Snooker: Cruickshanks pips Fernie to lift East of Scotland title

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Perth’s Bobby Cruickshanks won his first East of Scotland Snooker Championship in a nail-biting climax to the tournament, defeating Bonnyrigg’s Ross Fernie 5-4 in the final at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

The appearance of Cruickshanks and Fernie in the final would ensure that by the end of the evening there would be a new name on the trophy, with Cruickshanks having never been beyond the semi-final and Fernie never having a run in the tournament of any great note. However, in front of a packed Matchroom, despite Cruickshanks being overwhelming favourite to win after his whitewash of defending champion Ross Vallance in the semi- final, it was Fernie who got into his stride first as he opened up a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.

However, the interval seemed to help Cruickshanks, who had up to then been struggling to get going. The Perth player took the fifth frame with breaks of 31 and 46 before levelling the match when Fernie missed a relatively straightforward pink when needing just pink and black to take a 4-2 lead. The Bonnyrigg player then recovered to win the seventh frame with the loss of only three points, but despite Fernie having chances to wrap up the match, Cruickshanks levelled things up to take the match to a decider. There was then to be no more chances for Fernie as Cruickshanks used his superior experience to make a 47 break, which was the highest of the evening and it proved to be enough to secure the title.

Cruickshanks, who is the first player from Perth to capture the East of Scotland title, said: “I didn’t start well and really struggled to get going all night. I was maybe a bit too relaxed as I was favourite to win. Ross started well going 3-1 up but the interval came at a good time for me as I was able to regroup and I was a lot more solid after that. The turning point was the sixth frame when Ross missed an easy pink and although I lost the next, I knew that I had enough experience to win the match”.

Cruickshanks, a regular practice partner of seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry added: “The East of Scotland Championship is a prestigious event and I am just delighted to get my name on the trophy. Also, to be the first player from Perth to win the title makes this a special victory for me”.

Tournament organiser Kenny Baird said: “Although it was a match with very few high breaks, there was some great safety play throughout from both players. Both Ross and Bobby were determined to win their first title and the tension led to a number of unforced errors but overall it was a great match.

“Ross was the surprise package of the tournament but it just wasn’t to be. However, Bobby is a cracking player and a worthy winner of the title”.

Frame Scores (Cruickshanks first): 31 v 76; 56 v 30; 10 v 74; 42 v 70; 84 v 20; 64 v 54; 3 v 61; 73 v 38; 70 (47) v 1.