Smith, McLaren steer Steels to Pairs crown

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STEELS’ Adam Smith and Neil McLaren held their nerve to win a tense Danby Auto Sunderland Snooker League Pairs Final 3-1 against Jeff Burn and Craig Kane, of Green Baize.

Two strong teams had different tributes with Smith, the man producing the good breaks at regular intervals, joined by McLaren who has impressed over the seasons.

The Green Baize team of Jeff Burn and Craig Kane are an acknowledged doubles pairing, being winners twice and once runners-up in the past four years.

There was a slow start to frame one as openings were not being taken in the early exchanges, as possible breaks from decent positions from both sides did not materialise.

It was tit-for-tat for most of the frame with safety play being uppermost in the players mind set.

On the colours, the opportunity was there for both teams to win before Burn took the pink to put the Baize one ahead.

The second frame came alight as Adam Smith suddenly turned it on, and with a well-constructed break of 42, put Steels into a strong position.

Although, he was disappointed that he had not scored more from a good opportunity.

The Baize players have not earned their reputation over the years as stern battlers for nothing, and they buckled down and steadily reduced the deficit to come right back into the game.

However, it proved a bridge too far as Steels kept their nerve and a good pink by McLaren eventually gave them the frame 61-56 to level.

It was very much a safety game in the third frame with neither team able to create good openings.

Smith showed his cue power when he attempted a pot into a bottom pocket and pulled the white the full length of the table trying to open up a break building opportunity.

Kane and Burn did not seem too happy on the table, and it was Smith and McLaren who slowly went ahead with an accumulation of small scores to put themselves into the driving seat.

It went into a position where the Baize needed snookers that were not forthcoming and they conceded with Steels 62-25 and moving into a 2-1 lead.

With time moving on, the next frame was all important with Steels needing to win, and Green Baize needing the last two to keep in the match.

The tension showed as the teams fell back into a safety mode, trying not to leave openings and scores were hard to come by.

It was still very competitive, and going into the colours both teams could still win, before McLaren potted the vital late balls giving the frame and title to Steels 3-1.

Group 1: Lumley A 1 Green Baize 3, Seaham Knack 2 Pennywell A 2, Steels A 2 Murton Colliery Club 2.

Group 2: Railway 3 Victory 1, Biddick A 2 Cheema 2, Mill View B 3 Seaham Cons 1.

Group 3: Pennywelll B 2 Victory 2, Hylton 1 Lumley B 3, Murton Officials 2 Biddick B 2.

H The Danby Auto Sunderland Summer League has been formulated with three groups of six teams, playing in a league system until a knock-out stage is reached.

Eight teams will move into the quarter-finals, before trying to reach the final.

Qualifying teams will be found and drawn at the appropriate time and informed at the monthly meeting.

Group One: Lumley A play Tue, Pennywell A play Wed, Seaham Knack play Tue. Murton Colliery play Tue, Steels A play Wed, Green Baize play Wed.

Group Two: Railway play Tue, Cheema play Tue, Biddick A play Tue, Seaham Cons play Tue, Mill View B play Tue, Victory play Tue.

Group Three: Pennywell play Wed, Lumley B play Tue, Hylton play Wed, Biddick B play Tue, Murton Officials play Tue, Steels B Play Wed.