Last weekend (11-14 July) saw the staging of the 3rd Blacktown Workers Snooker Classic (Ian Chappell) held in Sydney at the Blacktown Workers Club. This event was established in 2017 as a collaborative effort between Snooker and Billiards NSW, the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC) and the Workers Club who have been supporting Snooker and Billiards in NSW for many years. In addition, the event leveraged the naming of the ABSC Patron Ian Chappell.
The 2019 event was greatly supported by the Blacktown Workers Club as well as Reventon. Without these two major sponsors the event would not have been as successful as it was. And not just a snooker tournament! As per previous years, the Snooker tournament coincided with the NSW Annual Hall of Fame Awards and formal dinner which attracted around 100 guests on the Saturday evening.
In addition to the major sponsors, we had great support for streaming and table sponsorships; Arroona Pools and Spas (streaming sponsor), Hyten Group, ABSC, Snooker and Billiards NSW, Northern Beaches S&B Association, Sutherland Shire Snooker Association, Dave Valvo, Better Pools and Spas and Joseph Plumbing. The highest break of the tournament of 136 by Johl Younger was made on the table bought by Dave Valvo who picked up a nice $1,500 cash prize.
The event started with 72 players from across the country including top seed Johl Younger who won the event in 2018. Play commenced on the Thursday night with qualifying games with all preliminary matches being best of 5 frames.
The majority of round 1 and 2 matches went as expected but there were a few close calls with David Liu narrowly losing to Vinnie Calabrese 3-2 and Patrick Yeung bowing out 3-2 to Dennis Paul. Travis McCleary did well defeating one of the top ranked players Timothy Ng.
Round 3 saw some great matchups go to the wire in particular with Vinnie Calabrese defeating Roger Farebrother 3-2. Justin Sajich defeated Alan McCarthy 3-2 as did Joe Minici beating John Wims in the last frame. Travis McCleary was playing very well at 2-0 against Rob Elsley but Rob came back strong winning 3-2.
Some big match ups in the last 16 starting with Johl Younger taking out Shawn Budd 4-3 with it being anyone’s game on the colours. Alex Gangi was having a great even and at 2-2 looked like he could take out Vinnie. However, Vinnie fired up to win 4-2 including a fantastic 127 in the last frame and losing his tip. Young Tassie player Cale Barrett defeated the in-form James Mifsud whilst Ben Judge had a marathon match with Queenslander Steven Donohoe and winning 4-3. Matthew Bolton had a confident win over Koe Minici 4-1 as did Tyson Crinis knocking off rising star Ben Foster 4-2. Steve Mifsud had a good win over the consistent Rob Elsley after being 2-2 but winning 4-2 in the end.
At the quarter finals stage you couldn’t pick the winner. Any one of the 8 players yet were capable of taking out this event. And just to demonstrate that each match went to the wire with all winners winning 4-3 in the best of 7 frame challenge.
The Semi Finals was a match up between Johl Younger versus Ben Judge and Mathew Bolton versus Steve Mifsud. Defending champion Johl who also had the high break of the event with a 136 was unable to overcome Ben Judge and losing 4-2. Steve Mifsud on the other hand who is about to have another crack at the World Snooker Tour had a great close match with Matthew winning 4-3 in the end. Steve then proved to strong and consistent for Ben taking out the title with a 5-2 win in the final match refereed by Gary Knight.
A big thank you to Jeff Farrugia and his team for putting on a fantastic event.
The Saturday night included the formal NSW Hall of Fame Dinner which was attended by close to 100 people. For 2019 Margaret Gorski and John Campbell were inducted. We are told that the event will be bigger and better in 2020. Well done to the NSW team for their efforts.