Chris so close to International title

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CHRIS Blackman was just pipped to the Short Mat International Masters Singles crown by Belgian Jonathan Payne.

In the inaugural staging of the competition at Wey Valley IBC’s purpose built short mat arena last weekend, Blackman saw off almost 50 other competitors from England, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium to qualify for the knockout stages.

And the Billingshurst-based Martlets SMBC singles champion found himself in the final against the international experience of Payne. On his way to the final, Blackman beat Nigel Nicholls of Cornwall in the last four, while Payne beat Norfolk’s Chris Mann.

In the end, Payne’s experience proved key as he narrowly won the final 21-18 to collect the £300 winner’s cheque.

There was a distinct international feel to the consolation final also as Sweden’s Joel Hager beat Cheshire’s England International, Steven Proctor 21-12.

It’s now hoped the competition will become an annual event.