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Black Ball Triumph For Dale At PTC

Dominic Dale came from 54 points behind in the deciding frame to beat Martin Gould 4-3 in the final of Star Xing Pai Players Tour Championship event six.

Londoner Gould looked to have done enough when he made a break of 69 in the last frame, but Welshman Dale got the snookers he required before clearing from last red to black to steal victory.

Former Grand Prix and Roewe Shanghai Masters champion Dale, who has since slipped to 40th in the world, picks up 2,000 ranking points and £10,000 after becoming the eighth winner in eight PTC events so far this season. He now looks certain to finish in the top 24 of the money list and qualify for the grand finals in March.

Dale came from 2-1 down to lead 3-2 in the final before Gould levelled. In the decider, Gould looked to be cruising to victory until he missed a tricky penultimate red along a side cusion, leading 70-16. The turning point came when he failed to make thin contact on the last red, hitting the black and leaving a free ball. Dale laid another snooker and eventually cleared with 35 for victory 78-70.

“I had a chance to win 4-2 but twitched on an easy blue, so when it went 3-3 I felt under pressure,” admitted 38-year-old Dale. “It was a bizarre final frame, when he was in the balls I thought the match was over.

“It means a lot to me, to win another trophy after a couple of bad seasons. And I’ve done it playing fantastic snooker – I beat Neil Robertson 4-1 earlier in the tournament with two centuries and two eighties, which was one of the best matches I’ve ever played.”

Dale lives in Vienna but commutes regularly to the UK for tournaments. “I tend to practise on my own in Vienna and I’d like to thank the people at the club there who have given me a lot of support and encouragement. The PTCs have been wonderful for me because they give me match sharpness, and I find that once I am through the first round I get a spark going. As long as you have the right psychology, living abroad doesn’t make a difference,” he added.

“I’ve also been playing a lot at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester when I come over to the UK which has helped me – it’s great to have that facility available and to feel part of a team there. Hopefully this win is the catalyst for me getting back up the rankings.”

The next event, EPTC3, runs from next Friday to Sunday in Russelsheim, Germany.