When the doors open to the main hall at 8:45
at Vauxhall holiday park you can feel the tension as the players make
their way to the table they have been allocated. The spectators rush
to get the best view of the team they have come to support. At 9:00
the room noise level drops a notch or two as the captains are busy
filling out their team sheets and the players look on eagerly trying
to see where they are in the team line up.
Or in some cases it’s the bitter disappointment
of not seeing they have not been selected in opening set of nine players.
Once that moment has passed it’s time to do battle. Last years
winner’s Morley, had on the face of it, a tough start to the
defence of their crown by drawing Rugby Town. Morley’s task was
made even tougher when Ian Jones and Carl Heaton put Rugby 2 up.
Morley pulled one back before Mark Winham gave Rugby
a 3-1 lead then things started to swing Morley’s way as captain
Ralph Winfield and then Darren Appleton won to level the match. At
the turn round point Morley had managed to put themselves up 5-4. from
that point on it was Morley all the way as Rugby Town only won one
more frame before Morley won the match 12 6.
Meanwhile on table 1 Trent Trophies ‘A’ from
Staffordshire started their campaign with a 14-4 win over Nottinghamshire’s
Desborough which all but killed of Desborough’s campaign before
it got started. But that is something Trent Trophies do with alarming
regularity. Dinnington East Yorkshire and Desborough played out a much
more equal match that ended 9-9. This left Trent Trophies an easy task
to come out group winners with a 9-3 win over Dinnington. It should be
said that it was very bad luck indeed for Dinnington to be here for the
first time then get drawn against the strongest team in the event on
their first visit to the finals.
On table two there was another clear group
winner in Brighton A however; Nottinghamshire’s Sutton had other
ideas about who was going to win the group. Brighton boasted players
who are in with the big boys, players like Pete Ashman, Moray Dolan,
Darren Welfare & Mark Proto. Even with that class of player in your
team they were unable to overcome the 6 frames Sutton took in the opening
nine frames. Brighton tried to come back at them but in reality had nothing
to come back with and Sutton eventually won the match 11-7. For Brighton
this was a massive blow as Brighton’s big guns all put in less
than impressive performances. Sutton on the other hand was now in control
of their own destiny.
Brighton had no time to compose themselves as they were straight back on against
East Yorkshire’s Beverley A. in this match Brighton took the lead and
were trying to claw themselves back into the group but Beverley were having
none of it and eventually came back to draw the match 9-9 by taking three of
the final four frames.
Sutton only had to avoid defeat to secure a last 32 spot
which they did with frames to spare against Beverley A beating them
9-7 and forcing Brighton A to become the weekends first big name casualty.
Penwith from Cornwall lived up to their billing as a
top team when they took out South Yorkshire’s Sheffield I.P.L.
11-7. Sheffield can point to a middle order collapse for their demise.
They may even say that being a player short was the telling factor.
It’s hard enough to win with a full strength team. Sheffield
ware robbed of some players by varying factors beyond their control.
They still managed to take 3 of the opening 5 frames. That’s
where it all went wrong as Penwith took 6 of the next seven frames
to lead 8-3. At this level there is no way back from that kind of onslaught.
Daniel Darlington’s Penwith went on to win 11-7. But Paul Craig
can be proud of his team. They refused to roll over and kept fighting
until it was over.
Sheffield’s next opponents were Leicester & District
who lost 4 of the opening five frames. It took two frames from Gaz
Bowkett and Charlene Gibson to steady Leicester’s ship. Sheffield
managed to hang on to their lead when the score was 7-6 but that’s
where the happy times ended for Sheffield as Leicester took the next
5 frames on the spin to win 11-7.
Penwith made short work of Leicester as they piled up
the frames and eventually won the match and group with a 10-3 win
Imperial 2 from London and Ipswich from
Suffolk lived up the expectation that it would be a tough match between
the two, at the half way point Ipswich trailed by a single frame then
Imperial applied some pressure by winning six of the back 9 to win 11-7.
Pat O’kane started the winning run for Imperial 2. Ipswich will
wonder how with players like Richard Twomey, Alan Mower, Paul & Mark
Keeble, Michael Punschart& Ned Acton they managed to kill their chances
so early on.
Ipswich made amends in the next match as they took Nottinghamshire’s
Gainsborough apart 12-6 but even that kind of performance only serves
to remind you that despite a good win like that your chances of making
progress rest on someone else’s result. In this case Ipswich
had to pin their hopes on Gainsborough beating Imperial 2. to Gainsborough’s
credit they gave it a go and held Imperial 2 to a narrow win of 9-8.
but in the end Imperial went through.
The Prince of Wales (West Yorkshire) V
Leicester tie is one that conjures up all the thoughts that make the
Interleague what it is. Two teams playing each other knowing the other
has a pedigree in the event. so yo have to pay respect but not so much
that it affects your game. Prince of Wales made life difficult for themselves
by losing the opening group match 10-8 to Leicester after being 8-7 up.
As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Prince of
Wales, Godalming from Surrey hit the West Yorkshire’s big time.
Godalming were 11-3 up before Prince of Wales knew what had hit them
and by then the Prince of Wales knew their Yarmouth was over for another
This set up a Leicester V Godalming group decider the
match swung one way then the other until the mid way point with the
Surrey side one frame to the good. Leicester killed off Godalming with
a five frame blitz at the start of the second half that took them to
a 9-5 lead. Godalming did take two more frames but Leicester finished
of the group by winning the match 10-7
One of the “Elite” teams that
never seem to make silly mistakes is Nottinghamshire’s Ollerton
no matter who is in the group with them they always seem to be able to
deal with it. they certainly dealt with Sussex’s Brighton P. Ollerton
boast players like Ex England International Kev Seaman. Welsh International
Neil Jones and Under 21 England International Chris Rigby. With that
sort of fire power its not too surprising that they always do well at
Vauxhall’s.. Brighton had no answer to Ollerton who won comfortably
The Wisbech, Cambridgeshire and Brighton P match was
a lot closer with neither team being able to show the other a clean
pair of heels. The only time a decisive surge was made was made right
at the end when Wisbech took the last three frames to win the match
That set up the Ollerton, Wisbech Match Ollerton set
about Wisbech from the start and took 7 of the first 9 frames that
killed of all Wisbech’s fight so Ollerton qualified for the last
32 without getting out of first gear
Mick Butterworth’s Radcliffe, G.M.C.
did to Worthing what Ollerton did to Brighton P only more so taking 8
of the first 9 frames. From that point you would have though that Worthing
had nothing to live for but all credit to them for fighting back. They
got the score to a respectable 11-7 before Radcliffe crossed the finishing
In the second match Sun Valley, Nottinghamshire hit Worthing
harder than Radcliffe did as they took 9 of the first 11 frames, this
time there was no fight back from Worthing. That’s hardly surprising
as Sun Valley are one of England’s top Interleague teams. They
can, like so many teams, call on the services of so many quality players
like Current England International Bayden Jackson. Plus Liam Stanley
and Jim I’Anson. Worthing had no real answer as Radcliffe won
In the group decider Sun Valley took first blood winning
the first three frames only to see Radcliffe take the next four. They
went even further ahead when both Jim I’Anson and Bayden Jackson
both went down.. it was only when Lee Howitt, Liam Stanley, Neil Jones
and Stonley all hit top gear that Sun Valley survived the group stage
reaching the six frames they needed to progress.
Dawley A Shropshire made tough work of
getting past Medway, Kent but in the end they did 11-7. mind you Medway
can and do call on the services of England Youth International Jordan
Church so they cant be written off.
Wigan now entered the fray, once the top team in Lancashire they are not the
force they once were but you would be a fool if you wrote them off. With players
like Carl Roughley, Lee Bridge, Shawn Dawber, Skipper Geoff Harrison, Glen
Cahir and of course Ian Davenport in your line you would expect to do well.
It was no surprise to see them take Medway apart 13-5.
That set a fat clash between Dawley A and Wigan to see
who was going for the early bath. Dawley set the pace early on but
Wigan slowly clawed their way back in to the match but every time they
did so Dawley responded. It took a four frame run from Wigan to put
a stop to Dawley’s hopes as Wigan won the match by 9-6. Dawley
were the second of the big name teams to fail at the group stage. But
to be honest which ever of the two went out a big team was going to
Canterbury SPL, Kent found Station all Blacks, Nottinghamshire
tough going to start with because every time Canterbury won a frame Station
all Blacks hit back by winning the next. With the score at 3-3 Canterbury
found another gear and won six frames on the bounce. From that point
on Canterbury were always in control and eventually won 12-6.
In a way this sent out a challenge to Hyndburn, Lancashire
to at least match their score against Station all Blacks anything less
and Canterbury would only need to draw in their match to qualify for
the next stage. Hyndburn took a three frame lead and thought that they
would have no problems clocking up a big win. By the time the turn
round arrived the score was only 5-4 to Hyndburn.
Hyndburn made amends for any mistakes by taking the first
five frames of the second half to kill off Station all Blacks spirited
revival and set up their 12-6 win to ensure that their head to head
with Canterbury would be off levels.
Canterbury started well by winning the first three frames
but took their foot of the accelerator as Hyndburn took 5 of the next
6 to lead 5-4 by the half way point. Any fears Hyndburn may have had
were laid to rest as they continued their form into the second half
and five frames from the opening 6 to crush Canterbury and go to the
knock out section
Wolverhampton Wednesday, West Midlands
took care of Country Club B, Oxfordshire in their first group match Wolverhampton
Wednesday are not the force they once were but still have a quality line
up consisting of Kev Cresswell, Ritchie Foxall, Neil Raybone, Sunjay
Pudden and of course Shawn Eaton Lees. Now that what I call a strong
line up. Had Country Club B not lost the first four frames things could
have been different as the Country Club kept pace from then on but Wolverhampton
Wednesday won 11-7.
Next up was Sheppey A who were in no mood to take easy
on Country Club B and raced to a 6-3 lead at half time. They did even
better in the second half as they took 8 from nine frames to make Wolverhampton
Wednesday think they were going to have to scrap for the group winners
That is more or less what happened as Wolverhampton Wednesday
were always in front of Sheppey A in their group decider they were
never far enough in front to be comfortable and Sheppey A eventually
drew level at 8-8. Steve Davenport and Phil Ward made sure it was Wolverhampton
Wednesday progressing by winning the final two frames.
The Rugby A, Warwickshire & Leicester
City match should have been a close match but that is not how it turned
out. After going two down Leicester City clawed their way back into the
match and went in at half time only trailing by a single frame, then
drew level after the re-start. Having got back on level terms Rugby put
on a spurt and took the next four frames without reply. Leicester won
another frame then got hit for three more frames that lost them the match
12-6 which in Interleague terms is a massive margin.
Leicester City faced going out of the event if they failed
to beat Thurrock, London and that is what happened, try as they might,
Leicester just could not break free from Thurrock’s claws. Leicester
despite being on the brink of survival dropped three frames on the
trot towards the end of the match and found themselves 9-8 down as
a result. Leicester took the final frame but by then it was too late
With Rugby taking on Thurrock for the right to join the
ranks of the last 32 things were really tight with frames being traded
on a more or less one for one basis until Rugby got themselves 8-7
in front. Rugby won the next frame to book their passage in to the
Lowestoft, Suffolk, went head to head
with fellow region 4 team Luton; Bedfordshire Lowestoft cut poor Luton
to pieces. Luton started with two from three wins and looked threatening.
Lowestoft then took the game by the scruff of the neck and rattled of
the next six frames to lead 7-2. after the restart Luton took the first
frame only to see Lowestoft take another five frames and wrap the match
As with the above match Luton’s hopes were pinned
on beating their opponents Sheppey C; Kent. Luton as they had in the
previous match, started well taking the first four frames without reply.
Sheppey then posted their first two frames followed by Luton restoring
their four frame lead. At one point Luton were leading 7-4 and looking
good for the win. Sheppey for some reason started to play and forced
themselves back into the match with a final frame that gave them the
draw and Luton the knowledge that their Interleague was over.
The group was decided when after a tight first half in
which Sheppey C got the better of Lowestoft at 5-4. any hopes that
Sheppey might have had of springing a surprise result were quashed
when Lowestoft through Steven Lish, Trevor Cook, Shawn Godfrey, Sam
Bemment & Jamie Clark turned the match round their way with a 10-6
St Albans Saints Hertfordshire; started
their Interleague career with a shock win over North Wolds, East Yorkshire;
the historic win was founded on their first half performance where they
raced to a 7-2 lead. Even North Wolds with their Yarmouth experience
could come back from that far behind. They did however have a go and
got the score back to a respectable 11-7.
North Wolds was really up against it when they took on
Lye & Stourbridge the West Midlands outfit. Lye & Stourbridge
did what St Albans Saints had done and took a 7-2 lead at the half
way point. Funnily enough North Wold did the same thing as well in
that they got the score back to 11-7 before bowing out of the event.
Adrian Walton must have been wondering why his team had to be so far
behind before they started to play.
St Albans Saints drams of being one of the very few teams
to win a group at their first visit to the finals were crushed when
Lye & Stourbridge clocked up a half time lead of 6-3 after losing
the first two frames. Things got even worse after the re-start when
Lye & Stourbridge added another three frames to their tally
And eventually came out 10-6 winners.
The Bude, Cornwall; against A1 Telecom,
Shropshire; seemed like a tight match and so it was with first blood
going to Bude with a four frame cushion. A1 Telecom are a good side and
came back at Bude to trail by the odd frame at the halfway mark. Bude
who were without their star player, Tony Holgate, still had enough ammunition
to take 5 from the next 6 frames. This time there was no come back from
A1 Telecom as bude won 11-7.
A1 Telecom now had to beat Harlow, Essex; if they were
to stay in the event but thing soon went wrong as Harlow won four of
the first five frames. From then on the frames were traded and although
Malcom M’cVean won both his frames his team still went down 10-8
This left Harlow to slug it out it out with and add the
rest of the story
Barking Phoenix are a team with a strong
history in this event and should, given that they strengthened their
squad with some ex Barking Elite players, it is hard to believe that
they could so under perform that they were made to look second class.
They are not maybe it was because P.J.'s Stourbridge played so well.
Either way when a team like Barking phoenix lose 10-2 there is something
P.J.'s Stourbridge had obviously softened up Phoenix
because Gravesham A hit Phoenix hard as well 10-4 in fact. It is as
far as I can tell the worst ever Yarmouth performance from barking.
Still that was of no concern of P.J.'s Stourbridge or
Gravesham A when they met to decide who was going to go through to
the knock out. P.J.'s Stourbridge never turn up with a weak team. Gravesham
had to make sure that P.J.'s Stourbridge never got a head of steam
up. This they did and consider themselves unlucky not to have forced
a play off. P.J.'s Stourbridge won 9-7
Once you reach the last 16 there is nowhere
to hide and every team on their day has a good chance. Obviously, when
two good sides meet in knockout one has to go and usually it’s
the one that makes the shakier start of the two so getting the first
frame or two is vitally important. However, it doesn’t happen that
There is also the added pressure of just being a last
16 side no one who hasn’t been there will quite understand it
players do miss what would, at any other time, be dolly finishes. Then
there is also the 9:00am start on Sunday morning. How many players
are there that are at the top of their games at that time in the morning?
The only thing that can be said about that is it’s the same for
Lowestoft took a 2-1 lead over Ollerton only to see it
evaporate over the next few frames. Lowestoft recovered enough to reach
the half way point 5-4 up. After the turn round Lowestoft added another
through Sean Godfrey. Looking pretty Lowestoft hit the wall or perhaps
Ollerton found another gear.
Whatever the reason Ollerton blitzed Lowestoft and took
6 frames without reply through Andy Wilson, Kev Seaman, Gary McCloud,
Scott Higgins, Chris Rigby, Steve Overton and Andy Bingham to win the
The Leeds P.J.'s Stourbridge match went a similar way
to the one above as Leeds went 3-1 up. Leeds could only watch on as
Paul Shakespeare, Paul Dunkey, Jarrod Griffiths, Bedford & Clark
all won without reply. When a team like P.J.'s Stourbridge gets a lead
they are all but impossible to pull back. Although the next five frames
were traded one for one the net result was that P.J.'s Stourbridge
needed only two from the last four frames. Shakespeare & Clark
wrapped up the match wining their frames to give P.J.'s Stourbridge
a 10-6 win
Sun Valley went into their last 16 match against East
Herts knowing the last time the teams met it was Sun Valley who came
out on top. East Herts took the early initiative but eventually Sun
Valley clawed their way back into the match. They then took the lead
and it was East Herts who then had to play catch up. The farther the
match went on the tighter it became. So tight in fact it took a play
off to separate the two teams.
As the play started with six players (three from each
team) playing across three tables. Sun Valley broke on two of the three
tables and looked good in all three frames. East Herts slowly turned
all the frames round and won the play off 2-0 through the experience
Neil Toms and Tony Vickers have gained whist playing at the highest
level to gain revenge for the previous defeat and send Sun Valley out
of the event.
The match of the round beyond question was the clash
between Morley Int & Alloa’s this really was a heavyweight
clash. Morley would normally expect to win a match like this. Funnily
enough the Alloa’s from Lancashire would also think pretty much
the same thing, knowing it would be tough but the Alloa’s are
a tough team.
Chris Melling opened Morley’s score card but the
Alloa’s hit back with two from Lee Clough and Andy Sudworth.
Nick Wollerton leveled the scores. One of the big moments in the match
came when Alloa’s Carl Bromley beat Darren Appleton to put the
Lancashire outfit 1 up again. Adi Ibbitson restored parity by taking
out Dave Chalmers. Then Morley Skipper Ralph Winfield lost out to Matt
Rob Gale then pulled to two sides back again. In the
final frame of the first half Alloa’s Nathan Bridges put his
team ahead again and when Lee Clough Took out Morley’s Karl Milner
the writing looked to be on the wall.
However, Chris Melling had other ideas and cut Alloa’s
lead back to a single frame. Damien Milnes kept his nerve to put the
Alloa’s two in front again before Darren Appleton gained sweet
revenge for his earlier defeat by Carl Bromley by returning the compliment.
By now the atmosphere around the tables they were playing
on was electric as Morley struggled to get back in the match and the
Alloa’s were equally determined not to let their advantage slip.
With a team like Morley if you take your foot off the gas at any stage
before you cross the winning line you are quite likely find they have
crossed it before you.
The Alloa’s really turned the screw when Russell
McGrady and then Dave Chalmers won their frames to lead 9-6. Rob Gale
won for Morley to keep them in it. Nathan Bridges gave the Alloa’s
victory when he beat Vikki Layton.
Trent Trophies B and Rugby A had a real slug it out type
when they meet. Rugby’s Andy Barnett gave his team the lead when
he took the opening frame. Trent Trophies won the next two. Rugby captain
Paul Evans leveled the scores and then it went win one lose one until
the half way point when Trent Trophies put on a bit of a spurt and
won four frames on the bounce. Despite the lead they couldn’t
make it count and had to watch Rugby claw their way back in to it and
forced the play off. As is so often the case, the team with the momentum
when the match reached the end of the scheduled frames carries the
form into the play off. This match was no different as Rugby won the
play off 2-1
Another match that went to a play off was the one between
Imperial and Leicester. Leicester was trying to emulate last year’s
performance and get back to the final. Imperial were looking to live
up to their reputation as one off the most fancied teams in the event.
Leicester must have thought they had died and gone to
heaven as they won the first three frames through Mark Selby, Shawn
Payne and Tom ford. Then it was a touch of being served up their own
medicine as J.J. Faul, Ben Clements, John Wylie, Darren Suchley and
Brian Evans turned the match round.
Leicester’s Dave Wileman steadied the rocking Leicester
boat when he won so that Leicester went in at the turn around trailing
4-5. Imperial’s Dean Wisher added another for the London team.
Mark Selby kept Leicester in touch when he won his second of the match.
Leicester got what can only be described as a second
wind as they hit Imperial for four frames through Tom Ford, Steve Morris,
Lee Ross and Dave Wileman. This was Imperial’s moment of truth
there wasn't anywhere to hide only two wins from the final two frames
would keep their dreams alive. Fortunately Imperial had Brian Evans
and John Triani to call on and both won to force the tie break.
Imperial used Dean Wisher, JJ Faul and Andy Breen whilst
Leicester called on Mark Selby, Dave Wileman and Shawn Payne. Mark
Selby won for Leicester but JJ Faul and Andy Breen did the same for
imperial to win 11-10.
This would have been the match of the tournament a few
years ago, in some ways it still was as Trent Trophies A took on Wolverhampton
Wednesday. These two teams have between them won the events so many
times its hard to keep count.
Whilst Trent Trophies have become stronger with the addition
of Carl Morris to their already impressive squad. Wolverhampton Wednesday
on the other hand have become a little weaker by their own standards
that is, they are still an awesome team by most other’s standards.
Trent Trophies took the initiative when Gaz Potts and
Adam Davis won the first two frames. Wolverhampton Wednesday’s
Carl Jones posted Wolverhampton Wednesday’s first frame. Then
daz Henshall and Mark Blackshaw gave Trent Trophies a 4-1 lead. Wolverhampton
Wednesday hit back with two frames of their own through Neil Raybone
and Sunjay Pudden. Off went Trent Trophies again this time Adam Davis,
Phil Condliffe and Lee Kendall combined to lead 9-4. Who do you think
sealed the match for Trent Trophies yep, Carl Morris sealed Trent Trophies’s
emphatic 10-4 win.
Imperial took on Tolworth and found themselves
2-0 nil down yet again at the start of the match. But when you still
have Ramesh Gokhul, JJ Faul, Ben Clements, John Wylie and Darren Suchley
to play you are always in with a shout. Imperial won all five frames
to lead 5-2 in no time at all. Tolworth’s Frank Strivens gave the
Surrey side some respite from the onslaught. However, Imperial kept Tolworth
at arms length for the rest of the match until they won 10-7
The Rugby A v Trent Trophies A tie always looked a tough
match for Rugby and so it proved. Andy Barnett came up with the goods
for Rugby but Adam Davis wiped the lead out. Pete Evans then restored
Rugby’s lead with a win. Lee Kendall, mark Blackshaw and Carl
Morris responded with wins to capture the lead. Gary Cox pulled it
all together again. That was as close as Rugby were going to get as
Trent Trophies rattled of the next for frames to really put the pressure
on Rugby. All credit to Rugby as they battled on knowing only a miracle
would save them as they got the score back to 5-8. Trent Trophies finally
killed them off when they won the next two.
Yet anther cracker of a match was the one contested by
Ollerton and P.J.'s Stourbridge. What a match it was too both teams
hail from region three and both team are no strangers as they are both
always in at the business end of the event.
Ollerton started like a team possessed after Kev seaman
lost the first frame to Ben Swinnerton with back to back wins for Andy
Wilson, Gary McLeod, Sean Higgins and Chris Rigby to lead 4-1. Captain
Paul Dunkey and Rob Clark made the score respectable when they won
their frames for P.J.'s Stourbridge. Bill Rigby added another for Ollerton
but P.J.'s Stourbridge’s Kev Jordan cancelled it out.
Ex England international Kev Seaman atoned for his earlier
defeat by beating Rob Chilton, no mean feat given Chilton’s recent
form, that signalled the turning point of the match as Jarrod Griffiths,
Pat Ward, Rob Clark and Paul Dunkey all combined to lock Ollerton out
of the match. Andy Bingham and Bill Rigby added two frames to Ollerton’s
side of the scoreboard but the match was won by Ben Swinnerton and
Bedford doing likewise for P.J.'s Stourbridge as they won 10-8 to reach
the semi finals.
Alloa’s must have thought that the hard work was
done when they beat Morley in the quarters but they came up against
an East Herts side that were starting to bubble. The Alloa’s
took the first two courtesy of Lee Clough and Andy Sudworth. But East
Herts hit back with a three frames of their own through Neil Toms,
Andy Collett and Alan Robinson. Alloa’s brought the scores back
together again at 3-3. East Herts then tried to show the Alloa’s
a clean pair of heals with a four frame salvo thanks to Jimmy Stoole,
Tony Vickers, Dave Langham and Mark Thrussell. Whilst that might have
crushed the spirit of lesser teams the Alloa’s called on their
experience to show East Herts that they were not to be messed with
as they won the next for to level the match. At 7-7. The relief in
the Alloa’s at drawing level was self evident. East Herts took
that chance to kill the match of when Jimmy Stoole, Andy Collett and
Dave Langham won their frames to book a semi final spot.
The two semi finals were unfortunately, from a purest point of view, a bit
one side as both Imperial and P.J.'s Stourbridge won 10-2 against Trent
Trophies and East Herts respectively. It must have come as a real shock
to Trent Trophies to go down by that score when you consider who they have
in their team. It again illustrates just how good the best Interleague
teams are. When you get a moment check out who is in the Trent Trophies
team and you will see how good Imperial must be to win by that score.
P.J.'s Stourbridge on the other hand used their superior
experience to glide past East Herts.
When you consider all that a team has to go through to
get to the final and the quality of the teams that have not made it
to this point it is no real surprise that you are going to get a final
boasting the best teams over the course of the week end.
For all that this was a special final because it was
being contested by two teams who had not won the event before. Over
the past 7-8 years the event has been hogged by two or three teams.
It was refreshing to know that whatever happened a new name was going
to go on the cup this year.
This looked like being a close final mainly because it
was new to both teams and both teams had trashed their semi final opponents
10-2. Although you would have to say Imperial’s was the harder
task with Trent Trophies as their opponents.
The final is played across three tables with the first
three frames starting simultaneously. After that the next player goes
on as soon as a table finishes. It makes a real spectacle of the event
as a team came be 3-0 up or down within seconds. And there is never
a dull moment as there will be an interesting situation developing
on one or more of the tables.
Imperial were the first to draw blood as dean Wisher
beat Mark Ash closely followed by Andy Breen and Ramesh Gokhul. Rob
Chilton got P.J.'s Stourbridge scoring underway when he won the fourth
frame. When Ben Clements and John Wylie won to put Imperial 5-1 up
it looked like it was all over but suddenly P.J.'s Stourbridge kicked
into overdrive and won the next five frames without reply through Jarrod
Griffiths, Wayne Bedford, Kevin Jordan, Mark ash and Rob Chilton to
Then the wheels fell off, from P.J.'s Stourbridge’s
point of view, Ramesh Gokhul, JJ Faul, Ben Clements and John Wylie
all won for Imperial to put the Londoners up 9-5 and guarantee them
the play off. Paul Shakespeare won for P.J.'s Stourbridge but ant hopes
of forcing the play off were crushed Brian Evans wrapped up the match