EX-professional Mike Talmondt insists his B game got him through the fifth leg of the Cuestars South of England Seniors (40+) Tour.
And that was despite the 44-year-old from Portsmouth not dropping a single frame all day at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon, and knocking in the highest break of 78.
Talmondt moved to within six points of rankings leader Matt Ford (Bracknell) after beating his title rival 2-0 in the last-four and dispatching Nick Birney by the same score in the final.
“I was happy with the win, to stop Matt pulling away,” said Talmondt. “He’s definitely been more consistent over the season than me. My B game got me through. It was satisfying, in a way, to struggle with my scoring and still win.”
Talmondt reckons he needs strong results from the last two legs at Chandler’s Ford and Salisbury to “nick the title” from Ford, who won the previous two events in Woking and Marchwood.
The ever-consistent Martin Wallace (Wokingham), who has qualified for the knockout in all five legs, lost 2-0 to Birney (High Wycombe) in the last-four of the tournament and is 23 points further back from Talmondt in third place.
It was sixth-placed Birney’s first appearance in a final since he won the last leg of the 2015/16 campaign in Newbury.
Stephen Hills, who lives in Northfleet near Gravesend and travels the furthest to these events, leads David Stewart (Odiham) by three points in the Masters (55+) rankings.
The sixth leg of seven is at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club on Sunday, February 19.
The top-20 ranked players at the end of the series will play off for £500 prize money in Newbury on April 23.
Mike Talmondt: 78, 41, 40.
Matt Ford: 75, 68, 59, 44.
Neil Herd: 65.
Wayne Muddiman: 61, 41.
Neil Carroll: 45.
Dan Hammond: 44.
Chris Stocker: 42.
Paul Shears: 40.
Paul Rose: 34.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 2nd, John Hunter (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Steve Ashton (Salisbury SC); 4th, Neil Carroll (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Paul Lawrence (Park Gate RBL); 6th, Jon Walker (Potting Shed, Aldbourne).
GROUP B: 1st, Mike Talmondt (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 2nd, Wayne Muddiman (Chandlers Ford Central); 3rd, Stephen Hills (Traders, Northfleet); 4th, Neil Herd (Salisbury SC); 5th, Paul Rose (Jesters, Swindon); 6th, Peter Chin (Jesters, Swindon).
GROUP C: 1st, Martin Wallace (Crowthorne RBL); 2nd, Paul Shears (Devizes Literary & Scientific Inst); 3rd, Paul Burt (Salisbury SC); 4th, Dan Hammond (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Chris Stocker (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 6th, Richard Arnold (Salisbury SC).
GROUP D: 1st, Nick Birney (Liberal Club, High Wycombe); 2nd, Martin Luker (Jesters, Swindon); 3rd, David Stewart (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Dave Pullman (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 5th, Gary Hart (Salisbury SC); 6th, Alan Thomas (Jesters, Swindon).
QUARTER-FINALS (£10, 12 points): Ford 2 Luker 0, Talmondt 2 Shears 0, Wallace 2 Muddiman 1, Birney 2 Hunter 0.
SEMI-FINALS (£25, 15 points): Birney 2 Wallace 0, Talmondt 2 Ford 0.
FINAL (£100/£50, 25/18 points): Talmondt 2 Birney 0.