Hot potters who put Grimsby on the map
In the latest of their series celebrating the Roy Ling Mutual Grimsby Snooker League's Centenary, Mick Chew and Dave Webster remember the players who helped establish Grimsby as a snooker hotbed.
IN 1952, Tommy North was the first player from Grimsby to qualify for the English Amateur Snooker Championship.
However, it was Ray Edmonds and Sid Hood who put the town on the English snooker map, as they dominated this event in the 60s and 70s.
The first time Ray entered the championship in 1961, he lost in the final 11-9 to Alan Barnett, but this was just a taste to what was to follow.
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Ray went on to appear in the All England Final five times, winning in 1969 and 1974. And he also appeared in the North of England Snooker Championship nine times, winning in 1969, 1972, 1973 and 1974.
Topping these achievements, Ray won the World Amateur crown in 1973, coming from 6-1 down to beat Manuel Francisco 11-10. He successfully retained the title in 1974, beating Geoff Thomas 11-9 in the final, and while still an amateur, Ray also won the CIU All England Snooker Championship in 1971 and 1972,
In the Lincolnshire County Championships, he won the Snooker Knockout 15 times, the Billiards Championship eight times, and in the process, did the double six times.
After turning professional, Ray won the World Billiard Championship in 1985 and after he hung up his cue, he furthered his career as a top-class snooker commentator for the BBC.
During his illustrious career, he became the SHSAC Sports Personality of the Year in 1973 and he was further honoured when Grimsby Council named a street after him called Edmonds Way.
Turning our attention to Sid Hood, he appeared in the All England final four times, winning once in 1975.
He also reached the final of the North of England Championship six times, winning on four occasions in 1967, 1970, 1975 and 1977.
After losing to Jonathan Barron in the All England final in 1970, Sid was invited to take part in the World Championship which was held in Edinburgh. But again his bogey proved to be Mr Barron, with Sid finishing runner-up.
His achievement in 1975 of the "Grand-Slam" of snooker titles seeing him win the Grimsby, Lincolnshire, North of England and All England was a tremendous feat.
Sid had the distinction of being the first player to hit a three-figure break in a Grimsby League event when he made a 106 in a semi-final match in 1971, and his 11 wins in the Grimsby Senior Snooker Championship is still a record today.
Following all their success, both Ray and Sid were, for many years, automatic choices for the England team in the Amateur Internationals.
Locally, Ron Barnes was right up there with Ray and Sid, so it was a mystery that he never made his mark in the English Championships.
Having qualified several times, he only once got beyond the first round, but success came his way when he and Ray won the Northern Counties Pairs Championship in both 1967 and 1968, with Ron making a 106 break in one of the finals.
He was also the main man in a team consisting of Mick Thornton, Neil Smith and Mick Osbourne that won the Whitbread Trophy National Team Snooker Knockout playing from the Hainton Club in 1984.
Also in the same year, Mick Thornton partnered Kevin Ratcliffe to win the regional Hofmeister Pairs Championship; Kevin also made the highest break in the tournament with a run of 73.
In 1988, Craig Edwards won the North of England Championship, but he lost 13-6 to Barry Pinches in the All England Final.
The greatest season in the history of Grimsby Snooker came in 1975 when Ray Edmonds was the World Amateur Champion, Sid Hood the All England and North of England Champion, and Mike Hallett the Great Britain Boys Champion.
Without a shadow of doubt, in that year, Grimsby was established as the amateur snooker capital of England.
No other city or town has ever in the past, or is likely in the future, to make such a haul in the course of a single season.
Next time, our professionals...