IAN BRIGGS is relishing Sunday’s Champion of Champions final after winning the Autumn Handicap.
The 51-year-old Longwood player beat Crosland Moor’s Terry Brook 21-13 in the showpiece at Almondbury Liberal Club to book the last place in the ‘big one’ and collect a £250 prize.
Slaithwaite-based Briggs beat two teammates en route to the final – Mark Atkinson and Ray Whitwam – and the former Yorkshire Parks winner was delighted to finally land an open title in Huddersfield.
“It’s a prestigious event and ranks right up there alongside the other things I’ve won,” said Briggs, who moved from Cleckheaton Sports nine years ago and has played district for both the West Riding and Huddersfield.
“I’ve been wanting to win one in Huddersfield for quite a long time because I’ve got a lot of friends over here and my heart is here now, so it was a good day all round.
“I was pleased with the way I played because the green was quite tricky. It was running quite a bit, which doesn’t usually suit me – I prefer a holding green more often – but I coped with the conditions pretty well.”
Briggs, who plays in the Super League with Longwood and the Chadderton League with Meltham – defeated Mark Richardson (Lockwood Con) 21-8 in the first round, then Super League teammate Atkinson (Crosland Moor) 21-18 in the last eight.
Longwood clubmate Whitwam was beaten 21-17 in the semi-finals and Briggs explained: “It was tough to play two of my teammates and then in the final there was obviously some pressure, but I stayed focused and saw it through.”
Now it’s the Champion of Champions at Kirkheaton C&BC (1pm start), when Briggs, a joiner, faces Andrew Wike (winner of the Horace Walker Handicap) in the first round.
“Andrew is a good player and I know him quite well, so I’m really looking forward to Sunday,” added Briggs.
Favourite Jack Dyson (Brockholes) was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Whitwam, while Brook went through with wins against Rob Morris (Almondbury Lib), Danny Walker (Moldgreen) and Tony Marren (Lockwood Con).
First round – M Martin (Canalside, 3) 18 M Atkinson (Crosland Moor, 3) 21, I Briggs (Longwood, 3) 21 M Richardson (Lockwood Con, 3) 8, G Sigsworth (Cowcliffe, 3) 18 R Whitwam (Longwood, 3) 21, S Haigh (Netherton, scr) 19 J Dyson (Brockholes, scr) 21, J Hodgson (Shepley, 5) 12 P Kain (Lockwood Con, 2) 21, A Wadsworth (Canalside, 3) 18 T Marren (Lockwood Con, 3) 21, T Brook (Crosland Moor, 3) 21 R Morris (Almondbury Lib, 3) 17, D Walker (Moldgreen, 3) 21 N White (Thongsbridge, scr) 13.
Quarter-finals – Atkinson 18 Briggs 21, Whitwam 21 Dyson 18, Kain 10 Marren 21, Brook 21 Walker 13.
Semi-finals – Briggs 21 Whitwam 17, Marren 19 Brook 21.
Final – Briggs 21 Brook 13.