All England Bar Billiards Association
England v Jersey International
The inaugural international between England and Jersey took place in 1982, in Southampton, England. The first England team picked was Alan Ignatowski (Berks), Bernie McClusky (Berks), Ron Josey (Berks), Ray Hussey (Bucks), Alan Stevens (Bucks), Ken Foster (Kent), Brian Wood (Kent), Peter Highstead (Kent), Kevin Tunstall (Oxon), Tony Franks (Sussex) & Jeff Dobson (Sussex). Tony Burrows (Hants) & Simon Tinto (Surrey) were the reserves. Colin Peskett was the non playing captain from Sussex. England ran out 8-3 winners, and the match has been played on an annual basis ever since with the venue alternating between England and Jersey.
In 1983, the first international took place in Jersey and home advantage again proved crucial as Jersey won a close match 6-5. This year saw the first ladies international won by England 3-2. In 1984 England men whitewashed Jersey 11-0, coupled with a 4-1 ladies win. England got their first win on Jersey soil in 1985, winning handsomely 7-4, and the ladies maintained their unbeaten run with a 4-3 win.
From 1986 to 1994, the men’s match always went to the home side, England picking up 5 wins at home (1986 7-4, 1988 11-0, 1990 9-3, 1992 11-0, 1994 9-2) and Jersey picking up 4 wins at home (1987 6-5, 1989 7-4, 1991 7-4, 1993 7-4). In the ladies match England only dropped 4 matches in 38 in the 5 home fixtures (1986 6-0, 1988 4-1, 1990 4-1, 1992 9-1, 1994 10-2). In the 1992 match 10 England ladies were picked instead of the usual 5 or 6, and the Jersey ladies played twice, this also happened in 1994 when 12 ladies were picked for England. However Jersey Ladies did pick up their first successes at home during this period winning narrowly 4-3 four times in succession in 1987, 1989, 1991 & 1993.
1995 saw two big wins for the England men’s and ladies teams. The men had not won in Jersey for 10 years and the ladies also had not won away for 10 years. The men came through with a 7-4 victory and the ladies with an equally impressive 5-2 win. This success was followed, in 1996, by two big wins at home – 10-1 to the men and 12-0 to the ladies. This year was notable for Keith Sheard’s highest ever international break of 25,870 against poor Harry Barbet who had not had a shot after opening with 350 in the first leg.
Jersey men scored a great win at home in 1997 by 6 matches to 5, the England ladies though won 5-2 to make it 4 wins on the trot. There were a couple of rule changes for the 1998 international. Firstly the points were changed so that points were awarded for legs won, rather than matches one, and secondly all shots would have to be played ‘off the spot’ as is done in Jersey. This certainly reduced the scoring power of the England side but they ran out 17-5 winners, but this rule change was certainly going to tighten up the matches in England in the future. Sadly there was no ladies game this year for the first time since 1982.
The point per leg system was also used in Jersey for 1999, Jersey raced into a 9-2 lead, finishing 14-8 ahead. The ladies match was back on and England ladies won 8-4 for their third successive away win.
2000 saw a poor display by the England men and Jersey took advantage by retaining the trophy with an 11-11 draw, and their first success on English soil. England ladies were more ruthless and won comprehensively 9-1. Jersey held onto the trophy for another year with a 6-5 win in 2001 (reverting back to the old scoring system). The England ladies recorded their best away win, winning 5-0.
If 2000 was bad for England men, 2002 was even worse! England lost 12-10 in Southampton, Jersey had now had hold of the trophy for 4 years, and won their first match away from home. England ladies did not have the men’s trouble as they won their 8th successive match 10-2.
In 2003 bar billiards finally came home as England men beat Jersey 7-4 at the Hotel de Normandie. Impressive wins from Paul Wing, John Burrows, Jim Millward, Steve Mariner, Bernie McCluskey, Mark James and captain Kevin Tunstall enabled England to wrestle the trophy from Jersey for the first time since 1998. The ladies completed the double winning 5-1.
The momentum from 2003 has continued to the present day with England winning the last 4 matches, but the away matches in 2005 & 2007 have been classics. In 2004, with another scoring change (1 point per leg, 1 for aggregate) saw England win 22-11 at home. The ladies match was again unfortunately cancelled. In 2005, for the first time 15 a-side was picked, to make up for another cancelled ladies match. This decision was probably one that Jersey regretted as England reserves scored valuable points in a 23-22 win. Steve Mariner claimed the vital points for England winning against Fred Jeanne in the final match from 3,000 down.
England improved on their 22-11 home victory in 2004 with a 24-9 win in 2006 at the Skylane Hotel near Gatwick. Good news was that the Jersey ladies were back, and they performed better than their 14-1 loss suggests. England travelled to Jersey in 2007 with their youngest and most inexperienced side ever. In an absorbing match at the Oomaroo Hotel, England won 17-16 (back to 11-a-side), debutant Steven Sheard winning the crucial last match with a great 7k break, another debutant Chris Reeves winning 2 games on the last ball for a crucial 3-0 win. The full 2007 side were captain Kevin Tunstall(Oxon), Steve Mariner (Sussex), Chris Reeves (Sussex), Nigel Senior (Sussex), Steven Sheard (Oxon), Paul Sainsbury (Berks), Tony Walsh (Berks), Dennis Atkins (Oxon), Phil Collins (Oxon), Leon Beer (Oxon) & Geoff Jukes (Surrey). Jersey were represented by captain Nick Barnett, Nigel Ryall, Harry Barbet, Keith Vibert, Mick Eouzan , Graham Bisson, Steve Ahier, James Jeanne, Dennis Helleur, Grameme Le Monnier & Graeme Marrett. The England ladies continued their unbeaten run since 1993 winning 12-3, the winning side was captain Pauline Withey (Oxon), Sue Mariner (Sussex), Jean Over (Sussex), Michelle Baden (Sussex) & Sue Atkins (Oxon). Jersey were represented by Heather Hamon, June Hopwwod, Zoe Jeanne, Chrissie Dougherty & Jill Barbet, non playing captain was Jackie Clark.
Kevin Tunstall is England’s most successful player with 22 victories (and 1 draw) from 26 internationals, he is the only player to have competed in all matches since 1982. John Burrows (12 wins from 14) and Jim Millward (10 wins, 2 draws from 13) are the other England players with over 10 wins. For Jersey five players have scored 10 wins – Graham Bisson (12 wins, 2 draws from 24), Harry Barbet (12 wins from 19), Dennis Helleur (11 wins from 24), Steve Ahier (10 wins, 3 draws from 21) & Nigel Ryall (10 wins, 1 draw from 19).
For the ladies Pauline Withey has the most caps with 19 (16 wins) and Sue Mariner also had 11 wins (from 12). Jenny Noel has easily been Jersey’s best lady with 10 wins (plus 3 draws) from her 19 matches.
The International is the biggest bar billiards match on the calendar and especially in Jersey the last 2 matches have been very close and exciting. Guernsey have entered into the fray and have played England in 2005 & 2006, to give England 2 matches a year. The next England v Jersey match is in England in February 2008, and Jersey will be looking to avenge their close defeat in 2007.