Premier Billiards Classic
Paddy Donnelly halted Day Elliott´s run of success when he turned on
a brilliant display of billiards to retain his title in the final of the Premier
Classic. The event was sponsored by Savoury Foods and Snooker
Ireland with the final being the best of five games of 150 up. Paddy
warmed up with a break of 79 in the opener, which helped him to win
it by just 16 points. A break of 89 unfinished in the second, and others
of 54 and 96 unfinished in the third, secured the title for Donnelly in
emphatic style. This was Elliott´s first defeat in ranking events this
season. Donnelly also took the high break prize for players ranked in
the top eight with an earlier effort of 131, while Tommy Murphy took
the high break prize for those outside the top eight with 114.
Northern Ireland Championships
Played at the West Belfast Club, the Northern Ireland Championships would be the final ranking tournament of the season. In the last 16, Sam Clarke established the top break target with a 136 in his victory over club-mate Joe Heaney. Davy Elliott put together the only other century of the round with a break of exactly 100 in defeating Sammy Currie. Eugene Rogan kept the Bangor interest alive when he defeated Pat Lawlor. Davy Pogue and Tommy Murphy had a real nail-biter before Pogue got home by just 13 points, with the spectators on the edge of their seats. In another close encounter, Freddie Cahoon had just 2 points to spare at the end of his match against Newbys John Dinsmore. Trevor Shields had a more comfortable passage as he overpowered Jimmy Millar to book his place in the last eight.
350; T. Shields 638, J. Millar 390; T. Buttimer (66, 51) 672, J. McCrea 388;
S. Clarke (136, 79, 52) 565, J. Heaney 272; D. Pogue (78, 56) 426, T. Murphy
413; F. Cahoon (51) 411, J. Dinsmore 409; D. Elliott (100, 61, 59) 527, S.
Paddy Donnelly, the defending champion, moved into the semi-finals
with victory over Trevor Shields. Paddy having a 120 break at the later
stages of the game, while Shields had breaks of 71 and 75. Tony
Buttimer booked his semi-final spot with a solid all-round performance,
defeating Bangor cueist Eugene Rogan. Tony had runs of 91, 92, 44,
46 and 69 in his 735 total. Former champion, Davy Elliott will be
Buttimer´s opponent after he recorded the top score of the day with
742aided by runs of 71, 90 and 102in defeating Freddie Cahoon.
Freddie´s best break being 64. Donnelly´s semi-final opponent will be
Sammy Clarke who staged a great late fight-back to snatch victory
over Davy Pogue. In the final stages of the two hour game, Sammy
had breaks of 49, 39, 48 and 41, while Pogue replied with breaks of
69, 43, 41 and 46. Pogue looked to be the winner going into the last 10
minutes holding a 54 points advantage, but Clarke never gave in, and
won an exciting game on the bell by 15 points.
(120) 553, T. Shields (75, 74) 392; T. Buttimer (92, 91, 69) 735, E. Rogan
387; D. Elliott (102, 90, 71) 742, F. Cahoon (64) 374; S. Clarke 399, D.
Pogue (69) 384.
Paddy Donnelly hit the competition high break of 179 in defeating
club-mate Sam Clarke who had previously held the top break with
136. Paddy dominated the match with additional runs of 87, 93, 50,
and a string of 40+ breaks. In the other semi-final former champion
Davy Elliott ran out a clear winner over Tony Buttimer, with a great
run in the last hour of the game. At one stage Buttimer had lead by 100
points, but breaks of 66, 45, 56, 81, 45, 82, 43, 36 and 32 by Elliott
where enough to see him into the final.
(179, 93, 87, 50) 845, S. Clarke 385; D. Elliott (82, 81, 66, 56) 773, T. Buttimer
In one of the most exciting finals for many years, Paddy Donnelly held
his nerve to retain his title and defeat Armagh´s Davy Elliott by just 26
points in a game that could have gone either way. In front of a huge
crowd, Donnelly roared into an early lead with breaks of 75 and 77,
before Elliott pegged his way back with runs of 79 and 56. At the
interval Donnelly held an advantage of 50+ points with one hour still
to play. After the restart, Elliott recovered to take the lead for the first
time in the match. Thereafter, the lead changed hands regularly with
Elliott maintaining an advantage going into the last 10 minutes. At this
point Elliott was the recipient of an untimely kick when playing a
drop-cannon and allowed Donnelly the opportunity to put together a
match winning break of 32.
D. Elliott (79, 70, 56) 534.
Final Ranking Positions
The ranking list at the end of the Northern Ireland season is as follows:
S. Clarke – 33 pts; 5) D. Pogue – 21 pts; 6) E. Rogan – 18 pts; 7) F.
Cahoon – 14 pts; 8) F. Trainor – 14 pts.