Snooker: It’s Wallace at the double yet again in Finals Week

ETSL Open Championship runner-up Stevie McParland, referee Desi Stinson and champion Patrick Wallace
ETSL Open Championship runner-up Stevie McParland, referee Desi Stinson and champion Patrick Wallace

I’ve promised myself a few times to get down to business and work out exactly how many titles Patrick Wallace has won in ETSL, but I know it’s well into the dozens.

And the former quarter-finalist in the world championship at The Crucible Theatre was at it again last week, retaining both Open and Division One titles - and climaxing a magnificent double triumph with a stunning break of 136, that total clearance being the best break of the season - in what was the very last frame of the entire ETSL campaign.

Senior Open champion Paul McGuckin and runner-up Oliver O'Neill

Senior Open champion Paul McGuckin and runner-up Oliver O'Neill

That’s eleven open titles and six Division One - including the last four in the latter!

Playing Stevie McParland, who won the Seniors Open title three days earlier, modest breaks of 38 and 41 gave the Pot Black cueman a 2-0 advantage before he treated the spectators to a splendid finish in a memorable season in which he also helped his club to a first ever title grand slam.

In between his Sunday exploits at Pot Black club in as he attempted to win the N.Ireland Championship for a remarkable eighth time, Wallace also won Division One honours by eclipsing Ryan Robinson, Mitchells A, in an solid decider in Gortgonis.

The reigning champion looked in a bit of trouble in the first frame as young Robinson played well tactically and with some fine attacking ploys to leave Wallace needing everything as they swopped shots on the last red. Alas, the ball he needed juggled in the left side black pocket and Wallace then cleared the decks to win by a point - a magnificent pink down the rail to the yellow pocket a memorable shot.

And, his confidence greatly boosted by snatching a frame he should never have won, the Dungannon man won the second frame with a 45 break to take the title yet again.

The Division Two final saw Danny McVeigh take on Oliver O’Neill at the Mitchells club in Cookstown, with the noted Clonoe pipe bandsman emerging victorious in a match which was tactical and engaging throughout.

The McKees club has been the dominant force in Division Three snooker since the non-handicap section was introduced, the trend continuing as Finbar Hughes was crowned champion in Keady, defeating Mitchells man Aaron Mulgrew in straight frames. The Clonoe man easily won the first and clinched victory on the blue.

The ETSL committee thank all referees and host clubs for their marvellous hospitality in staging the finals and, indeed, all matches throughout what’s been a memorable season, not forgetting the generous sponsors Gregory Hughes, Feargal Keenan and Rory Mallon.