ASHLEY TATTERSLEY retained the Huddersfield Liberal Merit title with an emphatic display at Milnsbridge Lib on Sunday.
The Almondbury Liberal Club ace conquered his opponents and mastered the changing weather and green conditions to claim the trophy and the £120 winner’s cheque after a 21-9 victory against Crosland Moor teenager Gary Siswick.
As late evening sun shone down on the champion, who won last year’s Liberal Merit at Golcar Lib, Tattersley revealed: “I was really struggling in the dry conditions during my second game but then the rain came and I thought, ‘phew, that’s a good job’ and managed to get a hold of the game, my form returned and I felt confident from then on right through to the end.”
The 56th staging of the Merit final began in strong sunshine before storm clouds dropped their load to give Milnsbridge a heavy, but brief, soaking.
Against his Almondbury clubmate Neil Jones, the rain-soaked scorecard revealed that Tattersley was 8-2 down before levelling at 16-16 and he ran out in the next three ends.
In the semi-final, Tattersley was tested by Meltham’s Barry Gibson who had earlier beaten Tom Chatfield (21-9) and fought back from 17-14 down against Lindley Lib’s Paul Senior to win 21-18.
But Tattersley found an extra gear to pull away for a 21-11 semi success.
Runner-up Siswick, meanwhile, was making great progress in the top half of the draw.
He beat Lindley Lib’s Richard Saunders 21-10 before taking the scalp of 2006 Merit winner Dave Jones, of Almondbury Lib, 21-19.
And in his semi-final against Pat Conneely (Cowcliffe Lib), who was playing in his first finals day, he was always in control, but the 21-6 scoreline did not reflect some of the good efforts Conneely produced.
The final was a bit one-sided as Tattersley made his experience count against the 19-year-old former Yorkshire Junior player.
Tattersley had taken note of Siswick’s favourite marks during their semi-finals played concurrently and took his teenage opponent away from the corners and eased to a 21-9 victory.
But the disappointment for Siswick was not too severe as he said: “This has been my first men’s final, I’ve got time on my side and it has been a great experience.”
The prizes were presented by Liberal League secretary Geoff Martin, who also paid special thanks to Milnsbridge Lib for their support, hospitality and sponsorship.
First round: Kevin Brown (Milnsbridge Lib) 19 Pat Conneely (Cowcliffe Lib) 21, Brendan Gilbert (Milnsbridge Lib) 15 Glenn O’Sullivan (Crosland Moor) 21, David Jones (Almondbury Lib) 21 Frank Wrathall (Meltham Lib) 15, Richard Saunders (Lindley Lib) 10 Gary Siswick (Crosland Moor) 21, Tom Chatfield (Milnsbridge Lib) 9 Barry Gibson (Meltham Lib) 21, Alan Brown (Cowcliffe Lib) 11 Paul Senior (Lindley Lib) 21, Willy Higgins (Linthwaite CBC) 13 Neil Jones (Almondbury Lib) 21, Ashley Tattersley (Almondbury Lib) 21 Steve Pollard (Marsden Lib) 13.
Quarter-finals: Conneely 21 O’Sullivan 20, D Jones 19 Siswick 21, Gibson 21 Senior 18, N Jones 16 Tattersley 21.
Semi-finals: Conneely 6 Siswick 21, Gibson 11 Tattersley 21.
Final: Siswick 9 Tattersley 21.
The final of the Dearne and Don Pairs Merit takes place at New Mill tomorrow night (6.30).
There is first prize of £100 to the winning pair in the event sponsored by Mad Nevs and Crossland Hairdressing, of Moldgreen.
First round: R Grayson and C Hockenhull (Stocksbridge Wks) v J Senior and N White (Thongsbridge), T Swift and R Schofield (Thongsbridge) v G Howe and R Taylor (Netherton Con), M Greenall and P Green (Clayton West) v V Senior and R Thompson (St Works), S Smith and D Spencer (Brockholes) v K Ainley and T Graham (Thurgoland).
Longwood had three winners against Pierpoints (Warrington) in a recent Manchester Premier League match and the pick of their winners was Ray Whitwam who beat Charlie Bebbington 21-19 in a 10-4.5 defeat.
But last week, a strong Budenburgs side sent Longwood back over the border in quick style when Roger Crowther was their only winner against Chris Morrison in a 12-1.5 defeat.
Lower Hopton had a big 12-1.5 win against Tottington (Bury) followed by a 13-0 whitewash at home to Nursery (Stockport).
Tomorrow Longwood host Noel Burrows and Roy Armson’s team Sale XL, while Lower Hopton travel to last year’s champions Tonge (Middleton).
Longwood v Pierpoints R Sutton 9 A Wightman 21, M Bramall 18 J Brown 21, R Crowther 11 J Lockett 21, P Ingleby 21 D Fisher 17, D Beeby 8 C Ashton 21, I Briggs 21 T Gately 20, R Mozley 15 B Burlington 21, D Hennessy 15 J Durrans 21, R Swift 20 S Brown 21, R Whitwam 21 C Bebbington 19.
Longwood v Budenburgs: M Bramall 1 P Bailey 21, F Greenwood 9 G Telford 21, I Briggs 16 G Soller 21, R Mozley 14 M Telford 21, B Tinker 10 D Parsons 21, R Crowther 21 C Morrison 15, P Ingleby 14 P Latham 21, D Hennessey 16 D Hooley 21, R Whitwam 19 S Mort 21, R Sutton 6 A Cairns 21.