Nural Khan wins Cardiff Handicap Singles

Cardiff Handicap Singles Final

Luke Haines 2 v 4 Nural Khan

Congratulations to RBL Warriors’ Nural Khan after he defeated Canton Libs’ Luke Haines 4-2 to win the Cardiff Handicap Singles title in a high-quality match at Taff’s Well Ex-Serviceman’s Club.

The opening frame was a scrappy affair as both players looked to establish some rhythm early on, but it went to the colours with Haines seven points ahead on the green. Khan potted green and brown to level the scores, before Haines had the chance at a long blue but jawed it and Khan took advantage to move 1-0 ahead.

The second frame featured some excellent long-range safety play, with both players leaving each other in trouble on the baulk cushion. Khan held a lead for most of the frame and was ten points ahead on the brown, but a very good brown was followed by the blue from Haines, before a superb positional shot on the pink to black gave him the chance to roll the black along the top cushion to level the match at 1-1.

Haines started strongly in the next frame and built a healthy lead as it reached the halfway stage, before some excellent safety play saw the frame head towards the conclusion. Both players had opportunities to take the upper hand but strong potting from Haines gave him the chance to finish the frame off before the colours and take a 2-1 lead.

The momentum looked to have swung towards Haines as Khan went in-off an early colour in the fourth frame, but he soon made amends as some outstanding positional play saw Khan quickly build a sizeable break in and around the black. The frame was soon won as he continued to pot red and colour, and the final red left him on a 93 break as he landed perfectly on the black to record a superb century. With the other colours on their spots, it looked likely that he would clear the table, but a tricky yellow was jawed to deny him a 127 clearance as he made it 2-2 in this pulsating encounter.

The next frame saw a superb 10-minute safety exchange at the start with both players knowing the importance of it, but Khan managed to establish a lead and as the frame headed towards the colours, and he looked favourite as he led 65-41 on the yellow. However, it was Haines who had the best chance as he forced an error from Khan, and with all the colours in the open it looked like a clearance was a strong possibility, but it rattled in the jaws and Khan made no mistake to pot the yellow and clear the table to take a decisive 3-2 lead.

It was Haines who made the better start in the sixth frame as he established a 20-point lead early on, but an excellent long pot from Khan (which was the highlight of his play all evening) saw him create a chance before breaking down on 55 to edge him close to victory. Haines battled to stay in the frame but Khan made the most of his next opportunity with a 39 break only ending with a missed final black to win the match 4-2 and with it the title of Handicap Singles champion.

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