Harrison Wins Belgrave Open
16th & 17th June 2012
Ben Harrison from Wiltshire, justified the support of his sponsor Adam Quigley of Pockets Promotions, to come through two days of tough competition to win the Belgrave Open Snooker Championship against 32 of the best Snooker players from as afar a field as Liverpool. Players competed for a share of £1000 prize money in the two day Tournament which was held at the Belgrave Snooker Club, Mutley, Plymouth. With experienced Tournament Director, Wayne Branton and fellow members of the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation at the helm to organise and take control of proceedings a smoothly run tournament was all but guaranteed. Add to this the promise from club Proprietor, Derek Walker to top up the prize fund and provide quality playing conditions throughout the weekend…all that would remain is for the players to respond with quality snooker. The outcome lived up to all expectations, top drawer snooker peppered with a barrage of high breaks.
Day one would see all 32 players compete in a round robin stage consisting of 4 groups that played a total of 336 frames on 11 excellent tables to whittle the field down to find 16 qualifiers. These would then go forward into a knock-out stage on day two. Group 1 was won by Sam Baird from Halberton wining no less than 20 of the 21 frames played. Baird was prolific with his break building, posting breaks of 139, 136 total clearance, 122, 93, 85, 83, 75, 64, 61, 61, 60, 52 & 43. The Gloucester under 21 Champion, 16 year old Ben Fortey, who plays out of the South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester, finished in a credible second place with breaks of 80, 57, 55 & 40. Third and fourth places went to Mitchell Grinsted from Plymouth and Lee Halling from Bideford. These players made breaks of 79, 67, 59, 56, 51 and 74, 70, 57 respectively.
Group 2 was much tighter with only 5 points separating the 4 qualifiers. Matt Williams from Plymouth, playing on home tables, topped the group making breaks of 78 & 47. Alan Tunney from Torquay finished in second place with breaks of 67, 60, 54 & 41, Adrian Bond, Tiverton finished fourth with a fine break of 100 and Tom Kevern, Plymouth qualified in fourth aided by 83 & 48 breaks. Group 3 was arguably the toughest group, this was supported by the fact that 49 of the 56 matches went to a deciding frame. Darren Bond from Tiverton won the group with a string of breaks (104, 79, 74, 74, 68, 67, 55 & 52). One point behind was another talented player, Clayton Humphries, who had travelled from Liverpool to compete. Humphries posted breaks of 62, 62, 52 & 47. One more point behind was to be the eventual winner, Harrison who had quality breaks of 115, 114, 95 & 74. The remaining qualifying spot was taken by Steve Downing from Cornwall who recorded breaks of 77, 63, 60 & 46.
The final group did not have the prolific high break players that could be found in the other groups but the quality of tactical competitive play was as evident. Nick Kenny from Barnstaple lived up to his ‘betting odds’ to take the top spot aided with a 55 break. Haydon Pinhey from Plymouth, at just 15 year, played really well to take second place posting an 83 break. Steve Winstone from Bristol finished in third place over Paul Williams from the South West Snooker Academy after taking into account their ‘head to head’ result. Breaks of 66 & 60 came from Winstone and 59 & 53 from Williams.
After seizing the opportunity of evening enjoying the Plymouth night life the 16 qualifiers returned to the Belgrave the next morning to, hopefully, pick up where they left off the day before. The players were seeded in the Knock-out stage which saw tournament favourites Sam Baird and Ben Harrison destined to meet after the first round in the quarter finals. Baird looked in reasonable form in beating Steve Downing 4(73)-1(99), whilst young Ben Fortey put up a spirited fight before losing to Harrison 4(58)-2, to set up the ‘clash of the favourites’. The outcome was mostly one way traffic with Harrison winning 4(72,67,45)-1(43). With Baird out and Harrison safely through to the semi finals the remaining last 16 must have all felt they had a good chance to make it through to the semi’s. Clayton Humphries’ long trip back to Liverpool was to begin sooner than he would have liked, after he lost to Mitchell Grinsted 4(50)-1. Grinsted was then to lose in a tightly contested match of quality to Darren Bond 4(78,63)-3(71,44) after Bond had beaten Lee Halling 4-2. Matt Williams played solid snooker to beat Paul Williams 4(43)-2(68,66) before going on beat Steve Winstone 4(78,51)-1. Winstone had previously beaten Alan Tunney 4-2. Youngster Haydon Pinhey played exceptionally well to defeat Adrian Bond 4(58,42,42)-3 and then Tom Kevern 4(40)-2. Earlier Kevern beat Nick Kenny 4-3 to win through to the quarters.
The semis saw Harrison post the highest break of the tournament, a fantastic 143 along with a modest 72 to beat Darren Bond 4-2 in a high quality match that also saw Bond post breaks of 68 & 63. In the other semi final Matt Williams ended the superb run by the youngster Haydon Pinhey 4-2(41) to set up a Harrison – Williams final. Williams lack of practice over the preceding weeks finally caught up with him in the final as Harrison showed both class and stamina to overwhelm Williams and win 4-0 with frame winning breaks of 82,72 & 65 and take the top prize.
It just goes to prove that a combination of a well run tournament on quality tables will attract top class players from around the region and even further afield, who will put on a show of quality snooker.
Report by Steve Canniford