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Yeadon Liberals are red-hot as they pocket George Emmott Trophy
Snooker enthusiasts may currently be gripped by the action in the World Championships at the Crucible in Sheffield but there was also some high-quality action in both our local leagues, with some gripping final-frame deciders in the prestigious team knockout compet-itions.
In the Aireborough (Monday) League it was finals night at Horsforth Cons, with teams from Hawkhill and Rawdon Cons doing battle on the baize.
Hawkhill A had a disappointing start against Rawdon’s A team as Rob Russell outplayed Glynis Hartley – and things went from bad to worse as David Waite lost to Ian Thompson to give Rawdon a healthy two-frame lead.
Hawkhill’s Tony Lister pulled a frame back with some nice potting in his win over Fiona Russell and then Gary Coburn levelled the match with some clever tactical play, cool-potting under pressure.
With the match all square, both teams were left to hope their anchor men could deliver. Hawkhill’s Phil Nicholson, playing off minus five, was giving opponent Mark Flesher 25 points and he started well to extend his lead.
Nicholson is no stranger to tense match situations and focused on clawing back the points to win the title for his team.
Hawkhill B’s billiards pairing of Paul Rix and John Waite were in action against the Rawdon Cons B team of Mick Miles and Bill Duff. Waite and Rix have already taken the league title and were looking to make it a league and cup double.
Rix and Miles were first on and Miles had a mountain to climb as he had to recover the 153-point handicap he was giving Rix.
Miles is a billiards specialist and started to quickly reel in Rix with some excellent breaks.
Rix, on the other hand, was being left few opportunities and it became clear Miles looked likely to prevail.
The high handicapping was obviously an accurate judgement of both players’ ability as they neared the 150-point target.
Rix had a chance to reach it but failed and allowed Miles to take the match by just two points.
Rix’s partner Waite now had two targets – first he had to recover the 53 points he was giving opponent Bill Duff and then beat him to the 150-point target by three points to take the aggregate.
While having a fairly high handicap, Duff can also be dangerous, a testament to which is his high break award this season.
The match started slowly and it was evenly matched in the early stages but an aggressive 22 break saw Waite take the initiative.
Duff just held the lead but another nice break saw Waite take the lead around the 125 mark.
Duff battled back but Waite held on to win by 22 to secure the league and cup double.
Later in the week, Miles had his revenge over Waite as he took control in his open semi-final, although Waite did give him a scare as he led up to the halfway point. But Miles suddenly showed his class as he compiled some superb breaks to easily reach the 300-point target.
In the Otley League, it was finals night in both the George Emmott and Ronnie Lee team knockout competitions.
The premier event is the George Emmott Trophy but the Ronnie Lee Cup is also keenly contested. Staged at Menstone, the Emmott Trophy was between two in-form teams in Burley Social A and Yeadon Libs.
Yeadon captain Paul Wiseman was up against Richard Brook and with both players off minus handicaps, it was a tight match. But Brook did not leave Wiseman any clear opportunities to show off his break-building abilities and Brook played well to win by 21 aggregate points.
Yeadon’s Graham Ingelson was up next against Lee Davey and Ingelson was clearly in good form as he quickly built a lead he never relinquished and gave his team an aggregate advantage with a 36-point win.
In the third match, Burley’s Richard Chadwick took on Mick Reynolds and it could have gone either way but late in the frame Chadwick suddenly made some nice breaks and took the match and gave his team a four-point cushion.
Young anchor men John Smith of Yeadon and Ben Gardiner of Burley were clearly nervous with everything at stake. Yeadon needed to win by five and Burley to win or lose by no more than three.
Gardiner started well and Smith looked to be suffering the pressure a little but, as the match developed, Smith seemed to relax and the balls started flying into pockets.
Gardiner looked to have taken the match with a fine blue but the cue ball disappeared in a pocket, which enabled Smith to take a tough long shot and follow it with the pink to take the match and crucial aggregate for his team.