Blimey. Where did that come from?
COLIN Norton recorded a whopping 140 total clearance at the final leg of the Cuestars South of England Seniors (40+) Tour but it was title-rival Martin Wallace who again took the honours.
Wallace, based at Colours Snooker Club, Reading, edged out rankings winner Norton 2-1 in a high-scoring final at the Ambassador Snooker Club, Poole.
Wallace opened with a 61 break. Norton responded with an 81.
Drawn together in the same round-robin group, Norton (Fareham Snooker Club) accounted for Wallace 2-0 and did not drop a frame in four matches.
The pair, who have each won two of the four tournaments, have met five times this season.
Norton overcame Wallace 2-0 in the group stages at Chandler’s Ford SC, last November, and by the same score in the quarter-finals at Salisbury, in January
However, Wallace dispatched Norton 2-0 in the semi-finals of the third leg in Swindon, in March.
Trevor Thorn (Basingstoke Conservative Club) romped through Group B winning all eight frames. But he was denied a first final appearance by Wallace in the last-four.
In the second semi, 82-year-old Ron Ellis, runner-up in Group B, was beaten by Norton.
Meanwhile, Neil Carroll didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
For the third tournament running, the 46-year-old was drawn in the same round-robin group as the eventually finalists.
And he was on the receiving end of Norton’s monster break in the last Group A match.
“Our first frame was pretty scrappy,” said Carroll. “I had several chances but didn’t take them.
“In the second frame, I broke off and Colin knocked in a 140 break. It was an excellent break, certainly the highest I’ve witnessed.
“Colin said ‘blimey, where did that come from?’ I replied ‘I don’t know, but don’t do it again’.”
Carroll, one of seven players from Salisbury Snooker Club to qualify for the Play-Off, finished third in his five-man group and seventh in the rankings.
Ray Mears pointed out: “Neil didn’t get an easier group this time!”
Needing a victory to qualify for the knockout, Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough) lost 2-1 on the pink to Alan Childs (Salisbury SC).
The top-16 ranked players who qualify for the Championship Play-Off at Jesters, Swindon, on Sunday, June 5, in front of guest-of-honour Ryan Day are:
Colin Norton (Fareham SC), Martin Wallace (Colours SC, Reading), John Hunter (Salisbury SC), Steve Ashton (Salisbury SC), Trevor Thorn (Basingstoke Conservative Club), Nick Birney (Liberal Club, High Wycombe), Neil Carroll (Salisbury SC), Paul Burt (Salisbury SC), Ron Ellis (Burgh Heath Club, Surrey), Gary Hart (Salisbury SC), David Brabiner (First Tower, Jersey), Paul Rose (Jesters, Swindon), Ray Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough), Danny O’Driscoll (Copnor SC, Portsmouth), Richard Arnold (Salisbury SC), Alan Childs (Salisbury SC).
Colin Norton: 140, 81, 80.
Martin Wallace: 61.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Colin Norton (Fareham SC); 2nd, Martin Wallace (Colours SC, Reading); 3rd, Neil Carroll (Salisbury SC); 4th, Alan Grainger (Liberal Club, High Wycombe); 5th, Danny O’Driscoll (Copnor SC, Portsmouth).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Trevor Thorn (Basingstoke Conservative Club); 2nd, Ron Ellis (Burgh Heath Club, Surrey); 3rd, Ray Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough); 4th, Alan Childs (Salisbury SC); 5th, Fred Pearce (Burgh Heath Club, Surrey).
SEMI-FINALS (£10, 12 points): Norton beat Ellis 2-0, Wallace beat Thorn 2-0.
FINAL (£40/£20, 25/18 points): Wallace beat Norton 2-1.