ROBERT READ held off a fine fightback by friend and rival Rob Armitage to win the Huddersfield Open Snooker Championship for a remarkable 10th time!
The Lindley WMC player lifted the trophy after winning the final and deciding frame to clinch a 4-3 victory.
But there was little indication the final at Newsome WMC would be such a close affair as Read went into a 3-0 lead, winning 80-14, 67-30 and 68-37.
Armitage had held the advantage in the third frame with a 36 break putting him 37-1 ahead.
However, Read took command with a magnificent 67 break to win, and with just one more frame required, it looked like being an early finish.
Marsh Liberal star Armitage had other ideas however.
He fired back in the fourth despite trailing 50-30 with only the colours left on the table, shopping up to win 57-50.
And he soon had control of the fifth frame too, forcing Read to concede when he trailed by 40 with only the colours left on the table.
Armitage was now on a roll and in the sixth frame he opened up with a 38 break and then finished off the frame with another of 54 to win 97-0.
And so to the climax, in which Read struck first when he took six reds and six blacks for a 48 break.
Armitage ran out of position, allowing Read back in, and he stormed to the title with another run of 47.
“I think I got used to the run of the table quicker than Rob did, and I just played solid snooker,” said Read.
“But then I missed a vital ball in the fourth, and Rob stepped in and never missed another shot for three frames.
“He played really well and I simply never saw another ball in those three frames.
“But luckily in the last he left me a red and I got away to a decent start, then managed to finish it off when he ran out of position.”
Read is now three titles behind the late Tommy Donlan. He would love to better his mark, but concedes it will be very difficult.
“I don’t think about it as having won 10 times because each year is another challenge,” he said.
“There is nothing better than playing on finals night, on a newly-covered table in front of a large crowd of spectators. I would never get bored of it. That’s what I thrive on.
“But it does get harder, because there are now so many good players around, many of whom are good friends like Rob, and Naeem, who I beat in the semis in what was another tough match.”
Naeem gained some consolation for his semi-final defeat when he and partner Paddy Joyce beat Rob Armitage and Tony Clegg in the Leonard Oldham Pairs.
It’s a title their Lindley WMC teammates Read and Andy Boothroyd have virtually made their own over the last few years, but this time it was Naeem and Joyce’s night of glory.
In the first frame, Naeem got the benefit of a lucky red when on 12 and went on to compile a frame-winning 73.
But he was the guilty culprit in the second, when Clegg laid two clever snookers which resulted in Naeem being called for a ‘foul and a miss’ four then five times.
But Clegg and Armitage fell foul of the same rule in the third, with Naeem potting a superb long blue down the cushion, leaving an easy pink to claim the frame.
Then Joyce gained his reward when he potted pink in the fourth to seal the 3-1 success.