Things tight at league summit with five weeks remaining
Report by Mike Crook:
Home advantage was of little help in week 21 of the Mac’s Builders Merchants snooker league. Big home defeats for the top two teams as the Hurricanes blew away St Olaves to jump into second place and the title race is wide open with just five weeks to go.
With Blinders top of the league and the Masters without a win in twelve, not many would have predicted this outcome. Nick Stephens of the Blinders got off to a great start, as did all of his teammates on the night but Nick was the only one of them to see the job through. His lead was 40 with two reds left, opponent Ivan McMaw fought back well with a series of snookers however Nick was the player in form and took it on the blue, 70-28. Conor Mahon 40-66 Paul Russell - A 23 break from Conor made up the 14 point handicap and then some. It stayed pretty close all the way with a chance of a re-rack with the black over the corner pocket and all the reds gravitating towards it! In the end Paul took a red plus the obstructive black and with Paul up by six on the colours he held his nerve and took the game on the black. Scott Campion 39-48 David Kelly - Scott was away well but wasn’t able to find any consistency. Dave pulled out some excellent long pots, the game went to the wire and Dave edged it. Calum Gardner 51-78 Martin Rigg - Calum kept presenting chances to allow Martin to stay in it which he took well. In the end he only needed the final blue for frame. Brandon Forrester 53-66 Brendan Clague - Brandon had done the hard work and was leading into the colours but Brendan held on and ended up potting all colours to win it! It was just one of those nights for the Blinders.
This wasn’t quite as big a surprise as second-placed Jacksons took something of a beating. Malew are a team in form and had a good record against their opponents. An excellent win, only marred by Postie failing to deliver in frame 4, ‘fluffing the black with the rest’. Scores: Lee Gale 46-67 Tony Cubbon, Mike Reddington 32-63 James Goodwin, Paul Kell 36-67 Tony Pring, Kam Virk 50-46 Mark Quinn and Alex Sinclair 44-96 Alec Oates (22 clearance). A sixth win in seven for Malew.
Dave Kelly 38-74 Shaun Roberts - A strong start from Sean catching up the lead quickly with solid play and pushing ahead of Dave who didn't really get going. The win puts Shaun top of the individual league. Paul Smyth 64-70 Ste MacDonald - Paul, with the help of a 21 break caught up and took the lead. Stu then settled and it was neck-and-neck going into the colours which they shared. Paul got first attempt at frame ball black but missed and left it over the corner pocket for Stu to pot from medium range. Travis Bignell 30-66 Gary Conwell - Gary kept last week’s, ‘TV player’ Travis quiet throughout with solid match play and good potting. He then pushed on for an impressive win, there’s life in the old dog yet! James Kerr 20-64 Jamie Wilson - On paper this should've been a great match up, Jamie was strong but James didn't quite get going. No breaks from these heavy hitters but Jamie cruised to the win anyway. Dan Crawley 53-87 Steve Munk - Dan battled hard, trying to stop the whitewash with both playing well. However it was Munk who eased away on the colours, completing the 5-0 and putting his team back in contention for the title.
A match between the highest and lowest handicapped teams in the league. The Mob conceding 70, 63, 35, 70 and 70 starts over the five frames. Wannabes’ Paul McKinstry put up a good performance, potting plenty of good balls to beat Tom Miller, but ultimately class told with Peter Crellin taking the decider for an important extra point for the Mob. Scores: David Callister 95-42 Peter Kirkham (28), Steve Cowin 75-83 Steve Finnegan (27), Fred Corris 58-85 Lee Hunt, Paul McKinstry 116-90 Tom Miller and Dave Corris 81-110 Peter Crellin (22, 22).
A slow burner of a match where it took 90 mins of ‘action’ before Musician’s Vic Rigby hit the evening’s first double figure break with a blue, pink finish beating Tom Randall 30-55. Earlier, experience had also told as Mike Doherty bossed the colours in his 28-44 win over Dave McCallum. Don Humphries vs Matt Dodd was a good watch, Humphries straight in with a couple of blacks and another teen break later. Dodd was a bit slow warming up but then treated everyone to some sublime long reds and on a couple of occasions developing the colours for his next shot. Dodd’s safety game has improved too and although he did miss frame ball pink he was immediately gifted another chance and gently rolled it into the middle from a very acute angle to win 54-64, and the match to the Musicians. With just pride to play for John Kelly was in good form against Dave Hanlon, he had an early 20 break and raced away with the frame 66-21 against a luckless opponent. The finale, between Geoff Hall and John Kennish had six-time island champion Kennish conceding a 63 start. An inopportune crunching of a crisp on Kennish’s backswing hadn’t helped his cause as Hall extended his lead to 66 with 10 reds left. Good safety finally left Kennish nicely amongst the reds. From there he produced a lovely break of 61, mopping up all the reds, only breaking down on a mid range diagonal pink to middle. Had it dropped he was perfect on the yellow. Hall then replied with yellow, green, brown (hitting the brown from behind off the cushion to pot it into the middle) and frame ball blue. Inexplicably, 19 up with 13 on, Hall went for the finest of cuts on the pink and missed it completely, so Kennish could tie. The reprieve was short-lived as Hall then threw caution to the wind a successfully cut in a very long pink for frame, 96-77.
Finch Hill Rockets 3-2 Port St Mary Legion
Report by Graham Ashton/Terry Boyle:
Marek Kenny 64-27 Marc Morley - Marek played well and got the run of the balls, the colours going safe neither were able to score heavily. Marc tried hard but to no avail. Graham Ashton 77-42 Matty Astill - One of Graham’s better frames with some small breaks though closer than the score would suggest. Graham pulled away on the colours getting blue, an ‘awesome’ long pink and a ridiculous cut in black to finish things in one visit. Sean Murphy 57-67 Phil Joynes - Both potting well, Sean took last red with a black and yellow to go 15 ahead. Phil got green, brown and blue but playing the pink which was on the top cushion he got a double kiss and left it up. Sean needing it for the frame was unlucky to over-cut it leaving it in the jaws, a grateful Phil pounced to take pink and black for the frame. Marc Bolton 55-65 Dave Pickersgill - Another close frame, both struggling with the speed of the table. On the colours, Dave laid some good snookers but Marc got out of them very well, each colour was a prolonged battle. Marc potted pink for frame but went in-off. Dave took pink to go three ahead but missed a sitter of a black before Marc left the him in for another chance which he accepted. Paddy Delaney 57-50 Terry Boyle - Both players potted well, Paddy was eleven ahead needing the blue down the cushion to win. He left it over the hole and Terry took blue and pink, so yet another black ball frame. Paddy left Terry a half chance into the green pocket, he missed and faced with the same shot he missed earlier Paddy made no mistake this time. 3-2 to the Rockets, the week’s only home win and I must say the newly covered tables at Finch Hill are absolutely beautiful.
The Hurricanes - 57 points
Jacksons - 54 points
Finch Hill Mob - 53 points
Lee Gale - 13 wins
Brendan Clague - 13 wins
High Break League Standings
Peter Crellin - 39 points
Darryl Hill - 33.5 points