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By the time you are reading this we will be well on the road to producing another chapter in the rich tapestry of highly charged emotions and depressions that when put together make up the knock out cup.

For every one of the 1500 or so people that attend the event there are many emotional journeys, each one similar but at the same time unique. one thing for sure is that for each individual the emotions they feel over the weekend will be closely tied in to the performance of their team whether they are actively playing for their team or one of the many people whose input will be restricted to supporting their particular team.

Of the 1500 attendees there are a few players who will attend the event only for the National singles championship, for the majority of players in this category and indeed their supporters the journey will be over by Friday evening and they will be making their way home. Some of the players will stay and become supporters of their local team that qualified for the knock out cup via their counties Interleague.

Whatever the specific reason for deciding to attend the event, we as organisers, hope they will have a good time and come Sunday, when it’s time to make the journey back home they will be looking forward to the next event in April.

As an organiser we go through much the same feelings as everyone else really, we all have our own “local” teams that we want to do well and are disappointed when they go out.

My particular teams are well known to most people who have been attending for a while and it’s no secret that I would dearly love one of my local teams to win the event but that is a long way off right now. I could write a page or two on that subject so I’d best leave it there.

On that subject of supporting teams, I am in the fortunate position of having a number of Surrogate teams to support because of my position, I get to be well acquainted with a number of teams and will always want them to do well.

For me the Interleague is the best event around, yes, I know some of you will be thinking “he would say that wouldn’t he”, but in my case it’s the absolute truth.

The only event I think has more credence and respect is the WEBF world championships but that is an elitist event and out of reach for the vast majority of players.

The interleague is about local league players getting the chance to “strut their stuff” on the national stage and long may that continue.

The event this time round seems to have a lot of new teams attending whether that’s familiar players playing in revamped teams or teams that have players making an appearance here for the first time, at the time of writing is not clear,

We have Cornwall putting in Camborne & Redruth (that’s one team) as well as Truro, Cornwall have missed out over the last couple of events due to administration issues so let’s hope that is behind them now and they will continue supplying teams as they always have done in the past.

West Yorkshire who have one of the biggest interleague structure in the country have White Rose OAP’s here for the first time, not quite sure about the OAP tag but we will find out if they really are OAP’s in a short while.

GMC’s Stockport Sharks are making their debut at the knock out cup and although we have had a team from Stockport before the players are not names I recognise as being regular attendees.

Derbyshire’s Q Club will be making their first appearance at the national finals. So I have no doubt that they will be ready and raring to go on Saturday morning like all the new teams are, I am sure they will be a handful.

It’s not very often that we see a new team from Leicestershire making it through to the national finals; mainly because they have a good solid Interleague structure and all their top teams play to a high standard so I would expect the Leicester Bulls to be strong team because they must have beaten some good teams to qualify.

Suffolk’s Raywood are another of the new teams but the players in the team are all experienced players this makes me think that have formed out of the ashes of a previous pair of Suffolk interleague sides.

Vickii Bellamy’s Snooks from Northants are competing here for the first time and I have heard that they are really looking forward to it. I hope it lives up to their expectations and whatever happens on the green baize, they want to return time and time again

Oxfordshire’s Wallington are another of the new kids on the block but coming from Oxfordshire, which is Chris Jones territory, I am sure they will have been told what’s expected of them in the Starlight room on Friday and Saturday night.

This round up of the new teams is not exhaustive; there other new teams, this lot were mentioned to give you a idea of the amount of new teams you can expect to see here in October now just a few short days away.

A team that is steeped in Interleague history is making a return to the fold. Essex’s Barking Elite, Barking Elite were a team similar to the great Imperial of London. Always good for a semi-final spot and only a team playing to the highest standard was ever going to beat them, their legacy to the Interleague cannot be understated. The current team does not contain too many of the players from the glory days so I don’t quite understand why they should choose to revive the name Barking Elite.

They are all going to have to play to their “A” game if they are to do justice to one of the greatest teams the Interleague has known. They have players in the team who are very dangerous but as I mentioned earlier I can’t really see the point in reviving a team name that inspires images of greatness from days gone by if it doesn’t have the majority of the players associated with the great team in it.

That said, there will be more than a few memories invoked by a great number of players when they see the name Barking Elite on the draw sheet and will no doubt relive some of the greatest moments and battles in Interleague history when their team played the great Barking Elite.

There are of course, some real downers as well,. We have lost Rochester as a team after many years great service to the Interleague which have included a few finals. It;s a grate shame to lose a team of that quality but I guess every team has a life and when it’s time to quit it’s time to quit.

At every event we have some teams that did better than expected and some teams that did not reach their full potential. Who were these under achievers last time round? for the sake of clarity, under achieving here means teams that, if asked, where they expected to get to in the knock out cup would not have said the round where they did fall off.

As always the first hurdle is to escape from the group and thereby book a spot in the last 32 – a simple enough task you would have thought with the firepower available to some of these teams

Well, no actually, every year some of the top teams in the land fail to negotiate the first round and of the original 96 teams who attend the event, as combatants 64 of them do not make it past the group stage.

Whilst these teams are licking their wounds, usually at the bar, the big boys still in are privately smirking at the demise of a team or two that they will not to face in the later rounds.

There are always a number of teams, whose hopes were high, but have to face the reality of being knocked out in the group stage on Saturday afternoon... which can be a very tough feeling to live down and has in the past, and will continue to be a major reason for the break up of a number of teams.

Last year’s high profile group casualties included: -

Cambridgeshire’s Ely, who had been on a bit of a run just recently putting in some solid performances in the last few events. But Ely should have the services of Phil Harrison available to them this time round. He will, no doubt, be doing his best to make sure they do not do what they did last time out and will definitely be out to make amends for last October this time round.

Nottinghamshire’s Chesterfield also found things not to their liking last year, going out in the group stage, Chesterfield, very rarely leave the event before the last 16 stage, had a real shock when they found they had a few hours to kill on the Saturday afternoon. They like Ely will be planning on making amends for the humiliation they suffered last year in going out in the group stages.

Lancashire’s Preston South who’s Will Jerome, will have been mightily pissed off with the rest of his team after doing his bit to get his team through found that the rest of his team – which includes Gareth Hibbot, Lee Clough, Dave Chalmers and Nick Davey were just not on the same planet last time round. It must have been very frustrating for the man who has put in so many solid performances for his team having to sit there and watch the superstars fail to deliver.

Suffolk’s Ipswich whose line up has been solid for a number of years now, are one of the stronger teams in the Interleague and for them to fall by the wayside in the group stage was a disaster. They would have been planning on reaching the last 16, a minimum requirement with the players they had. I would expect that having had a dose of reality they will be even more determined to make their mark on this event.

Shropshire’s Dawley A have won an Interleague event and been runners up on at least two occasions, so for them to get knocked out in the group stage is a clear indicator of the overall strength of the interleague where even a previous champion can be dumped out of the event at the first hurdle. They will have reasons why such a thing could have happened but the records show they failed to make past the first round last time out

Warwickshire’s Reds 1 will have been hugely disappointed at their performance last time and like all the other good teams that went out in the group section would have been scratching their heads to find some logic in the events. In years gone by Reds 1 would have assumed it their right to reach the last 16 before they had to do serious battle but they lie many other have had to learn that there really are not many easy matches left any more.

West Midlands Walsall A are a team in the same mould as Reds 1, in that they have been attending the interleague for years and have become used to being able to negotiate their way out of the group without too much fuss. Then get themselves ready to real battle in the knock out section. Given their pedigree it must have been a shock to find they were up against a team in the group section that had the beating of them.

Berkshire’s Renegade A whose skipper is the current England men’s manager are relative new comers to the interleague family but Rob Uzzell has built up a strong squad in that time and would have been looking to make an assault on some of the elder statesman of the event. To find that some team in the round robin section had what it took to halt their progress would have been nasty medicine to swallow.

Warwickshire’s Reds Elite did not quite live up to the “elite” tag last time round and found that life in the group section can be as tough to battle their way through as the latter stages of the competition. Their exit in the group will not have left many happy bunnies in the elite section of Warwickshire. At least they can console themselves in the fact that they were not alone in not getting to play in the last 32 last time round

Buckinghamshire’s Milton Keynes will not have been happy at losing in the group stage last year but will be aiming to restore their dented pride this time round. Under normal circumstances Milton Keynes would have been looking at a last 16 spot or beyond to say they gave a good account of themselves in the event. I am positive their captain will be reminding his charges of what happened last time with a warning to be aware of the strength of the so call smaller teams

When you look at that lot who all failed to get out of the group section last year, you get some idea of the depth of competition we have in the Interleague events and it appears to get stronger every year.

That’s what happened last year but now it’s time to move on to this year, here is my view on the draw for this year

Table One
In true Interleague tradition, table one will see the defending champions set off this event at 9am on Saturday morning. Staffordshire’s Trent Trophies A will start the task of retaining their title against London’s Finchley who are led by Steven Wallace, as captain, his team selection will come from Tom Gilvarry, Nick Pellatt Ian Clarke & Kyle Merrigan that little lot should ensure they are not short of players who can live with the best. Whether they have the fire power needed to disarm Trent’s big guns of Adam Davis, Darren Lightfoot Darren Shone, Gareth Potts, Jamie Croxton, Lee Kendall, Liam White, Steve Prince Mark Blackshaw, & Steve Bridgewood is another matter.

Trent appears to be back to their best after a dip in form over the past couple of events. Given their gritty determination in April I can’t see Finchley getting too much change from the Staffs boys but at the same time I expect Finchley to give Trent Trophies a test before Trent eventually overhaul them.

That will mean that Finchley will take on Buckinghamshire’s Buckingham, Finchley with their pride a little dented will seek to avenge their defeat in the opening match against the Bucks side. Sadly, for Buckingham I think that Finchley will prove a bit too much for Buckingham, so its Finchley to win for me. However, in doing so, Finchley will have inadvertently knocked both team out of the event.

Trent Trophies will then take on Buckingham in the final match of this group and having lost to Finchley the only thing for Buckingham to play for will be pride but I don’t see Trent Trophies allowing then to salvage much of that as they cruise through to the last 32 so for Buckingham’s squad of Chris Cox, Chris Lee, Darren White, Dave Tuttlebee, Skipper David Larner, Dirk Wightman, Ian Tarbuck, John Clavey
Pat Thompson, Peter Lee, Richard Fealey & Steve Beck it will be time to see what’s going in town on a Saturday night.

Table Two
This is one of those groups that has on the face of it three fairly evenly matched teams the group kicks off with Staffordshire’s Leek taking on Surrey’s Crawley

Given that I think this will be a tight group the opening match will be vitally important to both teams’ aspirations and the winner will be safe in the knowledge that their destiny will be in their own hands when the third group match gets to be played. But Leek coming from Staffordshire and having to play Trent Trophies A every year you would have thought they might have picked up a trick or two on how to win tricky matches so Leek’s squad of Aidy Kosasih, Andy Slack, Dan Duffield, James Tosh, Jamie Woodcock, Mark Manion, Nick Burton, Paul Flower, Paul Shatwell, Steve Flower, Steve Guard, Tony Shaw & Wilf Mannion should be able to cope with what Crawley throw at them.

Crawley team will be picked from Adam McSharry, Allan Morton, Bob Cooper, Cliff Berry, Gary Davis, Glen Jackson, John Westbrook, Justin Heath, Mark Jacob, Mark Peters, Phil Yates, Steve Aldersley, and Tony Nevill

There are no obvious superstars in either of the team’s line ups but Leek will be hoping that their players can produce a performance that will give them the win and I think they will.

Raywood are a new name to the Interleague but they have a number of players who been here a few times now and will know what to expect. They will be hoping that Karl Sutton, Phil Dyer & Sam Bemment will use their experience to fashion a few frames to ensure that Raywood makes it to the win

When it comes down to it I fancy Raywood to edge this match and give the Suffolk team a shot a Leek in a head to head winner takes all show down. This is mainly, I must admit, is based on Karl Sutton, Phil Dyer & Sam Bemment producing the goods, if they don’t then it could be Crawley going through

Leek and Raywood should then go head to head to see which of them will be going through to the last 32. This one is a tough one to call but I think that Leek will be the ones to come out of this group

Table Three
This is a group that looks like it has all the makings of a tight group and the opening tussle will see Worcestershire’s Redditch A take on Berkshire’s Renegade B Trevor Dias Renegade B’s leader has some very good players at his disposal Videsh Sabharwal is arguably the best known on the circuit but they also have Dean Hardesty, Ed Rumsey & Joey Alpino all more than capable of winning their frames.

Redditch of course have their own potential frame winners in Brandon Manchop, Ian Roberts, Ian Underhill & John Erskine neither team has what you might call household names in them. This means that this should be a nip and tuck match with neither teams being able to break the other. This also means that team selection for both captains could be of paramount importance.

When it comes down to the nitty grity of who has what it takes to win this match then I feel that Redditch will just have just enough to get past a dogged Renegade defence

Hinckley are the new boys in this group with the leapt amount of experience will need to bring their “A” game to the table if they expect to do well in the following match in this group. Despite the fact that Renegade lost their first match they will still prove a handful for the Leicestershire team,

Hinckley may not have an answer to the experience that Renegade gained overt their last few visits here and despite all things people tell me about how good their team is the number one item just about all teams need to do well here is experience.

That I feel is where Renegade B will eventually get to win this match because I think pound for pound the two teams are fairly even but Renegade will make their experience tell later on when they need cool heads to overcome Hinckley

This will leave Hinckley with a bit of a problem, having lost their opener they will then have to take on Redditch who will only have to avoid defeat to make progress.

All things considered I have to go with Redditch and if Renegade put them to the sword in the last match then Redditch should have enough to keep the Leicester team at bay until they have enough frames in the bank to sail though to the last 32

Table Four
Sees one of the interleague’s big boy in action, Sussex’s Brighton A who’s line will come from Damian Campsey, Dean Torode, John Cairns jnr, John Gillard, Moray Dolan, Paul Bailey, Paul McNeil, Pete Ashman & skipper Steve Ringsell that’s not their full team but it’s enough to show you that you are going to have to be on form to take anything out of that lot.

That said, Cambridge K.S.R. look to be the best equipped team of the group to have a go at Brighton with Andy Greenley, Dom Cobley, Ed Savory, James Mayes
Julian Vargas, Lautro Vargas, Martin Early & Steve Griffiths , some of that lot are experienced county players so there will be no reason to think they can’t give as good as they get. Well, up to a point anyway, but I see Brighton winning this one

This means that Cambridge K.S.R. will be taking on Cumbria’s Penrith and I must admit that despite being frequent visitors to the event they are a team I know very little about but they will be picked from Alex McLelland, Brian Hetherington, Ian Spurrell, John Elliott, John Martin, John Tompkins, Matthew Brannon, Phil Leary
& Richard Forrester. Having been here a few times I would have thought I’d know about them.

My feelings on this one are that Cambridge K.S.R. will prove to be too strong for Penrith and will win the tie with a few frames to spare.

Penrith will have to pick themselves up from their first match defeat pretty sharpish because although losing in the Interleague is a very depressing thing but you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get back to winning ways. This is not too easy if you have bags of experience but a nightmare when you don’t have the experience of being able to do it in the pressure cooker.

The pressure cooker in this case will be facing a rampant Brighton and try as I might I can’t see Brighton allowing Penrith too many opportunities to win frames. If you don’t win frames you can’t win matches so this one in my view goes to Brighton so they will be the group winners at a canter.

Table Five
First up in Group 5 will be a revamped Medway from Kent and fresh from a semi-final appearance in April, Dinnington from South Yorkshire. This is going to be a very interesting tussle. Medway have augmented their usual line up of Barbara Taylor, Lee Crowhurst, Les Boddy, Mike Boddy & Richard Conn with a couple of ex Rochester players in Jamie Kitchen & Willie Anderson these two definitely strengthen the Kent team.

Dinnington go with much the same line up that got them their semi-final place with
Glen McKay, Ian Bradley, Ian Brunt, Jimmy Winsborough, John Carswell, Lee Metterick, Malc Kelwick, Mark Lancashire, Mark Singleton, Terry Stevenson and of course, captain Vince Ley. This is a pivotal event for them it will define whether the semi final spot was a one off or a just reward for a team that has come of age.

Both these teams will be expecting to win the group so to meet in the opening match will mean one of them is going to be disappointed at the end of it. It is one of those matches that could go either way.

I think that both teams are going to be disappointed it that I believe this one will end in a draw. With neither team winning this will hand G.M.C.’s Normans elite a golden opportunity to steal a march on both teams.

I am going for Dinnington to go back on and face Normans Elite their line up will come from David Shand, Gareth Owen, Harry Roberts, Jack Mann, Joe Byrne, Kevin Holland, Matt Brierley, Paul Pickering, Paul Tickle, Paul Wood, Phil Beeston, Stephen Mills, Steve Beaumont & Warren Clarke.

Unfortunately, for Normans Elite I think that Dinnington will be a bit too much for Normans Elite

This means that Dinnington will need Penrith to do the business against Medway. That is not out of the question since the group should be keenly fought The down side of losing to Dinnington will start to sink in when Penrith realise that whatever they do in their second match they can’t get through, so whether Penrith still have any fight left in then after that is debatable The only option open to /Meadway is to beat Penrith by one more frame than Dinnington did, if they achieve that it will be Meadway going through otherwise it’s Dinnington.

So Penrith will have a decisive impact on who eventually wins this group but not in the way they hoped my feelings are that it will be Dinnington that make it to the last 32 but not before some nervous moments as Medway close in on the frames they need.

Table Six
Sussex’s Littlehampton Select take on Leicester from Leicestershire Littlehampton select are not going to enjoy being in this group, and no doubt will be thinking it’s a cruel draw to get these gig guns but someone has to, that’s the way it works.

Littlehampton Select line will include Captain, Ashley Holmes, Dean Brook Marsh,
Dominic Ashman, Jo Kent, Josh Ives, Ken Ford, Rossi Pintus, Steve Bird, Steve Brown, Steve McCouoon and William Ashman.

That said, I think this match could be tight Ashley Holmes picks his team wisely, which he will have to if they want to upset Leicester’s plans. You don’t need a degree in psychology to work out Leicester’s plans, it’s to use Colin Treadwell, Gavin Lomax, Harry Patel, Lee Ross, Mark Selby, Shaun Payne, Steve Chambers, Steve Morris, Steve Robertshaw, Tom Ford, Tommy Donlon and Vinny Allen to produce a nice easy passage to the winning line and to make sure they don’t get any nasty surprises on the way.

All in all I think that as hard as Littlehampton Select try the Leicester players will have the answers to ant questions that Littlehampton Select ask.

Bicester Select from Oxfordshire will provide Littlehampton Select with their next opposition. Bicester Select with Bob Hines, Dave Crawford, I Rawlings, J Thompson
Jamie Street, John Bland, Lewis Bland, Nick Gaul, Paul Paddick, Pete Armatage, Rob Holt, Sam Donaldson and Tim Williamson should not find Littlehampton Select too much of an obstacle but they will have to be wary. If they take their collective eye off the ball then a draw could be a real possibility. That would put Bicester Select in a very dangerous position knowing they had to play Leicester for the group with both hands tied behind their backs.

Providing that Bicester Select win their match against Littlehampton Select then the group play off between Leicester and Bicester Select will be a tighter race to 10 than it will be if they lose. Make no mistake here Leicester will win the match and the group. What we are talking about here is how close Bicester Select can get to Leicester before they go out

Table Seven
Northampton’s Snooks take on take on Bedfordshire’s Luton Lions in the opening match in group seven and as this is the first time here for Snooks coming up against Luton Lions in your first match certainly isn’t the hardest draw around. Luton has in their line up Adam Smith, Andrew Fazekas, Anthony Smith, Byron Banks, Chris Simonite, Colin Thomas, Joe Sage, John Goodyear, Mark Price, Mark Robbins, Martin Goodyear & Tony Turnstill.

In their ranks are a few county players so, Snooks should take note, this will not be easy they are going to have a fight on their hands. Snooks whose team will be picked from Brian Rowlings, Darren Childs, Darren Fenner, Gary Bivens, Jimmy Henderson, Mark Brooks, Paul Parsons, Pete Lawrence, Sean Wrighton, Stuart Richardson and captain and mentor Vikkii Belamy should prepare themselves for a struggle.

The names in the Snooks team are not ones that I readily recognise but at the same time Luton Lions are lacking real big name players so this should be a tight opening match but Luton would appear to be the favourites.

Although I think Luton Elite will be tested by Snooks and Luton Elite will not be allowed to run away with the match, I do feel however they will have the strength to be able to cope with what ever Snooks can muster to throw at them and still come out winners.

Once this match is done it’s Derbyshire’s Long Eaton’s turn to enter the fray. Long Eaton’s line will come from Brian Flindall, Chris Burkey, Clive Moore, Danny Gough, Darren Smith, Dean Whiteley, Glen Richardson, Glyn Slatcher, Jamie Fyson
Keith Smith, Kev Webb & Steve Butler.

Long Eaton have been here a few times before so should be well used to the atmosphere and the pressure that can build. I think that Long Eaton are about the same standard as Luton Lions so they too should after a few tense moments go on and beat Snooks to set up a Head to head between themselves and Luton Lions.

As with so many of the matches that are played here, one of the most important things to remember is keeping your cool and playing the right shot at the right time. The team that does this most often in any given match ends up being the winning team.

So with two very evenly matched teams going head to head for a place in the last 32 it would seem that the team who holds their nerve longest will come away with the prize. Instinct tell me that Luton Elite will probably just have the edge over Long Eaton

Table Eight
The first match on table 8 will see a newly formed Biggleswade from Bedfordshire take on Lancashire’s Preston South, this on the face of it will be a battle of biblical proportions, and one of them will be playing David and the other Goliath. Biggleswade will have Adam Barnett, Chris Dilley, Colin Welch, Danny Pyke, Gary Bangher, James Griffin, Mark Kempson, Martin Dilley, Paul Frith, Richard Wall, Simon Dodwell and Wayne Durham to pick from.

Preston South will come from Andy O'Hara, Craig Day, Dave Chalmers, Dave Jackson, Gareth Hibbott, Jason Hill, John Rimmer, Lee Clough, Mark Hopgood
Sam Lancaster, Steve Crane. Oh, I almost forgot, they will also have Will Jerrome available; who frame for frame is Preston South’s most prolific player, a true legend of the Interleague.

Of the two teams I know which of them is Goliath and which of them isn’t, I am fairly confident when you look at the teams list you will as well.

Biggleswade’s captain Chris Dilley does have a number of Bedfordshire’s county players to pick from but nowhere near enough to combat the combined talents of Preston South Chris Dilley will try and lead his team through to the win and they may even get close but it will be Preston South who win this one

This will mean Biggleswade will be taking on West Midland’s Small Heath in the second match. The Small Heath line up will come from Andy Watts, Ant Death, Dave Bridgewater, Dave Preece, Ian Priest, Kev Jordan, Lee Hazelhurst, Liam Driver, Nigel Jackson, Paul Shakespere, Rod Bannister and Tony Fry.

Dave Preece’s boys look to be just a player or two short of Preston South so the Bedfordshire team has yet another tough battle on their hands if they are to come away from the weekend with anything better than two loses. Captain Chris Dilley, will be looking forward to getting their campaign underway with a win. It will be a bitter sweet match for Biggleswade because I feel they will have improved enough to give Small Heath a real match but they are still going to lose out to Small Heath.

This in turn will set up a real cracker of a match between Small Heath and Preston South. Both these teams are last eight or beyond material. This should give a match that will be worth watching if you are floating about the hall looking for a match to get involved with

There is probably only a fag paper between these two teams when they are both on form and either team is more than capable of producing a spectacular result. If pressed to pick the winner from this match I guess that I would go for Preston South

Table Nine,
Sees Leicestershire’s Leicester Bulls make their Interleague debut against a very experienced team from East Yorkshire, Holderness. Holderness are one of those teams that slide along beneath the radar then pop up whack the team their playing then disappear again until the next time.

Obviously, Leicester Bulls have one of the strongest teams in the country to help and give them advice. But Adam Osborne, Ben Fisher, Brian Thompson, Dave Jones, Gaz Tipler, Harry Irwin, Jon Leitch, Lee Fisher to name but a few are going to need a bit more than sound advice to get past a Holderness team that has the combined experience of Alan Robinson, Dave Hanraham, Paul Bristow, Peter Everingham &
Wayne Bristow.

As much as I like to see new teams giving the older established teams a run for their money I can’t see Leicester Bulls ever being in a position to really rattle Holderness’s chains. In can see Holderness taking an early lead and then coast to the win from there. Leicester Bulls may have the odd trick up their sleeve but a few nice tricks won’t make Holderness quack in their boots.

The third team in this group is also an Interleague novice Berkshire’s Hammersmith so two new teams will do battle. This in itself is a rarity; we don’t often see two new teams in the same group. The Hammersmith team will come from Chris Ayres, Dean Preston, Frank Callaghan, Giuseppe D'imperio, Hughie Sutherland, John Barry, Ken Pollard, Kenny Bryant, Les Creaven, Neil Brady, Paul Taylor, Steve Monniynan & Tom Beagan. I have not known any of their players, apart from Hughie Sutherland who played in the senior trails earlier in the year.

This match up I see as a freebie in that the teams are playing each other as new teams so don’t have any baggage attached to them. Of the two teams I think that Hammersmith will come out on top of this one mainly because they will have more to fight for in that if they win they will get to have a crack at Holderness for the group win.

If it is a draw it’s up to the top table for the spin of a coin to decide who gets the rest and who goes straight back in to battle. I will even predict that Brighton will win the toss and put Derby back in to bat.

That will mean that Hammersmith will be taking on Holderness in the final match of the group and it will be all to play for, except that Holderness will be eager to make sure they don’t cock it up. If Holderness go and attack Hammersmith then I can’t see Hammersmith coming through this one unscathed.

Holderness would appear to be better in just about every department. I am sure that Hammersmith will feel they the beating of Holderness. If things go their way perhaps they can but in the cold light of day it looks a very big mountain to climb on your first visit here...

Table Ten
Hampshire’s Andover starts out on their Knockout Cup 2008 sojourn against Cumbria’s Whitehaven. Although Whitehaven have been here before they are not prolific visitors so their Captain will need to be on the ball when selecting his team which will come from Alan McLeod, Carl Ennis, Dave Todd, Gary Southern, Gavin Simpson, Grant Porter, Kevin Kirkham, Leigh Musgrave, Mike Walker, Richard Kirkham & Steve McLeod. Because their opponents are frequent visitors and will know what they have to do here.

Whist Whitehaven will be relying on their Captain to produce the winning line up; Andover will be comfortable and already know their best “Yarmouth” line up and for my money will eventually get the better of Whitehaven to win the match

Essex’s Braintree A have a some experience at this event and whist there is come some quality players amongst their squad which consists of Andy Bridge, Darren Ciniglio, Darren Price, Jed Thomson, Mark Brooks, Phil Matchett, Rob Hill, Steve Todd, Tony Carr and Trevor Digby. It may not have the strength in depth to beat Whitehaven. Rob Hill stands out like a sore thumb in Braintree’s line up as the star of his team.

If Rob Hill plays to anything above 50% of his ability then he will provide the impetus to the rest of the team to answer the call and they will see off Whitehaven without too much fuss

Having won their first match Braintree will get to go head to head with Andover as they attempt to make it through to the last 32. If any of the Andover Players fail to perform at the required level Braintree will make them pay. I think the Braintree line up will prove too much for the Andover team and it may well be Rob Hill that turns back the clock to the days when he was the No 1 player in the land.

Table Eleven
This is an interesting group in that of the three teams in the group two will feel they should win it. For the third team it’s their first time here so they should look to this group as a learning experience. Derbyshire’s Q Club in their first visit here gets to take on Cambridgeshire’s Ely. Ely will be thinking about winning this one well to set them up for when they play their next match. Q Club have no recognised stars in their line up which is made up from Daniel Woodings, Dave Fernandez, Gordon Murray, John Chambers, Kyle Bowler, Les Mahood, Mell Adams, Paul Bradford, Paul Grainger, Rob Chambers, Rob Ebbutt, Tom Elliott and Wayne Taylor so they will rely on a team effort to give them the strength they will need to get past Ely.

Ely will be banking for solid performances from the likes of Alan Issacson, Chuck Selllars, Dale Parson, Iain Aldous, James Parker, Jamie Jamieson, Jimmy Chambers, Josh Barker, Mark Turner, Paul Stelmaszuk, Phil Harrison, Richard Wharton, Rob Cork, Simon Rose, Stu McPherson and Terry Foster. My feeling on this one is that Ely will just have the edge in every department over Q Club and it will be pretty much one way traffic. I can’t see Q Club having the power to win this match and assuming that Ely do win with ease. Q Club will know they have been in a match where the opposition were just too good for them..

Q Club will then have to take on Surrey’s Godalming who won’t be any easier to beat than their first opponents, Godalming have to choose from Andy Sutherland, Darren Dodds, Dave Tootill, Douglas Howard. Ed Hudson, Gary Austin, Lee Hudson
Mark Mault, Max Brooker, Michael Cook, Nick Booth, Paul Bunyard, Sean Harvey and of course skipper Steve Brooker That little grouping will ensure that Q Club will have to fight for everything they get but in the end I would expect Godalming to have a bit too much fire power for Q Club. This weekend will give the Derbyshire side grounding on just how good some of the teams really are.

This will set up a thrilling head to head between Ely& Godalming and this where Phil Harrison, Richard Wharton, Ian Aldous & Rob Cork of Ely will have to subdue Godalming’s Max Brooker, Nick Booth, Andy Sutherland & Dave Tootill if they are to progress. I think this is going to be a real tight match where it’s unlikely there will ever be more than a frame or two between them. Once it gets beyond the point where a loss can be recovered from is where we will eventually see a winner and in my view Ely will be the ones who come out on top.

Table Twelve
Norfolk’s South Norfolk A, who by the way are new to the event, have the unenviable task of trying to pick their way past an ultra steady team from Somerset, Weston.

Weston are one of those teams that appear to operate in a similar fashion to a stealth bomber, you know they are around but don’t know who their target is until it’s too late. I can see the Norfolk side falling to Weston before they realise what has happened to them. The Norfolk team will be picked from Danny Wray, Dee Cannell, James Hammond, James Worby, John Marshall, Kevin Lawes, Kevin Stebbins, Micheal Lockwood, Robbie Old, Sam Carter & Steve Knights.

Mixed in South Norfolk’s line up are some county players so they will not be push overs. But Weston are one of the top sides in the event but have managed to keep it under wraps so lots of teams think they should beat them but very few actually do. Weston will consist of Alan Llewellyn, Anthony Doble, Daryl Lovegrove, Gareth Manning, Graham Hewlett, Jamie Ross, Jeff Jones, Matt Bull, Nick Fiourentzo, Oly Bale, Paul Marsh and Russell Burgess.

Now I have warned South Norfolk of what is likely to be their impending doom its up to them to work out their best form of defence. But I still think that despite the warning South Norfolk will still come of second best in the fight.

N.V.P.L. B from Northamptonshire will then be taking on a shell-shocked South Norfolk. I feel that poor old N.V.P.L. B will suffer the backlash from South Norfolk defeat by Weston. Although the match should be a tight match, nonetheless South Norfolk will eventually get the better of N.V.P.L. B That will mean by the end of the match N.V.P.L. B could well be suffering from a collective bout of insomnia over the way things turned out. It’s not because N.V.P.L. B are a bad team it’s more that they just don’t want to face Weston knowing that it is probably over before it started

That will leave the path clear for Weston to play the group decider between themselves and N.V.P.L. B knowing that they don’t need to win to make progress.. The outcome of this tussle depends on how N.V.P.L. B approach the match. My feeling go with Weston making short work of N.V.P.L. B because they have lost the will to take the fight to Weston

Table Thirteen
This is probably going to be one of the strangest groups over the weekend. Because with no disrespect to any of the teams in it, none of them look like group winners but one of them is going to have to.

First up will be Surrey’s Dorking against G.M.C.’s Stockport Sharks. Dorking has been here a few times in the past but have yet to make their presence felt. Stockport Sharks are pretty new to the Interleague their team will be chosen from Andy Jones, Andy Morrison, Chris Sargent, Darren Jones, Den Wenwright, Gary Curran, J.P. Carridene, Matt Watson, Nigel Doyle, Paul Boggs, Rick Shaw & Rob Clarke. I might be being a bit unfair here when I say I don’t see any man eaters amongst that list but usually a team will have one name you can latch onto and say they are the main man but it appears not to be so in this case.

Dorking will be made up from Andrew Chitty, Chris Pidgeon, Dave Hussey, Jon Leach, Scott Lee, Steve Johnson, Steve Rains, Steven Arneil, Tony Pankhurst, Tony Pidgeon, Vernon Foale, Wayne Duffell

There are a couple of names I recognise in their line up so I am going to go for Dorking to win this one but probably only by the odd frame.

That means that Stockport Sharks will take on Weston B in the second match, I am not too sure about Weston B but their team will consist of Aaron Stone, Adrian Smith, Ben O'Brien, Emilio Pallmo, Jason Hoskins, Joe El Jared, Mark Carr, Mark Chudley, Paul Battye, Paul Penhale, Paul Sturmey & Tony Joannou some of those names are familiar to me through other events at Yarmouth.

Whilst I might not know too much about Weston B but I am sure that they will be fairly good coming from the same stable as Weston A. Like the first match in this group I think it will be a tight affair and perhaps a long drawn out match but I think that Weston B will eventually get the better of Stockport Sharks and win the match.

This will of course mean that Stockport Sharks will be out of the event and that Weston will go on to face Dorking in the final showdown for the group.

Like the other two matches in this group it could take a long time to settle this match as both teams will be trying so hard not to lose but one of them will have to and my money goes on Dorking.

This particular group could be the last to finish so whoever gets the winner of this group could be waiting around for a while

Table Fourteen
G.M.C. ‘s Chorlton take on newcomers from Oxfordshire’s Wallingford in the opening match in this group. Chorlton have only been here a couple of times themselves but they should have at least built up a little bit of knowledge on how to get the better of the opposition here at Yarmouth. Chorlton team line up will consist of Andy Jones, Christopher Eccleston, Jason King, Lee Mitchell, Mark Astbury, Mark Beeson, Martin Power, Neil Robinson, Paul Harrison, Pete Bruce, Steve Barratt & Steven Harvey.

Wallingford team will come from Andrew Cock, Dai Berry, Damien Shaw, Dave Bartlett, James Douglas, Jamie King, Lorraine Owen, Mark Ball, Martin Zolkewicz, Robert Dewlin, Sally Kent, Simon James, Steve Greenwood & Steve Zbicut. I don’t know how good this team is but I can say that don’t recognise any of the players on their team sheet.

It’s very hard to come here as a team and hit the ground running and for that reason I think that Chorlton will win this match with a couple of frames to spare.

Once Wallingford have lost their first match they have a pretty hard, if not impossible, task if they want to make it through to the knockout stages the reason for this is they will have to figure out a way past one of the strongest teams in the event, namely, Nottinghamshire’s Chesterfield Sussex’s who consist of Adam Foyster, Andy Marples, Bob Snell, Brian Gennoe, Danny Wall, Dean Watts, Jordan Johnson, Mark Gibson, Mark Thomas, Robert Titchener, Shaun Wilson, Steve Finnegan & Steve Wilson
If Wallingford are unaware about how tough Chesterfield will be, they won’t be in any doubt after this match is over. I expect Chesterfield to win and win well. For Wallingford it will be about getting as many frames on the board as possible. If Chesterfield are in a belligerent mood then they will restrict Wallingford to just a few frames.

The match between Chesterfield and Chorlton will be a bit more even but I think that Chorlton being relative new comers will find things won’t be easy for them whilst they try to get past Chesterfield and although it will be closer than the Wallingford match Chesterfield will run out winners in this match and get to play in another last 32 match.

Table Fifteen
Shropshire Dawley B take on Kent’s Romney Marsh in the opening tie in this group and both teams will see this as the one to win in this group to give their chances of qualifying a boost. Dawley’s team will come from Aaron O'Donnell, Darren Stevenson, Faye Crompton, George Burrows, James Hayward, James Price, Mick Clarke, Mick Pidgeon, Neil Brazenhall, Olwyn Blagbrough, Phil Bufton, Shawne Worrell, Steve Camp, Steve Moreton, Stuart Blackwell and Thomas Hampson so Dawley will be relying on their usual all round team performance to make progress.

Romney Marsh will be attempting to disarm Dawley with Bob Woolcombe, Conrad Gorham, Frank Sargent, Guy Ruddy, John Barbieri, Kevin Mills, Mark Brazier, Mark Hunter, Richard Webb, Scott Hansen and Terry Wilson.

These two teams have a wealth of experience here so I would expect this to be a tight match Romney Marsh’s captain and International Porn star Gut Ruddy will probably have a good idea on what his team line up for this match will be. Dawley too will know how they will line up. The result of all this planning should be a close match.

Sadly, for Romney Marsh I feel that Dawley will just have the edge and will win this match but the victory may only be achieved in the final frame.

Gut Ruddy’s boys will then have to turn their attentions to Oxfordshire’s Witney, another team with a lot of experience. Witney will b made up from Andy Rainbow, Chris Chapman, Chris Jones, Ed Rose, Gavin Wright, Grant Conquest, James Oakley, Mike Gibbons, Pete Gamage, Rich Bates, Ricky Jones, Steve Mill & Stu Griffin.

I doubt that Witney will allow Romney Marsh, even with their International porn star captain, have it all their own way. Witney will realise that for each frame Romney Marsh win, their chances of qualification gets a little harder to achieve, but I feel that despite their best efforts to win Witney will find that Romney Marsh will be the winners of this match.

Unfortunately for Winey losing their first match will mean they have an even tougher match to win when they take on Dawley B. That in turn will mean that Dawley B will only have to avoid defeat to get through to the last 32 and that will make Dawley B red hot favourites to be the one that comes out on top of this group.

Table Sixteen
Lancashire’s Lancaster will have to work very hard to make their debut in the Interleague a success when they take on Lowestoft T.S from Suffolk. The Lancaster team has no recognised frame winners and will presumably rely on a good team selection from their captain to make give Lowestoft a few headaches. Lancaster’s team will be picked from Andy McManus, Ashley Lord, Bob Janal, Craig Dodd, David Newson, Ian Corless, James Silverwood, Jimmy Love, John Fox, Peter Woodcroft, Tom Howarth & Wayne Corless.

Lowestoft TS are far from being K.O. Cup debutants so it’s up to them to make the running in this match and will be using Alex Wright, Calum King, Darren Belton, Darren Fowler, Gary Cochrane, Jack Daines, Jamie Jinkerson, Keith Peck, Kingsley Peck, Kyle Cubitt, Lee Cubitt, Lee Littell, Matt Underdown, Paul Dunn, Reece Young and Steve Tongs to do their bidding. I feel that, given their experience, Lowestoft TS will just have the edge because mainly because of that experience

That will mean that Lancaster will have to take on a team I know quite a bit about Nottinghamshire’s Sun Valley. Sun Valley have the distinction of being one of the Interleague’s top teams and a look at the ranking list will show you that Sun Valley with Baydon Jackson, Bill Rigby, Chris Rigby, Clint I'Anson, Dave Atherley, James Hill, Jason Rimmington, Jim I'Anson, Lee Howitt, Lee Pickard, Liam Stanley, Neil Jones, Steve Hotchkiss & Wayne Parsonage will prove a bit too strong for Lancaster. I would expect an easy cruise to victory for the Nottingham outfit the best thing for Lancaster to do will be to sit back and enjoy the experience of playing a team from the top drawer of the Interleague

Lowestoft TS should prove a bit more of a challenge to Sun Valley and could possibly match Sun Valley in the early stages of the group decider but as the match moves into the decisive latter stages, whilst Lowestoft TS will be thinking of what to do with their Saturday night, Sun Valley will have other things to occupy their minds. I would expect Sun Valley’s greater strength to kick in and cruise to the victory.

Table Seventeen
Hertfordshire’ Riverside will be taking on Buckinghamshire’s High Wycombe in an attempt to reach the end of play on Saturday in their first match in this group. Their tam will come from Andy Williams, Jason Holtby, John Miele, Karl Beatie, Karl Green, Lee Smead, Paul Johnston, Paul Wyatt, Richard Lowther, Sean Burke and
Trevor Clarke and trying to put a spanner or two in the works will be the High Wycombe team of Chris McNight, Danny Johnson, John Hardacre, John Loveday, Lee Carlton, Luke Butler, Mark Hutton, Mick Carlton, Paul Anderson, Paul Montague and Sean Gourley.

Riverside has the players to win this match with ease but they also have the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. High Wycombe may well have the tools to dismantle Riverside’s threat without any help from the Hertfordshire team. This should be a tight match nut I feel that Riverside should have just enough fire power to get past High Wycombe.

When Berkshire’s Renegade A enters the fray they should be taking on a softened up High Wycombe. So Renegade A led by Rob Uzzell should be able to take advantage of a downbeat High Wycombe.

I can’t see High Wycombe being able to make too much of an impression on Renegade A and expect Alan Kirr, Andy Brant, Anne Middleton, Ben Kiley, Brad Robinson, James Harness, James McCarthy, John Sheil, Mark Murphy, Pat Phelan
Peter Lofts, Sefton Payne, Stu Harness and Vikas Sabharwal to make things very difficult for High Wycombe and eventually put them out of their misery

Renegade A really should do the same demolition job on Riverside but Riverside might have a trick or two up their sleeves and have a lot of history of doing what’s required when they are playing teams that are expected to do well against them.

With the options available to Renegade A along with the belief in their own abilities I can’t see any farther them coming out on top of this group. I would expect that riverside’s players will not agree with this assessment of their team’s chances in this match. In most other situations I would probably favour Riverside to nick the group but not this time.

Table Eighteen
Shropshire’s Shrewsbury A take on Norfolk’s Norwich B. Shrewsbury are a steady team who will do their best to keep Norfolk on the back foot. Coming from the same county as Dawley A, they will have an idea of the standard at the top end of the event. Providing Shewsbury use their big guns at the right time they might be able to unsettle Norfolk who have some very good cuemen in their line including Danny Gibson, Dave Gaff, Kenny Horner & Michael Lambe.

But Norwich won’t be rolled over too easily and Shrewsbury’s team consisting of Andrew Evans, Andy Judson, Carl Jones, Carl Martin, Daniel Ashley and David Peach to name a few will have to be at their best if they are to get anything out of this match.

For what it’s worth I think that Norwich will just about get the better of Shrewsbury in the opening match.

Shrewsbury will then have to take on Cornwall’s Camborne & Redruth this is the first time for quite a while that Cornwall has been represented here and will certainly be wanting to make the long journey worthwhile. Unfortunately for them Shrewsbury A won’t be too concerned about the distance they have had to travel to get here. Towards the end of this particular match Camborne’s rung rustiness will start to show and Shrewsbury will take full advantage and win the match.

That will mean that Camborne & Redruth will then have to take on Norwich B knowing that only a big win will give them any chance whatsoever of making it through. When your only option is to win big it very rarely happens and for that reason I am going for Norwich to win the match and the group.

So Camborne & Redruth’s team of Adam Clift, Andrew Jory, David Metcalfe
Gareth Ball. Jami Turnbull, Mark Berry, Richard Ash, Rob Goldsworthy, Rodney Burrows, Stuart Baker, Tristian Price can have a night out on the town without the worry of having to play again on Sunday

Table Nineteen
Hampshire’s Gosport A will take on a strong team in the shape of East Herts who are a team with a long history in the event and most of it is a being considered one of the best in it as well. When they get knocked out it’s more often than not in the knock out stages but this team has been severely weakened by players moving to London to ply their trade and are in a process of rebuilding their team and are not as strong as they once were. However, they are still a dangerous animal if not handled with respect

Gosport’s skipper Steve Parker does have some options but will need to use them wisely if they are to get anything out this tussle.

East Herts with Adrian Parsons, Andy Stillwell, Ashley Sealy, Dan Jones, Gary Plowman, Julian Pennie, Liam Thompson, Perry Gillett, Richard Bailey, Rob Gardner
Sam Underwood and of course Tony Vickers at their beck and call should have what it takes to get passed the Defences of Gosport A

The next match between Nottinghamshire’s Cherry Tree and Gosport A should be the defining match in this group if Gosport A with Andy McGwiggan, Dean Winter, Gary More, George Swannack, Ian Hutton, James Green, Jez Still, Joel Pickersgill, John Thornber, Matthew James, Neil Privett, Scott O’Connor and Steve Parker get the better of Cherry tree it will make things a lot easier for East Herts.

If Cherry Tree takes frames of Gosport at a steady rate and Gosport fails to respond in time then it would be hard for them to stop Cherry Tree from getting out of sight. But by the 18th fame I would expect Gosport to have put a major league dent in Cherry Tree’s hopes of winning the group.

When the final match takes place East Herts will know that a draw is good enough and Cherry Tree will know that only a big win is going to be good enough. With this sort of hill to climb for Cherry Tree, I predict East Herts to be comfortably in the last 32.

Table Twenty
Sussex’s Brighton M have a real crunch of a draw as they start their campaign against Lancashire’s Wigan. Wigan are one of the powerhouses of the Interleague and when you look at the players available to them you can see why they are so consistent in reaching the business end of the event. They have at their disposal players like Carl Bromley, Dave Arstall, Dave O'Shaungnessy, Geoff Harrison, Ian Davenport and Shaune Dawber and those are just the ones that spring to mind.

Brighton M will come from Conner Anderson, Damien Head, Daniel Harley, David Howells, Jack Cairns, Jason Roy, Jason Tanner, Mark Chapman, Mark Siddle. Mark White, Ross Etheridge, Simon Tanner & Charlotte Stacey-Batten

Brighton M have some very good players in that lot but I don’t think they have enough of them to take out a Wigan side packed with quality players. Brighton’s best hope would seem to be that the wrong Wigan turn up, it has happened in the past but it’s a rare event they are normally as solid as a rock.

If I am right Wigan will win with ease and Brighton will take on Essex’s Barking Elite as the losers of match one. To those who remember Barking Elite will be thinking this is going to be a blood bath. However, this is not that team, it’s pretty much a new team who have taken on the mantle. They do have some of the old players and they have a lot of strength in depth but they are not the Barking Elite of days gone by.

This Barking Elite comprises of Alan Gosling, Andy Holland, Danny Downes, Justin Young, Keith Hannon, Paul Coleburn, Sean Gildersleeve, Sean Heyden, Steve Benjafield, Terry Elliott & Yousef Gormati.

It may not be the barking elite of old but it still packs enough of a punch to knock out Brighton M.

The crunch in this group will come when Wigan take on Barking Elite in a winner tales all contest. This match will be what the Interleague is all about, two big teams going head to head with only one of them coming out still fighting and of the two, as much as I would like to see Barking Elite revive the memories and achievements of the old team, I can’t see past the solid and ever reliable Wigan having just too many big frame players for Barking Elite to compete with

Table Twenty One
This table sees three very strong teams pitted against each other South Norfolk consist of Ady Wood, Andrew Sheppard, Ben Annison, Carl Clack, Chris Minns, Danny Raisborough, John Kenny, Karl Clouting, Martin Wood, Nigel Meal & Wayne Clouting Just about the whole squad is County or above standard. They take on Lancashire’s Accrington whose team is made up of Andy Sudworth, Carl McDonald, Chris Norbury, Darreb Wareing, Dave Robinson, Gary Close, James Brookens, Johnny Dean, Kev Caverley, Kev Close, Mark Slattery & Nathan Bridges. This team is packed with quality players and will not be beaten easily.

The third team in the group is Reds 1 from Warwickshire and are made up of the following players Adam Prewitt, Craig Sturmey, Darren Leeson, Dave Lane, Dave Walkinshaw, Dean Davies, Martin Elks, Martin Groves, Phil Parkin, R Hughes,
Rob Butterworth, Roger Charles, Roy Pontefract, Scott Halcrow, Scott Leeson, Simon Fusedale & skipper Steve Shelton. They like the other two teams in this group are not going to go down without a fight so this really is the group of death in this years knock out cup.

There are always groups you like, there are groups you don’t like, this is not a group any of the teams in it would ask to be put in but they are in it and its down to each of them to stamp their authority on the other two team.

The group opens with South Norfolk taking on Accrington in what will be a belter, it’s really difficult to pick the stronger of the two sides but perhaps South Norfolk have the greater strength in depth. This is offset by Accrington having some of the most experienced players in the interleague in their team.

Which one will come out on top is nigh on impossible to predict but I am going to go with Accrington to just get their noses in front at the vital time to come out on top.

Reds I with Roger Charles, Scott Halcrow, Steve Shelton and Roy Pontefract will have to produce some quality pool and get into the groove very quickly if they are to keep up their tradition of making it through to the knock out stage this time round. They have to beat South Norfolk there really isn’t any other option a draw will, in real terms, be no good at all, South Norfolk on the other hand will be wanting to make up for the lose against Accrington with a positive display against Reds 1. This match is going to be as tight as the first match and just as difficult to pick a winner. Unfortunately for Reds 1 I think just as Accrington had the edge over South Norfolk, South Norfolk will have the edge over Reds 1.

Reds 1 will then have to take on Accrington having lost to South Norfolk knowing they are going to need a miracle to win against Accrington and stay in the event. As good as Reds 1 are, and they will think it’s possible to qualify, Accrington will wear them down slowly taking frames off them. It will get to the point where Reds 1 will know it’s over and that they are on the way home.

They can console themselves that coming third in this group is no shame at all whilst Accrington will be quietly giving themselves a pat on the back for being the team that won this group

Table Twenty Two
This group has the makings of an interesting tussle we have Clacton from Essex, here for the first time, Punchbowl from South Yorkshire and Leek B from Staffordshire.

In the Clacton line we have amongst others Darren Collison, James Hazelton, Micheal Punschart Rico Gopaul and Roy Aldis. Now that little lot could do some serious damage if they all plat well and there is no reason to suppose they won’t.

In the opening group match they take on Punchbowl and in their line they have Alan Dale, Andrw Herriott, John Waller, Kevin Ryder jnr, Kevin Ryder snr, Phil Cartwright and Tom Farrelly. That lot are also capable of putting together a very good run so this is another of those hard to call matches.

Pound for pound I would go for Punchbowl hitting the hardest of the two team but Clacton could quite easily deliver a knockout blow. I would like to see Clacton win this match but my head says although they are cable of landing a knockout blow it’s more likely to go the distance with Punchbowl winning on points.

That will mean leek B will enter the fray taking on Clacton, Leeks team will come from Ben Duffield, Billy Woodcock, Colin Andrews, Colin Leather, Gary Bode
Lee Thwaite, Liam Hudson, Nick Embury & Nick Orry amongst others. On the face of it they don’t seem as if they have enough strength in dept to be able to cope with Clacton.

I see Clacton, whilst not overpowering Leek, never looking uncomfortable on their way to the win. The win will do wonders for Clacton’s morale but not very much at all for Leek B who will then have to face Punchbowl to decide the fate of the group.

Whatever chance Leek had of beating Punchbowl will be washed away with the loss and will allow the East Yorkshire boys to coast in to the last 32.

Clacton’s chances of Leek doing them any favours will have gone within the first few frames.

Table Twenty Three
Staffordshire’s Trent Trophies B get group 23 underway with a match against Northamptonshire’s Pocket Rockets B in what I see as a one sided group. The Trent Trophies team will be hoping Chris Evans, Dean Rush, Jamie Symons, John Clowes
Jon Hughes, Kieron Bolton, Mark Buckley, Ollie Booth, Rob Harding, Ryan Cope and Sam Capperwill produce performances that will see them past Pocket Rockets B.

Pocket Rockets B may have a trick or two up their sleeves, in their team are Adam Burns, Colin Buckby, Craig Haynes, Dave Tennant, Gary Francis, Graham Flanders
Hnigel Roberts, Jamie Burns, Justin Wynne, Mark Seaman, Michael Wilson, Stuart Bond & Wayne Gardner.

Mixed in that line up are some county players and the odd international but that won’t worry Trent Trophies B shouldn’t be phased by the Pocket Rockets B team given their A team line reads like a who’s who of pool.

This match has the look of a battle written all over it for Pocket Rockets B because I feel that Trent Trophies B may appear to be a string team their record suggests they are a front line team in their own right.

The match, I feel, will be slipping away from Pocket Rockets B from the start and given that Pocket Rockets B will always be playing catch up against Trent Trophies B it won’t be too much of a surprise that the frames will run out before Pocket Rockets B catch up.

Cambridge Elite from Cambridgeshire will then take on Pocket Rockets B in the second group match, Cambridge Elite will not prove that much easier opponents than Trent Trophies B did. Cambridge Elite sport some pretty big players in their line up, Mick Conlon and Simon Rivers being the most obvious ones and if Pocket Rockets B fails to deal with them then Cambridge Elite will have 4 frames in the back. They are backed up Adam Armstrong, Barry Lindsay, Ian Norris, Jim Munnelly, Johnathon Middleton, Mathew Bradford, Michael O'Boyle, Silvas Kides & William Scott.

Whether the overall strength of Cambridge Elite is enough to give them a comfortable passage to victory is unclear. Despite Pocket Rockets B’s best efforts to keep their pool playing weekend together I can only see Cambridge Elite coming out on top of this tie.

This will set up a final group match between Trent Trophies B & Cambridge Elite and should be an interesting tussle. Interesting in how each of the teams decides to counter the others threats. Trent Trophies B has an overall strong team whereas Cambridge Elite have a couple of gun slingers who could take the Trent Trophies B team out on their own.

When it comes down to the final few frames of the match I think the greater all round strength of Trent Trophies B will come to the rescue of the Staffordshire outfit and the will get across the finishing line and securing yet another last32 spot

Table Twenty Four
West Yorkshire’s White Rose OAP's take on Shropshire’s Shrewsbury B in the curtain raiser to this group and features a team in their first appearance here, White Rose O.A.P’s team will come from Danny Driver, Harry Troy, Ian Lettice, Kevin Armitage
Marc Johnson, Mick Pyne, Shane Winfield, Stephen Hepinstall, Steve Weatherby and Captain Tony Pyne.

They will need to be at their best when they take on Shewsbury B I am sure they won’t see it this way but is so easy for a first time visitor to play well below their best simply because of the pressure associated with playing here. One thing I am confident of though is there should be no trouble with refereeing decisions with Kevin Armitage in their line up.

Shrewsbury B’s line up will come from Adam Sykes, Callum Wright, Chris Wright, Danny Summer, Jon Sykes, Julian Cooke, Lee Harrison, Mark Summer, Matthew Sullivan, Mick Houston, Rob Jones, Sam Wright, Steve Booth.

I don’t really know anything about either team but Shrewsbury have more experience here than White Rose O.A.P. and that is something that give you a two or three frame advantage in some matches and I think this is one of those matches so it’s Shrewsbury B for me in this one.

That means White Rose will then face Suffolk’s Ipswich B who have a few county players in their line up so will be a bit of a handful as well their team will come from Carl Anton, Darren Murphy, Karl Burton, Keith Harris, Lee Morley, Nathan Dodds, Nick Taylor, Paul King, Phil Morgan, Scott Jordan, Stacey Tite, Stuart Simmonds &
Tony Jackman.

If White Rose captain, Tony Pyne., gets his team selection right then I see White Rose putting their disappointment of losing the first match behind them and competing all the way with Ipswich B.

If not, then I think that Ipswich will prove a bit too much for White Rose to handle to be honest I feel this is the more likely option so I am going for Ipswich to win the match perhaps by two clear frames. So will end White Rose’s first foray into the Interleague.

This means Shrewsbury end with a match against Ipswich B. I think this match will be a close one, whilst Shrewsbury will have slightly more overall quality than Ipswich. Ipswich has some players who should be able to negate any frames the quality of Shrewsbury wins. But after that it becomes a lot closer affair and the ever so slightly greater experience of the Shrewsbury team as a whole should be enough to just scrape the win over Ipswich but it’s only likely to be by the odd frame.

Table Twenty Five
Norfolk’s Norwich A start their walk down the long road looking for success on the national stage with a tie against Adrian Walton’s Driffield. Driffield are a bit of enigma they have been here so often they really should have made a bigger splash than they have so far. Every time they look like they are on their way something happens and it all goes wrong. Facing Norwich A with Colin Fryers, David Thraxton, John Read, Jon Colman, Lee Smith, Mark Boulton, Mark Winter. Paul Thraxton
Peter Mullany, Shane Cawdron, Simon Ramm & Alex Lewis means there is plenty of scope for things to go wrong this time round as well. Driffield’s compact team will consist of all the usual team members like Skipper Adrian Walton, Bob Chard
Daniel Gladstone, John Dowling, Matt Lawrence, Matt Skelton, Michael Ireland, Rob Howe & Stuart Frazer

They will be under pressure from the start of this match as the Norwich side is packed with Norfolk county players, although Norwich are mew to the event they a one of those rare animals that have the experience in their team for that not to be an issue. Unfortunately for Driffield the draw has been very unkind to them as I see Norwich taking the match with a few frames to spare

Driffield’s skipper Ady Walton is fairly well known amongst pool circles so he will need no introduction to the team they will have to do battle with next as it will be Dawley A. The Shropshire side are a massive team in terms of the interleague history, finalist on two occasion and winners on another.

Dawley’s team consist of Darren Poultney, David Blagbrough, Ian Duffy, and Ian Eldridge. James Brennan, Jeff Hoof, Keith Blackham, Keith Price. Phil Dix, Richard Williams and Simon Yates.

Driffield will not be expecting too much in this match but I feel that Driffield will get a better result out of this match than they did against Norwich because the fear will have gone and it’s time to relax and enjoy a game of pool.

Dawley are still going to win the match but it will not be as easy a match as Dawley might be expecting.

This will mean that Norwich take on Dawley for the right to play in the last 32. This match should be a cracker because Norwich are good enough to beat Dawley but it’s a bit different when you have to win against a team like Dawley, they have so much experience at negotiating tough matches to keep their band on the road you just have to go with them to win.

Norwich however will up their game when they play Dawley so if Dawley underestimate the Norfolk team they could get a real shock. Norwich will be well aware that a draw will not be good enough for them in reality because of the play off strength of Dawley. So for Norwich it’s best to win in regular time. Having said all that I think that Dawley will win this match but Norwich will give them a bit of a bloody nose before that happens

Table Twenty Six
Surrey Warriors has the task of trying to get the better of Bedfordshire’s Luton Elite in the opening match in this group. The warriors who have Darren Magor, Jack Smethers, James Hill, Jason Retter, Justin Anderson, Lee Manister, Martin Lambert
Mike Smith, Neal Rolfe, Ray Scott, Raymond Duncan, Richard Lambert and
Simon Lemarchant in their line up.

However, Luton Elite will try to counter any threat the Surrey side pose with their line up of Alan Shields. Ben Turnstill, Brett Hattle, Craig Pearce, Darren Nolan, Dave Herbert, Jo Sameuls. Martin Smith, Paul Cox, Paul Turnstill, Rory Dawson, Terry Teivans and Wayne Sampson.

That on paper at least looks like a very strong Luton side so Surrey Warriors are going to have to produce some good pool if they are going to make a winning start to their campaign I Luton play to their potential then I can only see them having what it takes to get the win.

That will mean that Surrey Warriors will be trying to keep their hopes of qualifying for the last 32 by getting the better of Derbyshire’s Corn Exchange. That night be as easy as they would like because Corn Exchange are a reasonable outfit.

Corn Exchange players are Craig Bousfield, Craig Lakin, Dave Oxtoby, Dean Flecher
Jack Whelan, Jamie Pegg, Jon Shapland, Kev McGuire, Marcus Harrison, Mark McNiesh, Mick Ruane & Steve Simpson.

Mixed in with line up are some quality players so that will mean that Surrey Warriors will find it tough going to get the win they will need to keep their hopes alive.

Corn Exchange will be acutely aware of the need to win this match in order to make sure they are in with a chance when they play their next match. That coupled with the fact that Surrey warriors has already lost will give Corn exchange the edge and will steer them to the win leaving Surrey warriors with an afternoon to kill.

The final match in the group will be the crunch match with one team going home and the other preparing for a last 32 match. Luton Elite and Corn Exchange are fairly evenly matched so I expect this battle to go right to the wire and may even need a play off to separate the two teams. Whatever method is employed to determine I think the winner will still be the same and I feel that the eventual winners will be Luton Elite

Table Twenty Seven
Warwickshire’s Nuneaton A takes on London’s Frank Smith in what looks a fairly un-evenly matched tie Nuneaton A have Andy West, Barry Newnes, Ben Gilbey, Colin Richards, Dave Lea, Karl Knight, Neil Randle, Nigel Griffiths, Paul Willis, Richard Mills and Scott Varden who will be hoping for a solid performance.

But Frank Smith will have Adam Toms, Danny Miller, Dean Wisher, Jack Pople, John Kelly, Jon Runghen, Mark Thrussell, Neil Toms, Ramesh Gokhul, Rob McKay, Rob Southey and Sean Halligan who will be doing their best to make sure its Frank Smith that win the opening match. Looking at the team line it’s difficult to anything other than a frank Smith win

To be honest, it seems to me that Nuneaton’s best hope is that they hit Frank Smith before they wake up, if they don’t then Frank Smith will just brush them aside

There will be no surprise that I am going to go for Herts of London to win the first match in this group and then have the luxury of sitting and watching the next match between Nuneaton and Wolverhampton Wed B

Nuneaton skipper Andy West will be hoping that his team produce better performances than they did against Herts of London. Wolverhampton Wednesday B will be aiming to produce the performances they will need to see them past Nuneaton. This looks like it will be very tight and may well end up in a draw as both teams struggle to find the winning touch. If it does end up in a draw the result will be of much more significance to Wolverhampton Wednesday B than Nuneaton.

If it does end up being a draw Herts of London will be handed a golden opportunity to win the group at a canter, all they will have to do is not loose. Wolverhampton Wednesday B on the other hand will have to attack right from the off if they are to get anything from this match.

So Brian McDermid, Chris Reckord, Clinton Lenoir, Dave Hughes, Dave Lloyd, David Brooks, Fred Bannister, Geoff Pucell, Gurdey Singh, Jamie Wylde, Joe Hutton, John Gair, John Williams, Julian Hamp, Mark Williams, Matt Mason, Rob Richards and Trevor Jones are going to have to play the frames of their lives just stay in contact with Frank Smith.

Does Wolverhampton Wednesday have what it takes to win this match? Whether they do or not will be down to Frank Smith not playing as well as they usually do.

Table Twenty Eight
This group looks like being an interesting group with all three teams in it having what it takes to win it. Leicester City from Leicestershire take on a sprightly Bracknell & Ascot A from Berkshire both teams will have to at the top of their game if they are to get anything out of this match. Bracknell & Ascot have Brad Parker, Chris Stocker, Danny Oliphant, Dave Bryant, Jack Davies, Kev Bassett, Leigh Morshead, Lucky Birdy, Mick Worsfold, Rob Moorshead, Sean Watson and Steve Ring

As you can see they have a few players who can play the game to a high level and their opponent’s team will counter those with Ady Frost, Andy Freer, Andy Lee, Dave Welch, Gaz Mitchell, Lee Brown, Mark Waite, Martin Sheldon, Neale Bassford, Paul Bright, Rich Phillips, Russ Jackson, Scott Taylor & Steve Cook.

So Leicester will not short on player options when the two sides meet and like a lot being played here this should be a tight one of the two teams Bracknell & Ascot would appear to have a slight edge over Leicester in terms of players ability to handle the pressure. But you also have to allow for the fact that Leicester City get to play Leicester at least once a year so they should certainly have picked up a trick or two from their stable mates.

If things go the way I see them, then it will be Bracknell & Ascot who get to have a rest and watch the other two teams play out the second match of this group. So Leicester will then have to take on Hertfordshire’s St Albans Saints the Saints are a fairly youthful outfit but have plenty of county players in their line up Skipper Gordon Fyvie has Alex Dorow, Andy Barker, Andy Walker, Dave Oddy, John Bloor, Kevin Moyles, Kit Wong, Micheal Holtby, Tony Hawes & Tony Herman to chose from.

St Albans are more than capable of taking out Leicester City with the players they have the only worry I have for St Albans is the fact they have a glass jaw. It only takes one hard knock and the team spirit is broken making them easy meat. However Leicester will do well to remember that they might have a fragile jaw but they can also pack a punch.

The match could hinge on whether Leicester can break St Albans spirit early on, if they do this then Leicester should be able to build up a lead that St Albans won’t be able to claw back. However, the longer St Albans stay in the match the more dangerous they will become as the youthful devil may care attitude takes hold.

When it comes down to it I have said that St Albans will produce the goods a few times in the past but it never quite materialises so I am going to go for Leicester to claim their first win of the event.

St Albans will be so miffed at losing the first match they will not have recovered their composure when their next match starts. This means that Bracknell & Ascot will have stolen a march on St Albans before they manage to regain their composure. Do this against any team and you are not going to get anything out of the match so it’s going to be goodnight from St Albans for yet another season.

Table Twenty Nine
Worcester Dream Team from Worcestershire starts their campaign with a match against Nottinghamshire’s Nottingham. Worcester Dream Team whose team line up will come from Andy Jones, Andy McDonald, Ashley Wild, Ben Taylor, Darren Selvey, Dennis Dunn, Gary Simmonds, Mark Stephenson, Nick Core, Shaun Daly and
Wayne Lannie will start as strong favourites in this match. That means it will be up to the Nottingham players chosen from Alan Lilis, Colin Wilson, Curtis Bradley, Greg Crowson, Hadrian Smith, Lee Mason, Lee Smith, Lee Thorpe, Malc Marriott, Martyn Rawson, Matt Brooks Porter, Matt Coates, Matt Tugby, Pete Sims, Richard Fewkes to upset the form book.

What happens depends a lot on Worcester Dream Team providing they start the way they really ought to then is just a matter of keeping their noses in front. If they don’t then it could be a long road to victory for the Worcester but I am fairly confident that it will be Worcester Dream Team that will win this match.

That defeat will herald the entrance to the fray of Essex’s Barking Phoenix as the take on Nottingham. Barking’s team will come from the old warhorse himself Alan Pointer, James Shadimier, Keith Bryant, Kevin McDonnell, Mark Yates, Richard Moore, Rihard Green, Rob Gould, Scott Fuller, Steve Adams, Tony Pointer and
Wayne Pardon. That line up does not look to dissimilar to the normal line up so I would expect them to dispatch the Nottingham side without too much hassle.

However, Barking Phoenix can play well below their expected level of performance so Nottingham can take heart that there is a real possibility that they can take this match but they will have to produce the goods even if Barking Phoenix turn in a below par performance.

Unlike Nottingham, Barking Phoenix will have real competition right from the word go as they take on Worcester Dream Team, there will be no room for a below par performance in this match both teams will need to hit the ground running.. Both teams both teams will be aware that one slip up will be the end of their chances. Under that sort of pressure each frame becomes like a penalty shoot out where with each passing frame the tension gets ramped up another notch. With two teams like these going head to head there is no room for mistakes.

Of the two teams I think that Worcester Dream Team have greater strength in depth and it’s this that will tell in the end as Worcester Dream Team win the race to the finishing line.

Table Thirty
Cornwall’s Truro take on Surrey’s Tolworth, Truro are making a welcome return to the event this time round so for Truro’s captain who can chose his team from Gary Roberts, Gary Roe, Jason Ling, Kalvin Ashwood, Mark Rudge, Mark Sullivan, Nicholas Julian, Nigel Strickland, Richard Hughes and Shan Sullivan. It will be a steep learning curve for Truro as they face Tolworth.

When you look at Tolworth’s Line up you will see why it’s going to be very hard for Truro to make a lasting impression on the match. Tolworth boast players like Andrew Esgrove, Dean Reeve, Frank Strivens, James Bowry, Jason Norris, Kevin O'Connor, Matt Cooke, Oliver O'Boyle, Paul Wildman, Rich Teasdale, Robert McGowan, Sean Yates, Steve Chambers, Steve Petty, Stuart White & Tom Kennedy.

Tolworth has some very experienced players in their ranks I would expect that Tolworth will do their best to ensure this will not be a tight affair. But Truro will be doing their best not to get outclassed. Unfortunately I can’t see Truro having what it will take to ruffle Tolworth’s feathers.

That means that Truro will be taking on St Johns of Worcestershire in the second match of this group. St Johns will have Dale Everton, Dean Cutmore, James Hodgkins, Jason Garey, Jason Godding, Kevin Rose, Lee West, Lucy Crosby, Paul Barnett, Simon Hudson, Stuart Clarke and Tony Seager.

It’s a tough life in the interleague and no favours are handed out so I can’t see Truro getting a great deal out of this match either other than the experience they can bring to the table next time round. But wouldn’t it be nice if they could do something.

When Tolworth take on St Johns it will be for a place in the last 32 and like the other groups where there is a clear choice of winners I will take Tolworth to be the winners and book their place at the table of the last 32.

Table Thirty One.
Warwickshire’s Reds Elite take on P...J.'s Stourbridge West Midlands in the curtain raiser for this group in another of the tie ties that matches two good teams up head to head. If this were a boxing match it would be billed as a super heavyweight bout where the contestants will hitting each other with all they have and it looks a definite last one still standing contest.

Reds Elite have Baz Hinde, Callum Mullhern, Chris McDermott, and Daz Lee
Garry Calcott, Glenn Dunn, John O'Shea, Kevin Farrell, Liam Farrell, Mark White
Martin Kirby, Mick Adams, Mick Adams, Steve Mullan, Sunny Singh, Surinder Singh, Tim Singh, Vic Makh, & Vivek Makh

The P.J.’s nice and compact line up looks a bit like this Ben Swinnerton, Hitten Patel, Jarod Griffiths, Mick Hill, Neil Raybone, Pat Ward, Paul Dunkey, Richie Foxall, Rob Chilton & Steve Sears

I think I will be nipping down every so often to see how this one is going because it’s too good a match to miss. I have to say that I only really only see P.J.’s Stourbridge winning this one but if I am right, this is going to be as sterner test as any semi final match for the boys from the West Midlands and it is possible it could go a bit Pete Tong if Reds Elite click.

Assuming I am right and Reds Elite lose the opening match that will mean they will facing Jerry Tickell’s Waterloo from London. I can’t see Waterloo betting the better of Reds Elite, even if they play out of their skins and I don’t think Waterloo believe it is a goer either. But if nothing else it will be a great experience to see just how close they can get to Reds Elite before losing.
I don’t see Waterloo. Having too much to complain about when they get beaten by P.J’s either in the final match of the group. Without being too detrimental to Waterloo the only thing that might have a say in is by how many they are beaten by. If they play to their full potential and take every chance on offer then they might get to seven frames before they are sent to the bar to commiserate and complain about how unlucky they were to be drawn against P.J’s Stourbridge and Reds Elite.

Table Thirty Two
And so we come to the final 3 group matches in this year’s knock out cup and like all the others there is an interesting mix of teams first up is Suffolk’s Ipswich who will be taking on West Yorkshire’s East Leeds. Ipswich’s line up will consist of Alan Mower,
Bradley Williams, Dylan Thomas, Mark Keeble, Matt Purnell, Ned Acton, Paul Keeble, Phil Cullingford, Richard Brakewell, Richard Twomey, Rob Sparkes and
Trudi Acton. So East Leeds are going to have their work cut out if they are to get anything out of this encounter.

The East Leeds team will come from Alan Cochrane, Chris Baker, Chris Ibbotson, David Smith, Lee Barwell, Owen Aherne, Patrick Fitzgerald, Sean Monaghan, Steve Monkman, Steve Robinson, Stuart Wilson & Terry Midgley

With that sort of line up this should be a good match for neutrals to watch. Ipswich will try to live up to their star of the group billing; East Leeds will want to claim a big scalp for their mantle piece. I think that in the end Ipswich, with their greater fire power, will deny East Leeds their scalp.

This will mean that East Leeds will have to beat Northamptonshire’s N.V.P.L. A. A and then hope that N.V.P.L. A beat Ipswich in the final match of the group. N.V.P.L. A. Team will come from Adam Johnson, Allan Baker, Ant Floyer, Dave Biseker, Derick Manly, Gary Matthews, John Allsebrook, Mark Oliver, Paul Pricket, Richie Mathews
Sanju Raja, Shane Hall, Tony Henderson & Tony Illingworth. Looking at the players involved it would seem that East Leeds will have another tough match on their hands.

Unfortunately, for East Leeds I think that N.V.P.L. A will beat them to set up a group decider with Ipswich.

When Ipswich take on N.V.P.L. A it will be up to them to do the running as it is they, who in my opinion, will be the favourites to come out on top on this group. N.V.P.L. A on the other hand will enter this match with the belief that this group is theirs for the taking. Whatever happens in the match I will be very surprised if its anybody other than the Ipswich captain scurrying up to the top table clutching the winning score sheet.

Tom Fahy
Tournament Director

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