The knockout group qualifying fixtures took center stage in the 11th week of the Derwent Valley Asbestos Removals & Demolition Services summer league.
Four out of the five top-flight versus lower league opposition matches went the way of the underdogs in some tightly fought battles which proved that most players have been fairly handicapped.
The most impressive of those ties saw Whitehaven’s Richard Kirkham earn a 5-0 win over higher league opposition in Mark Tunstall of Workington. Kirkham now holds a three-point lead in group ‘D’ with two ties to complete.
The only tie to buck that trend resulted in defending champion Kevin Basnett defeating Workington’s Chris Hunter in a closely contested match.
Hunter twice took the lead in the match, despite breaks of 48 and 39 by the Seaton player. Basnett’s 3-2 win sees him switch the lead with Hunter by a single point as the group ‘A’ qualification hangs in the balance with one match each to play.
Andy Moore of Whitehaven earned a useful 3-2 win over higher league opposition where Workington’s Peter O’Hagan made breaks of 43 and 39 before Moore took the decider. It now looks to be a two-horse race for qualification between O’Hagan and Richard Kirkham in group D.
DVARD division two leader Stephen Jackson also overcame higher opposition in Andrew Mitchelhill, taking an all-the-way 3-2 victory with a black ball final frame decider.
Jackson compiled a 30 break in the second frame and Mitchelhill a 36 in the third. Jackson is now four points behind current qualifier Geoff Smith.
Seaton’s Paul Smith could not quite make it another surprise result. Former county champion Kevin Kirkham pulled through 3-2 against Smith after he twice had to draw back level. Kirkham made a 32 break in the second.
Workington’s Dave Chapman made it four division two victories over top tier opposition with another 3-2 win as he battled back from 2-0 down against Workington’s Clive Lister. Chapman lies second some six points behind Kevin Kirkham in group ‘B’, as Kirkham has one foot in the qualifying spot.
Next week sees a return to the DVARD league fixtures.