The process of selecting the 96 teams who will contest
this year's Interleague is now closed and the lucky 96 teams should be
booked in now.
So what do we plan to do this time round, firstly we have a presence
on face book, it is intended to be a forum to discuss between ourselves
all things about the Interleague, it’s not an official site from
the English Pool Association but that means there is no party line to
follow, you will not be restricted in putting your thoughts across to
other people connected via the Interleague, providing what you say is
not confrontational or offensive.
It’s in it’s infancy right now but with people using it we
hope that it will become a meeting place where you can talk about all
aspects of the Interleague and make the build up but of the event as well
Even if you don’t want to participate, you can still go along and
confirm your attendance at the event.
We also intend to use live video streaming so that if you or someone
who is interested in the event are not there in person can still track
the event via the internet.
We think we have solved the picture quality/speed issues we experienced
during the knock out cup, that said we are still very much in the experimental
phase with this so don’t think it will all be plain sailing but
we will do our best to keep it all going for the life of the event
At the time of writing it is intended to use Ustream to make the event
available to a wider audience but it will also be available through this
web site. The main difference is that the Ustream one will have chat room
facilities whist it will be video only via this site.
We intend to use three cameras and use them to cover three different
tables during the group stage and then feature one match during the knockout
For those who don’t know, the rules governing player qualification
for the knock out cup changed on Jan 1st 2009.
It’s not a major change, but to those who have been affected by
it in the past will welcome it.
The rule in question is that up to now, if a player did not play in their
counties section of the knock out cup they were not allowed to play in
the national finals in October. Regardless of how many times they had
played for their team during the normal interleague season.
From Jan 1st the rule will change to being a global qualification system
for interleague players. What this means is, there will be no distinction
between the knock out cup appearances and regular interleague appearances
– every match a player play in will count towards their 50% qualification
Of course this has no effect on this event but has been in effect from
Jan 1st this year
Why have the rules changed? Well it’s like this,
When we adopted the present system of player qualification there was
a debate about the knock out cup and where the qualification criteria
would come from. I was of the opinion (and still am) that the interleague
is a thing – it has two national events a year one in April and
one in October. However, the events generally involve the same teams and
players so if you qualify for one event you should be qualified for the
It was pointed out that in using this model to determine a player’s
eligibility for the knock out cup could mean that a player might be qualified
to play in the national knock out cup without ever playing in the county
rounds of the knock out cup, making a mockery of the qualification rules.
I think it’s fair to see that the possibility was there to play
one set of players in the county round to get a team in to a qualifying
position, then turn up with a completely new set of players at the national
In the light of that loop hole, it was decided that unless a player plays
for the team they want to represent in the national knockout cup in the
county rounds they would not be allowed to play in the national finals/
Over the years a number of players who had played all year for their
team but for whatever reason missed the county knock out cup rounds were
not allowed to play. The teams, understandably, moaned that it was just
not fair that for missing one event they could not play.
More and more players are getting caught up in this situation as counties
are increasingly playing their event on a single day – meaning miss
the day and you won’t be playing in the national finals.
This is not so much of a problem with the traditional way of running
the county knock out cup, drawing each round separately and playing the
matches over a number of weekends. A player could miss a particular match
but still have the opportunity to rack up enough appearances to ensure
Playing the whole event on one day denies a missing player, whoever they
may be, the chance to clock up their 50%
With the new ruling, all appearances count, so you can miss the county
round of the event and still qualify for Yarmouth, providing the player
hits the 50% target.
We hope that this rule will make it better for the players who for what
ever reason are unavailable when the county plays it’s section of
the knock out cup.
Before we look at what might happen in this year’s event –
by way of the dreaded overview, which will appear once the draw has been
done. Let cast our minds back and see what happened in the event last
Everyone who sets off on the journey from where they live to Vauxhall
Holiday Park to participate in the National Interleague hopes above all
else, to put in a good performance. To some, that means keeping their
cool under the extreme pressure and not making an ass of themselves in
front of the team mates and whoever else might be watching.
For others, the challenge is to get beyond the point where the event
ended for them last year (except the winners of course) for the elite
few, the only thing good enough for them is to win the event but of course
only one team can do that. Everyone else has to settle for falling off
at some point in the event.
How did the teams do last time round – who performed way above
expectations and who fell way short of their potential’
As always the first hurdle is to escape from the group and thereby book
a spot in the last 32 – a simple enough task? Well, no actually,
of the original 96 teams who attend the event, as combatants 64 of them
do not make it past the group stage.
There are a number of teams, whose hopes were high, that have to face
the reality of being knocked out in the group stage on Saturday afternoon.
This weekend is not just about the Interleague though, on the Thursday
and Friday before the Interleague kicks off we also run the national men’s
qualifiers with the prize a place in the world championships . Last year
we saw Neil Raybone, Steve Sears, Tim Williamson & Jerry Tickle qualify
for the World Chapionships but those were the last four still standing.
When you consider the quality of players who dropped by the wayside at
various stages of the event you will get an idea of just how strong the
In Round one we had the following casualties, who judged by the standard
they usually set will consider their performance last year as a real under
performance and will hope to do better this year if they enter again.
Ian Aldous, Ian Davenport, Arfan Dad & Antony Doble
By the time Round 2 had finished we had lost the following group of players
all of whom would have expected to do a lot better than this when they
entered the event.
Frank Strivens, Nick Booth, Jez Still, Gary Mcleod, Danny Miller, Andy
Sutherland, Carl Bromley, Paul Mcneil, Jack Pople & Andy O'Hara
Round three saw the departure of these big guns, whilst not quite what
they might have expected, these things do happen and the weaker (on the
day) have been culled by now and the quality begins to get concentrated.
John Waller, Shaune Dawber, Geoff Harrison, Jason Norris, Graham Hewlett,
Darren Sadler, Darren Welfare
If you are still in the mix by the time we get to round four the quality
starts to get distilled down to the top players and from here on in there
will be nowhere to hide. So to go out here can’t really be considered
to be an early bath but just to keep the theme going here are some of
round four casualties.
Gareth Manning, Ian Priest, Max Brooker
Once you have negotiated round five you are in the last 32 and no matter
who you are, you have had a good day and if you are one of the ones who
have managed to keep the engine running sweetly, your thoughts will turn
from getting as far as you can to, hang on a minute I have a chance here.
Just as the four boys did last year did last year, you have to say that
to be one of the four who can say I qualified for the world champoionships
is an amazing achievement by anyone’s standards.
If this has whetted your appetite and you want to enter this event this
year you can download the PDF entry form and then post it of the address
shown. This is a very attractive event and tends to attract 200 –
300 entries each year so if you have not entered it before it will be
a good test of your pool playing skills. Here are some of the players
who fell between the last 16 and the semi finals, who will, I am sure
be back again this year for another crack at booking a spot in the 2009
World Championships in Blackpool.
Ian Dufffy, Tom Ford, Clint I'Anson, Paul Dunkey, Vinney Allen and Marc
Those are the ones who can say they might not have won it but they did
have a good run spare a thought for the many players who expected to do
well but in the end went for an earlier than expected bath.
As always the Interleague will provide all the qualifying teams with
a roller coaster ride of emotions all packed into one weekend. Some will
be in a state of depression by 11:00am on the Saturday of the event as
they realise they have a mountain to climb to keep themselves in the event.
For others it’s all plain sailing as they win the first match and
can sit back and see how the other match in their group pans out before
they are called into action again.
Then there are the ones that draw their first match. For them it’s
a nail biting time, as both teams know that the draw hands the advantage
to the third team in the group and providing the third team takes advantage
of playing second, and win their match they will be in the driving seat.
Why? Because they will know that a win will make them favourites to progress
out of the group it’s as simple as that.
For the team they are playing it will be an “only a win will be
good enough” situation to keep their hopes alive. That in turn produces
added pressure on the team that could only manage a draw in the first
The team not playing in the second match will be praying for a draw because
it will put one team out and leave them with a head to head with the third
team with all to play for. It can be that tight. So tight in fact, a single
frame in the 54 frames scheduled to be played in a group series can, and
is sometimes is, the only difference between all three teams.
When things are that tight you can see why it becomes a roller coaster
ride of emotions one minute you are in, the next you are out, then you
are back in, then its looking bleak then suddenly it con be all rosy again.
The ones who come out of the group to continue their quest will start
to celebrate around 4pm on the Saturday after their second match.
They can’t celebrate too hard though, they may have won their group
but they are going to be playing one of the other 31 group winners as
soon as their opponents group is decided. It is a gruelling schedule,
playing since the morning, then having to do it all again against a fellow
group winner. That however, will be the last match of the day for all
teams win it and you are back at 9 am bright eyed and bushy tailed on
Sunday morning. Lose and it it’s off to the bar to dissect what
went wrong and make plans for having a good night out to heal the hurt
everyone in the team is feeling.
When it all starts again on Sunday morning at the last 16 stage it’s
sudden death at a terrible time in the morning but there is no hiding
place because the event just rolls on.
This set of matches is amongst the toughest anywhere and not just because
of the quality of the teams and players involved. For most pool players,
starting to play pool at 9 in the morning is a totally alien experience.
Once the last sixteen matches are completed there is some time for the
players still involved to wake up fully and start to feel normal again.
For some though there will be no time for any relaxation. If you are unfortunate
enough to be the last team through, then it’s straight back on the
For those that have just lost there are a few moments of wondering round
the hall wondering where it all went wrong. Then it’s back to the
caravan to pack up your gear and make the long journey back home.
For the teams that are still left in the winning line is within touching
distance now and usually the team that holds their nerve do the best but
for all teams that are still in the event the pressure gets ramped up
One thing is for sure we will have had her great event, whoever comes
out wining the final match on Sunday 4th April will have been tested to
the limit and be worthy winners of the National Interleague.
To all those of you going I am sure you will not be disappointed, to
those who are not going, you are going to miss out on a great weekend.
Tom Fahy - Tournament Director