Thrilling Traynor wins snooker's Embassy Open for first time


The beaten finalist in 2011 and 2015, Brendan Traynor looked determined to put those losses right and get his name on the Embassy Open trophy for the first time on Tuesday night. Indeed, a break of 106 in practice earlier in the day was an indication of how well he was striking the balls and a warning to his opponent, David J McArdle, if he needed one, of the challenge that lay ahead. McArdle was appearing in the final for the fifth straight year, winning two of the previous four deciders, one of which was against Traynor, in 2015.

McArdle got the final underway, A cagey start where both players seemed happy to play mainly safety shots and wait for an opening as they got a feel for the occasion. The first significant chance fell to McArdle and a nice break of 43 saw him seize control of the frame. He closed it out by clearing yellow to brown to win the frame, 81-48.

Having got the first frame nerves out of the way, Traynor settled down and started to look composed, a break of 33 helped him to seal the second frame and level the match at one-all - 68-19.

Breaks of 13, 23 and an impressive clearance of 36, consisting of the last two reds with blacks and yellow to pink, saw Traynor take a 2-1 - 73-25.

Looking like he was starting to enjoy himself, Traynor was entertaining everyone who made it into the club and those watching on the Facebook live stream, which was being provided by Dominic O'Connor, with some fabulous snooker. A break of 56 - five blacks, two blues, a green and eight reds, one shy of his own tournament high score of 57, followed by a clearance of 24 saw him take a 3-1 lead and control of the final - 89-19.

To McArdle's credit, though, he never gave in. A true champion, he used all his match play know how to narrow the arrears to three-two. A break of 34 helped him claim frame five; 60-20.

After a mid-session interval, where everyone in the club was treated to pizza, goujons and cocktail sausages sponsored by Tony's Pizzeria, came the most crucial and intriguing frame of the night. McArdle had breaks of 20 and 21, but it was Traynor who lead by one-point - 42-41 - heading into the colours. Both players knew the importance of the frame and they both passed up chances before Traynor took a giant step towards the title, clearing green to pink to win the frame, 60-43, and claim a 4-2 advantage.

Buoyed by the previous frame, Traynor closed out the match comfortably in frame seven. Helped by a break of 37, he took the frame, 71-6, and was crowned Embassy Open Champion after a 5-2 victory.

Michelle Byrne, of sponsors The Bodhran Bar, was on hand to present the trophy to a delighted Traynor. Derek Hernon presented the high break prize also to Traynor for his 57 earlier in the tournament.

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