Luck on Knack’s side to help seal crown

Seaham Knack: Left to right: Ian Stewart, Gary Stockton, George Dormond, Tony Hazard and Gary Dormond.
Seaham Knack: Left to right: Ian Stewart, Gary Stockton, George Dormond, Tony Hazard and Gary Dormond.
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SEAHAM Knack clinched the Five-Man Champions title after a bizarre game that was notable for the number of in-offs.

The Final of the Five-Man Team event between Biddick A and Seaham Knack was played at the Railway Club on a handicap basis instead of the normal league format.

Graham Smith, of Biddick, and Ian Stewart, of the Knack, are both playing off scratch, so it was to be expected to be a close frame.

Stewart was first in with a black and two reds, but snookered himself, but did not suffer as he affected a good recovery.

Smith was not settled and his early shot unluckily fouled three times to hand the early advantage to the Knack.

With Stewart 27 points ahead, Smith started to show his true form with breaks of 14 and 16 to edge ahead.

Another in-off by Smith left an opening for Stewart to recover the advantage by potting a blue, and a miscue by Smith saw Stewart play well in scoring two blacks from difficult positions, to move into a 62-34 lead.

After scoring eight, Smith went in-off leaving Stewart 23 ahead with 25 on the table and Stewart won the frame with a good brown followed by the blue.

Smith was shellshocked with his misfortune as he had given 28 points away in fouls.

Seaham continued to have the run of the green, as Gary Dormand was assisted by flukes to take a 21 point lead.

Rod Turnbull was very calm as he came back into the game, and he steadily moved ahead with very steady play and good safety restricting Dormand adding to his score.

With only five reds left on the table, there was only six points between the players, but it was Turnbull who controlled the frame on the colours to level the match.

Biddick suffered a misfortune as Mike Riley was ill and unable to play and they had to call in a reserve.

The evergreen George Dormand has been playing well recently, but did not seem to have his usual fluency as he increased his 15 start with an early black.

Both players were squandering chances, and fouls helped in increasing the score rather than potting.

Dormand took the pink to win 45-37 to move Seaham into a 2-1 lead.

It now needed a response from Dave Adamson, the captain of Biddick, and he could not believe his luck as his first three shots went in-off.

With the balls in bad positions, the players asked for a re-rack.

Gary Stockton was scoring, but could not build an advantage as Adamson was matching him in a the battle.

With the balls not running kindly for Biddick, it was Stockton who grabbed an advantage with an 18-break before Adamson fought back to reduce the deficit to 11 before taking the last red plus a brown then the yellow to be four behind. It was to be decided on the colours and Adamson had a good opening with a simple brown, but could not find good position on the blue.

Stockton kept his nerve on a difficult pink, and found a perfect position on the black to give Seaham the title of 5-Man Champions after a bizarre game that was notable for the number of in-offs that was created during the match.

With the League programme now completed until the start of the Summer Season, it is the turn of the Knock-out Competitions to take precedent with semi and finals to be played over the next few weeks.

Washington Snooker A who finished as First Division Champions had an intriguing 3-Man Team final match against Biddick B, who finished in fourth place in the Second Division.

The important first frame between Michael Simpson, of Biddick, and Stephen Thompson saw the 15 handicap start for Biddick soon lost, as a mistake by Simpson saw Thompson score 13 that could have been bigger.

Simpson was not fazed and a 27 break took him back into the lead.

Good safety play by both players restricted the scoring with reds being potted but not followed by colours.

Going towards the colours, Simpson took a blue, but missed the last red leaving an opportunity for Thompson to capitalise that unfortunately was not taken as he took the red and a yellow but missed an easy green.

It was still close as Simpson potted the green, but went in-off the brown.

The opening was now available for Thompson to claim the frame, and he steadily cleaned up to the blue.

Both players had chances on the pink, with Simpson only needing one ball, but it was Thompson who eventually took it to make it a black ball finish.

A good long black by Simpson gave him the frame 61-49 and put Biddick one ahead.

Peter Mills, with a 10 start, and Norman Leslie contested the second frame with Mills hoping to clinch the match, and Leslie needing to win to pull his team back into contention.

A slow start saw both players spurn opportunities to score heavily after creating openings until a brilliant snooker by Leslie enlivened the situation.

Luke was with Mills as an escape finished with him fluking the red followed by a pink.

Chances were still not being taken with both players seeming unable to capitalise on openings although the run of the ball favoured Biddick.

With safety being prominent until the last four colours, it was Leslie who found himself needing snookers.

A brown by Mills took him into a decisive 31-point lead with only 18 on the table, and the frame was sealed as Mills took the blue for a 71-33 result giving Biddick a well earned 2-0 win to claim the cup.

A very determined George Dormand rolled back the years as he produced a perfect safety game coupled with good potting to beat Ray James 3-0 to win the Over 55s title.

H Members are reminded that the monthly meeting will be held at the Avenue on Thursday, May 1, when the fixtures will be available for the Summer Season.

The remaining finals will be arranged and venues sought at the Committee meeting being held on Monday.