THE closest finish in the quarter-finals of the knock-out cup came on the tables of Norton Social B, who look set to be crowned as Second Division champions as the season draws to a close.
Norton received 82 points start from Premier Division Netherton Sports and Social and despite a good win for 18-year-old Joe Davies, the deficit was pegged back by Netherton's Steve Howell, Ian Cresswell and Carl Webb going into the final frame. Pete Cairns proved to be Norton’s hero, however, beating Rich Barnsley on the black to see his side through to the semi-final.
Brandhall Labour, joint second in the Premier Division, had a difficult task in conceding 170 points and home advantage to First Division leaders, Stourbridge Institute B. But Callum Downing’s 57 break from a difficult opening red set them on their way to win the match by 53 points. They were given a scare in the last frame when Jon Bate pulled back Brandhall’s 24 point advantage with his first visit, but Karl Ashmore saw his team through to victory.
Kinver Constitutional B have been fortunate to enjoy home advantage in each round and they recorded their third win against Premier Division opponents; Norman Jennings, Adam Sprague and Steve Nicholls helped to dispose of Moor Pool and Snooker A on this occasion.
Amblecote Institute B’s Adam Coley and Mick Cook won the opening frames at home against Baggeridge Social by 159 points, setting a target which was too much to recover, although the visitors did manage to reduce the arrears to 47 points at the end.
In the Alan Moore Plate competition, the closest finish came at Kinver where the home team gradually pulled back the 80 points conceded to Kingswinford RBL B and led by nine going into the final frame. Dave Woodall, who has had an excellent run of form in his first season for Kingswinford, sank the final black to see Legion through to their first semi-final.
Stourbridge Institute C, challenging for Second Division honours, faced a daunting challenge at home to Premier leaders, Hotshots, but Carl Green gave them a real boost by tying his frame with Neil Beckley, and Hotshots fell short, gallantly trying to retrieve 194 points start.
Cup-holders Wombourne, competing in the plate this year, lost the opening frame to Dibdale’s Alan Woodbine, but Stuart Taylor, John Wooldridge, Bob Mason and Dave Flavell combined to see them through by 81 points.
Having to concede 82 points start away to Amblecote Institute C, Pockets SC B’s Paul Crisp and Dave Timmington reduced the leeway by 46 in the first two frames, despite being forced to battle hard by Roy Pugh and Gerald Lyons respectively. Mark Colbourne won by 40 points for the home team, but Danny Rees turned the match in to Pockets favour with an excellent break of 51. Leading by 16, Bob Moran quickly extended the advantage in the final frame, to clinch a semi-final place.