Alan Thompson claimed the Embassy Snooker Christmas competition, sponsored by the Bodhran Bar Bridge Street, with a 5-2 victory over Dominic O’Connor on Wednesday night.
Neither player will feel they played their best snooker on the night, but they managed to serve up an excellent final nonetheless, with the seven frames taking just over two-and-a-quarter-hours to complete. While the high breaks never materialised, there were some terrific shots and tactical awareness on show to keep those watching in the club, and on the Embassy’s Facebook live stream, entertained.
Thompson settled the better of the pair with a break of 25, sinking four reds, two blacks, a blue and a yellow from his first visit to the table following O'Connor's break off. And another break of 28 put him in control of a frame which he eventually closed out, 84-45, when clearing from green to pink.
The second frame proved decisive. After a break of 24 from O'Connor and 20 from Thompson, the frame developed into a tactical battle with both players playing good safety when necessary. Thompson potted brown and blue to lead by 13 with the same total left on the table. But it was O'Connor who held his nerve to clear pink and black to force a re-spot on the black. O'Connor had the first real chance on the black, however, he was unable to oblige and after a safety shot from Thompson, O'Connor himself tried to play safe. He couldn't get the black past the middle pocket, though, and Thompson was left with a relatively easy pot to claim the frame 61-54 and lead 2-0
A scrappy start to frame three saw the reds cluster on one side of the table. Thompson had the first chance of the frame, but he only managed 16 when the balls looked well placed. He added 22 at another visit and a fantastic green along the cushion and a tight cut brown into the middle pocket won him the frame 56-14.
Thompson took a 4-0 lead with the most one-sided frame of the night; a break of 23 was followed up by a break of 36 which included five reds, three blacks and two blues. He'll be disappointed not to have scored more at the visit, though this probably summed up a match where both players showing their immense talent on several occasions before letting their concentration lapse somewhat when a big break looked on.
O'Connor seemed down and out, but, to his credit, a tremendous long red led to a break of 17, and a further 16 and 18 helped him to get a frame on the board. He took frame five, 76-36, to trail 4-1.
With his confidence now up, O'Connor made breaks of 24 and 17 to pull another frame back 68-38. But it was Thompson who showed all his match play ability in frame seven. Realising O'Connor was starting to find his range, a mix of good safety to keep his opponent from getting among the balls, followed up by solid potting, a break of 29 being the highlight, helped him close out the frame 56-12, giving him the match and title of Embassy Christmas competition winner on a 5-2 scoreline.
Derek Hernon from the Embassy Snooker Club wrapped up the night by thanking all the players who entered the tournament and the main sponsors, The Bodhran Bar Bridge Street, for their support.