Finals day brings together an array of talent

Barry Martin (left) and Anthony Flynn warming up for the Stoner Handicap Final
Barry Martin (left) and Anthony Flynn warming up for the Stoner Handicap Final

The annual MSBSL Finals day held at the Keymer and Hassocks Mens Club brought together an array of talent which saw the new Open Champion regaining his crown which he first won in 2002 by confidently defeating the current title holder.

The day opened with the Stoner Snooker Handicap with a mouth watering contest between two keen rivals Anthony Flynn and Barry Martin. In recent seasons, the flamboyant Flynn had numerous experiences of being the losing finalist, on this occasion he came out in fighting mood by taking the first two frames 59-27 and 59-41, this kicked off the marauding Martin who retaliated with 69-50 and 59-57 wins. The deciding frame saw Flynn fluently potting the balls to move on to win 57-19 and to celebrate becoming the new title holder.

Mark Bright(left) and Neil Baker with referee Dave Dawson..Open Finalists

Mark Bright(left) and Neil Baker with referee Dave Dawson..Open Finalists

Trevor Smith received a 73 handicap over Vince Elphick the current Grandmasters Champion and looked like taking full advantage over three frames when he had the first opportunity to pot the final pink in order to win the match, by not doing so Elphick took the initiative by potting the pink and providing the audience with an exciting cocked hat finish with the black.

The three hour doubles final went to a black ball finale when Stuart Williamson and Lee Morley defeated Mark Bright and Frank Childs 3-2. Williamson and Morley won the first and fourth frames 77-37 and 57-36 with Bright and Childs succeeding in the second and third 62-26 and 59-43, it was Williamson who secured the final black.

In his last year to qualify for the Junior Snooker Cup, Ben May was determined to regain the title he earned in 2011. He was up against the fifteen year old Dan Cowley-Stein who showed he had much to offer in the forthcoming seasons. The opening frame was a close encounter with May ousting Cowley-Stein 49-45, the youngster responded in the second frame to equalise 63-37. May used his vast experience in the following frames by winning 53-24 and 66-33 to ensure he became the new champion.

Vince Elphick returned to the green baize to take on the versatile Kevin Ward in the Dennis Wakeford Trophy. The elegant style of Elphick enabled him to win the snooker frames 74-15 which included a 48 break and 52-26. The workmanlike Ward made a tremendous effort to claw back in the billiards frame but was unable to stop Elphick gaining the title by losing out 201-170.

The triples final brought together Hurst’s Lee Morley, Barry Martin and Stuart Williamson against Lindfield’s Paul Malget, Chris Carter and Willem Mol. Morley commenced strongly by defeating Malget 88-15, Martin flowing with an 87-38 win over Chris Carter and Williamson gaining the title by completing the treble with a 64-40 success against Mol. The Lindfield trio commenced with a 42 handicap which gave Hurst an overall points victory of 239-135.

After an exhausting but exciting and competitive day, current Open Snooker Champion Mark Bright came to the table with the challenger Neil Baker who had waited twelve seasons for the opportunity to gain the title for the second time. Baker produced some blustering form in the opening two frames winning 73-44 and 57-44. He became concerned when the dangerous Bright won the third 66-32 but with his confident body language displayed around the table and oozing with confidence with his cue ball control, Baker stormed home with 64-23 and 61-36 final frames wins to secure the Open Championship 4-1.

The matches were well marshalled by referees Dennis Wakeford, Dave Dawson, Dave Fry and Roy Tucknott.