Wednesday, 21 December 2011

ANDREW SHOWS HIS PACES WITH A CHRISTMAS DOUBLE

ANDREW GRATTON of PJ'z Club Ripley,  winner of two trophies on Christmas Shootout Night.


THE inaugural Christmas Shootout Night held recently at Jaxx Q Club, Belper proved to be an exciting evening full of action with everyone seeming to enjoy the thrills and spills of holding three quickfire handicap events all on the same night.
Fourteen players converged on the venue from seven different teams and although mainly a fun based evening, some excellent snooker was played with all three events going to players showing very good form in the League itself.

The main event of the evening was the Christmas Shootout Singles for the Alan Hopkinson Trophy, played over one frame of six reds, and there was an early cracker with Ripley's Ben Monk knocking in a 38 break in the first round against Ricki Slack who fought back well with a 22 break himself before ultimately being beaten on the pink.

Ben continued his progress to the final thereafter, defeating Glenn Hull and Keith Robertson but waiting for him there was PJ'z No 1 team mate Andrew Gratton who had come through clashes with Kevin Holmes, Steve Robinson (on the black) and Steve Hawkins, courtesy of a 35 break in the semi.

An early 22 break from Andrew set the tone for the final and he soon drew into an unassailable lead as Ben never really got much chance on this occasion with the short format against an in form opponent.

There was compensation awaiting for Ben in the George Mills Christmas Shootout Scotch Doubles event however, as he and partner Steve Robinson of the host venue's No 1 team benefited from a first round bye before seeing off Kevin Holmes and Andrew Gratton in the semi final.

Their final opponents were Steve Hawkins and Sean O'Sullivan, regular billiards partners who by a strange quirk had been pulled out together in the random draw before overcoming Paul Ogden and Trevor Hames and then Mick Whiteman and Keith Robertson in the semi final.

The final was nip and tuck before Sean over-cut the blue into the middle pocket and Ben and Steve (Robinson) needed no further invitation to finish the job with blue and pink to secure the trophy.

The Eddie Lomas Speed Snooker Christmas Shootout involved head to head matches with players attempting to clear the colours (and in some cases 1 or 2 extra reds as decided by the official handicap) in a faster time than their opponent to qualify for the next round. A foul shot meant that an extra ball was placed on the highest available spot and this could be potted either with the next shot or after the final black (the players seemed to adopt this approach themselves so we let them get on with it in the spirit of the evening!)

No mention will be made of those matches where players ended up with more balls on the table than they started with(!) but suffice to say that there will be alot of aching feet and tweaked muscles over Christmas after this event, at least we left a spare table in between so as no one was carried off on a stretcher due to a nasty collision!!

Keith Robertson perhaps showed the sleekest turn of foot on the evening though unfortunately for him in the semi final, the balls didn't go down the pockets quite so fast as Steve Robinson switched cues half way through the contest due to his tip coming off yet still somehow scrambled over the line to reach the final in a sterling effort against all adversity.
He had earlier come through matches against Sean O'Sullivan and Kevin Holmes.

Meanwhile Andrew Gratton was pitched against formidable team mate Ben Monk in the semi final, having seen off Trevor Hames and Steve Hawkins, and this was probably the best match-up of the event with both players getting down to the black almost simultaneously but Andrew just getting his shot away first by a matter of a couple of seconds.

Steve was happy to borrow a cue for the final while his tip was re-setting but Andrew continued in his winning vein on the night, scoring an impressive success to end the nights proceedings.

In his victory speech(!), Andrew said "They say snooker is not a physical sport but they will have to think again now after this, I'll need to have a good rest over Christmas to recover from all that running around the table".

Perhaps I should think myself lucky Ben put me out in the second around after all! But it was certainly an event that could have players going from the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of one or two shots and nothing was ever definite until the final black had disappeared!
Thanks to Scott and all the staff at the host club for some excellent food and a warm welcome as well as for organising everything in such a professional manner, and most of all thanks to all the players who turned out, without whom no event could ever take place!

Alan Hopkinson 6-red Christmas Singles Shootout Handicap Trophy: winner, Andrew Gratton (PJ'z Ripley No 1); runner-up, Ben Monk (PJ'z Ripley No 1).
George Mills 6-red Christmas Scotch Doubles Handicap Trophy: winner, Ben Monk (PJ'z Ripley No 1) and Steve Robinson (Jaxx Q Club Belper No 1); runners-up, Sean O'Sullivan (Bolehill Inst No 2) and Steve Hawkins (Bolehill billiards team).
Eddie Lomas Christmas Speed Snooker Trophy: winner, Andrew Gratton (PJ'z Ripley No 1); runner-up, Steve Robinson (Jaxx Q Club Belper No 1).


Merry Christmas to everyone connected with the Darley Dale and District Snooker & Billiards League and have a great New Year too (also don't forget some matches start as early as Monday January 2nd in either the pairs competition or Captains Cup team event so check your fixture list!!) Look out for the new handicap list too, already in use.
Thanks for everyone's help during the year in getting the results in so promptly which has kept things running so smoothly - all the best over the festive period!

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