Saturday 8th November 2003 saw the Ladies National KO
Cup played in the main arena at Vauxhall Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth,
for the first time since its conception 6 years earlier. The entry
criteria was widened to allow players from County Teams to enter, but
this only lead to an increase of one entry, bringing the total to thirty.
Teams were divided into six groups of four and two groups of three,
with the winner and runner up of each group progressing to the last sixteen.
The following draw was made on 25th October by Paula Landers (Swinton
Sharks) and Christine Kirk (Leicester Ladies):
1 Swinton Sharks (R2) Alpha Trophies (R3) Imperial Angels (R7) Northants
2 Preston Ladies (R2) Shrewsbury Ladies (R3) Diesel's Army (R7) Peterborough
3 Burnley (R2) Station all Blacks (R3) Imperial Devils (R7) Norfolk Ladies
4 Padlham Ladies (R2) Wolverhampton Misfits (R3) Hampshire Ladies (R7) Witney
5 Keighley Ladies (R2) Leicester Ladies (R3) Tolworth (R7) Milton Keynes Ladies
6 Yorkshire Terriers (R2) Leicester Foxes (R3) Brighton (R7) Suffolk (R4)
7 Wigan (R2) Dorset (R6) Medway Meercats (R7)
8 South Yorkshire Ladies (R1) Falmouth (R6) Bedford (R4)
The groups of four played on a Swiss system basis, each match played
to a winner. The team winning two matches becoming the group winner,
while the team winning two and loosing one would be the group runner
up. The groups of three were played on a round robin basis with all frames
being played in the first two matches.
Ten first round matches started at 9:00 with four teams given a rather
optimistic start time of 11:00. The last two teams were asked to attend
Group 1 saw one of the pre tournament favorites Swinton Sharks, finalists
for the past five years (winning on one occasion) go through at group
winners after a tight second round match against Northants Saints, which
included the new ladies National Individual Champion Linda Leadbitter.
The Saints went on to drop only two frames against Alpha Trophies to
progress as the group runner up.
In group 2 Diesel’s Army started with
a tight match against Peterborough, which resulted in a three frame
playoff. The Army went on to beat the
eventual group runner up Shrewsbury.
Group 3 saw more tight matches as Station All Blacks beat Burnley and
Norfolk beat Imperial Devils, both in three frame playoffs. Station All
Blacks then fired to beat ex champions Norfolk, only dropping three frames.
Norfolk eventually showed there class by taking their final match against
the Devils by eight frames to four.
Group 4 was the group of death, where all four teams were good enough
to get to the knockout stages. Eventually, holders Hampshire were eliminated
in third place, with Padiham and Witney going through as Winners and
Runner up respectively.
In group 5 the first two matches were fairly one sided, but the winners
and the losers matches were much closer affairs. Tolworth eventually
won a four hour match on a playoff to qualify as group winners. The last
match saw Leicester edge out Milton Keynes in the final frame.
Group 6 saw one close match where Suffolk took the final frame against
Brighton (sometimes known as COBHPL). The other matches where all one
sided affairs, with Yorkshire Terriers eventually runners up to Suffolk.
Group 7, a three team group, was dominated by pre tournament favorites
Medway Meercats. With three of the current top England players in their
side they dished out the only white wash of the competition by beating
Wigan fourteen frames to zero. Wigan went through as the runner up by
virtue of their earlier victory against Dorset.
In group 8 South Yorkshire beat both opponents by ten frames to four.
A win for Falmouth took them through in second place.
After a very long day the last sixteen started between 7pm and 8:15pm.
The biggest score line was South Yorkshire 8-2 Wigan, but it must have
been much closer than the score suggests because it took over 2 2/2 hours
for the ten frames. The last match finished at 10:45pm making it a very
long day for all concerned.
Sunday morning saw all frames in each quarter finals being played. One
went to a playoff, Medway Meercats, staring three current and three ex
England Players, and Northants Saints with their star Linda Leadbitter.
Barbara Taylor won quickly, leading the Meercats needing either England
Captain Jackie Backer or England teammate Liesa Conlin to win. Both these
final frames were very close, with Saints Lisa Hanley beating Liesa Conlin,
and Linda Leadbitter eventually outwitting Jackie Baker to put the Saints
into the Semi finals.
The first semi final on was Northants Saints
against Shrewsbury. Saint Val Krevzberg took the first frame but Sonia
Smith, Michelle Murry, Karen
Tomkinson and Kerry Summer hit back by taking four in a row for Shrewsbury.
The next four frames were shared to put the match score at 6-3 in Shrewsbury’s
favour. An amazing recovery was then staged by the Saints, with Louise
Hale, Linda Leadbitter, Vikki Bellamy, Sarah Kelly and Lisa Hanley
taking the last five frames to win 8 frames to 6.
The second semi final to start was between Leicester and South Yorkshire.
The first half ended 4-3 in South Yorkshires favor and the second half
went the opposite way resulting in a playoff being required. Only two
frames were played to a result, with Linda Dixon and Andi Bennett both
victorious for South Yorkshire.
South Yorkshire now faced Linda and her Saints from Northants in a final
that would guarantee a new name on the trophy.
And what a match this was to be. South Yorkshire kept the pressure on Northamptonshire
all the way through resulting in a draw, and therefore a 3 way playoff. Northamptonshire
won the first frame, swiftly followed by a frame to South Yorkshire leaving
all the pressure on the last frame. Lisa Hanley for Northants, kept her cool
and slowly cleared the table without breaking into a sweat awarding the final
frame and victory to Northamptonshire.