Lancaster bombs as Slattery marches on

Mark Slattery, Alfonso Bellusci, Jonny Hannon and Jonathan Wignall who have all reached the semi finals of the Individual Snooker Championship

Mark Slattery, Alfonso Bellusci, Jonny Hannon and Jonathan Wignall who have all reached the semi finals of the Individual Snooker Championship

First published in Sport

FOUR-time CIU champion Andy Lancaster crashed out of the Blackburn And Darwen Individual Snooker Championship, losing 4-2 to Mark Slattery.

It was a nervous start by both players but it was Slattery who settled first knocking in a fine 64 to go 1 up.

Frame two saw Slattery continue in the same vein, this time a run of 54 was enough to go 2-0 up and seemingly in control.

He was 25 points ahead in frame 3 and cruising but a loose safety shop gave Andy his first real chance of the match and he took it well to go into the interval just one behind.

On the resumption it was a different, more positive Lancaster as he crashed balls in with ridiculous ease to level the match. Andy looked to be going 3-2 up needing the simplest of blues for victory but a massive twitch on the shot let Slattery in for a simple clearance to steal it.

Frame six saw a confident Mark take control and quickly go 50 up with 51 remaining. An attempt at a difficult pot instead of laying a simple snooker let Andy in and he quickly took the first two reds with blacks.

After potting the last red Andy was faced with a difficult positional shot to yellow from black. He got to yellow perfectly but was shocked to see the black jaw.

Slattery promptly treated the crowd to some exhibition shots as he ran out the colour to take frame and match.

His opponent in next weeks semi-final will be friend and team mate Jonny Hannan who survived an almighty scare against Lee Whittle in his quarter final.

Jonny got off to a flier to take the opener with a run of 52 and quickly ran away from Whittle who seemed unable to stop the Hannan juggernaut and quickly found himself 3-0 behind.

The interval came at just the right time and on resumption Lee came out fighting and battled hard to take frame four.

Frame five was nip and tuck all the way but Hannan seemed to have one foot in the semis as he left Lee needing snookers. Whittle quickly had the younger man snookered and when Hannan missed Lee stepped in to clear the lot and reduce the deficit to just one frame.

Lee continued to up his game and took frame six easily. The decider was riddled with misses from both players as the tension mounted.

Whittle seemed to have completed a remarkable comeback when he found himself 16 ahead on an easy pink from it’s spot with the remaining reds begging to be potted.

Somehow Lee managed to miss the pink and Hannan pounced, clearing the table with a coolly taken break of 48 to win frame and match.

The semi finals look to promise more quality snooker when Alfonso Bellusci takes on Jonathon Wignall on Monday night and Mark Slattery faces Jonny Hannan on Wednesday. Both matches start at 8pm at Longshaw Sports and Social and will take place in a single table set up upstairs in the club courtesy of main sponsors Sovereign Snooker Services.

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