Weekend Round-up

Sky Shoot-Out

Martin Gould emerged victorious in the third annual Sky Shoot-Out competition yesterday after a convincing 104-0 win over Mark Allen in the final in Blackpool.

Northern Ireland’s Allen had been many people’s pre-tournament favourite despite the Shoot-Out being one of the most unpredictable formats imaginable in snooker.

Yet, the 26 year-old almost did go all the way, only to fall just short to England’s Gould – a player who is gaining notoriety as a top-class shot-clock performer.

Gould won the 2011 Power Snooker event and added the Shoot-Out, which carries 15-second and 10-second shot time limits, to his growing trophy cabinet.

Despite the fact that these two tournaments are considered gimmicky by many, it is great to see someone like Gould in the winners enclosure.

The 31 year-old has been one of the star players of the last four to five years, rising through the rankings rapidly after turning professional for a second time in 2007.

He was runner-up in the inaugural PTC Grand Finals two years ago and finally grabbed his maiden minor ranking title this season at the second Players Tour Championship event in Gloucester.

Now, Gould, who won £32,000 for 50 minutes work, is firmly focused on achieving an even bigger goal of triumphing in a major ranking event.

And who knows, his success at the weekend could act as a stepping stone for further glory as it did for Barry Hawkins last year when he followed up his win in the North West by claiming the Australian Open title in the summer.

Snookerbacker Classic

Sanderson Lam produced an excellent performance on his 19th birthday to win the penultimate qualifying event of the 2013 Snookerbacker Classic.

The tournament in Leeds, which replaced the cancelled Dublin leg that was supposed to be staged but was pulled due to lack of entries, went off without a hitch with 16 of the region’s best going head-to-head.

And it was local lad Lam who got the better of his opposition on the day with wins over Damian Wilks, Sean Hopkin in a decider, Elliot Slessor and a convincing whitewash over Martin Ball in the final.

It means that Lam goes on to the Finals weekend next month and will compete alongside Kyren Wilson, Andrew Norman, Adam Wicheard, Jamie Clarke, Ant Parsons, Oliver Lines and one other who will be decided at the Last Chance Saloon bumper event in Gloucester on the 17th February.

The eight will then compete for the top prizes of the £1000 entry fee paid for Q-School in May and with the line-up already looking increasingly packed with talent it is sure to be a highly competitive affair.

Club Championships

Finally, Crucible Snooker Club became the first Cork side to win the Munster Club Championship in eleven years when they overcame Nenagh’s New Institute – the favourites who were going for a third title in a row – in a tight affair 3-2.

Internationals Greg Casey and David Cassidy both suffered whitewash defeats but their teammates Daniel O’Rega, Jason Waters and Ryan Cronin, who potted the winning ball, all excelled to gain a memorable triumph in Kerry.

Both teams go on to the All-Ireland Club Championship next weekend which will again be staged at the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney.

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