After two days of battling at the 147 Snooker Club, the Richler Cup changed venues to Le Skratch West Island for the remainder of the tournament. In the back corner of this pool hall there is a large room with 3 Shender tables set up to seat 100 plus, a perfect area to watch the ending of a big $20,000 added event such as this one. This large prize fund brought out a lot of players from all over Canada and the United States including Jason Williams, John Morra and multiple U.S Champion Ahmed Aly.
The spectators, whose numbers neared capacity, were treated to two great semi-final matches played simultaneously beside one another. On my left I had the pleasure of watching Alain Robidoux, formerly ranked 9th in the world and who holds multiple Canadian titles, take on Bob Chaperon winner of the 1990 British Open. These two are widely considered the best Snooker players in the country. Both got off to a slow start by their own standards as perhaps a touch of nerves was bothering each player. Robidoux was the first to get a feel for a table after bobbling his first few attempts. After methodically picking away cherries and playing safe he found his opening and closed out the frame with a run of 48.
In the second frame Chaperon looked to have found his form controlling the frame from the start and acquiring a 57-22 lead. However after one misstep, which led to a scratch, Robidoux leaped out of his chair and ran out the remaining cherries and colours for the win and a two frame advantage. In the 3rd frame Robidoux misplayed a safety early on and Chaperon took advantage running 52 and then held on to take the frame.
Going into the break both matches were 3-1. On the table to my right Gilles Boismenu was ahead in his match against Rodney Cuillerier, which admittedly was not getting my full attention as I was enthralled with the battle going on before me in the other semi-final match. However each time I would glance over, Boismenu would have his opponent in an air tight safety or he was stringing points together. In my opinion Boismenu was dominate, while putting on a clinic in Snooker strategy and eventually winning 5-2 to book his ticket to the final.
The other match was slightly more contested as Chaperon won the first frame coming back from the break to trail 3-2. At this point the former British Open champion had found his form and looked poised to tie the match at 3. However Robidoux fought his way back into the frame making it so both players needed the final black to win. Chaperon played a cross corner on the black which missed and rolled up safe under the side pocket. Robidoux did not take long to line up the off angle cross side, which he buried to take the frame and caused the crowd to erupt with applause. This to me was the shot that sealed the deal for Robidoux as he once again took a two frame lead and needed only one more to win. Chaperon was able to take one more frame but never recaptured his momentum from before and eventually went on to lose 5-3 to Robidoux who was just slightly the better of these two great players on this occasion.
The final will be held tomorrow April 27th once again at Le Skratch West Island at 1 pm, come early to get seating as this event will likely sell out. Alain Robidoux will take on Gilles Boismenu to decide who will become the first ever Richler Cup Champion. Also Russ Amber will once again be in attendance as well as former Montreal Canadiens tough guy Chris Nilan. For those of you that wont be there Guy Simard of Billiard Quebec will be streaming live.