Will your team win the Interleague 2004?
Well the first thing to say is you’ve got to be in it to win
it so if your Interleague team failed to qualify for this year’s
event then the answer is simply………. NO
But what if your team is one of the lucky 96 who will
battle it out over the weekend of the 17th & 18th of April. No
one will be going to lose but the reality is that 80 of the 96 teams
that start the
event will be out by Saturday evening. The odds of your team being
one of the 16 still in the event are slim. However, you can tell with
a high degree of accuracy the teams that will be still be in there
fighting. Why is this possible to do this?
The 96 teams that compete in this event can, with considerable justification,
claim to be the top 96 Interleague teams in the country. There are
around 400 registered Interleague teams playing a full set of fixtures
throughout the year with only one aim- to win their Interleague or
if that proves beyond their grasp then to finish high enough in their
counties Interleague to get an automatic invitation to the Interleague
finals and in most cases that means a top three finish.
It doesn’t take much to realise that when you are good enough
to finish in the top three of a counties Interleague you are a pretty
strong team. When 96 of these top three teams come together in one
national competition you would to be pretty hard nosed not to concede
that the best Interleague teams in the country will be there.
Contained in those teams are some of the cream of this
nations pool players. It’s alright saying that but just who
are these players who are so great, well just about every team has
at least one professional
or top county A player in their line up. You have the top professionals
like Darren Appleton, Chris Melling, (Triangle), then come the UK
Tour players Paul Dunkey & Rob Chilton (P.J.’s Stourbridge),
Ian Hubbard & Ian Kettell (Rochester), lee Kendall, Gaz Potts & Carl
Morris (Trent Trophies) Mexborough will have Alistair Bailie & Martin
Hazell, Brighton have Morray Dolan & Darren Welfare.
There will be a host of current England Internationals such as Andy
Barnett (Rugby), Lee Clough (All’oas), Andy Breen (Imperial 1),
Lee Howitt & Bayden Jackson (Sun Valley) & Karl Boyce. Interestingly
enough virtually the entire current England team will be there representing
their teams. Then there is a whole host of ex England Internationals
Such as Bob Love & Graham Berrutto (Kettering). Then there are
the County players as well as the best of England’s local league
That little lot is just the tip of the iceberg believe me, for every
one named above there is a whole raft of players that could have been
Going back to the original question of what are a team’s chances
winning the event, on the face of it the best odds you can quote are
96-1 against but that argument can’t be used when you talk about
teams like Trent Trophies A, Imperial 1 & Triangle (ex Morley)
because they are real contenders and are more likely than not to make
their way to the semi finals at the very least.
They way to work out a team’s chances of winning the event is
not to look too deeply at who the players in a team are, it’s
better to look at a team’s overall consistency. Of course it’s
the players that win the frames but teams evolve over time with the
players coming and going. In a one off event you would look at the
players as the main determining factor in a team’s likelihood
of doing well. But when it comers to teams that do well year on year
it has to be more to than just the players. Just think how many times
your team has not been able to field its strongest line up or been
missing key players due holidays family events or just a reluctance
to play in a fixture.
This is where the teams show their class by still doing well despite
the loss of key players and this is what gives teams their mantle of
invincibility. There is in my view four distinct phases to a teams
progression from being no hopers to title contenders and each of the
phases takes time to achieve for 99.9% of teams. There are no short
cuts to winning ways in the Interleague. It’s a bit like an apprenticeship
that has to be served before you can go on to bigger and better things.
So what are these phases? The first phase to becoming Interleague
winners is to qualify to go to Yarmouth on a regular basis. Obvious
as it may seem, just think about it, it is a major milestone in any
team’s progress to know that your team is good enough to regularly
do well enough in the county’s Interleague. The reward for this
consistency is to be part of the Interleague finals more times than
not. This in turn means that if you do well in the Interleague It becomes
the “norm” to qualify and anything less is seen as a failure
and qualifying gives the team a feeling of achievement.
Once you are in Yarmouth your team is in with 95 other teams that
have also won their way through to the finals and this is where phase
two kicks in. Its one thing to qualify to play in the national finals
of the Interleague, however it’s quite another thing to be the
team that wins the group and progress to the last 32. Yes, lots of
first timers do win their group but they rarely make it any farther
into the event. In addition, you can only be first timers once. Once
your team has played enough times at Yarmouth and won its group a few
times the team starts to believe that is good enough to expect to win
the group stage by right. That increase in expectation feeds its way
through the team and players raise their game and the team moves on
to phase three.
Once a team has moved on to phase three, phase three
is when a team expects to play in the last thirty two as a matter
of course. Once
your team has attained phase three, your team has reached a position
where it is now capable of giving the top teams a fight.
Teams that reach the last thirty two or last sixteen are usually the
teams with the experience of being there before and knowing what to
expect. It may seem hard to believe to teams that struggle to get out
of the group stage but there is a vast difference in the standard of
play from the group stage and the knock out section. In order for a
team to be able to compete at this level they will have had to suffer
the unpleasant felling of being dumped out of the event by teams with
a similar skill level to theirs but who have more experience than them
at this level. This will happen a few times before any team gains the
experience needed to move from being a team that loses at this stage
to one that
starts to believe that their team can compete and win at this level
on a regular basis. Once a team has reached this phase it can be considered
a “top sixteen” team, Moving from a last 32 to a last 16
team is not as great as the shift from group winners to last 32 but
it does mean your team will have to move up a gear or two.
The fourth and final stage is to become a “top eight” team
this means that your team has reached a stage where it has everything
required to win the event. All the teams that have attained this status
are quite capable of beating each other and have spent years building
a team their team to this level.
Once your team is “top eight” the only thing that stands
between your team and winning the event is luck, yes luck, no matter
how good your team is when you play at a standard where every team
can beat the other the only real difference between them is which of
the teams gets the all important “rub of the green”.
All of the teams and players in these teams historically
are well used to playing under the kind of pressure that the later
a major event produces. Of course every person on this planet can play
at this level. What is meant by the word 'play' in this instance is
to play well at this level and not let the nerves get to you.
There you have it you can, using the above, gauge what your realistic
chances are of winning the event are. There are not that many teams
who can pass all the tests mentioned but there are more than the eight
that will reach the quarter finals.
Since I have spouted on about a theory I guess I ought to put it under
public scrutiny and pick some teams that I believe have what it takes
to reach the last eight of this event. In a months time we can see
close I get.
The one thing I have not mentioned in all this prattle
about consistency is the fact there is always the chance that although
any team might
not be able to compete in the consistancy stakes if your team’s
name is on the cup consistency counts for nothing at all.
So here are my tips to reach the last eight, yes, I
know there are more than eight listed but that just goes to show
how many good teams
there are going to be at Yarmouth, there are another 12 teams I could
Trent Trophies A
Triangle (ex Morley)