For the first time in the 19 year history of this event, the grand final featured 2 Victorian based players in which Mark Williams (Robinvale) defeated Ben Nunan (Melbourne) by 4 frames to 2. A crowd of approximately 220 watched the two high profile players battle for the prestigious title. Competitors were playing for $14,000 in prize-money.

For his efforts, Mark took home $3,200.00 in prize-money, together with a replica of the Perpetual trophy and also the much treasured distinction of having his name engraved on the Perpetual trophy.

This was the first time that these two players competed in the final after having traveled to Berri on numerous occasions seeking to win the title. In a huge display of sportsmanship, Ben trailing by 3 frames to 1, called a foul on himself for double hitting the cue ball in the fifth frame. This gesture of sportsmanship did not go unnoticed by the crowd, with a loud round of applause for his excellent sportsmanship. In his acceptance speech, Mark was also very appreciative of the gesture, stating it as the best case of good sportsmanship that he had ever seen in the game. It is also worth mentioning, that if Mark had potted out as a result of this foul, it would have resulted in the final been decided in the fifth frame. In what could be described as poetic justice, Ben eventually won this frame, only to lose the next frame and the championship 4/2.

Ben did not go home empty handed, collecting $1,600.00 plus a trophy, which will help relieve some of the pain of losing the final.

This tournament was also the designated Jackpot tournament for the recently formed Professional Pool Players Association, in which all unclaimed prize money from the previous 4 designated tournaments was distributed at this event, resulting in Mark collecting an additional $3,800 and Ben an additional $1,900. Several other players from this Association were also rewarded, including Phil Jones (semi finalist) and Martin Brady (best performing novice).

The Tournament took on an International flavor with the inclusion of a group of 12 players from New Zealand for the first time. Lead by Jim Johns from Pukekohe, the players selected had to win through a series of qualifying tournaments before being included in the touring party. Although none of the group reached the finals, they gained valuable experience from the trip. The ability to adapt to the small white ball used was the main comment made by the players.

Four hundred and thirty players nominated in this year’s tournament, which was only slightly down on the record of 446 players that entered the 2005 event. The event consisted of players being divided up into 44 sections, with the sectional play being held at various Clubs and Hotels in the Riverland. At the conclusion of play on Saturday, 132 players had qualified for the finals on the Sunday.

The Friday night restricted knock-out competition resulted in Paul Pike of Melbourne defeat Kym Saunders of Adelaide 2-1 in the Final. The Friday night Invitational knock-out resulted in Mark Williams of Robinvale defeat Paul Hancock of Adelaide 4-1 in a very high class and entertaining final. The Saturday night Pot out competition was won by James Delahunty of Adelaide. The Saturday night Ladies competition, which is always keenly contested, resulted in Suzie Yeomonds (Melbourne) defeat Annie O’Neill (Adelaide) 3-2 in the final. The “Non Qualifiers” knock-out on Sunday saw Brett Niemann (Adelaide) defeat Daniel Henwood (Adelaide) 2-1 in the final.

As a result of fund raising activities by a small group of dedicated Ladies and strong support by players in purchasing tickets resulted in prize money for the Ladies event being increased to over $1,400. This increase was appreciated by the more than 60 players competing in this event. Donations of raffle prizes by clubs and hotels hosting sectional play on the Saturday was also appreciated.

The inaugural Under 18’s knock-out in which 22 players competed resulted in Michael Hayes (Adelaide) defeat Nathan Nemes (Coober Pedy) 2-1 in front of an appreciative crowd.

Quarter Final results were:

Mark Williams (Robinvale) def Kym Saunders (Adelaide) 4/2
Anthony Grantham (Port Augusta) def Emile Riera (Adelaide) 4/3
Ben Nunan (Melbourne) def Richard Lamont (Adelaide) 4/1
Phil Jones (Adelaide) def Dax Wasley (Broken Hill) 4/3

Semi Final results were:

Mark Williams defeated Anthony Grantham 4/2
Ben Nunan defeated Phil Jones 4/2

The achievement of Port Augusta player Anthony Grantham is worth noting in making the semi finals, losing 4-2 to the eventual winner Mark Williams. This is despite not being exposed to the weekly top competition that players in Adelaide and Melbourne have available to them. Possibly the unluckiest player in the tournament was Dax Wasley of Broken Hill who fouled by potting an opponents ball after potting the black ball in the first and seventh frames in his loss against Phil Jones in the quarter finals.

The increase in prize money from $12,000 in 2005 to $14,000 in 2006 was a direct result in $2,000 in sponsorship from 8-Ball Table Manufacturer Beta Billiards. Beta Billiards was the manufacturer of 41 of the 44 tables used for the Tournament, including the 20 tables used for the finals at the Berri Resort Hotel.

At the Official Presentation, Berri Resort Hotel’s Operations Manager Bruce Gehling thanked all players for their attendance and invited them back to compete in next year’s event.

Neil Lemmey
Tournament Director

Winner takes $6000 at Open

Winner takes $6000 at Open
Robinvale’s Mark ‘Machine’ Williams cleaned up at the Berri Resort Hotel Open Eightball Singles Championships on the weekend, winning more than $6000 in prizemoney.
Williams defeated Melbourne’s Ben Nunan 4-2 in the final after a great display of sportsmanship by Nunan who accidentally nudged the ball without the judges noticing but still brought it to their attention.
Tournament director Neil Lemmey said the Nunan’s gesture was noble, especially considering he was losing at the time.
“Williams mentioned in his speech that it was one of the most sportsman-like things he’s seen at an eightball table,” Mr Lemmey said.
“He (Nunan) was trailing 3-1 at that stage and the crowd really appreciated that.”
Mr Lemmey said Williams was able to win despite not playing at his best.
“He’s probably been up here before and played better but obviously things went his way this year,”
“He basically came here with no money because he was trying to pay his entry for the Professional Players Association (PPA), and the organiser said if you win the Friday night tournament you can register for the PPA competition.
“Because he won on Friday he was then eligible for this professional group of 32 players they’ve got going and was able to pick up an extra $2500 from that tournament.”
Stuart Turnbull was the best of the Riverland’s male players, making it to the last 64 in the Open, but it was two of the region’s local women who made a big impact.
“It was surprising to see Kathy Michael and Trish Steiler both made it to the last eight in the women’s event which was a good achievement too,” Lemmey said.
“That tournament had four Australian team members who we expected to feature in the finals.”
Entries for the event were down on last year but Lemmey said the tournament was still in a good position.
“We had about 430 entries which was slightly down on last year when we had 446 but we’re the only tournament in Australia that has 400 players in it.”