Whitestone Classic goes to Gill
Due to the unavailability of the Oamaru Club and with the co-operation of the Southland Association the 26th Annual Whitestone Snooker Classic was held on the 21- 23 May in Gore. A field of 25 lined up for the event which was staged across three venues.
Sectional play produced predictable results with most sections following initial seedings. First round post section produced a couple of upsets with Tom Sherriff defeating the more fancied Ian Betts and recent City of Invercargill Classic winner Danny Ryan being disposed of 3- nil by the evergreen Ron Wilson.
The quarter finals saw Gary Gillard soundly beaten 3- nil by Allan Gill and in a foul miss dominated match Jason Todd got home 3-2 against Shannon Swain. Thompson easily beat Sherriff 3- nil likewise Bason accounted for Wilson 3- nil.
Semi finals had the two Aucklanders, Clive Thompson and Paul Basin matched up with Thompson proving too strong winning 3- nil however the second semi was a different affair with Gill and Todd fighting out a close match. Gill took an early 2- nil lead and looked to be coasting but Todd fought back to level at 2 all. In the 5th frame which could have gone either way Gill finally got the opening to take the match 3-2.
The final a north south battle between Thompson and Gill never rose to any great heights with neither player wanting to give away any advantage. Gill potting very well took the first frame 49-12 to see Thompson come back in the second 62-33. The third was a concession by Thompson with the score at 24-70 the fourth a reversal with Gill conceding at 24-75. The fifth was dominated by Thompson 64-2 but Gill came back to take the sixth 51-45 and set up the seventh and deciding frame. Gill comfortably won this 57-15 to win his first Whitestone City Classic.
Noteworthy from the tournament was the performance of the provinces two under 21 players who both caught the eye and were the talk of their more seasoned competitors. Namely Shannon Swain who displayed potting ability and a knowledge of the game far in advance of his years, only dropping two matches in the tournament. Sam Bond was unlucky not to top his section losing narrowly in both frames to more experienced players. In the flight he added two more scalps to his list defeating both Danny Ryan and Ian Betts before losing 2-1 in the flight final. Two players of the future?
Semi final - Peter Normanton 0 Ellyas 2 Craig Bradbury 1 Kevin Brooks 2
Final - Ellyas 0 Kevin Brooks 2
Semi final - Sam Bond 2 Ian Betts 1 - Lee Barris 2 Stuart White 0
Final - Lee Barris 2 Sam Bond 1
Semi final- Clive Thomson 3 Paul Bason 0 - Alan Gill 3 Jason Todd 2
Final - Alan Gill 4 Clive Thomson 3