Obituary – former Portsmouth amateur snooker star Derek Clark

Derek Clark, a talented and committed advocate of snooker and billiards in the city region throughout his entire life, has died from vascular dementia. He was 87.
Derek Clark during his playing daysDerek Clark during his playing days
Derek Clark during his playing days

Born into a family of bakers in Portsmouth, he spent his formative years growing up in Portchester and was evacuated to Wiltshire during World War II.

He started his snooker journey at the age of 14 where he would practise at the Castle Club whose patrons included Fred Davis, brother of legendary world champion Joe.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He later commented: “I took everything Fred told me and it really transformed my game.”

Derek Clark with one of his trophiesDerek Clark with one of his trophies
Derek Clark with one of his trophies

In 1961 Derek posted the first-ever century in the area, a 111 break at the Craneswater Club in Southsea.

He would go on to be the only individual player to win both Portsmouth and Southampton leagues in 1969. At that time, Portsmouth would have had over 400 registered players.

One of his proudest achievements was to win the all England CIU team championship in 1977 with Portsmouth Radical Club beating Western Social Club from Cleveland in the final.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Keen on all aspects of the game, he turned to promoting events with professionals, regularly hosting sold-out events at venues in the Portsmouth area. Some of the events would include Derek playing against high ranking pros and beating them. This included Cliff Thorburn, during his reign as world champion, and Dennis Taylor.

He would go on to tour exhibition matches across the country with the likes of Bill Werbeniuk but never went fully professional and all the time held jobs with brewery companies Watneys and Marston’s.

In his later years, Derek would devote time to passing on his snooker knowledge, coaching a number of youngsters. He had previously coached some local professional footballers including Andy Townsend, whilst playing for Southampton.

Even in his later years, the fascination never left him and he would annually look forward to going to the UK Masters at Alexandra Palace to cheer on his friend, Barry Hawkins.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Even in his 70s, he was still a scratch player in the local leagues.

At his time of death he lived in Catisfield, near Fareham, and had been married to Barbara for 67 years. He is survived by her and his two children, Tracie and Christopher. He was also a loving grandfather to Arlo, 14, and Eli, 11.

Derek Thomas Clark – born August 10 1935, died July 25 2023.

Related topics: