Rhys Carpenter wins Cardiff Open Singles

Cardiff Open Singles Final

Ryan Rowlands 2 v 4 Rhys Carpenter

Ryan Rowlands 45

Rhys Carpenter is the 2018-19 Cardiff Open Singles champion after a 4-2 victory over Ryan Rowlands at Taff’s Well Ex-Servicemen’s Club.

Playing in his fifth final, Rowlands started assuredly and took an early lead in the first, but Carpenter hit back with solid potting and shot selection to take the frame to the colours. It eventually went to the black, with a misjudged safety from Carpenter giving Rowlands the opportunity to seal the frame and take a 1-0 lead.

Carpenter started strongly in the next and established an early lead, before a couple of good breaks from Rowlands again took the frame to the colours, but Carpenter maintained his advantage to leave Rowlands needing a snooker on the blue. A couple of attempts went very close before an outstanding safety checked perfectly off the top cushion to land behind the black, leaving Carpenter with a tough escape with pink and black in the open. He judged the two-cushion escape well and Rowlands was unable to land another before Carpenter sank the blue to level things up at 1-1.

It was a big moment in the match as Carpenter seemed to take confidence from drawing level and he dominated the next frame, with Rowlands unable to capitalise when presented with chances and the missed pots coupled with very solid matchplay from Carpenter put him 2-1 ahead. The momentum had now switched and Carpenter built on this in the next with very good long-range potting and tight safety play keeping Rowlands at bay to establish a healthy lead with a handful of reds left. He seized the opportunity on the last red to seal the frame and Rowlands’ concession came on the brown.

So first-time finalist Carpenter now had a 3-1 lead and knew he needed just one more frame for the title, but also knew the outstanding talent of his opponent, and the two-time champion showed his ability and determination in the next. The start had been nervy with both players missing clear chances to make frame-winning contributions, and when Rowlands found himself tight on the top cushion he looked like he was in trouble. His only option was take on a very difficult red to the middle pocket knowing he was leaving Carpenter in the balls, but it didn’t touch the sides and an impressive 45 break followed to leave Carpenter needing snookers with two reds remaining, which he was unable to get to make the score 3-2.

It had been a tense, evenly-matched final that looked like it was going to go the distance as Rowlands started well in the next to establish a 20-point lead, but he wasn’t able to build on this and strike a decisive blow meaning the frame went to the colours. After the yellow had been potted Rowlands held a 17-point lead, but neither player had a clear chance at the green with some excellent safety play under pressure keeping each other at bay. However, a misplaced safety from Rowlands left the green over its own pocket to present Carpenter with the chance to clear and win the match. The opportunity was made easier with a tremendous positional shot from green to brown, and with blue off its spot he was left a cut to the middle with the white needing to go round the table for pink and black. He sank the blue but had slightly under-hit it leaving him stretching for a mid-range pink with black to the other corner to follow. Knowing that a miss would mean the match would go to a seventh and deciding frame, Carpenter struck it perfectly with stun to leave himself a straight black to the corner, which he rolled in to win the frame and take the match 4-2, and with it the title of Cardiff Open Singles champion for the first time.

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