The weekend of the 14th to 17th of March saw ten Glasgow Uni students hit the Northern Snooker Centre to compete in the British Universities & Colleges Sports competition. Glasgow haven’t managed to achieve any silverware in Snooker-based tournaments within the past decade but nevertheless, two relatively inexperienced teams made the 3-hour gone 6-hour minibus journey down the M6 to Leeds.
Glasgow’s first-string team of five was led by Club Captain- Peter Rafferty, a second year student, debuting in the high-pressured and unforgiving scene of BUCS Snooker. The team also included former captain Ruairidh Kemmet, and further BUCS newbies Shawn Carranza, Andrew Simpson and Chris Day. Glasgow’s second team included a well-experienced Calum Munro along with newer players Finn Maclean, Scott McGoldrick, Alan Black and Tim Bäckström.
The individual competitions passed Glasgow by as no real threat came from players from either teams. The most notable performances came from Peter Rafferty and Calum Munro, who both made it into the second and third rounds of their knockout stages respectively. However, it was Friday afternoon and a brisk Saturday morning that saw a turn of fortunes for both Glasgow teams at the beginning of the group tournament.
A mixture of both comfortable and tricky group games saw both teams make it automatically into the quarterfinals of the Plate competition. Quarterfinals brought with them straight knockouts all the way to the final. Each player of the team would play one frame against a corresponding player of the opposition team. The first team to three frames would win the match and progress to the next round of the competition.
At this stage, spirited performances by the second team players were too little for them to continue, who got beaten by a good Southampton side. Revenge was soon to be had though as Glasgow A-team met this same Southampton side in the semi-finals after thumping Roehampton's first team 4-1. Southampton posed a strong threat, with a particular player having played in the women's Snooker World Championships, but the team managed to scrape by with Shawn Carranza, Ruairidh Kemmet and ‘Sneaky Pete’ all winning their frames. Glasgow had rapidly found themselves in the final.
The Plate final would see Glasgow firsts meet a well-supported, confident and experienced Nottingham team. Same rules applied- first team to win three frames would win the tournament. First to step up was vice-captain, Shawn Carranza. A tough fought match ended in a defeating black ball game (one ball remaining on the table for the win). Shawn was unlucky to lose this one. Next up stepped up first-year hotshot, Andy Simpson. This game also went to the final ball and ended up as another narrow Glasgow loss. This left Ruairidh Kemmet needing to win the next frame. Scarily, this also went to the final black ball. The former captain managed to keep a cool head and slot home the black to put Glasgow back in it with scores sitting at 2-1. Captain Pedro, took it on himself to make sure Glasgow won the next frame. This frame again, was a tight one but Rafferty, after a very composed start, managed to hold on to bring the scores back to 2-2. This left it up to Chris Day to attempt to seal the match in a final frame decider for the title of UK University Plate Champions. No pressure. Chris found his stride and keeping as cool as a cucumber managed to hold-off a late Notts comeback to hand Glasgow the final frame, match and Championship.
It was a great achievement for all 10 players to win something at Leeds. The Snooker and Pool Club is a rapidly growing club on campus and can be found on the top floor of the GUU. Club Captain, Peter Rafferty wants to see Glasgow entering more competitions and winning more trophies over the coming years. The side are young and show promise to bring back more silverware back to Glasgow. Peter, Ruairidh, Shawn and Chris are all representing a Scotland team at Nationals in Dublin next month. Keep an eye out for how they get on!
You can find Glasgow University Snooker Club on Facebook to keep up to date with what’s going on.