Rob Hall came out on top as Carlisle’s Portland Club played host to the World Billiards British Open.

A total of 56 players battled for the title last weekend at the club’s inaugural staging of a major World Billiards event, which was dubbed a real boost for both the club and the city.

With eight sessions involving 12 groups held over 10 hours, the Portland Club’s billiards room was certainly busy on Saturday, with the players trying to finish in first or second place in their group in order to qualify for the 24 places in Sunday’s knockout stages.

Local players Paul Whelan and Mike Nixon achieved that goal, finishing runners-up in their respective group, while Mike Griffiths can take some consolation from experiencing first hand the deft touches of world number three Hall and 27-time Scottish champion Dave Sneddon.

A relative surprise in the semi-final saw Mark Hirst overcome second favourite Martin Goodwill to claim a final place against hot favourite Hall.

But in the final, refereed by local league player Lindsay Currie, Hall put on a fine display, which was much appreciated by the spectators.

During Sunday’s prize-giving, World Billiards director Jim Burke praised Portland Club owner Ron Wilson, not only for his support of the event and the playing facilities, but also his staff whose hospitality, attentiveness and attention to detail were superb.