GAVIN McQuaid is certainly cool under pressure. – but he can also be rather slow.
He’s no Hurricane Higgins or Rocket Ronnie, but when it comes to a pressure frame he has what it takes.
It’s just that it can all take rather a long time.
It was approaching 2am when he finally despatched bleary-eyed veteran Billy Wallace of Blackpool’s Excelsior to give Low Moor their first success in the North West small-table snooker championship.
And by that time, not only the Low Moor team and supporters but match officials, neutral observers and just about every Excelsior player and fan was praying for the end.
All except Wallace who pressed on doggedly as McQuaid edged further ahead, going slower and slower as he took command.
Spectators took to timing him to add a bit of colour to proceedings. A full minute without moving a muscle was nothing as he weighed up the next shot.
It didn’t matter everyone in the room knew that he would end up playing off the black to snooker the hapless Wallace on the yellow. And that’s just what he eventually did after what seemed half-an-hour.
McQuaid had been in a similar position two days before at Claremont Conservative Club, Blackpool, when he went on with the semi-final against Nelson Poultry finely poised at 3-2.
Victory was vital and he came through strongly with a dogged performance.
Forty-eight hours later, he was again in the hotseat. Going on at 3-2, he had just seen his skipper Marc Holmes beaten by Excelsior captain Mark Rooney.
It was approaching 1am when McQuaid picked up his cue and Wallace quickly proved he was no mug as he went clear. However the Low Moor lad fought back relentlessly over the next hour or so, oblivious to the nodding heads and drooping eyes.
Low Moor’s other winners were Carl Drinkwater, Paul Traynor and Chris Lawson, who won on the black.
Now Low Moor will be trying to retain their trophy – a feat never before accomplished in the 36-year history of the unique competition.