Smith secures Captains’ Cup

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WHITBURN’S John Smith toasted success after clinching the Captains’ Cup in a tight match against Washington Snooker C’s Bryan Jeffrey.

With both players taking a time to settle, it was Smith who broke the deadlock with a break of 23 to take an early advantage.

A close contest in the middle of the frame saw Jeffrey match Smith, and appear to take a slight edge with his safety play to frustrate Smith.

A foul on the last red by Smith put Jeffrey in command, leaving Smith needing a snooker.

An in-off the yellow by Jeffrey threw Smith a lifeline, as he could now level by taking all the colours.

Smith took the yellow, green and brown to keep in contention before Jeffrey responded on the late colours to go one ahead.

A good start in the second by Smith, who was now starting to show his form with breaks of 19 and 15, and helped by two fouls enabled him to build a decent lead.

Jeffrey was struggling to get back into the frame and when Smith increased his lead on the colours, it proved sufficient to put the match level.

The third frame had a different complexion as it was Jeffrey who started the better to open a decent lead.

The frame turned as Smith compiled a 34 break to clear the deficit, and it was nip and tuck until there was only three balls left on the table, with both players only needing two balls to win.

A long blue by Smith, left no opportunity on the pink, proved the deciding point as Smith went 2-1 ahead.

It was all or nothing now for Jeffrey in the best of a five frame match, and he replied with style, as he controlled the frame and a break of 24 moved him into a commanding lead that left Smith chasing shadows.

After a period of attempted snookers, it was Jeffrey who took the blue and pink to force the match into a deciding fifth frame.

In a game played in a good spirit, it was Smith who dug deep early in the last frame, clearing his handicap deficit with a 19 break, before a cracking long red led to a 27 break to establish a lead going into the colours.

With Jeffrey still fighting and keeping Smith under pressure, it was all square with three balls remaining and it took another good finish by Smith to claim the frame and the Captains Cup title.

The over-45s final was played at Glendale Social between Tom Ayre (Steels) and Stephen Chandler (Mill View Social).

With the handicap only five points, a close game was expected with Ayre providing the flair, and Chandler the battling qualities and solid play.

Chandler opened with a black, and looked at ease while Ayre displayed a more unsettled attitude.

It was Chandler who was taking his opportunities and he steadily built up a decent 37-9 lead with small breaks.

Ayre was not getting into the game and began missing chances.

Going into a 64-16 deficit saw Ayre concede the first frame.

The second frame started with Ayre showing more of his usual ability, and a good red led to two blacks for an early advantage.

Chandler did what he does best when replying with small scores to take the lead 38-18, with Ayre taking reds, but missing the colours.

An in-off by Chandler threw Ayre a life-line, which lifted Ayre as he steadily reduced the deficit to 48-37.

Ayre had rediscovered his composure, and was looking more like his normal self.

It was a relieved Chandler who eventually claimed the frame to move two ahead.

After a short break, Ayre came to the fore in the third, and started to come to terms with the table.

He took the chances available as Chandler seemed to be under pressure.

Good safety play by Ayre was having its effect and Charlton twice hit the black escaping from snookers.

Ayre was now starting to buzz around the table with Chandler struggling to get back into the game.

Two good pots by Ayre eventually saw him claim the third fame to keep himself in the match.

Nerves now started to come into play from both players, but it was Ayre who seemed more in control, although Chandler was still battling, and with a black made it 32-32.

A lead of eight, to Ayre, going into the colours was making it an interesting frame, and the score was 47-47 with the pink and the black on the table.

With both balls over the bottom pocket, it was Chandler who potted a great pink, but left himself a long straight black to claim the frame.

A miss was saved from an in-off as the black wobbled, preventing the white going through leaving the balls in a safe situation.

A good safety by Ayre found the white travel the length of the table and slip in-off, giving Chandler the frame and the over 45s title.

The second division final had Thomas Gwyn (Lumley) playing Gary Simpson (Mill View) at Cheemas Snooker.

With both players relatively new to the league, the outcome was difficult to forecast with Gwyn possessing an appetite for the game and Simpson moving from pool into snooker.

The experience of Simpson shone through in the first two frames, as he built small break and with good safety frustrated his opponent.

The occasion seemed to prevent Gwyn from producing his usual fluidity and he found himself losing 2-0 in the best of five frames final.

It was still Simpson in control in the third, and he was producing good long shots, while Gwyn has more than his share of misfortune.

On the colours Simpson turned the screw and took the tile 3-0.

H The last three finals of the Winter season have been arranged as follows:-

Handicap Singles between Graham Rutland (Washington Snooker) and Liam Irvin (Glendale) at Seaham Conservatives yesterday.

Doubles Final between Adam Smith/Neil McLaren (Steels) and Jeff Burn/Craig Kane (Green Baize) at Cheemas tonight.

Open Singles between Martin Ball (Lumley) and Chris Cowie (Steels) at Pennywell Comrades tomorrow night.