Well here we are back again to write another chapter
in the great essay known as the National Knock out cup. This story has
a new chapter written every year and usually comes up with the goods
as far as the story line goes.
Last year was one of the classics with all the twist and turns of a
winding country road before we finally found out who the winner was.
The shocks started in the last 32 when Rochester, yet again, found their
way forward blocked block by a team that they really should have been
able to take care of. That does not mean their opponents, Tolworth, were
not capable of beating them, they proved they were, but Tolworth have
not been firing on all cylinders for quite some time now either. Rochester
definitely had a point to prove. They have been not having the best of
luck in major tournaments recently and would have been looking to put
it all behind them. However, Tolworth beat Rochester 10-8 to add more
woes and worries to the Rochester team.
The prize for Tolworth’s victory was a quarter final tie with
Imperial which was a bridge too far for them as they lost 10-7 but before
it all ended Tolworth had gone some way to rebuilding the “quality
team” image they had in years gone by. At the same time Rochester
will be feeling that they missed out on a quarter final tie against quarter
final tie against Imperial such is the expectation of the Kent Lads.
Another of the shocks was the All’oas demolition of one of the
pre event favourites Morley International in the last 16. The All’oas
are seasoned campaigners with a long history in the event but if you
were a betting man then it would have been Morley you would have been
betting your house on.
Trent Trophies A added another tick in the win box against Wolverhampton
Wednesday the lads from Wolverhampton must be sick of the sight of the
Staffordshire side. Every time they meet the result is the same Trent
Trophies A win and then usually go on to win the event. Leaving Wolverhampton
Wednesday to reminisce about the good old days when they were the undisputed
kings of the interleague
East Herts showed their class as they overcame Sun Valley 11-9 to book
themselves a quarter final head to head with the All’oas. The All’oas
fresh from their win over Morley took their eye of the ball a little
bit against East Herts and paid the ultimate price. To be fair the All’oas
despite being under the cosh for most of the match did their best to
make a fight of it. But East Herts were in no mood to surrender the advantage
they had built up earlier in the tie and won 10-7
By the semi final stage the bottom half of the draw was looking like
normal with Trent Trophies A taking on Imperial. But the top half had
two teams making their debut in the semi finals East Herts and P.J.'s
In the end P.J.'s Stourbridge cruised past East Herts 10-2 although
the score was not a true reflection of the match it was nonetheless a
graphic illustration of the awesome power the top teams have if they
get a bit of run on top of their extra ordinary ability.
Of the two semi finals Imperial had the unenviable task of taking on
Trent Trophies A. In case you unaware Trent Trophies are a team that
has forgotten what it feels like to loose in the Interleague. Imperial
had been playing like a team on fire all through the event and just blitzed
Trent Trophies of the table to win the match 10-2. Trent Trophies must
have wondered what the hell hit them. I can’t remember a time,
I have been around for quite a while, when both the semi finals were
so one sided in terms of the score lines.
This set up the rarer than a snow flake in hell event of having two
teams in the final that had never won the event before. Imperial won
the event in fine style keeping P.J.'s Stourbridge at arms length throughout
the final and eventually won the match 10-7. In a way I suppose it would
have been criminal had Imperial not won given the way they had played
over the whole weekend and having dispatched Trent Trophies A. Winning
the event was the only reward fitting for such an impressive display.
I doubt that P.J.'s Stourbridge will see it that way but for the average
person watching Imperial were the worthy winners.
Well that’s what happened last year and now it’s time to
do it all again.
Many of the teams that fell by the way side last year will be back again
trying to do better and the teams that did do well will be trying to
build on their success. Then there will be a sprinkling of new teams
to the event who will be sure that they are going to win it this time.
The invitations have gone out to the lucky 96 teams who did well in
their counties knock out cup competition. This year sees a welcome return
to the fold to one of the greatest Interleague teams ever to grace the
event Essex’s Barking Elite. The team disbanded a couple of seasons
It is great to have them back in the event but I don’t think it
will be an immediate return to their winning ways of old. The team has
lost its traditional engine room so it will be a case of rebuilding the
team in the interleague arena. Not the place I would choose to do it
but they have enough of the old team to compete with most sides.
Hot on the heels of Buckinghamshire joining the Interleague fold we
welcome two new counties this year, Derbyshire and Worcestershire. Derbyshire
have been out of the EPA for quite some time now and it really is great
to see them back with us. Worcestershire have been trying to get an interleague
structure going for some time now so lets hope that they can build on
their achievements of achieving interleague status.
Next season we hope to see Berkshire joining the Interleague family.
One thing is for sure is that more and more counties are realising that
the glory on offer for their teams who take part in the counties interleague
then getting to Great Yarmouth for the Interleague finals is worth the
all the hassle of setting up and running a county Interleague.
As the counties who play Interleague increase year on year so do the
requests for spots in the National finals. This year saw counties submitting
requests for 150 places but there are only 96 spots available. For the
96 invited teams there are 54 teams who will be disappointed.
For the 96 lucky ones though it’s what they have been playing
for all year, the chance to play against some of England’s finest
cue men. For as long as this trend continues the Interleague will get