to finish with her second win 62-17.  Stephanie kept close all the way to the final minutes against Michelle but Michelle finished strong to take her second win on the alarm 33-25 again a similar result would ensue between Valerie and Joanna as the clock ticked down, Valerie would score 5 on the alarm to take her first win 33-31 very close indeed.

Session 3 would take a similar path in matches as the scoring was low,  Valerie went on to take her second win against Stephanie 21-19 on the alarm.  Michelle was keeping her winning streak going on the evening with a win over Jennifer 33-21.  Annette continued her great form against Christine who was also improving her game but Annette finished strong and took the match win 83-53.  Joanna would fall to Tina on the alarm in their match 28-25 to give Tina her first win on the evening.

Session 4 would see an improvement in scores as the players started to get into their matches but with the time limit reduced this would reflect on their overall scoring.  Joanna got her first win with a 5 point score on the alarm against Jennifer to take the match by 1 point, 32-31.  Michelle took the win against Christine again in a close encounter as the alarm sounded to finish 37-31.  Valerie upped her game against Tina towards the final 10 minutes of their match with Tina missing a few chances to move ahead but with a flurry of small scores Valerie took the win 55-34.  Annette was on fire again in her match against Stephanie who was also improving her scoring, however Annette would take the win on the alarm 74-45

After the break session 5 got underway with Annette continuing her great form against Tina who got very little table time with Annette finishing the match 75-15.   Christine had to step up her game against Valerie who was close to taking the match but with a 5 score on the alarm saw Christine take the win 41-37.  Joanna couldn’t find form on the evening as she went out to Michelle in a low scoring match 28-16.  Stephanie took her first win against Jennifer again in a low scoring match by 1 point on the alarm 28-27

Session 6 on the evening saw Christine continue her wins taking her match against Joanna 28-14 while Annette kept her form going ahead early in her match against Michelle, however Michelle put some good scores together to stay close to Annette but was not to be as Annette took her 6th win of the evening 52-47.  Jennifer began to score well as she struggled throughout the evening in previous rounds and did well against Valerie taking the win 41-19.  Stephanie would see her taking the second win of the competition as she closed out on the alarm against Tina who was not in form on her return to billiards as we know she can really score heavy in competition, Stephanie won by 37-17

Session 7 the final one on the evening would see Jennifer stay in form against Tina taking the win 49-22.  Michelle would see her take win 6 of the competition against Valerie who didn’t get off to a good start while Michelle herself struggled to score heavy as the table dictated the final outcome as Michelle took the match 29-8.  Annette again was in great form against Joanna taking her 7th win on the evening 77-33 while Christine kept Stephanie from scoring in their match to finish on a win 40-16

After the scores were tallied Annette came out the winner of the event with a fantastic total score of 486 with Christine taking the runner up spot on 272.  Michelle did very well finishing 3rd in her first event with a score of 247 while Jennifer took 4th place after a strong finish towards the end on 202 points, even though Valerie was on the same, 202 points to take 5th place, it was Jennifer’s win against her that made the difference.

Stephanie finished 6th on 190, Joanna in 7th on 186 and Tina in 8th spot on 160

We know that the girls are all very capable of higher scoring but unfortunately it was not to be for some on the evening, I have no doubt that they will bounce back as the season progresses and we will see much improvement.

Congratulations to Annette on her win and to Christine on a fine performance.  Well done and many thanks to all of our girls who supported this event in making it such a great success.  Thanks to Aidan Murray and Dave Earle who refereed on the evening and to Paul, Bernie and staff of Sharkx for all their support as always.

Our next Billiards is the first Intermediate Ranking on Tuesday 22nd June again at our Academy Sharkx Newbridge.