The 2018 4 nations billiards event took place at the weekend of the 24th and 25th of November at the Cueball club in Derby, England. Holders and hosts England retained their trophy in typical emphatic fashion by a margin of 14 points ahead of second placed Northern Ireland who finished 17 points above their southern counterparts Republic of Ireland with Austria at bottom with 12.
The event featured two formats of matches comprising 90 minutes time limit and two games of 150up. 4 games were scheduled for Friday as Markus Bauer of Austria could not make it to the event. Proceedings got underway as Republic of Ireland’s John Kehoe and Aonghus McAnally registered wins over Stefan Knoll and CW Steiner of Austria respectively. Northern Ireland’s Keith McCready and Christian Kirk also took full points over Austria’s Stephanie Dolezal and Werner Rieschl in the other two games on Friday.
Saturday started brilliantly in the first session as World No.3 Rob Hall hit 3 centuries in his first match of 159, 123 and 181 respectively. England’s Mark Hatton also 113 as well as Christian Kirk of Northern Ireland with an impressive 112. England finished the session with a perfect 12 out of 12 as Mark Hatton claimed the final century of the day with 107 in his win against Northern Ireland’s Chris Johnston as England finished the day leading the table on 31 points out of a possible 36 with Northern Ireland close behind on 25 with Republic of Ireland on 12 and Austria on 4.
Sunday’s play started with Rob Hall of England producing the goods again with 131 and 64 unfinished in his 2-0 win against Northern Ireland’s Chris Johnston in the 150up format of the first session, England winning 8 points out of 12 to take a step further of retaining the trophy.
Republic of Ireland’s Larry Drennan won 5 out of his 6 games as did Christian Kirk of Northern Ireland with his other game ending in a draw to finish unbeaten, as did England’s Adam Clark who claimed 128 against Lloyd Myers of Ireland. Also unbeaten were Rob Hall who finished the event with breaks of 226 and 115 against Ireland captain Brendan Devlin and unbeaten Darren Kell who beat Robert McCrum of Ireland with three centuries and 50 plus breaks, England’s Mark Graham also finished unbeaten. Martin Schmidt performed best for Austria who may have finished bottom but played their part in a great tournament.
England finishing on 59 points retained their trophy playing top notch billiards with Northern Ireland accumulating an impressive 45 points and showing to be a serious threat to England’s crown in the near future. Republic of Ireland finishing on 28 points showed glimpses if putting together good performances with Austria below par after finishing a tremendous joint 3rd place with Ireland last year who just didn’t bring the form they expected of themselves from the improvement showing of the previous year.
Thanks to Tournament Director Clive Scott for running the event with great enthusiasm and dedication as well as the referees and the Cueball club in hosting the event. England will be no doubt favourites again to win 3 in a row next year as Northern Ireland will host next year’s event and hope to go one better to build on their promising second placed finish.
● Report by John Kehoe