Snooker

Alberta Snooker Champion Crowned!

Congratulations to Warren Saffel, winner of the 2011 Alberta Snooker Championship!

Warren Saffel
After dropping the opening frame against runner-up Cliff Johnson, Warren came back to win five straight to win the title and a direct entry into the 2012 Canadian Championships in June of next year.
Special thanks go out to John Pasley for officiating the final on short notice, and a very special thanks to Cliff Johnson and Richard Strand for arranging to have the tournament held at The Ranchmen’s Club, as well as providing the trophy, sponsored by Mr. Strand’s company Home Investment Management Inc. The names of the winner and runner-up will be engraved onto a 2011 plate to be mounted to the base beside 2010’s champion, Tom Finstad.
Quarter-Finals
Warren Saffel def. Randall Morrison 4-0
Save for one frame which came down to the black ball, Warren Saffel began his campaign for the championship with a decisive 4-0 defeat of Randall Morrison who edged into the knockout round on a walkover from Medicine Hat’s Bob Tetz in the group stage.
Dave Kutney def. John Fraser 4-0
Dave Kutney from Red Deer began to find his form as the quarter-finals began and came through with a 4-0 victory over John Fraser.
Cliff Johnson def. Earl MacMaster 4-1
Tied at one frame apiece after two, Cliff Johnson went on to win the next three in a match with Earl MacMaster to go through to the semi-finals recording a 4-1 victory.
Jesse Nowak def. Tom Jackson 4-3
On the main table, arguably the most tightly-contested match of the entire tournament, Tom Jackson, the second seed from Group A had lost only one match heading into the playoff round. After a long defensive battle in the grueling 62-minute opening frame, Tom came away with a 1-0 lead over Jesse Nowak. However, Jesse Nowak would go on to win the next three frames to take a 3-1 lead, looking for an upset victory as the dark horse in the draw. Two frames later though, another lengthy safety exchange that favoured Tom Jackson in the end brought the match to 3-3, sending it to a deciding frame. The final 32-minute frame eventually went to Jesse as Tom Jackson conceded with the blue, pink and black on the table, sending Nowak to the semi-final as the lower seed.
Semi-Finals
Warren Saffel def. Dave Kutney 4-2
Dave Kutney’s late-stage run of form continued into the semi-finals as he took a 2-1 lead over Warren Saffel after three frames. However, following a break of 44 in the fourth, Warren never looked back and reeled off three frames to progress into the finals for the second year running.
Cliff Johnson def. Jesse Nowak 4-2
Likewise, Jesse Nowak looked to be on his way to a second upset victory by leading 2-1 against Cliff Johnson in the other semi-final. Having already survived the 4½-hour quarter-final against Tom Jackson, he continued to fight out a series of close frames but Cliff would bounce back to win three straight and book a place in the final, taking the match 4 frames to 2 after holding a lead in the sixth and the pink dropped into the centre pocket off three rails.
Final
Warren Saffel def. Cliff Johnson 5-1
Late finishes to Group B’s quarter- and semi-final matches made for a late start to the final Best of 9 frame contest for the provincial championship and the tension was palpable as Cliff Johnson won the opening frame under the watchful eye of the remaining spectators, and referee John Pasley.
After Warren drew level at 1-frame apiece, Cliff had several opportunities in amongst the black spot in the subsequent frames, but costly misses left Warren free to capitalize and build up leads that were ultimately insurmountable for Cliff who trailed 4-1 after five.
The final frame was tightly contested and was tied 34-34 with only pink and black remaining. A missed pot with the rest from Warren let Cliff in to pot the pink in the yellow pocket leaving a fine cut on the black. Cliff played safe up the middle of the table but was short of pace, allowing Warren a chance to pot the black in the same pocket to take the final frame 41-40 and the championship match.

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