Leeds youngster Oliver Lines backed up his success in taking the Yorkshire Under 19 trophy earlier this year, with a nail biting victory over defending champion Dave Portman from Sheffield, in a repeat of last seasons showpiece.
Both players struggled for their top form in the early stages, a mixture of nerves and mutual respect limiting the pair to producing their finest safety play. Portman made breaks of 26 and 22 in the first frame which were enough to see him triumph 70-58 and soon made it 2 nil with a scrappy second frame, winning 59-30.
Lines had breaks of 21 and 30 in clawing a frame back 75-24 and levelled at the interval with a hard fought 70-58 win, taking yellow to pink after Portman had made a break of 50 and looking like earning a 3-1 lead. Whatever advice Portman gave himself at the break it certainly worked, making an excellent break of 69, looking good for a century with 3 reds remaining but losing position, but still ended up taking a 3-2 lead with a 70-0 victory.
Lines junior, (his father Peter on the main World Professional Circuit), is a more balanced and mature player than he was 12 months ago, showed just why he is so highly rated within the game, fighting back to level the match again. Portman set off with a break of 36 and lead 52-32, but another clearance to pink snatched the frame 64-52 taking it to a decider.
Portman was first in and made a break of 25, Lines hit back with a break of 32, before Portman put a run of 23 together to put him well in control at 60-32. A series of fouls brought Lines back into it and at 66-53 with 25 on the table, it was still anyone’s game. Both players took pot shots at the green, without success and when Portman attempted a pot to the middle and missed, the opportunity arose for Lines to take advantage with the green left close to the pocket. Certainly nerves will have been a big factor for Lines, but he didn’t show it and kept his cool potting green to pink before dropping in a delightful black to the middle pocket, edging the frame 78-66 and with it his first Yorkshire Open Title.
see the last five colours from the decider below
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Portman was gracious in defeat, although understandably disappointed and this may well be the confidence boosting victory that springboards young Oliver towards the main professional tour in the coming years.
CLICK HERE to see pictures from the evening