SNOOKER & BILLIARDS: WIDNES Conservative Club B blackballed their Eccleston Lane Ends counterparts in the final of Widnes & District Snooker League's Whitfield and Brown Cup.
The final was decided on the last ball of the match potted by star man Dave Whittle.
Despite being comfortably ahead, he needed four snookers to tie the handicap with only the blue, pink and black remaining.
After an epic tussle on these last three colours, Whittle obtained the snookers required, assisted by a six-point foul.
He was left needing to pot blue to black for victory at St Basil's Club.
The first two were converted easily and the destination of the trophy rested on the final black.
Whittle's attempted pot into a corner saw the ball rattle in the jaws of the pocket - but then proceed along the cushion to drop into the opposite corner.
The cheers emanating from one side of the room - that occupied by the Cons Club team and supporters - sharply contrasted with the air of total disbelief in their opponents' corner.
Eccleston LE B, from Division Five, had received a 140-point start over their rivals from Division Four. Although Eccleston were making their first-ever final appearance, they clearly weren't alone in feeling the pressure in an error-strewn start.
The Con Club side struggled to make an impact in the first two frames, pulling back 14 points as T Galloway won for the Widnes outfit and G Hughes responded.
But the second set of matches saw two winners for the Con Club, including an impressive 92-44 victory for Mark Worrall.
At the break, Eccleston led by 70 on handicap and seemed confident.
However, while Dave Whittle was racking up the points against Peter Williams, team captains Jimmy Gallagher (Con Club) and Alf Evans (Eccleston) were fighting out a much tighter encounter.
The last three colours were sunk by Evans for a 41-22 win, but fortunes were dramatically reversed by matchwinner Whittle. Tonight's Snooker League Championship final is between Chris Achilles and Ste Rawlinson at RAOB Club, Widnes.
Runcorn-based Achilles, who plays for Simms Cross, is bidding for back-to-back titles after his 2003 success.
But Rawlinson will have something to say about that after seeing off this year's surprise package in his Corporation stable-mate Robbie Morris 3-1.
Achilles had to overcome a fight-back from Ford's Chris Whitfield to win their semi-final 3-2.
Achilles produced a 56 break in the deciding frame after making four 30-plus visits to storm into a 2-0 lead. Dogged resistance, and a 46 break, had pulled Whitfield level.
Finals continue next week, starting on Monday with the Billiards League's Championship final at Widnes Bowling Club.
On Tuesday, Corporation Club hosts the Snooker League's Division One Handicap decider between Anthony Yates (St Joseph's, scratch) and Ste Andrews from St Basil's (10).
The Division Four Handicap final follows on Wednesday, May 19 at St Basil's. Contestants are J Price (Simms Cross, 20) and S Graham (Pavilions, 15).
The same night, and at the same venue, is the big Division Five Handicap showdown between W Hewitt (USC 5) and P Baker (Village Rooms, 10).
On Thursday, May 20, also at St Basil's, are the Division Two Handicap final between Nigel Woods (Village, 20) and Bernie Edwards (USC, 10) and the Division Three Handicap decider between Brian Woods (Pavilions, 10) and Terry Cartwright (Corporation, 5).
All finals start at 7.30pm.