MATT Ford ended an interesting week by extending his lead on the Cuestars South of England Seniors (40+) Tour.
The 41-year-old wrapped four days of green baize action by overcoming title rival Mike Talmondt 2-0 in the final of the sixth leg at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club.
Bracknell-based Ford, who was forced to wait for three hours and 20 minutes between the group stages and the knockout, takes a 13-point lead into the final event in Salisbury next month after his third tournament win of the season.
He had set off like a train in the round-robin group matches, recording breaks of 75, 68 and 59 in a 2-0 victory over Stephen Hills.
“I played quite well today,” said Ford. “I made a few breaks. It should be interesting. It’s a good lead. I just need to play well in Salisbury.”
It had been a busy four days for the Berkshire cueman. He kicked off by beating Paul Bunyard to claim the Byfleet & District League’s Premier Division singles championship. And the day before the Cuestars event, he was at the Crucible Sports & Social Club in Newbury for the southern qualifier for the World Seniors Championship. Ford defeated Stuart Watson (Redditch) 3-2 in the first round and led former professional Barry Pinches 1-0 before losing 3-1.
“I gave Barry a scare,” laughed Ford. “But his technical nous came through.”
Neil Carroll (Rownhams) reached the semi-finals for only the fifth time in his career. He dropped only one of his nine group-stage frames and beat Salisbury's Steve Ashton 2-1 in the last-eight before going down 2-0 to ex-professional Talmondt.
Christopher Howie (Southampton) qualified for the knockout for the first time. He, edging Chris Stocker (Bracknell) 2-1 before going out 2-0 to Ford.
David Stewart (Odiham) beat his Chandler’s Ford clubmate Dan Hammond (Winchester) in his final group-stage match to qualify for the knockout for only the third time and to take over top spot in the Masters (55+) rankings.
Herman Desmier (Poole) had a baptism of fire on his Cuestars debut – but vowed to come back for more. He was drawn in a five-man group with defending rankings champion Talmondt, current rankings leader Ford, former championship play-off winner Nick Birney and Hills, who led the Masters (55+) rankings going into the event.
The 21-strong field returned 25 breaks of 40 or more. John Hunter (Andover) recorded the highest of 95 in his first match against Martin Wallace (Wokingham).
The seventh and final leg is at Salisbury Snooker Club on Sunday, March 26.
The top 20 ranked players at the end of the series will play off for £500 prize money in Newbury on April 23.
John Hunter: 95, 90.
Mike Talmondt: 89, 70, 55, 48, 46.
Matt Ford: 75, 68, 67, 59, 60, 55, 50.
Paul Lawrence: 74.
Steve Ashton: 62.
Dan Hammond: 56, 53.
Chris Stocker: 47.
Neil Carroll: 42, 40.
David Stewart: 40.
Martin Wallace: 40.
Christopher Howie: 40.
Nick Birney: 40.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, John Hunter (Salisbury SC); 2nd, David Stewart (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Wayne Muddiman (Chandlers Ford Central); 4th, Dan Hammond (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Paul Lawrence (Park Gate RBL); 6th, Martin Wallace (Crowthorne RBL).
GROUP B: 1st, Neil Carroll (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Christopher Howie (Shirley Cons); 3rd, Jon Monckton (Woking SC); 4th, Alan Thomas (Jesters, Swindon); 5th, Peter Chin (Jesters, Swindon).
GROUP C: 1st, Chris Stocker (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 2nd, Steve Ashton (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Nick Miles (Ashlett Club, Fawley); 4th, Jon Walker (Potting Shed, Aldbourne); 5th, Dharmendra Patel (Crucible, Newbury).
GROUP D: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 2nd, Mike Talmondt (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 3rd, Nick Birney (Liberal Club, High Wycombe); 4th, Stephen Hills (Traders, Northfleet); 5th, Herman Desmier (Poole).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Ford 2 Stewart 0, Talmondt 2 Hunter 0, Carroll 2 Ashton 1, Howie 2 Stocker 1.
SEMI-FINALS (£30, 15 points): Ford 2 Howie 0, Talmondt 2 Carroll 0.
FINAL (£100/£50, 25/18 points): Ford 2 Talmondt 0.