Eighth CI title for Desperques but Jersey win blue riband tie

THE 2023 inter-insular series was completed with Guernsey gaining the overall win by three matches to two against Jersey, but there was still disappointment in the ‘blue riband’ team snooker event.

Martyn Desperques won his eighth CI Billiards Championship title. (Picture By Peter Frankland, 32036698)
Martyn Desperques won his eighth CI Billiards Championship title. (Picture By Peter Frankland, 32036698)

After Martyn Desperques’ success in Friday night’s billiards final, it was a frustrating Saturday for the snooker team as they eventually fell to a 15-10 defeat.

The five-man team arrived at First Tower with high hopes of avenging last season’s defeat, but they never fully came to terms with the quicker tables that inhibited the usual level of break-building.

Indeed, there were only four breaks of over 40 the whole day from the two teams, with the outstanding Ross Symes sprinting out of the blocks with a brilliant 119 against Glenn Le Prevost in his first match.

In fact, the day belonged to Symes and Aaron Canavan, who combined to win nine of the 13 frames to reach the finishing post and with the CI champion also winning his ‘dead rubber’ against Adam Shorto, the pair completed the day unbeaten.

Guernsey led on only one occasion, when Paul Le Sauvage beat Karl Le Fevre to make it 3-2, but they chased the Jersey tails thereafter.

Symes added another break of 59 to beat Martyn Desperques, who had to wait until the evening session for his only win with a break of 63 beating the hapless Sean McDonald.

Despite the table difficulties, Guernsey battled hard to keep Jersey within their sights and at the end of the afternoon session, the deficit was a manageable two frames in trailing 8-6.

Upon the resumption, Desperques’ break cut the Jersey lead to just one, but the home side threatened to run away by taking the next three matches.

Guernsey were not done yet, though, and there was a determination in their play that started to put the pressure back on to the Jersey side as they enjoyed their own three match streak with John Skillett, Shorto and Le Prevost bringing the scoreline back to 11-10 as the one table set-up took centre stage.

As the tension mounted, so the approach became more cautious, but a chance to level the match came Le Sauvage’s way with a pot on the blue for frame.

His miss was capitalised on by Jeremy Gogan to make it 12-10 and, inevitably, it was Symes who would seal the win for Jersey in the next match.

Again the visitors can look on a missed opportunity though, when Skillett overcooked his screwback for the yellow with the colours at his mercy, but on a day when Symes produced the level of form not seen from him in an inter-insular before, it proved to be a fitting end.


Jersey 15, Guernsey 10

5 wins – A Canavan (J), R Symes (J); 3 wins – K Le Fevre (J), A Shorto (G); 2 wins – J Gogan (J), G Le Prevost (G), P Le Sauvage (G), J Skillett (G); 1 win – M Desperques (G); 0 wins – S McDonald (J).

Breaks: R Symes 119, 59; M Desperques 63; A Shorto 42.

CI Billiards Championship

It was a different story the previous night at First Tower, with Desperques overpowering Jersey champion Martyn Le Gallais to win his eighth CI billiards title.

In a final that lasted just two hours, Desperques fired in breaks of 67 and 63 to run out a comfortable 500-303 winner, and suggest that it is a competition that he could dominate for many years to come.

Desperques’ victory takes him to outright second place in the all-time winners list having gone past Gary Britton, and he is now six wins behind another Jerseyman, Doug Poingdestre, who won 14 titles in the space of 15 years, mostly through the 1970s.


M. Le Gallais 303, M. Desperques 500 (Breaks: M. Desperques 67, 63).

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