In spite of atrocious weather conditions, 40 players turned up in Lancaster to contest the northern section of this tournament.
The tie of the preliminary round saw James Silverwood beat Farakh Ajaib 3-2. James had an 89 clearance, 88, 48 and 45, and Farakh breaks of 42 and 34 in the frames he won.
Other impressive performances came from Ian Martin who made a 56 break in the first frame of his 3-1 victory over David Stephenson, and Danny McDonald who beat experienced Gary Knowles 3-0 aided by a 54 break.
The next round of matches again saw Silverwood rise to the challenge, defeating the holder Simon Blackwood 3-1, with breaks of 51, 48 and 46. Other notable performances were by Kevin Harris who beat Richard Alston 3-1 with 4 breaks over 40.
Other good breaks in the first two rounds were made by Jack Cullingan, 84 and 56, Steve Scott, an 80 clearance, a 69 from Michael Cousins and 50’s from Mike Nixon and Josh Mulholland.
The qualifying round saw young newcomer Anthony Wall narrowly defeating Tyler Whittaker on the final pink. Silverwood struggled against Alan Pearson who led 2-0 but hit back to take the next 3 with a top break of 53. Jack Culligan hit the highest break of the day, a 90, in the first frame of his match against Ian Martin, however Ian took the next 3 to qualify. Josh Corless was particularly impressive in beating Mike Nixon 3-0 with breaks of 67, 47 and 45.
The other qualifyers with consistent performances were Mark Ainscough, Dave Holcroft, Kevin Harris and Steve Scott. A special mention should be made. Josh Naylor, a local lad with cerebral palsy, playing in his first tournament outside league play acquitted himself very well in spite of losing his match 3-0.
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.