BERKSHIRE snooker star Matt Ford has managed to shake off a nasty dose of finalitis just in time for Christmas.
The 42-year-old from Bracknell had finished runner-up in three tournaments in all competitions over the last two months.
But the run ended in his annual visit to his happy hunting ground in Marchwood on the Cuestars South of England Seniors (40+) Tour.
Rankings leader Ford beat second-placed John Hunter 2-0 to clinch the fourth leg at Cue T’s Social & Snooker Lounge.
The England international won a decidedly scrappy first frame in which the highest break was 17.
In the next, he broke down on 29 but resumed normal service by wrapping up his second tournament win of the season with a 54.
Ford, who won the corresponding fixture last season, collected £100 prize money.
“It’s a happy hunting ground, that club,” he said.
“I scored quite well and I’m pleased to win a final because I’ve lost the last three.
“It was nice to win the last tournament of the year. I’ve had a good year.”
He extended his lead over Andover cueman Hunter to 13 points in the race for the title that he has never won.
In his previous three finals, Ford lost to Wayne Muddiman (Southampton) on the Cuestars Seniors Tour at the 147 SC, Swindon; Aidan Owens (Lowestoft) on the EASB VIA Creative Masters Tour at the Castle SC, Brighton; and Jonathan Bagley (Leeds) in a World Seniors Championship qualifying tournament at The Crucible Sports & Social Club, Newbury.
The Dransfields-sponsored event attracted a 20-strong field. Ford recorded the day’s highest break of 76 in a quickfire 2-0 last-eight victory over Dan Hammond (Winchester), who climbed to third place.
Steve Crowley (East Grinstead), on his return to Cuestars competitions, won his round-robin group but went out 2-1 to John Monckton (Woking) in the quarter-finals.
Tennis coach Monckton was then knocked out 2-0 by Ford.
Mr Consistency Chris Rigby (Sutton) has now reached the semi-finals of all three events he has entered in his debut season. Rigby lost 2-1 to Hunter and moved up to fourth in the rankings.
Phil Morgan (Salisbury) edged ahead of Chandlers Ford clubmate David Stewart in the race for the Masters (55+) title.
Morgan set off like a train by beating leg-three winner Muddiman and then knocking in a 60 break to take the first frame of a 2-1 defeat by Ford.
He eventually went out 2-0 to Rigby in the last-eight.
Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon, hosts the fifth leg of eight on Sunday, January 28.
For more information about Leeds-based Dransfields – the UK’s largest independent supplier of gaming and amusement machines to pubs and clubs – go to www.dransfields.com.
Matt Ford: 76, 68, 55, 54, 53, 48, 40, 40.
Phil Morgan: 60.
John Hunter: 48, 46.
Steve Crowley: 47, 43, 42.
Dan Hammond: 43.
Paul Lawrence: 43.
Steve Ashton: 42, 40.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Steve Ashton (Salisbury SC); 2nd, John Monckton (Woking SC); 3rd, Neil Carroll (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Stephen Hills (Traders, Northfleet); 5th, Herman Desmier (Bournemouth & District Constitutional Club).
GROUP B: 1st, Chris Rigby (Chertsey SSNR Club); 2nd, Dan Hammond (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Nick Miles (Ashlett Club, Fawley); 4th, Jon Walker (Potting Shed, Aldbourne); 5th, Ray Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough).
GROUP C: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 2nd, Phil Morgan (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Wayne Muddiman (Chandlers Ford Central); 4th, Neil Herd (Salisbury SC); 5th, Peter Chin (Jesters, Swindon).
GROUP D: 1st, Steve Crowley (East Grinstead); 2nd, John Hunter (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Glenn Gresham (Fareham SC); 4th, Paul Lawrence (Park Gate RBL); 5th, David Stewart (Chandlers Ford SC).
KNOCKOUT RESULTS (PRIZE MONEY)
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Hunter 2-0 Ashton, Rigby 2-0 Morgan, Ford 2-0 Hammond, Monckton 2-1 Crowley.
SEMI-FINALS (£25, 15 points): Hunter 2-1 Rigby, Ford 2-0 Monckton.
FINAL (£100/£50, 25/18 points): Ford 2-0 Hunter.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)