Derbyshire beat Nottinghamshire by one frame to win title
Derbyshire won a thrilling county match on 16 October 2011 at North East Derbyshire Snooker Centre.
The last time the two teams faced off was in February 2011 and Nottinghamshire raced away with the title of County Champions with a very convincing win of 61-39.
Steve Butler ran the event which had the format of 11 matches being played at the same time to a 20 minute stop clock. The results and frame times were all co-ordinated from Steve’s laptop and during the day the players eagerly looked over his shoulder to see how their side was progressing.
Derbyshire Captain Jimmy Gratton’s squad were certainly up against it and fielding some excellent local snooker talent including a 15 year old female world champion they set about reversing the previous result and bringing back the trophy to Derbyshire.
Decked out in their team shirts with personalised cue towels the Derbyshire squad looked co-ordinated and certainly up for the battle as Steve Butler called out for the first frames of the day to start
Hannah Jones, the aforementioned 15 year old 4 times World Ladies Junior Champion and English International, who has recently won the Amber Valley Sportsperson of the Year and has been nominated for the upcoming Derbyshire Junior Sportswoman of the Year, caused the first big upset of the day by beating ex professional snooker player Ashley Walker, previously unbeaten, with a 68 break in only her second match. Ashley was both shell shocked and impressed with her performance. In fact Hannah was involved in a couple of the biggest frame performances of the day. Firstly beating Ashley and then playing in the penultimate frame to beat World Snooker Coach and ex professional snooker player Barry Stark in a monumental frame that involved a clinical clearance from the 15 year old while her team mates were cheering her on. This brought Derbyshire to level points to take Nottinghamshire (pictured) out of the lead for the first time leaving just one frame to decide the winners of the coveted title and trophy.
This last frame was played out between Mark Jones, the Derby Institutes Chairman and father of Hannah Jones, and Wayne Martin ex professional snooker player.
Mark confidently went about his business and stayed enough in front so that he was 27 points ahead with only 27 points remaining. Wayne potted the yellow but failed to pot the green which was eventually put away by Mark with a tremendous pot that had the Derbyshire Team cheering at the top of their voices as they gathered around to witness the final moments of the match. That green meant that Nottinghamshire required snookers. Wayne Martin battled on putting Mark into snookers but not tough enough for Mark to fail to escape them and Mark potted brown and blue to give Derbyshire the frame and match. This performance secured Mark with the Man of the Match for Derbyshire although Jimmy attributes this title to all of the players on the day including lady of the match Hannah Jones.
Proud Derbyshire Captain Jimmy Gratton from Belper said “This is the proudest moment in my snooker career to captain such a great team and helping lead them to victory is beyond my wildest dreams. We are receiving offers for county matches now and I hope that this goes from strength to strength. We came into this match on the back of a heavy defeat when we lost 61-39 at the away leg so knew that Nottinghamshire may have taken us for granted but I had faith in my team although I must say I didn’t expect it to be so close. In fact we were behind all day until the last two frames and the dynamic Jones duo held their own to help Derbyshire win. Everyone should be proud we had a great team spirit and every single person contributed to the win.”
The session scores certainly tell a tale with Derbyshire close at the start of the day then falling behind in the middle sessions before rallying in the later stages, scores were as follows (Nottinghamshire first) 7-4, 18-15, 30-25, 49-39, 52-47, 60-58, 60-61.