A SLIGHTLY rusty Matt Ford has taken an early lead on the Cuestars Seniors (40+) Tour.
The 44-year-old from Bracknell collected £100 prize money after winning the opening leg at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant.
Ford, who retained the Seniors Championship title in April, had packed his cue away for the whole of the summer.
He beat Steve Ashton 2-0 in the final of the event sponsored by the host club.
Ford edged the first frame on the pink and did the damage in the next with runs of 33 and 31.
Ashton (Salisbury) had knocked out defending rankings champion John Hunter (Andover) 2-0 in the last-four to reach his first final since February, 2014.
James Height (Shepton Mallet, Somerset) progressed through to the semi-finals for the first time before losing 2-0 to Ford.
Londoner Andrew Darken is another player who should have left the club pleased with his performance.
He qualified for the knockout for the first time in 18 months and was the only player to take a frame off Ford in a 2-1 quarter-final defeat.
Meanwhile, Raj Puri (Rochester), on his return to the Cuestars circuit following a break of more than ten years, was on course for the highest break of the day after posting a 65 against Phil Morgan (Salisbury) in his first group-stage match.
But that was eclipsed by Hunter’s 72, which wrapped up a 2-0 quarter-final victory over Dan Hammond (Winchester).
And it should go on record that new Seniors Tour tournament director Steven Hughes’s predication of a 7pm finish was all of 30 seconds out.
For more information about Top Spot SC, visit top-spot-snooker-club.business.site.
Fareham Snooker Club hosts the second leg of eight on Sunday, October 20.
John Hunter: 72.
Raj Puri: 65.
Matt Ford: 58, 56, 54, 45, 44.
James Height: 56.
Neil Herd: 45, 40.
Neil Carroll: 41.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, John Hunter (Salisbury SC); 2nd, James Height (SWSA, Gloucester); 3rd, Paul Lawrence (Park Gate RBL); 4th, John Monckton (Woking SC).
GROUP B: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club); 2nd, Steve Ashton (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Raj Puri (Hartley Country Club, Kent); 4th, Phil Morgan (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Graham Leech (Park Gate RBL).
GROUP C: 1st, Martin Wallace (Crucible, Newbury); 2nd, Dan Hammond (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Jean-Marc Bancilhon (Camphill Social Club); 4th, David Stewart (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Mick Sutton (Hampshire).
GROUP D: 1st, Neil Herd (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Andrew Darken (Chertsey SSNR Club); 3rd, Neil Carroll (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Darren Johnson (Petersfield Bowls & Snooker Club); 5th, Stephen Hills (Traders, Northfleet).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 pts): Hunter 2-0 Hammond, Ashton 2-0 Herd, Ford 2-1 Darken, Height 2-1 Wallace.
SEMI-FINALS (15 pts, £20): Ashton 2-0 Hunter, Ford 2-0 Height.
FINAL (25/18 pts, £100/£50): Ford 2-0 Ashton.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
Former professional Jason Weston (left), whose family owns Top Spot, and Matt Ford (right).
Have you got any snooker news?
Send me your snooker news now. It doesn’t have to be from a Cuestars tournament. E-mail me details or contact me via Facebook and you could be on the Cuestars website and in your local newspaper. E-mail: [email protected]
Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)