Top exponents of the three-ball game will gather in Melbourne, Australia later this week for the 2019 Endeavour Life Care World Billiards Championship; one of the most eagerly anticipated editions of the competition in recent times.
Steeped in a rich, nearly 150-year history, it is the third time that the championship will be held in Australia. Its debut there came in 1934 when native Walter Lindrum got the better of fellow legend Joe Davis in the final.
All vying for the iconic John Roberts Trophy, this latest episode will see 60 qualified players represent ten different nations at the luxurious Royal Automobile Club of Victoria. Beginning on Tuesday 8th October, every winner of the event from the previous 12 years will be present in what is an impressive and strong line-up.
Entrants will initially be split up into round robin groups, with 32 qualifying for the subsequent knockout rounds. The duration of matches will increase as proceedings unfold, leading up to a five-hour championship decider on Saturday 12th October.
The Chief Contenders
India’s Sourav Kothari achieved a lifelong ambition at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds 12 months ago when he claimed his maiden World Billiards Championship title after defeating Peter Gilchrist in the final. Having received admiration and recognition in his homeland since his triumph, the Kolkata cueist is aiming to become the first player since Mike Russell in 2011 to defend the coveted title.
World number one and three-time winner Gilchrist will naturally be attempting to go one better than 2018. The Singaporean citizen heads to the Victorian state off the back of a fine World Billiards campaign where he notched up six major titles in four different continents.
One of Gilchrist’s fiercest career rivals is contemporary Russell, who is challenging to rule the world once again. Unquestionably one of the all-time greats, Russell continues to boast remarkable longevity in the premier echelons of the sport; the 12-time champion won his first crown 30 years ago on Australian soil when he got the better of Gilchrist in Leura, just outside of Sydney. The 50-year-old is the only player in history to have secured this championship in four different decades.
Bidding for a career hat-trick, 2015 and 2017 champion David Causier will also be a strong candidate ‘Down Under’. The Teessider – a four-time winner of the short format world championship, too – enjoyed a phenomenal 2018/19 season, swelling his trophy tally when perfecting seven of the eight events that he participated in. His only blemish came at the world championship where he narrowly lost to eventual champion Kothari in a pulsating semi-final. Notably, in the same group as Causier is India’s much-revered Pankaj Advani, who is making his return to the tournament. Multi-talented and very successful, the ‘Pune Potter’ has already tasted glory in this event on three occasions over the last decade.
The other former winner in the field is Australia’s Robbie Foldvari; the 1986 king and event ambassador is part of a strong host nation contingent. Home hopes are most likely to rest on reigning 17-time national billiards champion Matthew Bolton, current professional snooker player Steve Mifsud and world number 11 Jason Colebrook.
Coming from the other side of the Tasman Sea is experienced New Zealander Wayne Carey – the recently installed Oceania Billiards Champion. World number three and 2014 runner-up Rob Hall of England will be feeling good as well after conquering last week’s Austrian Open in Vienna.
The championship features two-time World Disability Billiards and Snooker event winner Raja Subramanian and female star Anna Lynch who will also headline the Sylex Ergonomics World Women’s Billiards Championship being held on the 11th and 12th October at the same venue. It is the first time in history that the championship is being held in Australia.
The 2019 World Billiards Championship has a $24,000 AUD bonus attached to it should someone complete a 1000 break during the competition.
Action from this exciting Melbourne festival begins on Sunday with the two-day Reed Furniture World Open being staged at both the RACV and Yarraville Clubs in the city.
For news, results and links to live streams throughout the seven days in Australia, please visit the World Billiards Facebook page here.