Illawarra snooker and billiards

Illawarra Snooker And Billiards

Illawarra Snooker And Billiards

Illawarra Snooker And Billiards Illawarra Snooker And Billiards

This is Our Region 



HISTORY OF ILLAWARRA BILLIARDS AND SNOOKER ASSOCIATION Snooker and billiards started in the Illawarra before the turn of the 19th century till 1953. Inter-club was played after the war in Wollongong Woonona and Corrimal School of Arts, Corrimal and Wollongong R.S.L,and Wollongong Workers Club. At the time Wollongong School of Arts was opposite the Downtown Post Office and Corrimal School of Arts was where Corrimal Court now stands. Jack Morgans Barber Shop was situated in the front of it. Wollongong Workers Club was upstairs where the Regent Theatre is situated. The inter-comps were A & B grades with 4 players each team. The clubs let junior players attend but were not allowed near the bar section.(Reg Eales slipped me a beer on occasions). The Competition came to a holt because hotel closing times changed from 6pm to 10pm. Before the 6pm closing there wasn’t much else to do except go the the movies or play snooker. When 10pm closing came , darts became very popular with each hotel having dart teams in an inter-club hotel comp consisting of ten man teams.These Boosers comps as they were known were held once a week. Therefore people drifted from snooker. In around 1959 clubs were being built everywhere in the area and snooker tables were part of the club license. They had to have a snooker table. At the time a T.V. show called Pot Black was shown on the ABC each week and the Australian player Eddie Charlton won three Pot Black Tournaments which improved the image of snooker. Players to note in the Illawarra prior to 1959 were Dave Rudkin won seven Illawarra Snooker titles. Sid Rudkin won three Illawarra Billiards titles Bob Brown who was highly regarded in the game of billiards made many century breaks. In 1952 Dave was expected to win yet another Illawarra title when a 16yr old named Barry Morgan defeated him four games to one in the final. The annual May Day Tournament was the most prestigious in the Illawarra, held at Wollongong Workers Club. It drew many entrants with the prize money being donated by the Workers Club and the May Day Committee. Well known winners were Don Spence, Garry Lackenby, Geoff miller, Frank Harris. One other very popular Tournament was held in the Warrawong shopping centre and run by Jim Burney. The first winner was Reg Martin. They put a rope around the snooker area. One night during play a boy ducked under the rope and grabbed a red ball and took off never to be seen again. I wonder what Joe Saliba (International Referee) would rule there, would it be a foul or penality. This atmosphere was very noisy and people would walk across your line of fire. Some of the players of today would do well to learn to play under these conditions. In 1962 the Wollongong Workers had some challenge matches with Corrimal R.S.L which attracted much interest. In 1963 an inter-club comp was formed consisting of Wollonong Ironworkers, Wollongong Leagues,Wollongong Workers, Wollongong R.S.L. Corrimal R.S.L.,Dapto Leagues and Master Builders. In 1964 the Illawarra Billiards and Snooker Association was formed. The first meeting took place at Corrimal R.S.L. the president at the time was B. Smith. The Comp was to be held on Wednesday nights, teams consisting of six men playing two frames each on a home and away basis. The registration fee was five shillings per player. The teams were Western Suburbs Leagues,Dapto Leagues, Wollongong Leagues,Corrimal R.S.L.Master Builders and Wollongong Workers. At the height of Snooker we had sixteen teams all in A grade, and so division two began. It became very popular. Some of the clubs that had teams were Wollongong Leagues,Wollongong Bowling, Illawarra Leagues, Wollongong R.S.l., Wollongong Ironworkers, Wollongong Workers, Wollongong Masonic,Collegians Leagues, Wollongong Golf,Port Kembla Golf, Port Kembla R.S.L Port Kembla Leagues, Helensburg R.S.L.,Mt Pleasant Sports and Social, Thirroul Leagues, Thirroul R.S.l., Woonona Sports and Social, Woonona Bowling, Oak Flats Bowling, Kiama group 7 Leagues and Albion Park R.S.l. Most of these clubs got sick of snooker, so don’t be afraid to help your club in any way you can. The Association ran some great tournaments which included the Wollongong Leagues Invitation run by the late Gordon Jones. Winners included Jock Alexander three times winner Bob Bartlett two times winner Don Spence as well as Harry Craig. The first license Referee in the Illawarra was non other than the Late Sid Rudkin. Two players that have been playing from the start are Barry Hawk from Western Suburbs and Keith “Kicker’ Bradley from Corrimal Leagues who is now in his eighty third year and still graded division two.We have some great players in the past and in the present which include Jerry Hunter, Don Spence, Don Targett, Jack Morgan, Jock Alexander,Bob Bartlett,Doc Morey, Reg Eales( who was robbed of his best years in Changi Prison) John Purcell, Ron Cowan, Bernie Short, Ron Coomber, Gary Coventry, Selwyn Yates, Gary Wilson, Mike Hough, but none better than the two Ambassadors we have now in Stuart Duncan and Tyson Crinis. I Hope I live long enough to see someone win the State Major for the Illawarra. Of Billiard players from 1950- 1965 Jack “Pud” and Vic “Dutchy” Meades both won State Minor titles. Dutchy started coaching Reg Martin and he became the best player that the Illawarra has ever seen. Some might doubt that, but they should have a look at the amount of century breaks that Reg made in the Western Districts comp in Sydney.He would have been proud to see that Darren his son has carried on. Reg died before he reached his peek. Darren has dominated billiards for the last ten years. We can’t write history without saying that Ron Shephard was a fine billiard player. Ron also played first grade cricket as did Kicker Bradley which was where these two got to know one another.Early Lady snooker players were Vi Campbell and Shirley Hall, but Anne Green was the greatest of them all. Anne has won both Australian and N.S.W. titles In the early days the Association had very little money. When the pallas Shield (our Division one shield) was won, they received a small trophy and Dutchy Meades donated one hundred pound each year and that kept the Association going. We had some very good administrators at that time in Milton Hussey, Don Targett, John Lawler and Fred Arthurs. The first player to get a century plus break was harry Craig with 108 followed the next week by Don Spence who scored 112 and 118. It was harder to play with the old bosolite balls. Until the Crystallite Balls came in you couldn’t drag a ball. Billiard rooms produced many junior players, but as they are all gone we must find other ways of producing players. Sydney is still producing players via the Penrith Cue Centre etc. Written by Roger Carr