GARY Kinnear is Hawick’s newly-crowned snooker champion.
The Burns Club cueman was one of eight local players to set the green baize alight at the Conservative Club on Sunday afternoon when the coveted title of the town’s top player was up for grabs.
Now in its fourth year, the Hawick Snooker Championships, which was established by the Conservative Club, continues to go from strength to strength and is now a popular annual event.
Reflecting on matters, the Con Club’s Dougie Rae said: “Four years ago we had the idea about starting a championship for local players playing for club teams.
“And although the event has turned into a big success, we couldn’t do it without the help of our sponsors – Roxburghe Hand Knits, Rillmount Limited and Belhaven Breweries. We are very grateful for their support.”
Following knock-out rounds staged in recent weeks, Sunday’s tournament conjured up the last eight bidding to lift the crown.
In the opening stages, Gary Kinnear (Burns Club) toppled Mark Riddell (Conservative Club), Rob Duff (Burns Club) defeated Michael Cunningham (Conservative Club), Ian ‘Bomber’ McCombe (Burns Club) beat Darren Williams (Conservative Club), and Stewart Brown (Burns Club) gained a victory over Ian Ford (Burns Club).
These results brought about two all-Burns Club clashes in the semi-finals, and locking horns with Duff, Kinnear emerged the victor, while Brown edged out McCombe.
In a best-of-five final, Kinnear hit top form to win the opening three frames and take the title in convincing fashion.
Kinnear was well pleased with his win and told the Hawick News: “There were a couple of upsets in the tournament before today’s matches, with two of the favourites surprisingly knocked out and this really opened up the draw.
“I wasn’t sure how I would get on and had a very hard match in my opening tie against Mark Riddell who ran me very close.
“I’m really thrilled to have won though as there’s some very good snooker players in Hawick. It’s also great that four Burns Club players got into the semi-finals. So it’s been a good day all round.
Beaten finalist Brown said: “Gary is a quality player and deserves to be champion. I was well beaten in the final, but I was chuffed just to be in it as I didn’t think I would get that far.
“In fact, I was just happy to be playing in the tournament because I usually work at the Howegate Chippy on a Sunday, but I got the time off which was brilliant.”
Gary Kinnear was brilliant too and a worthy champion, but Hawick snooker was also a winner on the day.