The fourth tournament of the Scratch Billiards series was played at the Ivy Rooms Snooker Club in Carlow on Sunday, 11th of December 2011. Eugene Hughes, having bowed out at semi final stage in the previous two ranking events, both to last season’s No 1 ranked player Aidan Murray, more than made amends by taking the fourth tournament title of the season in a gripping final against Aidan.
In the two preliminary rounds in the top half of the draw, Timmy Murphy (Cork) and current Champion Larry Drennan (Kilkenny) won through to the quarter finals with decisive wins over Aonghus McAnally (Portmarnock) and Brendan Devlin (Celbridge), Larry clocking up the day’s high break of 117 in the process. Larry continued his good form into the quarter final where he was never threatened by a tiring Timmy. The other semi finalist in this half of the draw was Eugene Hughes (Carlow), taking a good quarter final win over Cork newcomer Derek O’Neill. In the semi final, perhaps benefiting from a rest period during Larry’s quarter final, Eugene had a relatively easy win over Larry, who was now playing in his third match without an intervening break.
In the two preliminary rounds in the bottom half of the draw, Joe Doheny (Borris-in-Ossory) and Dun Laoghaire veteran Victor O’Gorman won through to the quarter finals, Joe with a decisive win over Robert McCrum (Celbridge) and Victor in a closely fought battle against his Dun Laoghaire protégé Wayne Doyle. In an equally close quarter final, with neither player establishing a significant lead, Joe eased ahead of Victor in the last remaining minutes of the game to claim his place in the semi final. The other semi finalist in this half of the draw was Aidan Murray (Wicklow), who had a solid quarter final win over Lloyd Myers (Cork). The semi final was a close scoring game, Joe scoring well to keep in touch with an on-form Aidan. A timely break of 76, occurring at a crucial stage of the game, gave Aidan a margin which was just too much for Joe to overcome.
The Final was an intriguing and gripping game between two of the country’s leading billiard players. Eugene made a slow start and quickly found himself more than fifty points in arrears. A few scoring visits later, against a series of scoreless visits by Aidan reversed the position. Eugene continued to pile on the pressure, scoring freely at each visit, until, one hour into the game, he had amassed a lead of 140. At this point, Aidan rallied, totally outscoring Eugene in successive visits. With the difference in scores diminishing by the minute it was a race against the clock for Aidan to close the gap. As is so often the case when the winning post comes into view, elementary errors by both players, each breaking down when an opportunity seemed to present itself, meant that Eugene still had a 36 point lead when time was called.
The next Scratch Billiards round of the season takes place at the Ivy Rooms, Carlow on Sunday, 19th December 2011. Entries will be accepted before 10.30am on the morning of the event.
Our thanks are due to Jim Leacy for the excellent facilities at The Ivy Rooms and Marian and staff for their help on the day.
Results(all matches 400 up, 90 minute time limit):