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Pre-Event Report

The Interleague knock out cup 2007 version is now just around the corner and the booking in process is just about to start. As the invited teams are booked in we get a clearer picture of who will be contesting this years event.

Why don’t we know now who the 96 teams are?

Well we do is the short answer, however, that “we do” needs to be qualified though Because it’s true we have asked the counties for their qualifying interleague teams and we have received back their requests for spaces. This year we had 163 requests for the 96 available spaces – it does not take a super mathematician to see that all the teams who want to go, will be able to go.

The 163 requests are whittled down to the “final” 96 teams – (we allocate 2 spaces per registered interleague playing county, which accounts for approximately 2/3rds of the spaces and the remaining places are drawn at random from the counties.

These 96 teams are then sent the registration forms, where each player that is attending the finals must be named with their EPA I.D, data. This form must be counter signed by the county secretary to state that the information on the form is correct in all aspects.

There is another form that asks for each player’s county interleague playing record for the qualifying year. Each of the players attending the finals must have attained at least a 50% attendance record at the team’s Interleague fixtures. (dispensation can be given in certain cases where a player has not reached 50% but the team must ask for it). Each case is then looked at individually to see if dispensation can be granted)

There is yet another form that asks for each qualifying player’s local league playing record within the qualifying local league. Each of the players attending the finals must have attained at least a 50% attendance record in their qualifying local league fixtures for the qualifying period. (dispensation can be given in certain cases where a player has not reached 50% but the Interleague team must ask for it. Each case is then looked at individually to see if dispensation can be granted)

We want all a teams players to play but at the same time we don’t want players who only want to turn up for “the big one”. The event is about forming a team from a local league using players that are active in the league for the qualifying period. It is about local league players stepping up a level or two.

This is where the real process starts if a team or county who got a spot allocated in the initial 96 fails to send back any of their forms or are late in doing so are replaced with a team on the reserve list (this list is basically all the teams who wanted to go but were not in the initial 96)

In addition, if a team completes all the above steps but fails to book in to Vauxhall’s by the deadline date will find themselves replaced.

Hopefully, you can see that it is not practical or indeed desirable to make the draw and issue it with the possibility that it might change between being drawn and the event itself taking place.

In order to make the draw as accurate as possible at the time it’s made we wait until the deadline for booking in the teams has passed and then make the draw from teams that are physically booked in.

That way we know that there is very little chance of the draw being changed between publication and the event taking place. In addition you know when you see the draw and the teams in it they will be the same teams you are facing when you arrive to play in the knock out cup.

Incidently, it’s this process that makes the infamous draw overview so hard to compile it has to be done after the draw has been made (obviously) but at the same time has to on the web site long enough for people to read before the event and long enough to warrant the 16-20 hours it takes to write.

The lucky qualifying teams are getting ready to do battle once more, as always, the current crop of the cream of England’s pool players will be putting in an appearance at Vauxhall Holiday Park, the theatre of dreams, for just about every pool player who wants to play at the highest level.

This weekend is not just about the Knock out cup though, there is the matter of the national singles championships that is played out over the Knock out cup weekend for a prize fund of over £5,000 and the title of the National singles champion.
Last year we saw Shane Balding (Lincolnshire) beat Grantham’s Neil Davey 7-3 in an excellent final but those were the last two still standing. When you look at the quality of players who dropped by the wayside you can see how strong the event really was. These are some of the players who fell between the last 16 and the semi finals
Frank Strivens (Epsom) Scott Willers (Milton Keyes) John Gillard (Rottingdean) Clint I’ Anson (Nottingham) and Danny Miller (Stevenage).

Those are the ones who can say they might not have won it but they did have a good run spare a thought for the players expected to do well but went for an earlier than expected bath.

In Round one we had the following casualties

Glenn Cahir (Wigan), D Bannister (Birmingham), Scott Surridge (Worcester), Karl Sutton (Lowestoft), Shaune Dawber (Wigan), Rob Gould (Romford), Matt Purnell (Ipswich)

Followed by these in round two

Mick Conlon (Cambridge), Willie Anderson (Faversham), Paul Dunkey (Brierley Hill), Ashman (Littlehampton

Round three saw the departure of these big guns

Scott Yardley (Telford), Nick Booth (Bordon), Geoff Harrison (Wigan), Gary Mcleod (Mansfield), Neil Jones (Nottingham), Del Redmond (Bury ), Jamie Kitchen (Chatham), Steve Robertshaw (Cosby), Richie Foxall (Wolverhampton), Graham Hewlett (Weston- Super-Mare), Jordan Church (Newington), Stephen Chambers (Coalville),

Once you get through to round four the quality starts to get concentrated so to go out here can’t really be considered to be an early bath but just to keep the theme going here are some of round four casualties.

Matt Barcock (Lancashire), Steven Kane (Halstead), Steve Petty (Surbiton), Dean Reeve (Godalming), Mark Thrussell (Cheshunt), Robert Southey (Ware), Ashley Sealy (Stevenage), David Preece (Halesowen), Liam Stanley (Nottingham).

Once you have negotiated round five you are in the last 32 and no matter who you are you have had a good day and to keep going as Shane Balding (Lincolnshire) did last year and win it is an amazing achievement by anyone’s standards

If you want to enter this event this year you can download the PDF (or Doc) entry form available on the National Singles page and then post it of the address shown. This is a very attractive event and tends to attract 200 – 300 entries each year so if you have not entered it before it will be a good test of your pool playing skills


As always the knock out cup will provide all the qualifying teams with a roller coaster ride of emotions all packed into one weekend. Some will be in a state of depression by 11:00am on the Saturday of the event as they realise they have a mountain to climb to keep themselves in the event. For others it’s all plain sailing as they win the first match and can sit back and see how the other match will pan out before they are called into action again.

Then there are the ones that draw their first match. For them it’s a nail biting time as both teams know that the draw hands the advantage to the third team in the group and providing the third team takes advantage of playing second, and win their match they will be in the driving seat. Why? because they will know that a win will make them favourites to progress out of the group it’s as simple as that.

For the team they are playing it will be an “only a win will be good enough” situation to keep their hopes alive. That in turn produces added pressure on the team that could only manage a draw in the first match.

The team not playing in the second match will be praying for a draw because it will put one team out and leave them with a head to head with the third team with all to play for. It can be that tight. So tight in fact a single frame in 54 frames scheduled to be played in a group series can, and sometimes is, the only difference between three teams.

When things are that tight you can see why it becomes a roller coaster ride of emotions one minute you are in, the next you are out, then you are back in, then its looking bleak then suddenly it con be all rosy again.

The ones who come out of the group to continue their quest will start to celebrate around 4pm on the Saturday after their second match.

They can’t celebrate too hard though, they may have won their group but they are going to be playing one of the other 31 group winners as soon as their opponents group is decided. It is a gruelling schedule, playing since the morning, then having to do it all again against a fellow group winner.

In addition when it all starts again at the last 32 stage it’s sudden death this time there is no hiding place because the event has changed to a straight knock out where, once completed, around 20:00 only 16 teams will be left to return on Sunday morning to fight it out to the death.

Once the last sixteen matches are completed it’s time for a bit of relaxation for everyone perhaps it’s into Yarmouth or maybe Vauxhall’s Starlight room to party away Saturday night.

For those that are out of the event its brakes off time and go full on for fun. If your team is still in the event you know that you are going to have to up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 9:00am on Sunday morning. So for you, it’s a how much can I get away with and still be ok in the morning equation.

The reality of getting that one wrong has been seen so many times before that it’s usually best to have an early night.

One thing is for sure we are going to have another great event and whoever comes out wining the final match on Sunday 7th October will have been tested to the limit and be worthy winners of the National Interleague Knock Out Cup.

To all those of you going I am sure you will not be disappointed, to those who are not going, you are going to miss out on a great weekend.

Tom Fahy
Tournament Director

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