Bolehill Institute provided both finalists of the Captains Cup Team Handicap competition for the first time in Darley Dale & District Snooker League history, and it was the No 1 team who retained the trophy following their success in the same event last year.
Things did not start according to plan however, as Mick Bunting took pink and black to edge counterpart Ricki Slack 66-55 in the battle of the captains after the latter’s attempted safety shot had double-kissed.
Andrew Brough hit back for the reigning champs with a hard fought 67-50 win over Martin Forster in the next and then Simon Zoppi, having flown in from Italy the same afternoon, scored a vital 62-28 verdict over Ian Peacock after taking most of the colours following a tight frame.
That left 40 in the overall aggregate, and after Ian Birks had taken pink and eventually black to defeat Keith Robertson 55-44, only the doubles remained if there was to be any comeback.
But Ricki Slack and Colin Marchington battened down the hatches and came through with a 59-25 scoreline to leave the final totals at 298-213.
Also taking place were the Jimmy Harper Plate semi-finals, played under the same format.
The battle of Belper went to the Strutt’s No 2 team who saw off Jaxx Q Club by 60 points, avenging their Six Red Cup semi final defeat to the same oppoistion in the process.
Chris Stubbs and Steve Robinson were the star men for their respective teams.
The real thriller, though, took place at Edgefold Club, where Belper Strutt Club No 1 seemed to be coasting to a comfortable success over Matlock Club with a lead of 80-plus points going into the final doubles frame.
But Ian Rose, returning to the fold for a rare appearance this season, had other ideas and a superb 83 break on his first visit to the table suddenly put the game back in the balance.
And it was eventually a very relieved Justin Weller who sank the final black for Strutt to leave them just one point in the ascendancy at the end of the night’s play.
Ben Monk was in fine form with a series of impressive breaks in both the remaining league matches between Marehay and Matlock Golf Club and the Hartshorne Cup 2-man team semi-final.
His victory from 40 adrift over Ian McKay also earned him the most wins in A Division prize with 18 out of 20 off the top handicap rating.
The Golf Club upset this year’s champions, however, with a 3-2 home win after the two Chris’s, Drabble and Parker, played a starring role.
Breaks: B Monk 46, 44, 38, 35, 28, 28; B Monk/A Gratton 40 (s/d); A Gratton 37; S Robinson 27; M Harrison 26, 24; C Parker 24; K Holmes 22; C Stubbs 22; R Slack 20.