BLACKBURN’S Paul Sutcliffe carried off the Alexandra Classic crown after a titanic battle with another former champion Geoff Hilton.

Former East Lancs man Sutcliffe edged past Hilton 31-27 to take the title for a second time in front of a bumper crowd at the Alex on Sunday.

Sutcliffe had sounded a warning shot by knocking holder Callum Wraight out earlier in the tournament, before defeating Lee Longland 31-20 in his semi.

In the final, although Hilton had raced into a 4-1 lead early on, Sutcliffe was always in charge after that.

“We had a rain shower between the semi-finals and the final and it gave the green a bit of pace and that seemed to suit Paul a bit more,” said Alexandra Classic spokesman Garry Fielding.

“It really was nip and tuck early on and there was nothing between the two of them.”

Slowly, but surely, though, Sutcliffe forged ahead and when he extended his lead to 18-10, it looked like he was home and dry.

However, when Hilton closed the gap to 30-27, Sutcliffe was briefly looking over his shoulder until sealing the title 31-27.

"This is our 25th year of the competition and it was a very fitting finale to celebrate that anniversary,” added Fielding.

“We had a bumper entry again, plus a reserve list of names, proving that the Alexandra Classic is in good health and we can look forward to the future with confidence.”

The organisers would like to thank the competitions sponsors Star Pubs and Clubs.

Last eight results: Wayne Usher 31, John Metters 30, Geoff Hilton 31, David Walker 12, Lee Longland 31, Brian Topham 23, Paul Sutcliffe 31, Harry Hargeaves 23.

Semi-finals: Geoff Hilton 31, Wayne Usher 21, Paul Sutcliffe 31, Lee Longland 20.

Alexandra Classic final: Paul Sutcliffe 31, Geoff Hilton 27.