February 1, 2016

SB Classic: Resurgent Croft Clinches Grand Finals Spot

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:53 am

A late night finish yesterday at the excellent Elite Snooker Club in Preston saw a win for former professional Stephen Croft who defeated Alex Taubman in a deciding frame to clinch his place in the Grand Finals on April 3rd, the fifth player to do so.

Crafty Crofty is into the Last 16

Crafty Crofty is into the Last 16

Stephen or ‘Crofty’ has been taking a rest from snooker, well not so much a rest as a full-on generation off, he’s been back playing for just under a month after the best part of ten years away from the baize and despite this match rustiness he managed to battle his way through a very tough field. The Merseyside man took the time off to raise a young family and despite having moved to Darwen, he’s still very much an exiled scouser and a very popular figure amongst the players who all seemed glad to see him back.

Stephen joins fellow scouser Brian Robertson, Marc Davis, Elliot Slessor and Ant Parsons in the Grand Finals with 11 more names to be added. There was some consolation for runner up Taubman, who’d come through a very tense battle in the semi-finals against John Whitty, as he’s now 5 points clear at the top of the Order of Merit and very much in the driving seat to take his place in Gloucester through that route.

I was once again really impressed by The Elite, it’s a cracking club run by proper snooker people. We were made to feel very at home from our arrival and Shokat Ali and Chris Norbury couldn’t do enough to help, the tables were also in fantastic condition and I can’t wait to go back there again next season. Chris himself knocked in two centuries but lost in a high quality match to Whitty earlier on in the day, he’s coming back for more in later qualifiers when he hopes to have put a bit more practice in, so he’s got to be a contender for the Grand Finals also.

You can check all the results from Preston here and the highest break table and Order of merit can be viewed here.

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