A pool star was ordered to remove his “Ashley Out” shirt when competing in a world championship tournament.
Brian “Buzzer” Halcrow had planned to use his appearance at the World Eight Ball Pool Championship in Blackpool to take a potshot at Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.
The 43-year-old is a former Newcastle season ticket holder who ended his support for the club after becoming disgusted at the way it was being run.
The former World No 8 returned to the UK Pool Tour this season after a seven-year break, and reached the last 64 in the tournament – but sadly his protest was short-lived.
He and his stablemate Michael Peel took to the floor wearing polo shirts with the words “ASHLEY OUT” written on the back, but were ordered to take them off by officials.
“I thought the rules were that we were OK to wear polo shirts and show logos,” said Halcrow, “but this year it is waistcoat, shirt and tie.
“Rules are rules, so we had no option but to change before our games started.”
Read more: Pool ace to send ‘Ashley Out’ message to Newcastle owner at world championship
Final 64 place was return to form
Halcrow’s return to the UK Pool Tour this season after a seven-year break saw him pick up where he left off.
The last time he played the event, in 2008, he also reached the last 64.
The 43-year-old ‘s march through his initial two rounds at Blackpool’s Imperial Hotel started with an heroic comeback in a marathon match against the Northern Ireland Under-21 Champion, Adam McMackin.
Halcrow, who runs Buzzers Sports Bar in South Shields, went 2-0 down.
After pulling back to 2-2, he fell behind and drew level three more times in a tussle lasting four hours and 25 minutes.
But from 4-5 down, Halcrow won three frames in a row to win 7-5 and next up was Australian Mark Bradley , who he thrashed 7-1.
In 2007, Halcrow lost in the semi-finals to India’s Videsh Sabharwal, who seems to have the hex over South Shields players.
This time Sabharwal faced Halcrow’s stablemate Michael Peel, a graduate of the famous Buzzers Pool School.
The 27-year-old Peel’s world title hopes were ended when he lost 7-2 to Sabharwal, Peel having earlier beaten Staffordshire’s England cap Dave Fernandez 7-5.
On his comeback against McMackin, Halcrow said; “I was proud of the way I dug in when things were going against me.
“The games he won, he was cleaning up on an open table and I could not get out of my chair.
“But when it was a tighter frame, I felt I had the better tactics.
“ When it came down to chessboard pool I had the upper hand and I was able to pull away from him.”