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In memory of Richard Slatter, Furness College has hosted an annual pool tournament since 1997, taking place in its college bar, Trevor. Open to all Furness students and alumni, the winner has the honour of having their name carved into the Richard Slatter leader board on display in the bar. This year, it took place on Saturday the 23rd of May, a beautiful sunny day, when no one wanted to be revising anyway. 33 signed up to play; many familiar faces, and a few returning graduates, including Pete Barnes, the 2013 winner.
Josie O’Gorman, Furness women’s captain in 2013, had also returned to do Furness proud. She admitted she hadn’t played much in the last two years, but sailed through the first round.
Another women’s team representative from previous years, Gemma Lovatt faced current Furnessian Ben Markham. Markham won, despite not being on a Furness pool team. Ryan Smith, also a non-team member, swanned in and beat men’s B team’s Paul Alderson.
Lancaster’s renowned Beardy Bob stole a very close victory against Damon Mau, after a very intense and serious looking game.
Jack Baxter’s enthusiasm on the break, sending the white soaring across the room, was unfortunately not enough to get him to the next round. Adam Butler thrashed him, executing a cracking double on his last red.
Bella Ford faced Nick Dearman, and told SCAN she’s just hoping not to be 7-balled. However, she put up an impressive fight, and Dearman’s confidence was clearly rattled, before he potted the black and secured his place in the next round.
Next, two alumni faced each other, and Johnny Horsely effortlessly beat Dan Hunt. Dean Stoker, Pete Barnes and Richard Orford also deservedly won their games.
In a surprising twist, Toby Hecht, Furness’ A team captain unfortunately did not make the second round, losing to Henry Au. However, darts captain Sam Pollard did, smashing Fergus Yung and leaving an impressive five colours left on the table.
Two Furness women’s team members went head-to-head: Esther Jewitt stole a win against Leah Seward, but ultimately they were just glad to have another female representative in the second round!
JCR Sports Secs Laurence Ansell and Harry Carter both sportingly gave the tournament a go. Ansell put up a fantastic fight, but lost to B team’s Jordan Rosemond, whilst Carter also lost to Jake Heaney. Both showed a great deal of effort though, considering it was neither one’s forte.
Womens team member Kirsten McPhail pulled off a few of her characteristic ferocious doubles, but it wasn’t a match for the impressive skill of B team’s Elliot Hartfield, who delivered a flawless win.
The second round saw our 2013 champion knocked out by Hartfield, despite Hartfield admitting that he wasn’t even intending to play that afternoon.
Both of the two remaining girls won their games; Jewitt beat Heaney after fighting down nerves and finishing on an awesome long shot on the black, and former women’s captain O’Gorman wiped out Markham with a spectacular double on the black to finish.
Au accidentally potted the black too soon while playing Rosamond, and lost the game by default. Whilst Dean Stoker and Beardy Bob both conquered their opponents.
Dearman beat Butler; it was a fairly even start, before Dearman stormed into the lead and took victory. Orford won his way into the third round against Pollard, with an impressive swerve shot on the black.
The atmosphere in Trev was a jolly one, with casual darts going on, and plenty of beer and Sultans being passed around. However, things got serious as the quarterfinals began with just eight players remaining in the competition.
Hartfield took out Rosamond, maintaining a strong lead from the start. Beardy Bob proved tough competition for O’Gorman, but she fought her way to victory, and made it to the semi-finals.
A very slow and tense game between Dearman and Stoker, involving some sticky situations. Dearman wormed his way out and secured his place in the semi-finals.
Jewitt faced Orford, holder of the A teams best record for the year, but was embarrassingly pummelled as Orford 7-balled her!
O’Gorman represented all of womankind in the best of three games against Hartfield. It was a nail-bitingly close finish to the first frame, as both grappled over the black. Hartfield won the second frame by a fair distance, sending him straight to the final.
Orford appeared to be thrashing Dearman in the first frame, until he made an unbelievable comeback, potting six balls in a row, plus the black! The second frame was extremely close; Orford was first onto the black, but a miss cost him the game, as Dearman cleared up at the last second.
Dearman took on Hartfield to decide the 2015 champion. Interestingly, both are Furness B team players. The consensus among the spectators was that the two were equally matched, but that: ‘if Nick wins, we’ll never hear the end of it.’
The game began, and the spectators were in awe of the skill shown by both. Both were tactically covering pockets and placing the white to make their opponent’s shots difficult. Dearman potted the black and won the first of five frames, with three of Hartfield’s yellows left on the table.
Hartfield made up for the loss in the second frame, succeeding in potting the black before Dearman.
A dramatic third frame concluded as Dearman potted the black beautifully — and accidently potted the white in the same shot! A foul granted Hartfield the win by default.
The fourth frame, and it could be all have been over for Dearman. His hand visibly trembled as he made his bridge. The tension in the air was tangible, as Hartfield stormed into the lead, potting four in a row. Dearman made a gutsy longshot, sneaking his yellow past the black, which was dangerously close to the pocket. Hartfield made things awkward by snookering Dearman. And finally, he doubled the black, it spun in slow motion across the centre of the table, kissed Dearman’s yellow, and dropped into the centre pocket. The room erupted.
The Richard Slatter title was granted to Elliot Hartfield. He won a pool cue and will have his name immortalised on the wall of Furness for all to see. He declined to give a speech, but told SCAN he is ‘delighted’. A well deserved victory!