Stockton overcomes car trouble and wins Eastwood open
Despite the very hot bbq weather, a good field of thirteen players turned up to compete in the Eastwood Open on Sunday 31st May 2009. The popular round robin format was used again which provided every competitor with at least three matches. The top two players in the four man groups and the top three in the five man group automatically progressed to the quarter-finals. The third placed finishers in the four man groups had a play-off to decide who would progress.
Group A was won by Steve Butler whose only defeat came at the hands of James Robinson but the fight for qualification was very tight. In the end both Bob Wright and Andrew Foster progressed to the quarter-finals, not just because of their superior number of frames won, but also because Wright and Foster both beat Robinson. Thus both James Robinson and Steve Coleman missed out on qualification.
Jimmy Gratton was not his usual self, possibly due to him spending the night away from home and only getting a few hours sleep. As a result he lost all three of his matches and failed to win a frame. Danny Castel-Nuovo won the group with Zeb Ahmed finishing second. Stephen Lally was forced to rely on a play-off against the third placed finisher in group C to try and grab a quarter-final spot.
Wayne Martin has won all six Eastwood tournaments to date and he was again looking good as he won all three matches to top the group. Stoke-on-Trent’s Jason Stockton finished second and Nav Hussain finished third. Debutant Alex Smith from Ilkeston came close to winning a few frames but was left propping up the table with no wins.
The play-off for the final quarter-final spot saw Stephen Lally take on Nav Hussain. It was Hussain who came out on top, clinching a place in the knockout stages.
Nav Hussain 2-0 Andrew Foster
Hussain had struggled to reach this stage and Foster had reached the plate finals of the last two BCI tournaments, so on paper it looked like Foster would emerge victorious. In the end though, Hussain had finally found some form and he won the match 2-0.
Danny Castel-Nuovo 2-1 Wayne Martin
This was a fantastic match. Castel-Nuovo had been playing well all day and he took Martin all the way to a deciding frame black ball. In such circumstances, Martin’s experience and determination usually sees him through but not this time. Castel-Nuovo sunk the all important black to progress to the semis and send Martin crashing out of a tournament that he has never previously failed to win.
Jason Stockton 2–1 Steve Butler
This was another close match. Butler romped away with the first frame but Stockton easily won the second to set up a deciding frame. Butler pushed Stockton all the way and had a chance to win the match with a relatively simple blue, but he couldn’t handle the pressure and it was Stockton who sunk blue and pink to win the match and progress to the semis.
Zeb Ahmed 2-0 Bob Wright
Wright had been playing well all day and Ahmed had quietly been doing the business. It proved a match too far for Wright who had played 11 frames without a break and was feeling it by this stage.
Jason Stockton 2-0 Zeb Ahmed
Stockton hit the tournaments highest break in this match, an impressive run of 66. Ahmed couldn’t cope with the Stoke potter’s breakbuilding prowess and it was Stockton who set up a mouthwatering clash with Hussain in the final.
Nav Hussain 2-0 Danny Castel-Nuovo
Castel-Nuovo’s previous match against Wayne Martin must have really took it out of him. In contrast Hussain was ultra confident and he sailed into the final with a 2-0 win.
Final £60 / £30
Jason Stockton 2-0 Nav Hussain
Hussain was playing very well but his failure to protect his lead in both frames cost him dear. He raced into an early lead in the first frame thanks to a run of 56 but some excellent breakbuilding and safety play by Stockton brought him right back into it and eventually the Stoke player stole the frame from under Hussain’s nose. The second frame was a similar story as Hussain opened up a good lead thanks to a few small breaks. Stockton again clawed his way back into the frame though as Hussain missed some risky pots which left Stockton some good chances. Stockton produced the goods when it mattered to clinch the match and with it the £60 first prize. The cash will come in handy as he is facing a hefty repair bill on his car!
Jason Stockton 66,58 (£5)
Nav Hussain 56,42
Andrew Foster 54
Wayne Martin 45,40