Billiards ace Mark Hirst triumphs again but is pushed all the way

Mark Hirst, has won the Bradford Billiards Championship for an eighth time

MARK Hirst has won his eighth Bradford Billiards Championship title – putting him second in the all-time list behind 11-time winner Richard Lodge.

Hirst beat defending champion Trevor Kershaw in the final at Great Horton Conservative Club.

Kershaw gave it his all, refusing to give up his crown without a fight, but Hirst held on for a narrow victory.

Kershaw took an early lead and defended it with some astute safety play.

A break of 35 from Hirst near the end of the first session got him in front for the first time but Kershaw was in play at the interval with an unfinished break of seven to lead 166-165 at halfway.

Breaks of 56 and 40 in the second half helped Hirst open up a lead of 317-228 but, with a highest break of 34, Kershaw fought back to trail only 329-295 with a little over ten minutes to go.

Another spell of safety play seemed to have Hirst in control but Kershaw picked his time to give it a go for a possible victory yet was unable to claw back all of the deficit.

He was in play again at the bell but it was Hirst who held on for a 356-326 victory.

STEVE Wilman got Bradford’s billiards team off to a flying start in the Yorkshire Inter-District League as he recorded breaks of 40 and 37 in defeating Huddersfield 2’s Jez Ford 200-74 to give Bradford a 3-0 lead.

Stephen Kershaw had a top break of 35 but it was not enough to overcome Scott Lawson, who defeated him 200-157 to reduce Huddersfield’s deficit to 5-3.

Paul Devitt was also in good form for Bradford as he notched breaks of 37 and 30 to lead Huddersfield captain John Ingleby 188-88.

Ingleby then got the better of a long safety battle and had pulled up to 142 before Devitt secured his last 12 points, a result which left Bradford as 8-4 winners.

Bradford, who are joint-top with Harrogate, face Doncaster next up on Saturday, January 13.

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