New cue helps Betts pot Southland title

Ian Betts finally won the Southland A-grade snooker title after 18 attempts when he upset current and two-times champion Alan Gill, of Dunedin, four frames to two on Sunday afternoon.

London-born Betts, who emigrated to Invercargill in 1989 and is now a father of three, played a lot of snooker in Britain before shifting to New Zealand.

He did not get back into the competitive game until the early 1990s and has always been one of the top local performers since, without winning any major titles.

He had just acquired a new “Paris” cue and as a result was able to thrash four-times Southland champion Danny Ryan in a semifinal boilover.

Betts then went on to dominate Gill in the opening three frames of the final to lead 3-0 and looked set to make it a 4-0 whitewash. Gill had other ideas and midway through the fourth frame compiled a 32 break and held on to trail 3-1.

In the fifth frame Gill gained the initiative and won it easily, and all of a sudden Betts held only a shaky 3-2 lead.

The sixth frame was where Betts regained his confidence, but a foul on the yellow gave Gill an opportunity to take the frame, but he also fouled after potting the yellow. This was all Betts needed as he then cleared to the pink and clinched the title.