Odrl : 150 | Bieniek : 125, 112

I would just like to say this was a cracking match, but unfortunately the wrong man won it in the end.

I thought things would be against me right from the start, when I had two great chances in the first frame and twice finished on nothing after splitting the pack from the pink. Bieniek eventually made the clearance to win it on the black. I then had a little moment of glory with another supermaximum, which included a tough pot to the yellow pocket along the side cushion and a thin cut on a black from almost straight above it.

The score went 2-2 and 3-2 to Bieniek, and he had a chance to make it 4-2 but broke down when he missed a blue to the middle and went in-off. I had two more breaks just short of the century, and Bieniek had one really great clearance, where he had to develop a red and a couple of colours bunched together on the baulk cushion. We ended the first session with me 5-4 in front.

In the next frame I dominated the safety battle, getting something like five snookers in a row, but Bieniek escaped each time, even though they were not routine shots. I eventually played a terrible shot to let Bieniek in, and he made a flawless century to force the decider.

Unfortunately the match finished on an anti-climax. Bieniek told me he was going abroad for two weeks, so he would concede this match, win or lose, as he could not play the final himself. We still played the frame, and I got a great chance to win it, but broke down on 40 after a poor positional shot (an unnecessary cannon, but still a little unlucky to finish on absolutely nothing). Bieniek could and would have cleared up for victory, but chose not to, even though he was well within his rights to claim his hard-earned ranking points and later concede the final. I do not take any pleasure from winning like that, but I have every respect for true gentlemen like Bieniek, and this was a touch of class.

Thanks for a great game, as usual. Too bad you cannot compete for the title here, because you deserved it.

Enjoy your trip and see you in September. :)