SEAHAM KNACK sealed the Westoe Removals Sunderland Summer title after beating Green Baize in the final at Hylton Social.
The stage was set for an intriguing match between the Baize, containing established scratch players normally at the top end of the table and the Knack, who finished mid-table, but who had strengthened for the summer and had a handicap advantage.
Dean Wilson, Peter Dambrosie, Jeff Burn and Craig Kane played for Green Baize, with Shaun Donnelly, Glen Edwards, Gary Dormand, George Dormand and Stephen Henderson the Knack players.
In the event, a pulsating game saw the Knack emerge as 3-2 winners, claiming the title on the last pink of the deciding frame.
Shaun Donnelly produced a brilliant display of fast snooker in the first frame, never missing a possible pot and compiling telling breaks as he eased home 77-21.
Glen Edwards was very committed going into the second frame, facing a redoubtable matchplay opponent in Peter Dambrosie.
It was Edwards who struck the first blows, scoring with 15 and 12 breaks to open up a 37-6 lead.
In a period of safety play, a surprising miss on a simple black by Dambrosie let in Edwards, but he then fouled on a black to reduce the deficit.
It was still Edwards controlling the frame, though, and he refused to buckle under Dambrosie’s safety play and steadily increased the lead when the opportunity arose. He finally took the frame out of reach and Dambrosie retired with the last red over the pocket.
That put the Knack into a strong position, needing only one more frame, but it was not to be an easy ride.
A confident start by Gary Dormand was matched by Jeff Burn in a more open frame. Neither player took the chances available to score heavily, breaking down after small breaks kept the score moving without opening a good lead.
It was Burn who was the steadier, and he slowly cleared the handicap to go 34-30 ahead. A run of unfortunate fouls by Dormand, including an in-off the pink after potting the last red, saw Burn take an advantage into the colours. Dormand staged a fightback and was still in contention with the last three colours on the table, but a missed snooker on the blue – leaving a simple pot to Burn – closed the door on the frame.
In the pairs, Open Winner Craig Kane entered the fray for Green Baize twinned with Jeff Burn to present a formidable combination.
Kane soon showed his class with breaks of 29 and 37, helped by a fluked red, leaving the Knack with a mountain to climb. The recovery proved to be impossible, and the Knack retired with a 81-23 score against them.
The match then had to be decided by the players drawn to play the decider. And the draw produced a good combination of players and an interesting final frame, with Shaun Donnelly taking Jeff Burn.
An opening snooker by Burn was missed by Donnelly, who responded with a 15 break to add to his handicap and put the Knack well ahead.
This brought the expected reply from Burn ,who came back with a 15 break.
Both players were attacking the table, and a brave shot by Burn on the black just failed with most of the reds over a top pocket.
A great shot on a red by Donnelly followed by a black took him back to a 53-21 advantage, but a rush of adrenaline prevented him capitalising on a good opening and losing position after a good black.
Burn played a good red and was unlucky to move another red, preventing a simple shot on a pink. It was becoming tense nearing the colours with Donnelly still ahead, and Burn fighting to keep in the game.
A fouled black by Donnelly threw Burn a lifeline, before Donnelly produced a brilliant shot to claim an opening for the early colours.
It was still possible for Burn to win with the brown, blue, pink and black on the table and a chance arose with a brown over the middle pocket. After potting the blue, a reasonable position was left on the pink for Burn to pinch the last two and win the match ... but a miss left a straight pot into the middle for Donnelly.
An enthusiastic following from the Knack was overjoyed when an exuberant Donnelly duly dispatched the pink to claim victory and the title.