THE Bradford Snooker Championship final takes place at Great Horton Conservative Club on Saturday, with 2004 champion Howard Mawson taking on Eccleshill Victoria Cons team-mate Mark Ball in the best-of-seven frame match (7.45pm).
Mawson has had a particular tough route to the final, beating former finalists Anthony Green in the preliminary round and Dave Stirk in the first round, both by a score of 4-1.
Ball started the competition well, making a 131 clearance in the deciding frame of his first-round match to edge out Stefan Risidi 4-3.
Mawson saw off Chris Tolson 4-1 in the second round, while Ball defeated Simon Jackson 4-0. Then in the quarter-finals, Mawson faced four-time champion Gareth Green and Ball took on up-and-coming youngster Russell Morgan.
Both Mawson and Ball triumphed 4-2 and in the semi-finals Mawson was drawn to face doubles partner Lewis Walsh. Ball was handed a tie against Kevin Firth, who had knocked out ten-time champion Wayne Cooper in the previous round.
Both matches were tight affairs, with the occasional break thrown in. Mawson fought his way through 4-3, including a 79 break along the way, while Ball made a 55 during his semi-final, which went to the final black where fortune deserted Firth as he went in off to hand Ball a deserved win.
The final promises to be an intriguing affair and spectators are advised to arrive early to get a good seat for what is sure to be a full house, as usual for this showpiece event.
* THE Bradford Billiards Championship got underway at the weekend, with Mark Hirst, Paul Devitt and Jason Devanney awaiting the winner of holder Trevor Kershaw, Stephen Kershaw, Steve Wilman and James Butcher to complete the semi-final line-up.
* THE Yorkshire Snooker Pairs event is at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds on Sunday, with the entry fee £15. Registration is at 9.30am for a 10am start, with all matches being best of five frames.