By Chris Gill
Frank Lodge Final @ Waddington Cons – Birkdale Cons C v Les Dodd’s C
In what turned out to be a tense and dramatic Frank Lodge final Birkdale Cons C emerged the winners over their 3rd division opponents Les Dodd’s C, but not after some very squeaky bum moments within the match. This was Birkdale C’s first cup win with this current team line up and the clubs first cup win of any sort since their D team won this competition back in 1999. They had to overcome Banks C, Our Lady’s, Southport Cons and Tarleton B to reach the final wit Les Dodd’s putting them through the mill at the end to claim the trophy.
In the opening pairings Birkdale’s Phil Green managed to beat Harry Wilby on the final colours 54-39 with Phil Horan snatching the final pink and black against Martin Cusack to go down by 7 points, 49-56. These final colours make a big difference in tight matches and Birkdale managed to claim a few more of these final colours when needed in the subsequent frames. With Les Dodd’s giving 108 points on the handicap to Birkdale it was now imperative that Les Dodd’s had one big winner out of the next two frames. This was on the cards at one stage when Damien Bloomfield went 36-0 up over Sean McDerby at the beginning of their frame while Kyle Woodfull opened up a similar 30 point lead over league stalwart Geoff Wright. But as the frames wore on the Birkdale players chipped away at the big deficits and clawed back some of Doddy’s advantage. Kyle Woodfull did manage to claim a 21 point win over Geoff, winning 60-39, but Sean McDerby somehow managed to only lose by 7 points, 65-58 when in reality he looked like being on the end of a 70 point thrashing. This meant that Les Dodd’s had only got back 20 points of the requisite 108 required.. All looked lost.
But the drama of the night had not been played out yet as Kev Woodfull took on Martin Calvert with Anthony Dodd playing Paul Rimmer in the last two pairings. Kev struggled to see any ball at the start of his frame with Martin seemingly having the edge on his opponent, while Anthony Dodd started to build up a steady but slow lead over Paul Rimmer. When Kev did start to pot balls, he made small breaks of 21, 15 then 10 all back-to-back, he swung the match the back in favour of Les Dodd’s with only the brown to black left on the table. But Kev eventually left the pink right over the corner over for Martin to pot and maybe kill the advantage that Kev had built up. But somehow he missed what seemed an unmissable pot and Kev would take both of the last two balls to win the frame 59-38. This all meant that Anthony Dodd had to beat Paul Rimmer by 68 points to win the final and 67 points to force a re-spot black, and with 5 reds left on the table and Anthony already 46 points to the good it all seemed possible.
The final, which was being played at Waddington Cons, the place where Anthony’s dad Les made his name all those years ago, it seemed to inspire Anthony in trying to overturn this no 68 points difference. The frame would twist and turn from these last few reds all the way to the final colours as Anthony tried in vain to drag his side over the final winning line. Paul helped him out a bit when missing a straight blue off its spot to leave Anthony needing snookers, and also failing to get out of the many clever shots that Ant was now playing. Foul four, followed foul four as both players twitched and missed their shots making the watching crowd wince when their player missed and cheer when their opponent failed. Eventually after what seemed like an eternity Paul somehow managed to take the brown and blue to leave Anthony needing 22 points with only pink and black left. Anthony did manage to get a couple of his attempted snooker close but they just didn’t get close enough with Paul eventually sinking the final pink to take the Frank Loge cup back to Birkdale.
Both teams deserved credit for the way they played this match with hard luck and feel good stories coming out from both sides on the night, the final result being a 44 points victory for Birkdale Con’s 402-358 over Les Dodd’s C.
Rickerby Cup semi-final @ British Rail – Bretherton A v Scarisbrick B
Third division Scarisbrick B made the final of this year’s Rickerby Cup final with a solid 98 point aggregate win over 2nd division Bretherton A. Things did go Scarisbrick’s way on the night but had a few of the snookers and pots gone the way of Bretherton then it could have been a different result. Bretherton’s Mick Powell had no powers to stop Eddy Stockley in one of the opening frames, with Eddy potting reds from all over the table to give Scarisbrick an opening frame win and a 101-58 point victory to boot. Bretherton’s top stick, Dave Cottam beat John Brown 67-54, which would have been a bigger winning margin had Dave managed to claim any of the final four colours. Frame scores level at one apiece with Scarisbrick holding a 30 point advantage the middle frames were also shared as Harry Haslam played out of his skin to beat Colin Rimmer 66-52 as Bretherton’s Captain Gordon Russell lost out to Ian Lowery 72-48. Again, luck would play apart in the frames as Gordon always seemed to get in trouble off a poor safety shot from Ian or saw balls just not drop in when for all the world they looked like they should. But that is what can happen at times and it sometimes goes for you one day but not on the other. With the last two pairings now on Scarisbrick held onto a 40 point lead plus the two 28 points head start that they were receiving off their opponents. It was always going to be a big ask for Bretherton to gain the victory but when Peter Simpson started off like he was playing at Sheffield, opening up a 60 point advantage over the hapless Ron Dickinson it soon became apparent that it was Scarisbrick’s night. Jim Richards did manage to get Bretherton their third frame win on the night but the damage had already been done and Scarisbrick now face Churchtown Cons C in this year’s Rickerby Cup final.
Atherton Final @ Southport & Birkdale CC – Damien Bloomfield v Phil Green
Damien Bloomfield of Les Dodd’s beat Birkdale’s Phil Green 2-0 in this year’s Atherton Cup Final to gain some compensation for his sides defeat to Birkdale in Monday night’s Frank Lodge final. Although Damien won this match 2-0, it was a match that deserved to go to a decider as both players played to the top of their game producing some very all round shots and pots in an enthralling final. Phil settled in the quicker of the two players in front of a very partisan crowd as Damien struggled to keep Phil out with some very good long pots at the start. Eventually Damien got going and made his mark on this final when Phil missed a tricky red down the back rail. With 4 reds left on and the Dodd’s player some 20 points behind he made a quick fire 16 and 23 break to put him within one ball of taking the opening frame. Phil was now playing catch up, needing all the balls left to go one nil up but could only hope for another chance when leaving the blue on for his opponent to have a go at. Damien composed himself to slot home a very good blue into the yellow pocket to then take the pink and black for good measure in an opening 66-28 victory.
The second frame was much of the same as both players seemed that attack was the best way to go whilst still trying to give their opponent respect. Phil blinked first when letting Damien in and the player from Doddy’s managed to gain a healthy 20 plus lead which he held onto for most of the remaining frame. It was a shame that Phil could not just force the match into a final frame decider but Damien was grateful of getting over the winning line as he did when taking most of the final colours to secure his first Individual cup win 46-27, this in his first year of playing in the league. Though if he makes another final soon I do hope he comes in his own trousers and not his younger brothers as they were a little tight on the big lad from Doddy’s…!!!
James Yates Final @ Mere Brow – Gareth Hibbott v Rob Iddon
Gareth Hibbott beat Rob Iddon 3-0 to record his 13th James Yates title, though the score line is a little bit harsh on what was a good performance by Tarletons Rob Iddon. Having won his first James Yates back in 1996 Gareth has been the ‘One’ to beat in these last20 years or so and very few manage to beat him when he reaches these finals. The fact that Rob Iddon did very little wrong over the three frames played gives credit to how well Gareth played on the night with all three frames showing why he is the top player in our league.
In the opening frame Rob could do no wrong as he kept his opponent out limiting him to long range pot-come-safety’s as he slowly built up a healthy lead. With a 48 point lead and just the 4 reds left on it seemed like the opening frame would go the way of the Tarleton player if he could just get the one chance he needed to seal a one frame lead. But Gareth made his move after snookering Rob with a clever snooker behind the green ball. Rob failed to get near the intended red and it was rightly replaced. Rob did hit the red this time but had left an opening for Gareth to take. A few shots later the equation was simple for both players. Gareth needed to pot the final four colours and take the opening frame by 1 point, Rob just needed that one ball to leave Gareth in snookers required. But Rob didn’t get his chance and Gareth cleared up to snatch the opening frame 62-61.
The second frame showed why so many players fear Gareth when he is in the mood as he made a superb break of 74 this after opening up with three red, three black break of 24. Again Rob couldn’t be too hard on himself as he left Gareth a tricky opening shot that the player from Marshside made to look like it was a six inch tap in. With the frame score now sitting at 2-0 for Gareth it was do or die for Rob now going into the third frame. The frame started off scrappy and stayed that way until the last 5 or 6 reds when Rob was handed a great chance of making a telling contribution after Gareth had gone in-off. Rob made a great attempt at potting the red into the corner pocket but rattled it with the double whammy of leaving Gareth on in the reds. Although the frame was not lost in this instance it gave Gareth a little momentum into the final balls with Gareth taking the last two reds with colours to leave Rob in trouble. Gareth eventually took the frame 52-28 to add to the ever growing list of individual titles he has won, of which could be increased once again when he takes on Phil Horan of Birkdale Cons in this year’s Marshall Handicap cup final.
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