Ton-derful show as Alf advances to last four

First published in Sport

Alf Bellusci turned back the clock to his glory years as he became the first man into the semi finals of the Blackburn And Darwen Individual Snooker Championship.

The first frame of his match against Tommy Hannan was quiet enough as both players adjusted to the new match table and it was Alf who took it on the colours.

The second frame was another cagey affair and a run of 35 was enough for Tommy to level things. After that it was a snooker master class from Bellusci as he took the next three frames in stunning style. Frame three was looking like another for Tommy as Alf found himself in trouble behind the baulk line with only a tremendously difficult long red to go at.

Alf smashed it in as though it was over the hole and ran out the frame with a marvellous 64 break.

Frame four was simply breathtaking as Alf once again got in with a difficult long red and then treated the crowd to a display of cue ball control rarely seen at this level as he cleared the table with a tournament high break of 121 to lead 3-1.

In frame five Bellusci was simply unplayable and another break of 61 was enough to give him frame and match.

The weeks second match pitted James Brookens against Jonathon Wignall and they didn’t disappoint. James is a tough nut to crack when his confidence is high and he looked superb for the first three frames as 40+ breaks in all 3 gave him what looked to be an unassailable 3-0 lead in the race to four.

With the match seemingly over Wignall started to produce his best snooker and a combination of solid safety play and quality potting gave him frame 4.

Frame five followed much the same pattern as Brookens struggled to strike the killer blow that would give him victory. At 3-2 the watching spectators sensed that the tide might be turning and how right they were.

Frame six saw James get off first to establish a 25 point lead but a loose safety shot opened the door for his opponent. Jonathon didn’t need asking twice and his best snooker of the tournament so far saw him clear the table with a breathtaking run of 93 to level things.

The deciding frame was an obviously edgy affair and the first real chance fell to James. Unfortunately he missed and let Wignall in for a run of 45 which was enough to take frame and match.

The standard of snooker these players are producing is as good as a lot of professional matches and it’s wonderful to see that once again our area has got amateur players capable of playing such entertaining stuff.

The snooker fest continues this week when Jonny Hannan takes on Lee Whittle on Monday and Mark Slattery faces the tough challenge of Andy Lancaster on Wednesday. All games start at 8-00pm at Longshaw Sports & Social Club.

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