ONE of the best matches ever seen in the Danby Auto Sunderland League was played out between Adam Smith, of Steels, and Marc Farnsworth, of Washington Snooker.
Playing in a best-of-five frames match for the First Division Singles title, this was eagerly awaited as both players had a deserved reputation for attacking play and brilliant break-building ability.
The fact that Farnsworth was giving Smith a 20-point handicap only added to the expectation, as Farnsworth has carried everything before him in a brilliant winter season.
It was soon obvious that both players were aware of their opponents’ capabilities, and respect was given in the early play.
The first breakthough came as Farnsworth took four blacks in a 32 break to clear the handicap and take a small lead.
A well-composed 56 break by Smith restored his lead and left Farnsworth needing snookers.
However, that failed to materialise and this enabled Smith to claim the first frame.
A good break-off by Farnsworth left Smith in difficulties in the second, and he left an opening that saw Farnsworth score 17 to leave him only three behind the handicap.
A good session of safety play by both players followed before Farnsworth built a break of 60.
Smith had not had an opportunity to reply as Farnsworth dominated and soon found himself needing snookers.
These were not forthcoming and he conceded, making it all square.
Farnsworth still seemed in control in the third, and breaks of 34 and 30 put Smith under pressure.
After a quiet period, it was Smith who rose to the occasion with a great clearance which saw him take the frame by one point to go back into the lead.
This was fulfilling all expectations as one mistake would have seen the frame go to Farnsworth.
With Farnsworth now needing to win the last two frames, the tension and excitement was building for the spectators, who were enthralled with the quality of play being shown by both players.
A slight stutter by Farnsworth at the start of the fourth frame saw Smith move ahead.
This seemed to settle Farnsworth and small breaks of 29, 20 and 15 brought him back into the game.
After a bout of safety play, a cool Smith seemed to have gained an advantage, before a poor positional position on the yellow left him with no option but to play safe.
A clearance up to the pink gave Farnsworth the frame to level.
It would have taken a brave man to forecast the destination of the title going into the deciding fifth frame.
After a couple of small exchanges, it was Smith who steadily built up a 61 lead, and seemingly have one hand on the cup.
This brought out the fighting spirit of Farnsworth, who produced a quality break of 85 with outstanding potting and positional play in a clearance to win 3-2.
The players were applauded at the end of the match by the spectators who appreciated the performances of both men.
H The final of the Three-Man Team event was played at Seaham Conservatives, with Murton Vic and Glendale being the adversaries.
The first frame had the experienced John Danby up against an up-and-coming Ryan Lowes.
After a cautious start, it was Danby who built a lead of 18, before Lowes had a 20 break to come back into the game.
A good display by Lowes, including a colour clearance, took the opening frame for Murton.
Eddie Williamson was the next man for Murton where he came up against Glendale’s Craig Bell.
A confident start by Williamson showed his experience and he soon had Bell chasing a deficit.
The rub of the green benefited Williamson, who controlled the frame to give Murton a 2-0 result and the cup.
Four Finals – Open Singles, Handicap Singles, Five-Man Team event and Pairs are still to be played with the dates to be confirmed.
This week sees the start of the Summer League, with 18 teams being involved, culminating into a knock-out stage to reach the final.
Tickets are available now for the presentation evening being held at the Railway on Friday, July 5.