MATT Ford admitted it was “a day of two halves” after recovering from a shock defeat to win the third leg of the Cuestars Seniors (40+) Tour in Bournemouth.

The 43-year-old from Bracknell compiled the event’s highest break of 89 to wrap up a 2-0 victory over Wayne Muddiman in the final at Greenbaize Snooker Club.

Southampton-based Muddiman threatened to repeat his success over Ford in the final a year ago at the 147 SC, Swindon, by taking the lead in the opening frame with a run of 31.

But the defending championship play-off winner secured the £120 first prize by responding with a 46 before nearly making a century in the second.

Ford said: “Wayne beat me in the final (in Swindon). I know he can play. You’ve got to play well to beat him.”

Earlier, the World Seniors Tour player topped his round-robin group despite a surprising 2-0 defeat by Herman Desmier (Wimborne) – who celebrates his 70th birthday in three weeks.

“He won fair and square,” Ford conceded. “He played very well, to be fair to him.

“It’s been a day of two halves. The group stages were not so good, but the knockout stage was pretty good.”

Ford added a highlight of the tournament was being reunited with old friend Chris Stocker, who moved to Yeovil 18 months ago.

Muddiman beat his old mate Nick Birney (High Wycombe) 2-0 in the last-four, while a 2-0 defeat by Ford denied Neil Herd (Frome) a first appearance in a final for more than two years.

Herd had laid down an early marker for the highest break with an 82 against Paul Burt (Salisbury) in the group stages.

That was surpassed by rankings leader John Hunter (Andover), who was knocked out 2-0 in the last 16 by Carl Davies (Bournemouth), with an 84 against Steve Ashton (Salisbury).

But then Ford went on the rampage in the knockout with seven 40-plus breaks in nine frames, including an 85 against Mike Quinnell (Bexley) and the 89 which ended with a missed tricky last red down the side cushion.