Right on Cue
Bradford No 2 climbed above Huddersfield to the top of Division Two after a 4-2 home victory over Selby in the Yorkshire Inter-District League.
Captain Hanif Rafiq began the contest at Cue Gardens in fine style with a 66-21 win over Kev Hawksworth, after which a tighter second frame was eventually decided on the colours as the Bradford player clinched it 65-34.
Bradford champion Gareth Green started well, making a break of 58, but Selby opponent Darren Hawkins fought back to steal the frame on the pink 69-58.
Their next frame was close but Green appeared in prime position when clearing up until missing a tricky green ball down the cushion.
It went down to the last three colours, which Hawkins cleared with three superb long pots to level the match at 2-2 with an 81-64 verdict.
This was a rare two-frame loss for Green – but Anthony Green edged Bradford back in front by taking his first frame against Tom Butterfield 74-34.
He looked to be in trouble in the next, when a simple snooker appeared on the cards for Butterfield, but two unlikely misses presented the Bradford player with a clearance from the last red to win 76-36.
This clinched a fifth consecutive victory for Bradford, who have a bye in the next round of fixtures before taking on second-placed Huddersfield in a key clash.
Division One leaders Bradford No 1 head to Castleford No 1 on Sunday (7.30pm), while the billiards side take on defending champions Leeds at Great Horton Cricket Club on Saturday (7pm).
* The Yorkshire Snooker Championship qualifying stage bore no fruit for Bradford players, who all missed out on the March quarter-finals.
Hanif Rafiq won 3-0 in his opening match against Donald Lynch and second-round opponent Kuldesh Johal, in top form with breaks of 104 and 120 in his first game, was made to work hard before a 3-1 victory for the Leeds player set the path for qualification.
A first-round battle of Bradford went to Josh Walker, who edged out Lewis Walsh 3-2, but Walker then lost to eventual qualifier Wayne Wootton of Sheffield.
Damian Bentley won his opener 3-0 against Lee Hart (Leeds) but then lost to qualifier Peter Fisher (Castleford), while Russell Morgan and Kevin Firth were both edged out in the first round.
* The Hey’s Trophy quarter-finals and Hopkinson Plate first round get underway tomorrow night, with details having been sent out to all teams.