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Diamond League Celebrates 10 Years

Published: February 9, 2022

Conceived in 2011 over a late night conversation and a few beverages between co founders James Roberts and Stuart Rogers. Diamond Tables starting appearing across Sydney in multiple venues in preparation for what was to come next. The Diamond League is sanctioned by the BCAPL in the USA after several meetings with Mark Griffin.

Market research, player feedback, two secret trial runs and mountains of data from five CueWorld Classic events helped us prepare a unique exciting format, scoring and handicap system developed by Sam “Spock” Phipps.

The Diamond League launches 2012, revealed to the Sydney pool playing community via CueBall TV a great community forum and really the 1st streaming service for cuesports in Australia.

The league commenced 6th Feb in 2012 and we started with 22 teams, with a large contingent of Macarthur players thanks to the big boi Joe Oasi who recruited 8 teams and helped us deliver many Diamond tables, massive thanks to an avalanche of a fella! The Hills was managed by James Roberts who was wearing two hats as the Galston Club CEO.

Lidcombe made up the other teams in our very first season, with several teams based there, with the Sheriff running the show.

Everyone was waiting on the outstanding weekly reports delivered by Sam Phipps and if they would get a mention!

Tenpin City at Lidcombe and Annette Cannone decided to take the plunge with the Diamond League, installing six Diamond tables and it has been a great relationship forged over many years and challenges. We have learned a lot working together, had our share of laughs and heated debates. Annette is a business person and a trusted friend of the Diamond League and she has built a great staff and fantastic venue – we would not have been able to accomplish this milestone without her support of the Diamond League and its community.

Season 1 culminated in a great final between great players – Chris Calabrese (Hot Shots) and Alan McCarthy (Double XL). Chris Calabrese captain of Top Shots sunk the winning 8 ball, taking out the inaugural Las Vegas Showdown – all captured on video. Chris ‘King’ Kovacs took out the inaugural MVP and still has his Predator P3 cue to this day, albeit with some dust on it I have been informed. We even had the WPA (World Pool Association) President Mr. Ian Anderson come down and hand out the winners trophies in his customary beige sports coat.

Season 2 we grew to 33 Teams – with teams from the Hills, Lidcombe and Macarthur continuing to bolster the ranks with old players making a comeback and even a few new faces.

Season 3 saw more growth no 44 teams – we added in the City region with teams playing under the stewardship of Lisa McDonald who held the reigns for several years and did a stellar job with the challenges of operating the league on 9ft tables in a public pool room CityHeroes.

Season 4 saw us introduced to “Young Gun” Danny Stone took out the MVP award in season 4. The trophy bill was starting to pile up at this stage. Season 4 was won by a team named Q-Force, with the marquee player the legend Greg Jenkins, who made an epic run out with a jump shot to make his last ball, drawing the cue ball through traffic to land plumb on the 8 ball. Poor Scott Taylor changed the team’s name to Breaking Bad after that dry break, what a heartbreaker for the boys from the Hills.

Handicap reviews and rules were constantly updated based on player “feedback”, we have an open-door policy and wanted our players to make the league as successful as we did so it was important to engage with the community and build trust.

Michael Fogarty took the reigns as the Player Representative in Macarthur, addressing the concerns for the region and securing the Leumeah Hotel with four Diamond Tables. Mick really righted the ship with his old school style and no-nonsense attitude, Mick is a stalwart bloke and great friend to the Diamond League.

Season 5 we introduced the Local Legends, plus we had our first back-to-back champions team Broken Arrow! Paul Bayly really steadied the crew with his younger players.

The Diamond League has already sent over players to the BCAPL Nationals by this time, however this was the year that the Diamond League had our very 1st Champion, Kate Harrison winning the Ladies Leisure Division in only her second international appearance.

Season 6 saw the introduction of the 500 Club with over 20 inductees, the players really loved those jackets. Our 1st End of Year Function was a great success and we all had a great time together, Greg Jenkins and Chris Calabrese were battling it out for the MVP award with Chris narrowly taking the prize.

Season 8 introduced a young and talented player from WA, Justin Sajich what we didn’t know then was what an impact he was going to make on the Diamond League and pool in Australia.

Season 10 saw the inductees of the 1000 Club members, Matt Pickering, Mick Fogarty, John Marosevic and Shaun Oglesby, true fans of the sport and the Diamond League – thank you gents!

Finally, after ten regular seasons, the trophy went southwest, literally, and it was never the same again – thanks to team Playing Blind sponsored by Toohey’s Extra Dry. The team’s marquee player was Chris Kovacs, however his services were not needed when Jamie Cullinan “40-pointer” made an epic break and run to turn the tide in the crucial double points round, unfortunately Greg Jenkins and his team mates just had to sit there and watch. I suspect that at least 4 dozen TED’s went missing that night and the few days afterwards.

Season 12 the Diamond League amassed 62 teams, with teams in the Shire, Cessnock, City, Lidcombe, Macarthur and Wollongong, it was a massive undertaking by all the player reps and a record yet to be bested in the Diamond League. The season was won by a team To the Inch that had the very talented Justin Sajich on the roster.

This season saw the introduction of the “Mayor” Marvin Monzon join the ranks of the DL Crew as a Player Representative to manage the very busy Lidcombe region. This season also saw the inclusion of Danny Gilligan, local hunter player and Danny single handedly recruited the venue Cessnock Leagues (now Vincent Street Bar), he helped install four Diamond Tables and recruited 12 teams into the Diamond League community, a massive effort from Pengo! Cheers pal.

Season 13 he was at it again with only our second back-to-back winners with the team To the Mill, spearheaded by none other than Justin Sajich who had an incredible season with a Clearance rate of 36% and win rate of 92%!

Season 14 heralded in the 1st 3 peat – Justin Sajich was at it again with team To the Mill; players were starting to think can we even win this event while Justin is part of a team. Justin earned the nickname Juzzanaught across many state and national events.

By this time we started planning a new path for our handicap and rating system and began discussions with BCAPL, LMS and FargoRate – time for a re brand. Great amounts of work are done behind the scene by Ozzy Reynolds CEO of CSI and BCAPL, Mike Page and Steve Ernst of FargoRate and LMS. The Diamond League was going to go digital.

The Diamond League Crew is bolstered by the inclusion of Chris Mungoven and Kristin Sheldon joining the team to take over the reigns from Danny Gilligan in managing the league in the Hunter region and they were instrumental in securing the Gallipoli Club in Hamilton with 4 Diamond Tables. Given the great work of Marvin Monzon in the Lidcombe region, we needed additional support and Langa Solofoni joined the crew also in his first foray into Diamond League management now coordinating Wednesday nights at Lidcombe.

Season 15 was the last season before all our lives had changed due to a global pandemic, named after a beer of all things, and another historic win to Justin Sajich and his team 4 in a row! Our 1st ever player to crack 2000 games was Simon Felice, who was always at league, supporting the league, smoking up a storm and cleaning the occasional pool ball.

Diamond League decides to ramp it up and engages the professional streaming service with BLive and bring in the big hitter Barry “the Mule” Mavros to take the lead on the commentary team. What a partnership, another step in the right direction to help professionalise the sport even if at an ametur level.

As 2020 and 2021 finally finished all our lives have been affected in one way or another due to a global pandemic, Kate Harrison joins the Diamond League management, now coordinating Tuesday nights at Lidcombe given the over subscription to the league and space restrictions at Tenpin City venue due to social distancing.

We are glad to be back again in 2022 and we hope to have a safe and friendly return to action at this seasons Las Vegas Showdown. Our new logo and brand has been launched, FargoRate was implemented replacing our handicap system and we did away with paper scoresheets and now have a very solid scoring app with the support and ingenuity from Steve Ernst at FargoRate.

The future for pool is bright, Matchroom are doing great things, Predator are hosting world championships, CSI are growing by leaps and bounds, the Billiards industry flourished despite a global pandemic.  The 2032 Olympics are on the cards for Brisbane, maybe cuesports will get its rightful place as a precision sport.