Loughrey secures League individuals title with victory over Baxter

Raymond Baxter and Alan Loughrey.
Raymond Baxter and Alan Loughrey.

The Ballymoney & Coleraine District Snooker League individuals has been won by Alan Loughrey, after he defeated Raymond Baxter 5-2 in a tense final in Potters Snooker Club, Coleraine.

Loughrey has improved immensely during this season and would have been the favourite for this match, considering Baxter was giving him a 35 point start in each frame.

However, the match could have just as easily went the other way as Baxter battled right to the end.

The first frame set the tone as Loughrey played a cagey, tight game not allowing Baxter many chance to reduce the points deficit.

Having lost this first frame, Baxter knew he had to respond and he did so well, helped by a 47 break to level the match a 1-1. The next two frames were both scrappy affairs and Loughrey took both comfortably but Baxter battled back with another 40 break to reduce the arrears to 3-2.

The sixth frame was the key moment of the match as Baxter had started to cue well and amassed over 60 points in two visits, putting his opponent 20 points behind with only one red on the table. However, Loughrey played some great shots which defied his +45 handicap to turn the frame around culminating in a cracking pot on the pink to sneak 4-2 in front when it could so easily have been square at 3-3.

This clearly rattled Baxter and he became very aggressive in the next frame knowing he was up against it. This approach backfired as Loughrey hit an early 20 break, leaving Baxter with a 60 point deficit to make up. A cagey shot by Loughrey to put both pink and black safe made life even more difficult for his opponent. Despite some great potting, Baxter struggled to score a meaningful break with the high colours out of commission. Loughrey kept control and potted a great brown to win the title.

All in all, both of these players have put the practice in this season and deserved their place in the final. A match which was played in great spirits and thanks must also go to Ivor Jamieson and Marc Hutchinson who shared refereeing duties for the duration of the final.

Under 23 Individuals

A reminder to all that the under 23 individuals open will take place on Sunday 24th April in Potters Snooker Club. Players must be registered for 1pm and entry fee is only £2.50. League handicaps apply (with non league players being handicapped accordingly)