BRIAN Hobbs reckons his “team of veterans” can pull off a shock in their first ever snooker cup final run by the Southampton & District Social Clubs League.
Division 2 outfit Totton Recreation Club D face Division 1 side Sway Social Club in the Peter Marchi Cup final on April 15.
They made the short trip across the railway tracks to Totton Conservative Club to edge Woolston Social Club C 3-2 in the last-four. Team captain Hobbs said: “It’s a bonus to get there and it would be nice to win it.
“We’ve played (Sway) before when they were in our division. We’ve beaten them a couple of times and they’ve beaten us. So they hold no fear.”
Totton’s match winner was seasoned campaigner Jim Clark, the Town Championship runner-up in 1986 and 1989.
The 61-year-old, who also won the Premier title and the Burroughes & Watts team knockout with Totton Rec A, held his nerve to cut in a long pink against Mark Clarke in the decider.
Clark said: “When it’s your first semi-final, it must be awesome. Once you’ve won a tournament, it’s not so difficult.”
Fellow Division 2 side Woolston had drawn first blood when Richard Channell was left chasing snookers on the blue against 19-year-old Lee Bell.
But, in the frame of the night, Mike Bagley beat Malc White to level the match. White opened with a 16 break, added a nine and then fouled.
A string of cracking long pots helped Bagley race to a 31-point lead on the last red. Although the Woolston skipper extracted the penalty points from four snookers, Bagley secured the frame on the green.
Totton’s John Ranson then beat 23-year-old Robert Pack on the pink. However, Woolston’s Dave Moore forced a decider with a long pink and a doubled black after Barry Garrett had fluked the brown and landed perfectly on the easy blue – which he missed. Hobbs, who now only picks up his cue when short of players, said: “Jim did the business. “And John put us on our way. He’s been around for a long, long time. He’s a good stalwart and he’s having a very good season.
“Woolston played a good game. It was very close. “We’ve played them in the league and they’ve all been nip and tuck so I guessed it was going to be the same again tonight.”
The 61-year-old, who did make the independently-run Summer Bonanza final in 1993 with Totton Rec D, added: “We’ve got a team of veterans, basically.
“I’m very pleased for them. There’s enough experience there. They’ve been there, done it, and I think they can pull off a surprise.”
Frame scores, Totton first: Richard Channell 26-55 Lee Bell, Mike Bagley 85-44 Malc White, John Ranson 49-41 Robert Pack, Barry Garrett 45-46 Dave Moore, Jim Clark 50-40 Mark Clarke.
Social Clubs Spotlight and Snooker Spotlight in today's Daily Echo