WAYNE Muddiman was the last to arrive and the last to leave the third leg of the Cuestars South of England Seniors (40+) Tour.
The 48-year-old from Fair Oak admitted defeat in his battle with Swindon Station car park but recovered to clinch his first tournament win for nearly four years.
It was a case of saving his best to last as Muddiman compiled his first 40-plus break of the day in the deciding frame of a 2-1 victory over leg-one winner Matt Ford (Bracknell) in the final.
Explaining his late arrival at the 147 Snooker Club, which is tucked away in the old railway workshops, Muddiman said: “I got a bit lost. I was in the car park but I couldn’t find the club.”
He kicked off by beating leg-two winner John Hunter (Andover) in his first group-stage game and, later, knocked out three-time rankings champion Mike Talmondt (Portsmouth) 2-1 from 1-0 down in the last-eight.
Ford, who takes over top spot in the rankings from Hunter, broke the back of the opening frame of the final with a run of 44.
Muddiman, a carpenter, chipped in with a 38 in the next and three crucial in-offs by his opponent helped to square the match.
In the decider, his 19th frame of the day, Muddiman knocked in a 42 after Ford had gone in-off – again – when splitting the pack from the blue. The handshake came with four reds remaining.
“It was quite an important break,” he said. “There’s one thing about playing Matt, he does sharpen you up. He makes you play your game.
“I didn’t play well all day and I didn’t get a great run of the ball but I kept digging in and playing safe.”
Muddiman climbed to fifth in the rankings. Dan Hammond (Winchester) dropped one place to fourth. Talmondt moved up to third.
The 24-strong field produced 27 breaks of 40 or more.
Ford’s 116 in the second frame of his 2-0 quarter-final victory over Cuestars debutant Nick Hawkins (Bristol) was the highest of the season, beating Hunter’s 105 in the first leg in Bournemouth.
Fawley accountant Nick Miles was on the receiving end of the next two highest breaks of the day. He picked the balls out for an 87 against Ford and a 95 against Hunter.
In the last-four of the event sponsored by the host club, Muddiman overcame Chris Rigby (Sutton) 2-1 while Ford recorded a 2-0 victory over Derek Murphy (Bristol), who was making his first Seniors Tour outing.
Jackie Ellis (Clyffe Pypard, North Wilts), who is ranked 82nd on the World Ladies Billiards and Snooker circuit, became the first woman to compete on the seven-year-old circuit. Now her ambition is to become the first woman to win a frame.
Cue T’s Social & Snooker Lounge, Marchwood, hosts the fourth leg of eight on Sunday, December 17.
Matt Ford: 116, 87, 67, 44, 40.
John Hunter: 95, 69, 63.
Mike Talmondt: 61, 52, 51, 51, 45, 43, 40.
Nick Hawkins: 61, 57, 57, 47.
Neil Carroll: 56, 40.
Derek Murphy: 45, 43.
Mick Dagostino: 44.
Steve Ashton: 43.
Wayne Muddiman: 42.
Paul Lawrence: 40.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Chris Rigby (Chertsey SSNR Club); 2nd, Mick Dagostino (Bristol); 3rd, Neil Carroll (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Martin Wallace (Crowthorne RBL); 5th, Phil Morgan (Chandlers Ford SC); 6th, Herman Desmier (Bournemouth & District Constitutional Club).
GROUP B: 1st, Mike Talmondt (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 2nd, Nick Hawkins (Bristol); 3rd, Paul Lawrence (Park Gate RBL); 4th, Neil Herd (Salisbury SC); 5th, Dan Hammond (Chandlers Ford SC); 6th, Ray Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough).
GROUP C: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 2nd, Wayne Muddiman (Chandlers Ford Central); 3rd, John Hunter (Salisbury SC); 4th, Stephen Hills (Traders, Northfleet); 5th, Nick Miles (Ashlett Club, Fawley); 6th, Steve Ashton (Salisbury SC).
GROUP D: 1st, Derek Murphy (Fishponds Cons Club, Bristol); 2nd, David Stewart (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Mark Hodder (Bath); 4th, Paul Burt (Salisbury SC); 5th, Jon Walker (Potting Shed, Aldbourne); 6th, Jackie Ellis (147, Swindon).
KNOCKOUT RESULTS (PRIZE MONEY)
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Rigby 2-0 Stewart, Muddiman 2-1 Talmondt, Ford 2-0 Hawkins, Murphy 2-0 Dagostino.
SEMI-FINALS (£30, 15 points): Muddiman 2-1 Rigby, Ford 2-0 Murphy.
FINAL (£120/£60, 25/18 points): Muddiman 2-1 Ford.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)