JOHN Smith had to battle hard to shake off a determined Mark Bell before finally claiming victory in the Westoe Removals Sunderland Snooker League Open Singles.
Bell, of Washington Snooker, started brightly and steadily built up a decent lead.
However, Smith, of Whitburn, kept his cool and gained the lead.
A long pot by Smith on the pink followed by the black forced a re-spot that he eventually claimed.
The second frame saw Smith take the early lead, forcing Bell to fight back, but he missed the brown, giving Smith the chance to win 2-0.
Jason Qasi, of Woodside, was at home to Craig Kane, the current holder of the Open Singles title and could not break Kane’s grip on the trophy.
Gary Bell, of Washington, had a 73 break against Mark Anderson, of Pennywell Comrades, that helped him win 2-0.
In the match between Graham Rutland and Alex Hannan, both of Washington, Hannan took the first.
However, this brought a response from Rutland, who fought back to take a hard-fought win.
Steve Chandler, of Mill View, played Graham Ablett, of Woodside, in a match that saw Ablett win easily in the Handicap Singles.
Gary Bell, of Washington Snooker, and Colin Wrathmall, of Farringdon, were involved in a close game.
After sharing the first two frames, it took a re-spotted black to find the winner and Bell was the fortunate player.
Mark Bell was in fine form against Bob Boyce, of Hylton, when he won 2-0.
In a Captain’s Cup match between Vince Flynn and Michael Monaghan, neither player was on top form and Flynn eventually won the third frame on the pink.
Gary Moore, of the Avenue, lost his title when he was beaten by John Smith, of Whitburn.
Craig Kane lost at home as Graham Smith, of Biddick, advanced to the next round of the First Division Singles.
Washington had mixed fortunes, winning two and losing one in the Second Division Singles.
Derek Collins proved too strong for Colin Dobson, of Murton Officials, as he won 2-0.
Roff Hoque was more successful, however, overcoming Rab Cheema, of Cheemas.
The first two frames were shared by Stephen Scott, of Farringdon, and Billy Bell, of Washington, and it was Scott who emerged as the victor.
In the Pairs, a 53 break by Gary Bell was the deciding factor as he and Alex Hannan beat Burnikell and Parkin, of Pennywell Comrades, 2-0.
Gordon Elliott, of Seaham Coms, overcame Gary Turner, of the Railway in the Over-45s.
Tony Hazard, of Farringdon, lost the first frame against Steve Chandler, of Mill View, but fought back to take victory.
Sid Bate, of Mill View, had a close encounter in his match against Michael Burnikell, of Pennywell Comrades.
A win in the first frame was matched as Burnikell took the second. Bate took the pink in the third to make sure of victory.
Bill Milne, of Woodside, took on Michael Monaghan with both frames involving Milne needing snookers before Monaghan won 2-0.
In the Over-55s, a slow frame between Dave Manning of Woodside, and Michael Monaghan, of Seaham Cons, saw Manning need snookers before Monaghan took the frame.
Monaghan took control of the second to advance to the next round.
In the Five-man event, Seaham Cons had Hylton A as visitors, who unfortunately only had four players, conceding one frame to Seaham.
Robert Cougle beat Bob Boyce.
Norman Leslie took the second against Les Pinder.
However, Ian Hughes was in fine form for Seaham, claiming the tie for the home team.
Washington C played Mill View B and lost the first frame to John Spruce.
A close frame between Derek Collins and Carl Davis had Collins levelling with a double on the black.
A captain’s innings by Bryan Jeffrey took Washington into the lead before a long, dour fourth frame made it all square.
Gary Bell was in a determined mood against Sid Bate and pulled back a deficit to move ahead with a flourish on the colours.
Green Baize emerged as 3-1 winner against Farringdon A.
H An eagerly-awaited match between Paul Garvin, of Whitburn, and Mark Farnsworth has been arranged for this Friday at Cheemas.
Competitors are reminded that all known results need to be forwarded to Vince Flynn as soon as possible before January 21.