WHILE the battle of the Orient was being played out at Wembley stadium on Sunday, the focus of Borders snooker players was on the young stars of the future.
Only five players made it to the final of the 2011 Borders Under-25 Snooker Championships played at the venue of sponsor Selkirk Conservative Club.
But what the competition lacked in quantity it certainly made up for in quality as the youngsters vied for the trophy.
Defending champion Aaron Hogg from Hawick Burns Club looked to be on target for his third consecutive victory after putting out Jed Legion’s Euan Williamson 3-1.
Cue Selkirk hotshot Patrick Crolla. He, too, beat his semi-final opponent Liam Wallace (Jed Legion) 3-1 and was looking to bag his first title on the Borders circuit at his home club.
Crolla took the first frame fairly easily, but Hogg came back to take the second and a step closer to holding on to his title.
A nailbiting third frame saw the players respot the black ball to decide the outcome and following half a dozen attempts at safety, Crolla got his chance and didn’t need a second invitation.
Frame number four saw the Selkirk player move into a 16-point lead with only four balls left on the table, but a costly foul which saw the white ball in the pocket allowed Hogg back into the game.
With only one point now separating the two and only pink and black remaining, Crolla stepped up a gear, potting both to clinch the title. “The last two games were really close and it certainly wasn’t easy,” a delighted Crolla told TheSouthern after the match.
The 23-year-old is now looking to repeat his success in the seniors event this weekend.
The winner was presented with his trophy by Conservative Club representative Jackson Cockburn after Border Snooker League chairman Ian Robson had thanked all those who helped make the tournament a success.
He said: “The generous sponsorship and use of the facilities from Selkirk Conservative club is much appreciated and I must also thank the referees and bar staff.
“Today’s games were a credit to the young men who were playing them and I must commend them on their good conduct and professional attitudes throughout.”
Results – first round: L. Wallace (Jed Legion) beat Daniel Brown (Jed Legion) 2-0.
Second round: P. Crolla beat L. Wallace 3-1; A. Hogg (Hawick Burns Club) beat E. Williamson (Jed Legion) 3-1.
Final: P. Crolla beat A. Hogg 3-1.