AN EX-PROFESSIONAL from Portsmouth renowned for his attacking style of play insists a tactical game helped clinch the double on an over-40s regional snooker circuit.
Rankings winner Mike Talmondt pocketed £200 prize money after landing the championship play-off title in the end-of-season finale on the Cuestars South of England Seniors Tour.
The 44-year-old dropped just two frames in the event sponsored by Cold Ash Post Office and Store, near Thatcham, and overcame Andover cueman John Hunter 2-0 in the final at The Crucible Sports & Social Club, Newbury.
“It started off a bit scratchy but it got better as the day went on,” he said. “My safety was quite good and it got me through a couple of games.”
Hunter, who had beaten rankings runner-up Matt Ford (Bracknell) 2-1 in the last-four, opened the final on the club’s professional-standard match table with a break of 30.
But, following a length tactical battle, Talmondt took the lead with a 38.
Hunter ended a safety exchange in the next by going in-off and left his opponent in hand with 11 reds spread across the table like a beginner’s practice routine.
By the time Talmondt left the table, there was one red left and he had helped himself to 57 points.
“John doesn’t give you anything so I kept it tight and it went my way,” said the taxi driver, who recently won the Portsmouth singles championship.
“I used to be very attacking like Matt (Ford) but I know now I can’t play the same game I used to play.
“It doesn’t come so easy so I play to my strengths and sometimes safety does the job.”
Reflecting on his double-winning break, he added: “I looked at it and thought I’ve got to make a 50 out of it. They were all over the place.
“But sometimes it’s a bit unorthodox. You don’t know which one to go for first. The black and pink were no good so I kept the cue-ball in the middle of the table and kept it simple.
“It takes a couple of hours to get used to (the pro-table) but once you do it makes the game easier.
“It’s a lovely reactive cloth. I enjoy playing on them. It beats bashing around on a dead cloth, that’s for sure.”
Talmondt had an eventful 2-1 quarter-final victory over Mark Tillison (Waterlooville). He compiled an 88 in the first frame but went in-off the pink in the second when his opponent needed a snooker.
Beaten semi-finalist Nick Birney (High Wycombe) recorded the day’s highest break of 90 in his third group-stage match against Paul Lawrence (Southampton).
Dan Hammond (Winchester) beat Chris Stocker (Bracknell) in the final of the Plate completion for those players not qualifying for the knockout.
Before the action started, David Stewart (Odiham) was presented with the Masters trophy for being the highest-placed over-55 on the Seniors Tour.
Leeds-based Dransfields, the series sponsor, is the UK’s largest independent supplier of gaming and amusement machines to pubs and clubs. For more information, visit www.dransfields.com.
Nick Birney: 90, 55, 49.
Mike Talmondt: 88, 61, 57, 45, 44.
Matt Ford: 75, 58, 45, 45, 40.
John Hunter: 58, 54, 42.
Wayne Muddiman: 53, 49, 45, 44, 41.
Mark Tillison: 51.
Chris Stocker: 47.
John Monckton: 40.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Mike Talmondt (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 2nd, David Stewart (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, John Monckton (Woking SC); 4th, Nick Miles (Ashlett Club, Fawley); 5th, Steve Ashton (Salisbury SC).
GROUP B: 1st, Wayne Muddiman (Chandlers Ford Central); 2nd, Martin Wallace (Crowthorne RBL); 3rd, Chris Stocker (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 4th, Stephen Hills (Traders, Northfleet); 5th, Alan Thomas (Jesters, Swindon).
GROUP C: 1st, John Hunter (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Nick Birney (Liberal Club, High Wycombe); 3rd, Dan Hammond (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Paul Lawrence (Park Gate RBL); 5th, Dave Pullman (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot).
GROUP D: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 2nd, Mark Tillison (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 3rd, Neil Carroll (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Neil Herd (Salisbury SC); 5th, Paul Shears (Devizes Literary & Scientific Inst).
KNOCKOUT RESULTS (PRIZE MONEY)
QUARTER-FINALS (£20): Ford 2 Stewart 0, Hunter 2 Wallace 0, Birney 2 Muddiman 1, Talmondt 2 Tillison 1.
SEMI-FINALS (£40): Hunter 2 Ford 1, Talmondt 2 Birney 0.
FINAL (£200£100): Talmondt 2 Hunter 0.
PLATE (ONE-FRAME MATCHES
QUARTER-FINALS: Hammond beat Hills, Pullman beat Ashton, Stocker beat Shears, Carroll beat Lawrence.
SEMI-FINALS: Hammond beat Pullman, Stocker beat Carroll.
FINAL: Hammond beat Stocker.
Pictures by Tim Dunkley
Pat Patel (left), from Cold Ash Post Office and Store, presents Mike Talmondt with the championship trophy.
Finalists John Hunter (left) and Mike Talmondt.
Plate winner Dan Hammond (left) and Pat Patel, from Cold Ash Post Office and Store.
Masters champion David Stewart (centre) and the runners for the championship play-off.
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)