Keith and Larry reach Singles Final

20 April 2017 09:30:00 Posted By Luton
Last Updated: 27 April 2017 16:57:00

Larry Baker 5-0 Luke Butler

The first Semi-Final saw what was on paper a mouth-watering tie between the top two players in the AIPL Premier this year, Luke Butler of Swanky taking on Larry Baker of New Zealand "B". But on the night, it was relatively one-way traffic as Larry went was on top form, and ended up going through with a 5-0 whitewash victory.

Frame 1 began with Luke fouling off the break. Larry came to the table and potted a few yellows, and then tried potting and developing a ball at the same time. It didn't quite work out for him, so played safe, but didn't quite snooker Luke. Luke for out of the attempted snooker with a pot, and confidently went for the clearance. Unfortunately, Luke ran out position during the clearance, so also played a safety, and snookered Larry. Larry fouled, leaving Luke the clearance, but he didn't himself a shot on the black, so played safe. Larry the played a containing safety, but left Luke a chance at the black. Agonisingly for Luke though, he potted black and yellow, and gave Larry an 1-0 lead.

Frame 2 saw Larry dry break, and Luke, wanting to get back on level terms as soon as possible, went straight for the clearance, but unluckily put himself in a total snooker, and fouled trying to get out of it. Larry came to the table, and cleared the table well with his two visits to take a 2-0 lead.

Luke broke off in frame 3, and potted a red. After nominating red, he potted one more red before missing. Larry, clearly confident after the first two frames, took out a top-notch one visit clearance in style to take a dominant 3-0 lead.

Larry broke in frame 4 and potted a red ball. He nominated red and potted one more, before playing safe. This was the start of a very tactical frame, both players being very safe and defensive with every shot, and covering pockets when given the opportunity. Luke tried taking control of the frame by playing a yellow onto the black to make the black unpottable for Larry, but agonisingly under-hit it and subsequently fouled. Larry still had a lot of work to do to clear up, but did exactly that with another great clearance with the two visits he was given. The lead was now 4-0, and Larry went into frame 5 knowing he was one frame away from the final.

Luke broke in frame 5, and successfully potted a red, before nominating reds and then missed. Larry came to the table and potted four yellows, before carefully leaving one over a bag. With no real control in the frame, and 4-0 down, Luke went for a bit of an extravagant shot to get back into the frame, but didn't quite work, and actually ended up fouling. Larry potted, tried setting himself up for the clearance but ended up snookering himself, got out of it, but couldn't move on from it, so played a containing safety. Luke had once last chance to try and clear the table, but crucially potted the white when on the black due to having no position for the pot, leaving Larry a simple last yellow and black for the 5-0 whitewash.

Keith Jones vs Adam Jackow

The second semi-final, played alongside the first at Shootpool saw current 8-time defending champion Keith Jones take on last year's Quarter-Finalist and 2014 Semi-Finalist Adam Jackow. Both players played well, but after a brief comeback from Adam, Keith went on to take this match 5-2 and set up a final against team-mate Larry Baker in the final.

Frame 1 saw Keith break, and both players had early visits and potted balls, but couldn't stay on the table long enough to do damage. Keith eventually cleared down to the black, but unluckily fouled. Adam had two visits with only two balls left and the black, but over hit one, then missed his second shot. Keith came back to the table with the simple task of potting the black ball, which he did for a 1-0 lead.

The second frame was a very slow, tactical frame, with neither player having any clearances or succession of pots, both players chipped away, but the frame ended with Keith getting on to the black first, and potting it to take the frame, and more importantly, take a 2-0 lead.

Keith fouled early on in frame 3, which gave Adam two visits early on, and a great chance to claim some control in a frame. Adam tried to pot one of his colours and free another ball at the same time, but although he potted, but couldn't free it, and therefore lost his chance to clear. When Keith came back to table, he also went for the clearance, but over run a ball and therefore couldn't pot. Adam came back to the table, potted his last three colours and potted the black well to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

In the fourth frame, Adam potted a few balls early on, but then gave away two visits after a loose shot. Keith came to the table and brilliantly cleared with just one visit. And in doing so, restored his two frame advantage and took a 3-1 lead in the match.

It was pivotal now that Adam needed this frame to have any chance in winning, but the break didn't leave either player with a clearing chance. After both players had potted a few balls early on over the course of a few visits each, the match swung massively in Adam's favour when Keith went potted the white when potting one of his colours. Adam confidently cleared the rest of his colours, and calmly used two shots on the black to bring the game back to 3-2.

Into the sixth frame, and the match started with Adam dry breaking. Just when the watching crowd thought that Adam had got a foothold in this match, Keith came to the table and cleared brilliantly with only one visit to take a 4-2 lead, and leave himself only one frame away from the final.

The seventh frame started with Keith breaking, and potting a ball. Sadly for him though, it was the white that went in. Adam decided to take on reds, and successfully potted a few, before tucking himself up accidentally. Hoping not to foul, he played a containing safety shot, but sadly couldn't prevent Keith potting on his return to the table. Keith went on from there to clear up the table, including the winning black, to move into the final with a 5-2 win.

THE FINAL

The AIPL Singles Final, between Larry Baker and Keith Jones, both of New Zealand "B", will take place before the Presentation Night, at the Rivets on Saturday 17th June 2017. It is looking like being one of the best finals in years, and a preview of the final will be available on this site in the future. Hope to see as many of the AIPL players down to support the two players.