Crich Comrades lift The Jaeger Trophy for first time

CRICH COMRADES Jaeger Trophy winners 2023-24L-R: Nick Berry, Phil Leverton, Ade Smith and Martin Byard. Also played: Paul Trevett, Jack Long, Rob Mulliss.CRICH COMRADES Jaeger Trophy winners 2023-24L-R: Nick Berry, Phil Leverton, Ade Smith and Martin Byard. Also played: Paul Trevett, Jack Long, Rob Mulliss.
CRICH COMRADES Jaeger Trophy winners 2023-24L-R: Nick Berry, Phil Leverton, Ade Smith and Martin Byard. Also played: Paul Trevett, Jack Long, Rob Mulliss.
The Jaeger Trophy Play-Off final took place between the top two teams from the T & M Motors Snooker League Edgefold No1 and Crich Comrades who had each progressed to the Bolehill Institute venue with clean sweep victories in their semi finals.

The opening frame was a real cracker with some top notch potting and great attacking play from both players. Martin Barwick notched a neat run of 22 en route to leading 42-0 early doors but opponent Martin Byard remained unphased and had edged ahead before taking blue and pink to seal the frame.The next was nip and tuck throughout as Steve Burton took on Nick Berry and it was the latter who came through at the end, taking pink to go seven ahead and eventually fluking the black to make it 2-0.Scott Brooks and Duncan Harwood (20 break) were in very solid form throughout and engineered decisive verdicts of 69-27 and 66-36 respectively however for 2-2 and it was all down to the final doubles frame.Unsurprisingly the winning players from both teams were nominated and with the last three balls on, Edgefold needed them all to win by one point.Brooks set about the task with a fine pot on blue but very unluckily the cue ball landed right behind the black meaning he was snookered full-ball on the pink and having missed this narrowly, the Tramwaymen looked poised for victory.This was confirmed soon afterwards by another unlucky in-off as Berry and Byard kept their unbeaten record on the night with a 62-32 success thanks to some great play and a 3-2 win on the night.A first success in the event for Crich Comrades and the third time overall that the runners-up have ended up winning the play off final.The following night the Edgefold pairing of Duncan Harwood and Steve Burton (playing off minus 8) had the chance to go one better as they took on Bolehill duo Ricki Slack and Ian Birks (minus 13) at Crich Comrades in the pairs handicap final for the Denis Morton Trophy.Harwood was a current holder of the trophy, having won last year's delayed final with Steve Clark who was unavailable with work commitments through most of this campaign. In all he was looking for a fourth win in the event, having also taken it twice with top cueman Andy Russell a few years back.With the Bolehill pair being restricted to mainly single reds in the opener, the Matlock duo were off to a flying start as they took the opener 50-14 with few concerns.An early lead in the next was eradicated when Slack compiled a run of 33 before missing a black off the spot but it proved enough eventually to equalise with a 66-32 scoreline.Harwood with a mid-frame 24 in the third soon had Edgefold back in the ascendancy with a 66-22 verdict.Once again Bolehill replied in turn with Birks getting into the action with a break of 24 for an early frame advantage and then Slack clearing up with 22 at the back-end for a 68-43 win and 2-2.The fifth frame saw Steve Burton amongst the balls with a solid break of 31 and although the lead was gradually eaten into, the brown put the Matlock pairing 19 ahead with 18 on.Slack was forced to pot blue in the jaws of the pocket but no snooker was forthcoming thereafter and eventually they fell behind 3-2 after inadvertently potting the pink also.Nevertheless, the topsy turvy nature of the evening continued and some gritty tactical play came to fore as a 65-32 win squared it up again at 3-3 with the clock already moving towards closing time.And in an incredibly high-scoring finale in which 162 points were amassed no less, it was all the fun of the fair except perhaps for the players participating as a bizarre ending ensued.Needing all the balls to win by one, Burton tried a thin snick on green into middle which missed altogether but then despite two or three gilt-edged chances for Bolehill to put the game to bed, the balls would just not go in and eventually Harwood laid an excellent snooker.Slack swerved to escape and made a solid hit but amazingly the cue ball went straight in off into a baulk pocket thereafter and it was game on.A couple of decent snookers from Bolehill soon afterwards had them back in the driving seat though and with both escapes failing we were now at the two snookers required stage and surely that was it......But incredibly, a rare mis-hit from Birks knocked in the black which was sitting over a bottom pocket and the Matlock cuemen could now tie with the seven point penalty coming into play.And gradually potting each of the balls one by one, soon enough only the black remained. Birks played a fine safety from the full length of the table and Harwood was very unlucky in the end to go in-off into a baulk pocket when playing his reply after an inconceivable run of events to end an extremely tight and tough marathon battle.Ian gains his first win in the event having been once runner-up and it is a second win for Ricki (the previous one being way back in 1980 as a "C" Division player with the late Richard Potts) as well as attaining four runner-ups in the years since.

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