Kennish and Hill to battle it out in Champion of Champions final

John Kennish

John Kennish

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The semi-finals of the Isle of Man Billiards and Snooker Association Champion of Champions competition were held at Douglas Snooker Club over the weekend.

The first semi on Saturday afternoon saw current island champion John Kennish take on Peter Kirkham in the best-of-11 match.

The first frame saw both players trying to settle in, however several in-offs by Kirkham gave his opponent the advantage and Kennish took the opener. The second frame was another close one but an early 30 break was enough to enable Kennish to go 2-0 ahead.

The third frame was a little easier for the island champion as he made a 47 clearance up to the pink to make it 3-0. Kennish took a commanding lead in the fourth with breaks of 24 and 32, only for Peniata to fight back with a 29 but then found himself snookered.

The cue ball was put back three times before Kennish found an opening to take the colours down to the brown which was sufficient to take the frame and a 4-0 lead.

After the interval Kennish was clearly focussed and ready to finish the match as he knocked in a 50 break to take the fifth frame before a 58 break was enough to secure the sixth. Those who saw the match all said that the 6-0 scoreline did not reflect the overall quality of the play from both players.

The second semi-final on Sunday evening was between multiple island champion Damian Evans and current professional Darryl Hill.

The first frame was quite tense as neither player wanted to leave an opening but in the end it was Hill who took the vital pots on the colours to win the frame.

The second saw some good potting from Hill with a break of 50 followed by a clearance of 35 to take the frame. The third frame was all one-way traffic and the audience witnessed the skill of Evans who knocked in a beautiful 77 to take the frame. Another tight frame followed and once again it was Hill who sank the key pots to take a 3-1 lead.

After the interval Hill made a 30 break to take the fifth frame before a 53 break was enough to open up a 5-1 lead. At this point everyone expected an early night but clearly Evans had other ideas as he dug in to take the seventh frame.

The eighth was probably the best of the night. Evans started off with a 46 break before Hill hit back with a 33 which should have been more but a major ‘kick’ caused him to lose position. However, this bad luck was balanced by a fluke on the black later in the frame but in the end it was Evans who cleared the colours to take the frame and the fightback was certainly on at 5-3.

More good safety and key pots from Evans saw him take frame nine to make it 5-4 but in the 10th frame Hill got the first opening and his 54 break was enough for him to see out a very entertaining and closely-contested match 6-4.

Thanks go to the referees for both semi-finals and to Graham and Sue France for closing the club during the matches and to sponsors Fowler and Co.

The final will take place on Monday, December 28 with the first session of seven frames starting at 2pm and the final session of eight frames at 7pm.

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