Andrew Dsouza organises amateur snooker tournaments for players aged 38 and over – affectionately dubbed the “old school players”. He is the man behind the “Paul Hunter Old School Reunion Tournament” and the “100 a man” event.
I asked Andrew to give us a bit of an insight as to his thoughts on the amateur game at the moment and his reasons for organising these events.
Andrew has been in the snooker game for about 30 years and started off playing at the Ron Gross snooker club in Neasdon. “As most people know Ron was English amateur champion 3 times and turned pro in 60s. Jimmy White, Neal Foulds, Tony Meo, Patsy Fagan to name a few who played there. This is where I learnt my game and lot of my tactical side was because of Ron. It was one of the best money game clubs around.”
The idea of the Old School Tournament came about a couple of years ago and Andrew thought it would be great to have a tournament with as many old school players as possible and to show how good they were. “The reason for calling it Paul Hunter was because at the time I was arranging it I saw a clip about his anniversary and I spoke to his dad Alan about it and he was more than happy for me to do it.”
After a lot of hard work the tournament had 68 players and this year has 56 and will be over 2 days to avoid it running too late. Andrew believes it will grow next year due to more people seeing it as a get together as well as a tournament.
The “100 a man” tournament is made up of 4 events, 2 in the north and 2 in the south with a ranking system to determine the last 16 for finals day and is designed to give the “oldies” an incentive to keep playing and still be competitive. “I’m hoping it starts off well and keeps going and gets bigger as the prize at the end of it would be massive”.
I don’t think Andrew is alone in believing the amateur game is not in a good place at the moment. “As for the state of the amateur game now all I can say is it is terrible”. This is mainly due to a lack of tournaments and clubs closing. However, maybe with people like Andrew around, as well as the likes of Litetask and Hexagon Consulting, and with new clubs like Pot Black at Clacton, amateur snooker is not dead yet!