Conservative duo come out top in pairs

Border Snooker Pairs Champions Mark Riddell (left) and  Lee McAllister
Border Snooker Pairs Champions Mark Riddell (left) and Lee McAllister

It was a sporting occasion and there was a coveted championship up for grabs, writes John Slorance.

Silence, however, ruled, for apart from ripples of applause and murmurs of praise, little sound was heard at all.

The occasion, though, was a blast, for snooker was the name of the game, Hawick Burns Club the setting and the Border Pairs Snooker Championship the event.

And it was Hawick Conservative pair Lee McAllister and Mark Riddell who made the biggest noise in winning the title for the third time.

In the semi-final, this dynamic duo defeated fellow Hawick Conservative players Davie Amos and David Clark 3-1.

This victory earned them a final spot, along with Gary Kinnear and Aaron Hogg from Hawick Burns Club, who had toppled fellow club members Davie Halfpenny and Rob Bell 3-1 in their semi-final meeting.

A close and exciting final was on the cards, but no one expected how close and exciting it would turn out to be.

For the battle to lift the crown went to the last of the five frames. What’s more, it was left to the black ball to decide who was the winner. You just can’t get any more dramatic than that.

During the semi-final, Kinnear and Hogg were twice a frame ahead, only for their Conservative Club opponents to come rallying back to draw level.

The scene had now been set for winner-takes-all in the last frame. It was simply do-or-die stuff, and a nerve-racking affair it turned out to be.

The pressure was on and it showed as mistakes were made in the mounting tension. It was close from the start and with only two balls left, Hogg played a superb shot to sink the pink. However, the Burns Club man failed to take the glaring opportunity to put away the black.

McAllister, in turn, did the business with his shot and title belonged to the Conservative Club.

Talking to TheSouthern after the match, McAllister, who recorded a break of 77, which was the highest of the competition, said: “I have been in many close finals before, but never anything like this one.

“The pressure was unbelievable and it ended up being a crazy final as you just didn’t know what was going to happen next.

“Aaron (Hogg) put away the perfect pink in the last frame, but thankfully for us didn’t put away the black. We went on to win after that, but Aaron and Lee gave us a great game and were top opponents.”

A disappointed Hogg commented: “The final was very tight and there was nothing in it.

“I had a great chance to win the game in the last frame, but missed the black.

“That cost us the title and I am just gutted.

“Lee and Mark both played well and the best of luck to them.”

The tournament was once again sponsored by Hawick Burns Club, to whom the Border Snooker League are grateful. League secretary Johnstone Cox added: “Without the support of these clubs there would be no Border League or any of the calibre of competition we have witnessed today.”

z Last Thursday evening saw the final round of the Border League being played out with Hawick Conservative Club maintaining their strong hold at the top of the table.

The Tories have enjoyed an amazing 2013 series, winning 15 out of their 18 games, with only one defeat on their scorecard, having drawn the other two.

Chasing their local rivals all the way were Hawick Burns Club A who finished in second position while the Border Club, also based in Hawick, were third.

Last week’s results: Innerleithen 1 Hawick Conservative Club A 5; Border Club 3 Hawick Burns Club B 3; Selkirk A 3 Selkirk B 3; Hawick Conservative Club B 3 Jedburgh Legion 3; Hawick Burns Club A 6 St Boswells 0.

Final league standings: 1, Hawick Conservative Club 90; 2, Hawick Burns Club A 76; 3, Border Club 64; 4, Hawick Burns Club B 64; 5, Jedburgh Legion 62; 6, Selkirk A 52; 7, Selkirk B 38; 8, Hawick Conservative Club B 33; 9, St Boswells 31; 10, Innerleithen 24.

The presentation of prizes for the league, Pairs and other competitions throughout the season will be held on the Bannerman Burke Properties Border Snooker Singles finals day which will be held at Hawick Conservative Club on April 7.