There were 10 competitors in all and the format was for 2 groups of 5, which were drawn randomly.
The semi-finals would then be decided by the winners of ‘Group A’ playing the runner-up of ‘Group B’ and vice versa, the winners of these matches would obviously form ‘The Final’.
As the names were drawn out, there were lots of “ooohhs” and “aaahhs”, with Group B designated as “The Group of Death”.
The First Round
The first set of frames began with some spectacular safety play, (well not many balls were potted anyway!), amazing flukes, (mainly down to Valuation Office’s Rob Wise), lots of foul shots / in-offs and the very occasional good pot!
Group A’s Rich Brown, (HMRC) vs Chris Henley, (Border Force) was by far the highest scoring frame of the day with Chris just edging it in the end with 83 points to Rich’s 71. I’d like to say that this was due to some fantastic break building, but in reality, (with the highest break being in single figures!), it was down purely and simply to the number of ‘fouls’ committed.
My first frame saw me drawn against the ‘leg end that is’ Rob “The Spawn” Wise, who clearly must have gone out of his way to stand in as much doggy do – do as possible. To say Rob was lucky has to be the biggest understatement of the year, no.., decade, no.., century, NO.., EVER!!! Despite this I somehow managed to sneak the win by beating him 59 points to 48, (similar to Rich vs Chris’ game, most of these points were the result of fouls!).
There were a few early shocks with Pete “Ming the Merciless” Henson recording a couple of famous scalps, (including me!), but class was already starting to show in the group stages thanks to Messrs Cheung and Sandiford.
The highest break on the day was recorded by Jue Cheung, (Highways Agency), who had two breaks over 30, with a 33 and 37. Pete Sandiford also had a 33, which having not gone for a ‘ridiculous pink’ and taking a safer blue would have seen him edge the highest break honour.
The first semi-final was contested between Jue Cheung, (winner of group A) vs Pat Egan, (runner-up of Group B). There was some cracking potting and excellent safety play from both players, but Jue went on to secure his place in the final by winning the frame 51 points to 24.
The other semi-final was between Pete Sandiford and Barry Middlebrooke, ‘two seasoned pros’, (not snooker pros obviously and I think Disaronno was the seasoning used for Pete!). The frame was not the quickest, with players and spectators alike having to take regular ‘comfort breaks’ to ease their suffering. Pete managed to secure victory by scoring 55 to Barry’s 30, thanks to an early concession from Barry rather than trying for the required snookers needed whilst still on the blue, (this is something that would not have been reciprocated from Mr Sandiford, had the roles been reversed!).
“The Final” saw the best two players on the day battle it out over a one frame shoot-out. Both Jue and Pete had an unbeaten record to protect and it was befitting that they fought out a very tight final frame. The lead swapped hands regularly early on, with some great individual pots followed by mistakes from both players, this resulted in a very low scoring and nervous frame.
Going into the final stages of the match, there was practically nothing between them. The tension was building and with only the blue, pink and black left, the score was 28 points to 27 in Jue’s favour. Jue then potted the blue to extend his lead, with the scores at 33 to 27. This meant Jue only needed either of the remaining balls to take the title. It looked all over when Jue positioned himself nicely on the pink, if he potted it he would win...
Then ‘it happened’… having done the majority of the hard work, with Pete preparing his runner-up speech, Jue missed a relatively straightforward pink into the ‘green pocket’. Gasps of disbelief echoed around the snooker hall, (not because Jue had missed, but apparently Rob Wise had bought someone a pint and settled up his fantasy Football account!)..,
Back to the snooker.., as the gasps subsided, Pete settled himself, then potted the pink to tie the game at 33 points each. With only the black left to claim victory, he made no mistake by sinking it into the middle bag to win the match scoring 40 points to 33.
All in all, it was a great afternoon, played in the right spirit at a fantastic venue.
Thanks and recognitions
On a personal note I’d like to thank the following; All the lads that took part for the craic and support*. Dai Jenkins for representing CSSC and taking the photos. Last but not least Anthony and his staff at The Tradewell Snooker Club for making us all feel welcome and putting up with us!
- Group A : Rich Brown, Chris Henley, Barry Middlebrooke, Jue Cheung and Dave Moore
- Group B : Pete Henson, Pat Egan, Robbo, Pete Sandiford and Roberto Wise