45 players entered from as far afield as Widnes, Carlisle, Blackpool and Burnley to play in the northern section of the competition in Lancaster.
The 8 qualifiers were –
Ex-pros Marshall, Nixon, Milliard and Fernandez all had fairly easy passages to the final stages. Fernandez was particularly impressive, with several breaks over 50.
The performance of the tournament was by Robert Marshall who made breaks of 100, 119 and 62 in a first-round win over Mike Cousins.
Among the other qualifiers, Jason Tart was impressive with two 3-0 wins. Junior player Paul Deaville qualified from the Lancaster event for the second year running. Mark Salmon, a newcomer, did well to qualify and keeping up local interest was Lancaster’s Danny Hicks.
Other centuries were made by two local players; former winner Trevor Lamb made a 102 clearance and James Silverwood had a run of 112.
The live results reporting by Michael Waring went down very well with the players and spectators.
Some of the regions finest cue-men descended on George Scott’s Snooker Club in Liverpool for the first of two qualifying events of the 2019 North West Open.
Fifty-two players had to be whittled down to eight to qualify for the Grand Finals, which will also be played in Liverpool on Sunday 7th April.
Alex Taubman and Jack Bradford will be looking forward to the Grand Finals after a successful day, as will Tony Kinsella, David Holcroft and Clayton Humphries. Sean Maddocks came from two frames down against John Welsh to win 3-2 before beating Roy Bennett 3-0 to qualify. Jamie Jones produced a very exciting moment as he was heading for a maximum before missing the 13th red, but his classy 96 break remained the highest of the day.
The final remaining player to qualify was Simon Blackwell who beat a resurgent Andy Molyneux in the final qualifying round.
A great day at George Scott’s…..now it’s over to Lancaster for the second qualifying event on Sat 16th Feb where another eight players from around the region will be looking to book their places at the Grand Finals in Liverpool on 7th April…
This tournament has been contested since 1964 when The Pontins Cup was presented to the Lancashire Billiards and Snooker Association by Frederick Pontin. The first winner was Jimmy Heaton of Westhoughton and the runner-up was George Scott of Liverpool.
This competition is one of the most, if not the most, prestigious competitions in the North West of England. To be crowned the North West Open Champion is certainly something to be proud of.
The names on the winners band of this magnificent trophy include John Spencer and John Virgo. The trophy itself is housed in the Heritage Museum at Thurstons in Liverpool.
Who will be next on the winners list?
In 2019 there will be two qualifying events – one in Lancaster and one in Liverpool. There will be 8 qualifiers from each event who will go through to the Grand Finals.