Third time lucky for Crawley

Ballymena and District Snooker League C

MARTIN Crawley is the new Individual champion for players with a league handicap of 30 or less in the Ballymena and District snooker league (sponsored by Keith Williams Snooker and Pool table services).

The popular Dunloy man , a runner up in two previous finals, finally found the winning formula on Friday night in the Minnesota club with a closely fought 3-1 win over Brian Hannaway.

Martin, receiving a ten points start on handicap, made a solid start and three reds with blues on his second visit to the table helped add to his advantage.

Brian chipped away slowly at his deficit and with the aid of a run of 21, the Minnesota A player had edged into an eight point lead at the colours.

Martin potted yellow and green before both players curtailed their more attacking play and settled down for a bout of safety play on the brown ball. Brian snookered Martin on the brown but the Dunloy United stalwart not only managed to escape the snooker he also potted the brown. He then potted the blue but missed the frame winning pink.

Brian took the pink and assumed the position of favourite for the frame only to see his attempt on the black rattle in the jaws of the green pocket. Martin executed a fine cut on the black to the same pocket to take the frame.

Brian’s misfortune with the black continued at the start of frame two as he inadvertently potted the black as he potted a long red.

By the midpoint of the frame Martin seemed well in command only for Brian to click into gear with a break of 36 which ended when he missed a relatively easy black attempting to gain position for the yellow.

After a short safety exchange Martin took yellow, green, brown and blue to nudge back into a five point lead before going on to pot the pink for a two frame lead.

Frame three turned out to be the scrappiest of the evening as both players’ form seemed to dip at the same time.

Martin, who had defeated David McClintock, David Swann and Glen Craig en route to the final, slowly edged towards the finishing line as he held an 11 point lead at the green.

After Martin had left a long pot on the green over a corner pocket Brian held his nerve and stepped in with a 25 clearance to pinch the frame at the black ball and kept his hopes of winning the Handicap Individual for a second time in three years alive.

In frame four Brian, made the better start as Martin who hadn’t committed a foul shot all match suddenly fouled on consecutive visits to the table.

Brian, in the final by virtue of a first round bye followed by wins over William Dobbin and Rodney McFall, established a 24 point advantage with four reds remaining only for Martin to slowly work his way back into the frame.

By the time play reached the remaining six colours Martin was within nine points of his opponent.

As with the opening two frames of the match it was the Dunloy player who seized the initiative potting yellow and green followed by brown and blue to leave himself requiring one more pot for victory.

When Brian’s attempted safety shot left the cue ball in the middle of the table and the pink over the pocket Martin made no mistake as he potted the pink to seal a 3-1 victory.

The match, played in the usual good spirit was refereed and scored by Brendan McTaggart.

Round one results: D Swann (Min) 2, R Hamilton (Min) 0; M Crawley (Dun) 2, D McClintock (Min) 0; L Kelly (Foun) 2, J Fry (Foun) 1; W Dobbin (Min) 2, D Greer (Min) 0; A Hutchinson (Min) 2, B McKane (Min) 0.

Quarter-finals: Crawley 2, Swann 1; Craig 2, Kelly 0; Hannaway 2, Dobbin 1; McFall 2, Hutchinson 1.

Semi-finals: Crawley 2, Craig 1; Hannaway 2, McFall 1,

Final: Crawley 3, Hannaway 1 (frame scores: 64-55; 60-49; 43-57; 51-40). Break – Hannway 36.