Ben triumphs at Shootout Night

FOLLOWING Andrew Gratton’s double last Christmas in the Six Red and Speed Snooker competitions in the annual Shootout Night held at Jaxx Q Club, teammate Ben Monk of Marehay Miners Welfare remarkably achieved the very same feat this time around.

Eighteen snooker players converged on the Belper venue for what many commented is one of the most enjoyable nights of the year, with short format competitive snooker combined with a great feel of festive camaraderie being the order of the day.

Ben came through his early rounds of the main competition against teammate Lee Whatton and then Ian McKay before a mouthwatering clash ensued with local legend Jimmy Gratton in the semi-finals.

This did not disappoint with Jimmy making the early running and looking set to clinch a final berth until Ben’s 22 clearance at the end saw him snatch a dramatic victory on the final black.

And he kept up the good work in the final against Bolehill Institute’s Keith Robertson to lift the Alan Hopkinson Trophy, thanks mainly to an early 31 break before finishing the job with a clearance after Keith’s attempted pot on green into the middle pocket had caught the jaw.

The second leg of Ben’s double came in the Eddie Lomas Trophy, which pits players against each other head-to-head in being the fastest to clear the colours on adjacent tables.

The final was a real thriller against Bolehill’s Andrew Brough, with the pair nip and tuck and Andrew getting his shot away on the black just before Ben, only to narrowly miss the pocket and leave his opponent to snatch a last-gasp victory at the end.

Ben had earlier seen off Steve Hawkins, Ian McKay and Keith Robertson again en route to the final.

That left the George Mills Trophy as the other event up for grabs, which pairs random scotch doubles partners out of the hat, and, in another tense finale, the victors were Kevin Holmes of Jaxx Q Club and Steve Hawkins of Hartington RBL.

Their final opponents were Gray Astill, also of Hartington, and Steve Bullock of Strutt Club, who were left needing the last three balls to pull a win out of the fire.

Steve took blue, to leave Gray a chance on the pink with position on black pretty much guaranteed, but the ball wobbled all around the middle pocket, leaving Kevin to sink the decisive ball.

They had also come through earlier matches against Lee Whatton and Andrew Brough, Ricki Slack and Charlie Hodgkinson, and then Ben Monk and Chris Parker in the semis.

Thanks to all who turned out to make the night a great success, and to Jaxx Q Club for hosting.