CRAIG Kane clinched the prestigious Open Singles title with a thrilling win against Gary Bell at Mill View Social Club.
Kane is an up-and-coming star but had his work cut out against the experienced Bell, who has played at a higher level.
A bright start to the first frame saw a good break-off from Bell leave Kane in a spot of bother. Bell took an opening chance to score a 32 break that only broke down with the black rattling into the bottom pocket.
Kane, though, showed good composure and he followed an in-off by Bell to compile a good 32 break and take a slight lead.
Bell was clinical on his long shots and a 19 break took him back into the lead.
Moving into the colours, Kane took the yellow but fell short on his position for the green and he was unlucky when going in-off his attempt of the pot.
Bell was left a good opening that he grabbed to win the frame on the pink.
Some good safety play opened the second frame before Bell made a 23 break that ended when he missed a red when using the rest.
Kane was very steady and took the few opportunities that came to build a lead, and he claimed the frame with a burst on the colours.
Bell was showing respect to Kane’s potting in the early stage of the third frame, but a brilliant middle pocket shot saw him compile a 37 break.
Kane was still composed, and came back into the match with small breaks before Bell used his experience to tie him up and eventually move into a 2-1 lead.
Kane now needed the last two frames to win the best-of-five match and opened cleverly in the fourth to claim a 22 advantage.
After a period of good safety by both players, Kane took an excellent long red to compose a 30 break that built his lead to 51 with only three reds left on the table.
Bell responded well and a brave shot on a red gave him a chance, but a miss on the last red was the last straw as Kane levelled the game.
In an enthralling match, it now all depended on the last frame.
A mistake by Kane left an opening that looked ominous and it was a surprise when Bell did not capitalise.
Kane inched ahead with a 22 break before Bell showed his steel by building a difficult 37 break to regain the lead.
The tension was now apparent with the finishing line in sight.
Kane was looking good after an 18 break but rushed his middle pocket red and broke down with a lead of just nine points.
Bell had another opportunity with only one red left on the table but opted to take a difficult red to obtain position on the yellow but missed it.
That left Kane to take the colours, aided by a fluke on the blue, to win 3-2 and claim the title.