MIKE Finn may have retired from his short-lived but undefeated boxing career but he’s still a knockout on the snooker table.
The 30-year-old from Eastleigh (pictured) took just 37 minutes to dispatch rankings winner Matt Ford 3-1 to clinch the sixth leg of the Cuestars South of England Championship Tour.
Finn, who compiled two century breaks earlier in the group stages, wrapped up the fourth frame at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club with runs of 52 and 57.
“In the knockout, I didn’t really feel that I was going to lose,” he said. “It was a good day all round. I played all right back on my old hunting ground where I learnt the game.
“Matt’s a good player but he missed a few balls that he never really misses. He beat me in the groups and I had a century in that game.”
The Mighty Finn recently underwent eight weeks training by Ultra White Collar Boxing and personally raised £600 for Cancer Research UK by fighting in front of a larger crowd at the Novotel in Southampton.
He won by a technical knockout with ten seconds remaining of the second of the three two-minute rounds.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “I used to play 80 minutes of rugby but training for boxing is unbelievable.
“I just thought I’ve turned 30 and want to do something random and try to test myself because I’ve been in the pub for ten years.
“You learn a lot about yourself, going out in front of 800 people in a tight vest. It was quite frightening. I certainly don’t get nervous about snooker any more.”
And he added: “I managed to lose two stone but put it back on in about two weeks!”
The five-time Southampton Town Champion, who takes on David Mumford in this season’s final next month, is currently practising for Q School with Shane Castle.
Ford, from Bracknell, who led three-time rankings winner Jon Charlton by 14 points going into the final leg, retained his title after beating Anthony Rice 3-1 and qualifying for the knockout.
Four centuries were among the 26 breaks of 50 or more recorded by the 18-strong field. Billy Castle made a 111 in his first match against Neil Carroll and added a 104 against 12-year-old Olly Gibbs. Finn contributed a brace of 101s, against Rice and Ford.
Billy Castle: 111, 104, 57, 50.
Mike Finn: 101, 101, 89, 83, 74, 60, 57, 52.
Jordan Winbourne: 69, 64.
Matt Ford: 66, 59, 57.
Christian Chislett: 54, 54, 53, 50.
Jon Charlton: 81, 77, 67, 66, 59.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Jordan Winbourne (Sarisbury Social Club); 2nd, Ram Birring (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Christian Chislett (Selsey RBL, Chichester); 4th, Connor Benzey (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Marc Russell (Chandlers Ford Central).
GROUP B: 1st, Billy Castle (Crucible, Newbury); 2nd, Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Olly Gibbs (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Neil Carroll (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, David Rice (Salisbury SC).
GROUP C: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club); 2nd, Mike Finn (Churchills, Eastleigh); 3rd, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC); 4th, Adam Nash (Churchills, Eastleigh).
GROUP D: 1st, Neil Herd (Player’s, Westbury); 2nd, Jon Charlton (Aldingbourne Social Club, Chichester); 3rd, Martin Wallace (Crowthorne RBL); 4th, Peter Chin (Jesters, Swindon).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Charlton 3 Winbourne 2, Finn 3 Castle 0, Ford 3 Joyce 0, Herd 3 Birring 1.
SEMI-FINALS (£20, 15 points): Finn 3 Charlton 0, Ford 3 Herd 1.
FINAL (£100/£40, 25/18 points): Finn 3 Ford 1.
Report and picture by Tim Dunkley