We at RILSA were delighted to be involved in the recent WBL World Matchplay and Irish Open Billiards that was held in the SBI Academy Carlow from 19th to 26th May. Our input as referees and players gave us a great opportunity to gain experience and be part of the World Billiards community. For those taking part gained experience in refereeing on the World stage and for our players to play the top players in the sport, where we got to see the sport played up close and took many tips from the players who are always willing to help and support.
Well done to Annette Newman and Stephanie Foley who did us proud both as players and referees along with Dave Earle who officiated at the Irish Open. Annette was selected to play in the World Match Play Championship and she gave it her all and learned a lot from playing these top male counterparts from around the World.
We congratulate the WBL Board of Aonghus McNally, Chris Coumbe, Darren Clarke and head referee Brendan Devlin along with Kevin Christie, Shane Mason, John Keogh and everyone involved at SBI for the success of the event.
David Causier successfully defended the sport’s second biggest major title when he defeated Peter Sheehan 8-1 in the final of the 2023 World Matchplay Billiards Championship.
Held at and sponsored by the Snooker & Billiards Ireland Academy in Carlow, the prestigious level six World Billiards ranking event was the main course of a big double-header on the Emerald Isle. Last week, Peter Gilchrist claimed the Irish Open title.
Representatives from nine different countries qualified for the five-day Championship, with round robin action taking place across the opening three days, followed by the knockout rounds.
World champion and world number one Causier recovered quickly from his loss in the Irish Open final here by topping Group A with a 100% record. In fact, he only dropped one game – during a 4-1 victory against Steve Brookshaw – as he made it through to the last 16 where he eliminated Chris Coumbe 5-0 with the help of five breaks of 65 or more.
Due to their seeding positions from the groups phase, fans were treated to a blockbuster clash in the quarter-finals as Causier and Gilchrist – the top two ranked players in the world – squared off in Carlow again.
In a typically high-quality and entertaining affair, despite four-time world champion Gilchrist registering four century breaks and a 96, it was Middlesbrough cueist Causier who emerged a 6-5 victor as he crafted an unfinished effort of 104 in the deciding game.
The 49-year-old would be embroiled in yet another ding-dong in the semi-finals when he faced world number three Rob Hall.
Reigning Belgian Open champion Hall looked on course for the final as he hit several sizable contributions on his way to a 5-1 advantage. However, the contest flipped on resumption after the interval, as Causier strung together the next six games for a 7-5 comeback win.
Emerging from the other side of the draw was Sheehan, who reached his maiden world final.
The Merseyside talent has not long since returned to the top echelons of billiards, and he began a memorable week on the other side of the Irish Sea by winning all four of his group games 5-0 to finish top of Group G.
Following respective victories against Brookshaw (5-1) and Darren Clark (6-0) in the last 16 and quarter-finals, Sheehan was involved in an epic last four tie with Ryan Mears, claiming the deciding frame for a 7-6 win.
In front of a live audience at the venue and online, Causier began the final very well with unfinished breaks of 76 and 101 to establish a 2-0 lead.
Sheehan opened his account in game three with a 94 unfinished, but Causier stomped his authority for the remainder of the match, constructing breaks of 92 unfinished, 101 unfinished, 56, 101 unfinished, 81 and 59 as he superbly rattled off six successive games to retain the title.
This latest glory is Causier’s sixth ranking triumph of yet another sterling season.