Jubilant Jonny pots town snooker title

Winner Jonny Hannan

Winner Jonny Hannan

First published in Sport

Jonny Hannan is the inaugural Blackburn and Darwen Individual Snooker Champion.

Hannan, the youngest competitor in the tournament at just 20 years of age overcame Jonathon Wignall 5-4 in a highly entertaining final at Blackburn’s Longshaw Sports and Social Club.

The large crowd were treated to a fabulous final that had the lot – fantastic pots, great safety and unbelievable misses.

It was Hannan who settled first, latching onto a poor Wignall safety to knock in a quick fire 35.

The youngster who loves to go for everything curtailed his instinct to take on a risky red and played a near perfect safety shot that put Wignall under the cosh for the rest of the frame.

It was a wise choice as Wignall struggled to capitalise on some superb single ball pots. Hannan continued to play hit and run snooker and stayed in control, a couple of small breaks giving him the opener. Frame 2 looked to be going Wignall's way until a missed red on 35 let Hannan back to the table.

A run of 36 put him back in it and he won the ensuing safety battle and looked sure coasting to a 2-0 lead until a missed blue off the spot when leading by 14 let Wignall in to steal it and level the match. Frame 3 saw Wignall in first after a wild attempt at a long red from Hannan.

Wignall looked to be in the groove before breaking down on 40 and leaving Hannan in the balls. The youngster lost control of the white after just eight points and was forced to play safe. Wignall held firm and found himself some 35 points ahead before another missed black let Hannan back in.

The nerves were starting to show and the youngster was soon back in his seat after missing an easy red. A series of bad misses from both players had the crowd gasping in disbelief before Hannan managed to hold himself together to run out the last few balls and take a 2-1 lead.

Frame four was a scrappy affair with both players unable to keep hold of the white. Hannan looked to have made a superb opportunity for himself when he got in with a super long red and finished plumb in the balls with everything open.

A missed cannon from black to red left him out of position on 20 and safety was the only option. Hannan was let back in almost immediately but again lost the white straight away.

Wignall got in with an outrageous fluked red but yet again finished out of position in just 3 shots. Hannan was in and this time he managed to put together a break of 43 to go into the interval with a 3-1 lead.

After the interval Wignall came out all guns blazing and an early run of 34 quickly put him in control of frame 5. Hannan hit straight back with a 47 break before missing black off its spot.

Back came Wignall with what looked a frame winning chance but after quickly despatching red and black the last red rattled and stayed in the jaws!

Hannan couldn’t believe it and neither could the crowd as Hannan rushed the red, leaving himself on nothing with the colours virtually on their spots! Wignall made no mistake as he potted the remaining balls to reduce his arrears to just 1 frame.

Frame six was more of the same, both players throwing in some quality safety shots whilst refusing risky reds. Wignall was first in, taking advantage of a loose Hannan safety to knock in 32 before jawing pink to middle. Hannan looked to have regained his composure and was clearing up nicely from the last two reds when once again he missed the simplest of yellow balls off the spot to let his opponent back in. It was the last chance he got as Wignall completed the comeback to level it at 3-3.

The room was getting hotter as the night went on and the table was getting quicker. Wignall was once again in first but a big bounce off the black cushion left him in no mans land and once again it was time for a telling safety.

Wignall was the more positive player now but despite some outstanding reds he just couldn’t land right on a colour. It didn’t matter though as Hannan was having a torrid time of it, missing balls he thought he’d never miss.

Wignall took full advantage and this fascinating match had been turned on its head. Fromm 3-1 ahead Jonny Hannan was now trailing 4-3 needing to win the last two frames.

He started frame eight looking more composed and began to find his touch again, soon opening up a 20 point lead.

It was now Wignall that began to miss and Hannan was growing in confidence the longer the frame went on.

It’s fair to say that this was the scrappiest frame of the night but Hannan didn’t care as he chipped away and took the frame on the black to give us a sudden death decider. Wignall broke off and spread the reds but it was a few shots before either player could take advantage.

First chance fell to Jonny Hannan and he had notched up 32 points before a rush of adrenalin saw him flash wildly at a red. He was fortunate not to leave anything and his good fortune continued a few shots later when an attempted safety saw him fluke a red.

He held himself together to score another 34 points that put him 66 up with only 59 left on the table.

Despite a gallant effort at snookers from Wignall it was Hannan who became the first ever undisputed Blackburn And Darwen Snooker Champion.

The set up on the night was amazing, the facilities provided by Sovereign Snooker Services as good as many pro tournament set ups and it certainly brought out the best in the competing players.

The event will be held annually at the Longshaw Club and it is hoped that the winner will face Burnley’s Golden Cue winner in a Champion of Champions match.

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