LEE TAYLOR reached the knockout stages of the York Masters snooker tournament following an epic struggle against Clive Whyte.

The Malton potter, who holds the highest break in the York Conservative Clubs’ Snooker League this season, booked the runners-up spot in group ‘A’ with a 3-2 victory.

With Glen Mountain having already taken the top honours, only a win would be good enough for either Taylor or Whyte to advance to the last 16.

It was a high quality contest. Taylor took the opening frame of the night before Whyte hit back to level.

Breaks of 32 and 31 gave Taylor a 2-1 lead before a 36 break by Whyte levelled the match at 2-2. Taylor came out on top in the decider, sending his opponent to the tournament exit door.

The event sees the best CIU and Conservative Club players battling it out to be crowned as York’s best and is being held on a World Snooker standard table above keen player Adrian Barraclough’s Quickslide showroom in Layerthorpe.

Steve Gregson, one of the clear tournament favourites, comfortably secured top spot in group ‘H’ with a 3-0 win over South Bank’s Mick Borg.

A 38 break won the opener and, despite a 30 break by Borg in the second, a 31 by Gregson gave him a 66-30 success in frame two.

Gregson completed the win with a break of 32 in frame three despite another 31 by Borg, who now takes on Acomb’s Keith Thornhill in a winner-takes-all match to decide the runner-up spot.

Acomb’s Nick Marchant was knocked out after a 3-1 loss to Huntington’s Adam Scaife. Marchant won the first 54-30 and only narrowly lost the second on a re-spotted black.

The following two frames were also close and Scaife snatched both on black balls to complete his victory.

Kevin Gall had to dig deep to reach the last 16 with a 3-2 win over Tim Hart. Gall, who lost his opening match 3-0 to Dan Potter, needed a win to keep his hopes alive and took the opening frame thanks to a break of 28.

But a 28 effort from Hart levelled the scores and he moved 2-1 ahead. Snooker coach Gall kept his composure, though, to level the match and win a tense final frame decider 53-43.

Hart has since decided to pull out of the tournament on health grounds.

Daz Colledge grabbed top spot in group ‘C’ with a 3-2 victory over Andi Ireland. Colledge knew a win would see him top the group and he won the first frame only for Ireland to level.

The match swung to and fro and went into a final frame decider. Colledge kept his nerve to take it and John Dowd advanced as group runner-up.

Qualifiers so far: Glen Mountain, Pete Glover, Daz Colledge, Dan Potter, Steve Gregson, Lee Taylor, John Dowd and Kevin Gall.