ARBROATH and District Pool League finals were held at Seaton House at the weekend.
On Friday, the acting president of the Scottish Pool Association, Paul Preston, came through from Motherwell to coach four of Arbroath’s younger players. The session was very well received and the Arbroath League extended thanks to Paul for giving up his time.
Committee members are hopeful that the visit can be repeated in the future.
A one-day open singles competition sponsored by Howden’s Joinery Dundee attracted players from Aberdeen, Dundee, Brechin, Forfar and Perth as well as many Arbroath lads. A record-breaking 122 entries (including 80 from Arbroath alone) competed for the top prize of £250 and a prize fund of £810 overall.
The premier prize was won by Arbroath’s Graham Dunbar who beat Brechin’s Trevor Wood 4-1 in the final. Trevor received £140.
The semi-finalists were former winner Greg Alexander and Neil Davidson, which meant that there were three Arbroath players in the last four.
At this point proceedings were halted for the presentation of a cheque for £401 to Macmillan Nurses.
In the semi-finals of the Knockout Cup, Ram’s Heid (2) brushed aside the challenge of the Newgate over two tables and delivered a quick-fire 7-1 win to book their place in the final. Burns Bar (2) took a bit longer before they claimed a 7-2 win over Portcullis (2).
The final was a back and forth affair with Burns Bar (1) drawing first blood only for Rams to take the next two in succession. Burns matched that taking the next two for a 3-2 lead but could only watch as Rams cranked up the pressure, winning four frames in succession to make it 6-3 and put them on the verge of victory. Burns managed to claim the next frame to keep the contest alive but Rams were not to be denied and it fell to Gordon Dickson to slot the winning clearance to win the cup for his team.
As one team was unable to honour their match, the results from the three quarter-finals were as follows: Fishermans beat Legion (2), 7-4; Portcullis (3) beat Stag, 7-6; Legion (1) beat Bowlers, 7-2.
The semi-finals saw Portcullis (3) hand out a pool lesson to the Fishies in a quick-fire 7-1 win while Legion (1) , who were 5-1 down at one point to Burns Bar (2), mounted a magnificent comeback, reeling off six frames in-a-row to win 7-5.
The final pitted the Division Two winners and runners-up together for one last time this season. Although Portcullis started brightly going 2-1 up, it was Legion (1)’s middle order which had saved the day in the semi-final that came good again and rattled off four unanswered frames to put them 5-2 up. Porty rallied well winning the last two singles to close it to 5-4 down but Legion were not to be denied and won both the opening doubles to seal a 7-4 win and give them the double of League and Consolation Cup.
This year’s Kelbie Metals Doubles final pitted two-times former winners Davy Jack and Colin Brown (bidding for a new record of three wins as a pair) against Gary McLeish and Tam Walkinshaw. With three of the four players coming from Burns Bar (1), at least the pub was guaranteed a winner.
The final started well for Davy and Colin who quickly settled into a 3-0 lead. Tam and Gary stopped the rot in the next for 3-1 but it was only to be a temporary respite and Colin and Davy ruthlessly took out the next two for a thumping 5-1 win, Davy slotting the fifth and last black.
For Davy this was actually his sixth doubles final appearance, putting him top equal on the all-time list. For Davy and Colin though it created that little piece of history and also it was their third win in four years.
In the Kelbie Metals APDL Singles for the Billy Stewart Memorial Cup, the Last 16 threw up the usual mix of excitement and early nerves.
However, the quarter-finals began with Gordon Smith taking on Steve Hardwick. Although Steve took the first frame, it was Gordon who hit back and then pulled away to win comfortably 3-1. Andy Braid was unable to sustain his run, going down 3-2 against Gary McLeish. The third quarter-final was a repeat of the 1995 final between Dave McFarlane and George Fairweather. On that occasion, Dave beat George to win his solo title but this time George made no mistake with a solid 3-1 win. Finally, Steve Webster managed to find some form to beat Davie Williams in a decent quality open match by 3-1.
In the semi-finals Superleague A captain Gordon Smith faced Gary McLeish in a ‘nip and tuck’ match which went all the way to the decider and a blackball game. Gordon got an angled cut to the middle which he nailed to huge cheers. However, the cheers turned to groans as the white continued to run towards the bottom corner pocket and went in-off to hand the game to Gary.
The other semi saw its fair share of drama too. Four-time winner George Fairweather was back again bidding for that elusive fifth crown that would take him to top equal of the all-time list with John Hamilton. For Steve this was his third semi through the years so he was bidding to break that duck and make his first final. Steve got off to a great start going 3-1 up but then had to watch as George used all his experience to dig himself back level at 3-3 and force the decider. Knowing it might take something special to break them, Steve pulled out a break and dish in the last to deny George and book his place in the final. It also ensured that whoever won the final, a new name would be carved into ADPL singles history.
The finale to our long season was watched by a good crowd. Steve drew first blood with a break and dish but Gary replied with his own for 1-1. Steve continued with his form to carve out a 3-1 lead only for Gary to come in and keep it honest at 3-2.
A big frame next saw Steve take a long black to edge 4-2 ahead and put him on the winning line but sometimes that winning frame can be the hardest and despite chances, Steve had to watch as Gary it was who showed better composure in finishing to bring it back to 4-3 down and then 4-4 to set up another decider. As the frame unfolded, the first good chance fell to Steve who got down to a long but not too difficult black to the top corner. The pot unfortunately went on to the knuckle and down the side cushion a few inches leaving Gary to mop up his remaining balls and seal a big comeback win. Hard to bear for Steve who came so close but well played to Gary who did what he had to do and showed more composure with his own chances. For his efforts Steve received £100 and Gary won title and £200 prize money.
Following the final, the presentation of prizes took place as follows: Division One winners – Ram’s Heid (2); runners-up, Abbey (1); Division Two winners – Legion (1), runners-up, Portcullis (3); Grassroots Champion – Jeff Barthorpe, runner-up, Gavin Smith; Charity four-man event – Burns Bar (1) team of Colin Brown, Gary McLeish, Tam Walkinshaw and Kent Mitchell.
Thanks were proposed to Martin Cherry and Michael Bastow for setting up and running the league’s new website. Thanks were also proposed to players, publicans and sponsors without whom the Arbroath and District Pool league would not exist.
Willie McCartney Competition
Tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday is the SPA’s Willie McCartney Competition in Falkirk.
The following 13 players have qualified: Steve Hamilton, Garry Mitchell, Sean Hardwick, Graham Dunbar, Steve Webster, Paddy Nicoll, Martin Cherry, Davy Jack, Dale Leith, Steve Hallam, John Maud, Jimmy Balfour and Gareth Ruxton.
If they win on Saturday, some may play a second round on the same day before going through to Sunday’s session. Others will only have to win one match to go through to Sunday.
Travel is by private car as arranged by the players themselves.