World Billiards Tour – 2022/23 Season Review

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The curtain has come down on another busy World Billiards Tour season having reached the end of the 2022/23 campaign that featured 14 ranking events held in eight different countries. 

Action began last August with the Jim Williamson Open at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds, England. David Causier emerged from a bumper field as he defeated Peter Gilchrist in a rerun of the 2021 final to successfully defend the title. 

Next up was the World Women’s Billiards Championship which was held in Ireland for the first time. At the RILSA Academy in Sharkx, Newbridge, England’s Jamie Hunter defeated India’s Snenthra Babu in the final to claim the title at her first attempt.

Snenthra Babu and Jamie Hunter pose for a photo either side of Aidan Murray, the referee.

The well-travelled Gilchrist secured a title double in September as he won the Hamilton Open and the New Zealand Open at the Hamilton Cosmopolitan Club after respective final victories against home players Gary Oliver and Frank Humphreys. 

The first of the ‘Home Nations’ events took place at Q Zone in Carlisle in October, as Causier defended the British Open crown after he denied Gilchrist in the title match. Earlier in the tournament, Gilchrist registered the season’s first 500 plus break with a 534. 

Next up for the circuit was the big one, as cueists headed to Asia for the 2022 Grand Cuvee World Billiards Championship held at the Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy in Singapore. Due to Covid, it was the first staging of billiards’ blue riband event since Melbourne 2019.

Peter Gilchrist plays a shot with the rest.

First up, though, was the Straits Billiards Singapore Open that saw home soil citizen Gilchrist oust Australia’s Steve Mifsud in a thrilling final. Picture above is courtesy of Cue Sports Singapore.

However, it was Causier who claimed the sport’s most prestigious prize a few days later. In a blockbuster final consisting of the top two players on the planet, Causier got the better of defending four-time champion Gilchrist 1776-1092 to win the title for the third time in his illustrious career. During the Championship, Teessider Causier crafted a run of 697 which would stand as the season’s highest break. 

The evergreen Gilchrist bounced back, winning the last title of 2022 and the first of 2023. He denied Michael Pearson (Australia) in the Sydney Open final at the Club Marconi and lifted the Elden Cup for the first time since 2018 after he defeated Rob Hall to win the Scottish Open at Styx in Kirkcaldy. 

Causier retained the Welsh Open in March at the Terry Griffiths Matchroom in Llanelli after stopping Peter Sheehan in the final before the Tour headed to continental Europe for another double-header.

At The Trickshot in Bruges, Belgium, Hall added another major title to his collection as he struck a break of exactly 500 during his Belgian Open final success against Gilchrist. 

Englishman Hall reached the final of the European Open at the same venue a few days later, but Causier – who made a 614 during the event – was not to go home empty handed as he defended another major. 

The Tour then moved west to the Emerald Isle – more specifically the SBI Academy in Carlow – for the second most important stop of the season. In a tight and entertaining final, Gilchrist enjoyed the ideal start to his trip as he edged out Causier by just 60 points to lift the Irish Open trophy.

David Causier playing a shot.

However, just like in Singapore and Belgium, Causier would have the final say as he ended the challenge of Sheehan 8-1 in the final to hold on to the World Matchplay Championship – the sport’s second biggest tournament. 

The final event of the 2022/23 season took place at the Yarraville Club in Melbourne, Australia earlier this month. In one of the most exciting finals of recent times, Gilchrist constructed a cool 219 unfinished as he counter-attacked to pip India’s Dhruv Sitwala and win the Pacific International Billiards Championship. 

Gilchrist ended the campaign with seven titles, but it is Causier – who claimed six, including the two most sizeable – who finishes the season as the world number one ranked player. 

The new 2023/24 World Billiards Tour season is set to start with the Jim Williamson Open at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds across the weekend of August 12 & 13.

The main header image is courtesy of Cue Sports Singapore