GLENDALE’S Liam Irving is celebrating after he clinched the Snooker Handicap Singles title with victory over Washington Snooker’s Graham Rutland.
Irving has been the surprise package of the season after entering as a late registration for Glendale, who had a shortage of players.
Rutland is a very established player in the league, and noted for his attacking play and break building abilities.
An intriguing match was in prospect with Irving recruited from the pool scene providing an unknown quality.
A steady start to the first frame showed that both players were prepared to play their shots and not get bogged down by excessive safety.
Rutland scored 13 to reduce his 15 handicap, but was unfortunate to go in-off the next red.
This did not deter him as an attacking break of 20 took him into a small lead.
A good safety by Irving left Rutland in trouble, but he made a good escape.
Another good snooker by Irving created a foul by hitting a black.
It was still tight as both players were picking up points before Irving was going into the colours two ahead.
Rutland took the yellow and green before a fluked brown, followed by the blue, restored Irving’s lead.
With the frame level after the pink, a good long black by Irving gave him the frame 61-54.
A repeat of the first frame start by Rutland was followed by in-offs by both players, but it was Rutland who grabbed the lead with a 33 break.
Irving was now being kept out of the game and Rutland took control with breaks of 19 and 15 to build a score of 74-19, with only three reds left on the table.
A response by Irving with two blacks left him needing only one snooker and all the colours.
Rutland extinguished all hope by taking the last red and Irving conceded.
It was now Irving who was producing excellent safety play to frustrate Rutland, and he steadily built a lead to 37-2.
A remarkably calm and composed Irving was potting long balls for fun, and at the same time restricting the chances for Rutland to respond and at 69-9 Rutland conceded putting Irving into a 2-1 advantage.
Needing the last two frames to win the best of five, saw Rutland go on the attack, and a brave red scatting the pack in the process.
Unfortunately, it did not result in creating good openings for a break building opportunity.
With the reds in open play both players had a spell gathering points, and with four reds on the table, the score was level moving to the colours.
Rutland was still having to contend with good safety by Irving, who had a lead of 12 which could have been bigger as he missed a blue while playing for position on the yellow.
The run was with Irving as a lucky snooker was missed by Rutland, who was still fighting and still in the game.
A brilliant brown by Rutland was not rewarded with good position on the blue, with the balls all in good potting positions.
Another good safety by Irving left Rutland in a difficult position, and an attempted double saw the pink hit the knuckle and rebound towards the bottom pocket.
A clean long shot on the pink gave Irving the frame and title.
The players welcomed the support they got from an appreciating audience who witnessed an enthralling game played in a very good spirit.
H The Finals of the Open Singles and the Doubles were both cancelled late due to work commitments and will be rearranged for a later date.
H The score cards for the Summer League need the post code altering to SR6 8HZ instead of SR5 8HZ.
H Could clubs adjust the following the league fixtures: League One: No. 2 Pennywell Comrades A; League Three: No. 1 Pennywell Comrades B.