Leek B Pool Team at Yarmouth
Report by Tim Doel - BHT A and Leek B
Leek B recently travelled to Great Yarmouth to compete in the final stages of the English Super-league Knock out cup, a stage in the tournament they have now qualified for three years in a row. Before the team tournament began the players had a chance to compete in the National Amateur eight ball pool singles. In this competition packed with world ranked IPA tour players the majority of the team didn't make it past the early rounds with the exception of team captain Colin Leather. Colin played magnificently to get through three rounds and into the last 64 of the competition.
With the team buoyed by their Captain's exploits the previous day they went into their first group match with Clacton full of confidence and this showed when they took a 9 - 5 lead thanks to 2 wins a piece from Colin Andrews and Tim Doel plus wins from Nick Embrey, Billy Woodcock, Mick Oddy, Colin Leather and Pete Rushton. Unfortunately despite having a number of chances the Leek side couldn't win one of the last four frames and had to settle for a 9-9 draw and one point from the their opening game.
This meant they needed a win against Punchbowl (Sheffield) in their second group game to qualify for the knockout stages. Punchbowl had beaten Clacton 11-7 in their first game, so they only needed a draw to qualify. Leek swept into a 2-frame lead thanks to Colin Andrews and Paul Winter but then Punchbowl took the next 3 frames to lead 3-2. Pete Rushton won his frame to level the match at 3-3 and again Punchbowl reeled off 3 frames one of them very fortunate to lead 6-3 at the half way stage. Tim Doel won the opening frame of the second half to reduce the deficit to 6-4 but yet again the Leek side missed chances that allowed the Sheffield side to take the next three frames and reach the 9 frame target that they required for at least draw and bring the match to a conclusion.
Leek "A" Pool Team at National Finals
Report by Nick Burton POW A and Leek A
Leek faced Crawley from Surrey in their opening match, hoping to get through from the 96 team round robin and into the last 32 of the National Inter-League KO finals for the 1st time in a number of years. Leek lead 5 - 4 at the half way stage, but then played very well winning 12 - 6 with Paul Flower, Steve Guard, Mark Mannion and Jamie Woodcock all winning both their frames.
This victory meant the Leek team could sit out while Crawley went straight back into action against Raywood Leisure Pool League from Suffolk, these 2 teams finished 9 - 9 each which left Leek needing a draw to get through to the last 32.
Leek trailed 5 - 4 at the interval and were losing 9 - 8 and looking to go out, but a tremendous finish from Steve Flower in the final frame got Leek the draw they needed to progress. Mark Mannion, Aidy Kosasih and Andy Slack all winning both their frames.
Reaching the last 32 in the whole of England was a great achievement, but Leek then faced The Corn Exchange from Derby. This team was basically made up of the Derbyshire County Mens "A" side. In a real pressure match Leek were in touch, trailing 5 - 4 at the half way stage and took the match to 9 - 8, only to lose the match to a brilliant clearance and a 10 - 8 scoreline. The Derby team went on to the quarter finals. Trent Trophies A from Stoke retained their National title.
It had been a very good effort from all the Leek squad to get so close to the last 16. Two of the Leek youngsters did particularly well, Mark Mannion winning 5 from 6 frames and Jamie Woodcock winning all 5 of his frames. On Friday the 24th October Leek travel to Stafford A, where a draw or a win will ensure the Leek "A"team will qualify for the Inter-League finals in April. Leek are in 2nd place, just 1 point behind Trent Trophies A and with only 2 matches to go, 2 wins and Leek could become Staffordshire champions, you never know!