STOURBRIDGE Institute C reached the final of the Plate competition with victory by the narrowest margin against Pockets Snooker Club B.
Dave Timmington and Alan Turner started well for Pockets. Nick Aston potted well to beat Gavin Evans by 31 and Harry Jones did his best to keep Danny Rees at bay, eventually losing by 44, following runs of 32 and 30 by the Pockets’ leading player. The scores were level at the start of the final frame and the Institute’s Simon Tyler tried hard but trailed throughout until, with a snooker required on the pink, he took the last two balls after his opponent, Bob Moran, had the misfortune to go in-off.
Wombourne, last season’s cup winners, reached the Plate final after just doing enough to see off the challenge of Kingswinford RBL B.
Keith Wellbourne gave the Legion a good start and John Jennings fought back to lose to Bob Mason by just 19 points, but Stuart Taylor and Dave Flavell both potted extremely well, each winning by 65 points to give their last player, Paul Tristram, the cushion of a 40 point lead against Dave Woodall, who has enjoyed an excellent first season for the team. The lead proved just enough in the face of a determined fight-back, with Wombourne taking the match on the blue.
Gavin Sloan, last season’s Premier Division individual champion, beat his West Midlands Police teammate, Maria Catalano, 3-0 in a re-enactment of last year’s final. This time he will face Karl Ashmore of Brandhall Labour who beat Hotshots SC’s Jamie Brown 3-2 in a thrilling match at Kingswinford Conservative Club.
The First Division Individual Final will be contested between the holder, Mark Jeffries of Amblecote RBL who defeated Kinver Const’s Graham Tranter 2-0, and Kingswinford Cons’ Chris Jevons, who beat Kinver’s Ron Smith 2-0, both matches staged at Baggeridge Social Club.
Sam Smith of Kingswinford Cons did well to beat Norton Social B’s Joe Davies 2-0 in the first of the Second Division semis at Stourbridge Old Edwardians’ Club, whilst Wombourne was the setting for the other match when Simon Tyler of Stourbridge Institute won two straight frames against Ray Vanes of Amblecote Institute.
Ray Vanes and his partner Roy Pugh lost out to Tom Hamilton and Harry Jones of Stourbridge Institute in the Pairs’ Handicap semi-final and they will meet the holders of the Geoff Williams Memorial Shield, Jon Bate and Callum Downing, representing Hotshots SC, who fought back to beat Karl Ashmore and Jamie Brown.
Alan Hooper and Chris Southall of Brandhall Labour retrieved all but six of the 146 points they had to give Wombourne against John Cumiskey and Bob Mason respectively and Jason Hickman completed the win at the expense of Dave Flavell. In the three-a-side final, Brandhall will play Baggeridge Social who won on the final black against Kinver.
There was another close finish in the Singles Handicap semi-final when Callum Downing of Hotshots SC, conceding 52 points start to Leigh Bennett of Kingswinford Cons, levelled the match with runs of 40 and 31 and potted the black in the decider. Callum’s opponent in the final will be Chris Randle, who defeated his Kinver Constitutional colleague, Arnie Tromans, 2-0.
The over 65’s Final will feature Stourbridge Institute’s Don Oliver, now 85, the 2004 winner, who fought back from a frame down, receiving 20 points start, to beat Amblecote Institute’s Sam Harrison, by some distance the youngest member of the semi-final line up, and Wombourne’s John Wooldridge, who also had to take the last two frames to defeat the 2005 champion, Ron Smith of Kinver Constitutional 2-1, receiving 16 points start.
The 2009 over 45 champion, Paul Bates of Stourbridge Institute had an early 32 break, and led his club colleague, Alan Cope, to whom he was conceding 16 points, but his opponent recovered to take the next two frames on the black. Wayne Whitmore of Kingswinford Cons had beaten Kev Franklin in the quarter-final but lost 2-1 to Tony Kidd of Kinver Constitutional, who won the event in 2010, in another close encounter.