Champs in Gore

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For the first time in five years, Gore will host the Billiard and Snooker Championships. Auckland has hosted the national event for the past three years but the Gore Town and Country Club put itself in the bidding ring and ended up host of this year’s event. Tournament committee member Shannon Swain said he was looking forward to having the event on home turf and seeing several players from the area in action. ‘‘Last time we had the tournament here was a while ago now. However, we had a lot of people come along that time and enjoy their billiards and snooker,’’ Swain said. The tournament would be action packed, he said, sections and finals taking place over two weeks from the July 9 to 23. The men’s B grade snooker championships start off the event, the section and finals taking place on July 9 and 10. Then the top male billiards players in the country will do battle from July 11 to 14. The women’s snooker champs are on July 15 followed by the men’s B grade snooker championships on July 16 and 17. Finally, the main drawcard, the New Zealand Snooker Championships, run from July 18 to 23. The A grade section has drawn 40 entrants from throughout the country. Swain estimated about 20 North Islanders would make it down for the championships. About eight Gore players would compete across various sections of the tournament. ‘‘We have a good mix of players in Gore and they will be keen to show what they do in front of locals,’’ he said. Session time had been changed to suit the public more, Swain said. ‘‘There will be four different sessions on the day, starting with one at 10am, then others at 1pm, 4pm and 6pm,’’ he said. The competition would be tight, over half of the A grade snooker players in with a chance of gaining the title. Several Gore players could do well, he said. The tournament was a chance to see billiards and snooker played at a top level. The committee was trying to hook up a live feed from the arena to television sets in the Gore Town and Country Club bar. The tournament comes to a close with the New Zealand Billiards and Snooker Association Awards evening and dinner on the July 23. For further information, go to www.southlandsnooker.co.nz or www.nzbsa.org.nz.