Adrian ends the wait for third open crown

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Adrian ends the wait for third open crown thumbnailAdrian Ballantyne receiving the Open Individual Trophy from Ruairi Bradley, Omagh & District Snooker League secretary.

ADRIAN Ballantyne claimed his third open crown at Omagh & District Snooker League finals night, twenty five years on from his inaugural title.

Andrew Maguire won the Stevie McTeague Cup (Limited) for the first time, while Andrew Patterson took home the Billy Friel Trophy over two nights of top class snooker.

The Coach Inn was the venue for the 2017 Omagh & District Snooker League's blue riband event, Finals night. Prize-winners throughout the season were acknowledged at the presentation ceremony.


Open Individual

Adrian Ballantyne v Adam McMackin

With both finalists bringing a wealth of talent and experience to the table, Ballantyne appearing in his sixth final, McMackin in his second, expectations were high for an absorbing final and the players duly delivered.

The opening frame took time to get going with both players guilty of breaking down when opportunities were available. Ballantyne settled first with a number of small breaks and a 21 break took him thirty points clear. McMackin replied with a 20 to close the gap but a missed yellow proved costly as Ballantyne sealed the opener on a 68-43 score line.

The second frame mirrored the first initially with tactical play dominating. McMackin forged ahead with a 19 break but an 18 by Ballantyne reduced the deficit going into the colours. Ballantyne displayed all his experience to pot yellow to pink under pressure to edge the second 55-42 and go 2-0 up on the night.

With McMackin struggling to find his rhythm and two frames in arrears, frame three became a must-win game for him. Early small breaks allied with solid safety gave McMackin a healthy advantage; he established an unassailable lead going into the colours and despite Ballantyne's valiant attempts at snookers McMackin wins the third on a 53-15 score.

McMackin gained an early 20 point lead in the fourth frame with a 16 break but a composed 40 break saw Ballantyne wrest control and a further 24 contribution allowed him to clinch the frame 68-20 to move within one frame of the title.

Following a re-rack the fifth frame, while engrossing, went the same way as the previous with McMackin's early lead being cancelled out by a 22 break from Ballantyne thus putting himin early charge. McMackin continued to struggle with the pace of the table and Ballantyne's safety dominated what was the final frame of the night as he closed out the frame and match 67-15 to seal his third Open title on a 4-1 score line, after his first and second titles in 1992 and 1993.


Stevie McTeague Cup

Andrew Maguire v John Quinn

Omagh & District Snooker League Committee and players were privileged to welcome Helen, Conor and Ryan McTeague, wife and sons of former Omagh Golf Club stalwart, Stevie McTeague, to finals night. Tragically, Stevie lost his life in an accident last year and the snooker fraternity lost a friend. In his honour the Limited Individual Cup was renamed the Stevie McTeague Cup as Stevie was a former winner of this title in 2007.

The Stevie McTeague Cup (Limited) final pitted two times winner (2013, 2015) and six times finalist John Quinn against first time Limited finalist Andrew Maguire. Like the Open, a close encounter was anticipated and so it materialised with each frame hotly contested.

The opening game was characterised by a series of small breaks from Quinn and a 28 break pushed him well ahead; Maguire clawed his way back with a number of his own small breaks and potted yellow to brown to lead by a point but Quinn sealed the opener 58-48 with blue and pink.

Frame two saw Maguire take an early 40 points advantage with a combination of small breaks and solid safety. Quinn tried to make in-roads into the lead but to no avail and Maguire levelled the match on a 59-20 score line.

With Maguire rejuvenated he opened the third with a fluent 25 break and forged 40+ points ahead. Back came Quinn with a 15 and 14 break but an in-off proved costly when well placed to leave the frame in the balance. Quinn struck again but another in-off proved fatal and Maguire took a sixty six minute third frame 73-56 to lead 2-1.

A short interval allowed Quinnto regroup for a must win fourth frame. He started brightly with goodsafety and small breaks giving him the edge. Both players were tense and it showed in their break-building; Maguire responded and scores were tiedapproaching the colours. Quinn potted yellow to brown and under significant pressure he missed a potable blue to force a decider. The frame went to the black ball which Maguire clinched to win 58-57 and claim the Limited title.


Billy Friel Trophy

Andrew Patterson v Gavin Anthony

The first frame of the Billy Friel Trophy final was naturally safety dominated allowing both players to settle in what was their first appearance in an individual final. Patterson took control with 14 and 16 breaks and sealed the opener potting yellow to brown for an unassailable 63-19 lead.

The second frame could be best described as 'scrappy' with both players guilty of missing chances; Patterson was getting the "run of the ball"and led by 18 points with 27 remaining. Anthony potted brown, blue and pink but missed the black and Patterson duly potted it to edge the second 44-34 to move 2-0 ahead.

Patterson started the third frame positively to lead by 20 plus points; Anthony had to respond as the title was beginning to slip from his grasp but luck was not on his side as Patterson dominated the safety exchanges. Patterson closed out the frame and match 66-31 to win impressively 3-0 and claim his first Billy Friel Trophy.

The Committee of Omagh & District Snooker League would like to thank the following sponsors for their generosity and support: Cassidy Windows, Spectrum Print and Design, Jim McGirr Car Sales, Quinn Signs and Graphics, The Coach Inn, Lairds Jewellers, Tyrone Hygiene, GortrushTrading and Caldwell Motor Factors.

Thanks are also extended to Hugh Bradley, Ruairi Bradley, Conor Bradley and The Coach Inn for the efficient hosting of the finals. Our appreciation to match referees Martin Pearson, Hugh Bradley and Martin McQuaid.


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