ROBERT READ entered the annals of the Huddersfield Billiards and Snooker League when he made it a lucky 13 with victory over Trevor Liversidge in the SMileS-backed Open Snooker Championship.
“I’ve done it!” was Read’s immediate response after clearing up from brown to black in the fourth and final frame to surpass the late Tommy Donlan’s record on 12 Open snooker titles, and give himself the perfect 40th birthday present.
It’s 21 years ago since the Lindley WMC player claimed his first League title, but as he confided to me back in 2007, it was Donlan’s historic mark that he was desperate to claim and put down his very own marker, which is unlikely ever to be beaten.
Read got away to a good start in the first frame making breaks of 36 and 37, both started by two brilliant long pots to take it 96-12.
And he looked on course to take the second easily after making a 31 break and was in among the reds, but after leaving himself cueing over the top of another red, he missed the object ball and the break broke down.
Liversidge, who was not enjoying the best of the running, although like Read he did have one fluked red, gradually began to get himself back into the frame after being 59-10 down.
He potted several excellent balls, but after potting the last two reds, then lost position, and Read stepped in to pot the green and take it 74-40 for a 2-0 lead.
The start of the third frame saw several safety shots from both players, but with the Golcar Con man leading 8-7, Read suddenly shopped a stunning long red off the rest, and went on to make a very good 79 break to go into the interval 3-0 ahead.
Liversidge made a 28 break early in the fourth (his best of the night) and looked to be in command at 48-20 and then 55-37 and when Read, who had staged a comeback, went in-off the green and left it over the baulk corner bag, the match suddenly had a 3-1 look to it.
But having potted the green, Liversidge failed to get perfect position on the brown, and proceeded to miss it. A surprised Read leapt from his seat, where he was probably contemplating a fifth frame, to shop brown, blue pink and black and raise his arm in salute to a great achievement.
It marked not only his fifth title in succession (also never before achieved by anyone) but also the long-cherished record.
Asked whether he would now consider retiring after achieving his aim, Read admitted: “I might take a year off now. I want to spend a bit more time with my lads, Oliver and Jake, both of whom want to start playing snooker.” The youngsters were both watching their dad for the first time in this year’s final at Newsome WMC).
But looking at the glint in his eye, I have a feeling his opponents may find they have to wait a little bit longer before he puts his cue case into the loft!