POOL: Hats off to Leng at Leo McMackin Memorial

Competitors from the Leo The Hat Memorial

Competitors from the Leo The Hat Memorial

First published in Sport
Last updated
Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Chief sports writer

ALAN Leng was the big winner at the Leo ‘The Hat’ Memorial as he picked up the main shield and the supplementary Pot 50 tournament title.

The tournament was being staged for the eighth year in a row in memory of local pool king Leo ‘The Hat’ McMackin, the well-loved local character and Swindon’s only ever professional player who sadly died in 2006.

Wiltshire player Leng saw off the challenge of Tony Nelson in the final with a 5-0 whitewash. However despite the one-sided nature of the final Leng faced some stiff competition in the earlier rounds.

There was a ding-dong battle with former three-time tournament winner Darren Begley in the second round and a tight scrap in the semi-final with Paul Blazier, which Leng eventually won 5-4.

Nelson’s route to the final saw him overcome TeJehinder Johal, Gary Rowe, James Gray and Aaron Chilcott as he picked-up the £90 consolation for his final defeat.

The event carried on late into the evening as Leng progressed to the final of the Pot 50 event where he defeated Blazier for the second time on the day.

Tournament organiser Jason Godbeer was delighted with how the event unfolded, even if though he was unable to attain any personal glory.

“We had more than 40 entries, it’s becoming bigger as the years go by. We started off with numbers in the late 20s and it’s grown every year,” said Godbeer.

“We always have a busy day with the tournament, it’s a day for all the McMackin family. The final didn’t get finished till nearly 11pm, that’s quite late for us, there were some long matches, with lots of people reaching the later rounds of both tournaments.

“It was doubly poignant this year as we lost Leo’s wife Margaret (McMackin). The essence of the day is about Leo and with Margaret having passed away as well it’s not all about the pool. That said it’s pool orientated because that’s Leo all over, he was Mr Pool in Swindon.”

On the tables the two tournaments panned out with little suprise. Though in the main event Leng’s defeat of Begley and Godbeer’s own loss to Chilcott in the quarter-final were two of the more striking results.

Godbeer, who has played and organised every tournament since McMakin’s death is yet to win the event but not for want of trying.

“I’ve run it since Leo died and it’s an ambition of mine of to get my name on the shield. I’ve been to a couple of semis but never been to the final.

“Although he’s a fringe player my loss to Aaron Chilcott you could say was an upset. Take nothing away from Aaron, he played quite well. I had every opportunity and failed to finish, with everything going on in that part of the day I had lost my focus on the table a little bit.”

Godbeer would like to thank the 147 Club, those who helped on the day and the players who took part.

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