Seaham net title

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SEAHAM Conservatives claimed the Five-Man Team title in the Westoe Removals Sunderland Snooker league.

It was a David and Goliath clash for the second division mid-table team, up against First Division runners-up Green Baize.

Most of the Green Baize players were off scratch, while Seaham had handicaps that gave them a fighting chance.

The first frame started with the players testing each other’s mettle before Robert Coyle, aided by his handicap, opened up a 44-point lead.

The experience of Kevin Brown helped him claw back the deficit though, and after a period of safety play he claimed the frame for Green Baize.

The capable Dean Wilson took an early break of 18 for Green Baize, leaving him only seven points behind the handicap. This brought a response from Michael Monaghan, who produced some excellent potting to keep the frame close, and he eventually won it to make it 1-1.

A long drawn out game between Ian Hughes and Jeff Burn, with safety play the priority, saw the time running away and causing concern. It took a 25 clearance, aided by a fluked black, for Ian Hughes to take Seaham into a 2-1 lead.

A 20 break by the fluent Craig Kane brought Green Baize back into the game as they evened it up at 2-2.

Gordon Elliot and Kane then matched shots in the final frame, but it was Elliot who edged home to take the frame and match for Seaham.

The Handicap Singles between Ian Stewart of Farringdon and Adam Smith of Steel was played at the Avenue.

Both players showed an attacking inclination right from the start without withdrawing safety when needed.

An early advantage was taken by Stewart, who looked in top form. A response by Smith with a 15 break that ended on an easy red, was countered as Stewart immediately regained the lead 29-26.

An in-off by Smith led to Stewart increasing this lead, and with fortune favouring him he calmly collected sufficient points to leave Smith needing snookers before conceding.

The second frame saw Stewart open with a 17 break and Smith replying with an 18. Steady play saw Stewart go ahead after Smith fouled when hitting the pink from a snooker.

The frame came alive when Smith showed his prowess in creating a 39 break with clean potting and good white ball control to take a 57-27 lead and eventually win the frame.

The third frame saw a tactical approach from both players before the first chance fell to Smith, who surprisingly failed to capitalise when missing a black.

Tit-for-tat play followed before Smith took a slight 35-29 lead with two reds left on the table. With the score 48-46 to Stewart, and only three balls left on the table, a fluked pink saw Stewart go ahead 2-1.

A missed black by Smith during the fourth proved costly as Stewart was now flying and he scored with a 38 break to go 41 ahead.

This brought the fighting spirit out of Smith and he steadily reduced the deficit to 19 with one red remaining. An immaculate 31 clearance, including brave shots, eventually saw Smith level at 2-2.

With the title to be won on the last frame it was to be expected that both players exercised caution at the start, and a little tension showed as chances were missed during the middle of the frame.

A surprising miss on a red by Smith that seemed to drift across the table, left an opening for Stewart to go 23 points ahead.

Both players were now playing well and Stewart eventually reached the last red leading by 18.

On the colours, Stewart doubled the brown leaving good position to take the blue for a 3-2 success in an entertaining match.

The Pairs final at Mill View Social promised great things with quality players in Paul Yuk and Paul Kirsop of Cheema taking on John Smith and Phil Freeman of Whitburn.

A first frame of slow play and safety tactics that Peter Ebdon would have been proud of did not set the place alight, although it did show that the players were showing respect for each other’s reputations. Eventually Cheema won the frame to go ahead.

The second was a similar affair, with Whitburn levelling with the clock close to 9pm.

Play was a little more open in the third and more consistency by Cheema saw them take a 2-1 lead.

With the players being informed of the club’s closing time, they started to show their capabilities and build up some small breaks, with Freeman breaking down on a difficult black into the middle after a 24 break.

Whitburn levelled the game after scoring enough to make Cheema need two snookers on the last two colours.

An opening start of 16 by Smith in the fifth gave Whitburn an advantage, and a further break by Freeman moved Whitburn into a decent lead. After Smith potted the last red, Cheema conceded to make Whitburn 3-2 winners.

H This week’s matches are: Paul Wyatt v Sid Bate in the Over 45s at Seaham Conservatives and Gary Bell v Graham Rutland at Washington Snooker, both tonight.

Stephen Burdis takes on Mark Bell in the First Division Singles and John Danby meets Michael Monaghan in the Over 55s at Avenue, both tomorrow.