By: Chris Gill
Mere Brow A celebrated their third consecutive Southport 1st division title when gaining the necessary five points to deny Tarleton A the chance of catching them at the top of the table. Argyle provided the last challenge for Mere Brow to overcome to be crowned champions, successfully dismantling them to secure a 5-1 win. They may have lost three matches this year, more than in any of their previous four seasons, but they did not lose to either of their closest rivals Tarleton & Fleetwood Hesketh this year. Martin Brown & John Greenwood both finished on 15 wins for the year, though had Alan Wareing played ever match that might have a different outcome. Alan did claim top break in the league, a 60 made against Marcus Jackson with Martin Brown taking the top cup break with 90. The 6-0 mauling given to Fleetwood and the 5-1 thumping that Tarleton received in their home encounters shows how tough they are to keep down. This, along with three 6-0’s and eight 5-1 results, two more than Fleetwood and six more than Tarleton, shows why they deserve the title this year.
Tarleton BC A came up short after they could only manage a 4-2 win over Banks A, thus falling three points short of what would have been smash and grab raid had Mere Brow fallen at Argyle. The team can be proud to have gone the whole season losing just the once, but unfortunately that loss, the 5-1 defeat at Mere Brow, was the turning point in the season. Having gone top of the division in January, Tarleton held on to a two point lead going into the match with the Brew. But it was not going to be their night on this occasion, as that two point lead turned around into to a two point deficit, and they never got that back for the rest of the season. Yours truly earned the title of top stick within the side claiming 16 wins for the season, though missed out on the top break with Chris Hoare getting a 59 in his ‘Derby’ match with John Gautrey.
Fleetwood Hesketh finished in third place with Gareth Hibbott finishing top of the Players Rankings with 18 wins from his 20 played this year. As usual Gareth had his own high break competition with the league best of 96, made against Gus Thackery, and a wonderful break of 110 in the Marshall Handicap. With able support from the rest of the team it was Neil Rimmer who shone most for the Marshside club helping himself to his best return in the league with 14 wins for the season. Had Fleetwood not started so badly, losing 4 of their first 6 matches, then the side from Marshside could well have featured at the top of the table come the last few weeks of the season.
Waddington Cons claim 4th spot in the league table, with six of those wins coming at their new home of the Waddy since their move from The Railway. Alan Tomlin finished the top winner in the side with 16 wins, seeing him sit 5th in player’s rankings. Along with Fleetwood & Banks, they beat the Champions 4-2 back in late December, and are the only side to go unbeaten against them in the league after they earned a 3-3 draw at Mere Brow last week. Only Tarleton & Fleetwood Hesketh beat them at home, proving they are a tough nut to crack in the league.
Finishing 5th in the table are Birkdale Cons after they could only gain a home 3-3 draw with the visiting Tarleton C team. Ricky Webb came out on top in the player’s rankings with 14 wins from his 20 played with Phil Fitzgerald taking the high break prize in the team for the superb 82 he made against Mark Horan in the Marshall Handicap. The team highlight must be the 5-1 thumping they gave out to Fleetwood early in the season. Two players are still involved in the cup competitions as Les Sullivan takes on John Greenwood in the Lucas semi finals with ‘Fitzy’ already making the Veterans final against Mick Coxon and a semi-final date with Gareth Hibbott in the James Yates.
Banks A finished 6th in the league after losing their last match of the season at home to Tarleton A to finish on 9 wins and 66 points for the season. Trevor Wetton came out on top of the player’s rankings with 13 wins for the season with the top break going to Andy Bridge for his 67 against Andy Gautrey back in October. Banks were also one of the teams to gain a victory over the champions this year when taking 4 points away from Mere Brow, the only team to do that this year.
After sitting top of the league back in week 2 of the season Argyle LTC end the season in 7th place in the table. Once again Paddy Tyndall came out on top of the rankings for both win’s, he won 18 from his 22 played, and high break prize, a superbly taken 90 break in his James Yates match against fellow Argyle player Ryan Curry. This year’s new recruit Peter Callaghan claims the League high break prize though, a 46 made against Roy Cookson back in February.
After skirting with relegation for most of the season Tarleton BC B see them end the season in 8th place, with 6 wins, four of which came in their last 7 matches. Ian Gautrey matched his best return in the league with 16 wins from his 22 played with a team high 47 break as well. They even managed to claim their first ever full-house, clean sweep 6-0, when turning over the luckless Mere Brow B only last month. Tarleton have a semi-final date to play yet in the Frank Lodge, and will hoping that their recent form these past 7 weeks dos not leave them just yet.
Churchtown Cons claimed 9th spot in the table to secure their top flight future for a second year in a row. Five of their six wins all came at home with the season high 6-0 handed out to the visiting Tarleton C team back in mid February. Colin Boston sat on top of the rankings again within the team after claiming 14 wins this year, though Les Prescott takes the high break award in the team for his 42 made back in October last year. Mick Coxon sees himself contesting a fourth Veterans title in five years when he plays Phil Fitzgerald next week, possibly making him the first Veteran to win the title for the fourth time.
Tarleton C managed to hang on to 1st division snooker next year after claiming 10th spot in the league, finishing just one point clear of S&B. Having started off the season with wins over S&B, Fleetwood Hesketh and Churchtown cons in their opening five matches, live in the first division was a bed of roses. But roses have thorns and a run of eight straight without a win saw them struggle to hold on to top flight snooker in their first year in the division. But those fears where ended with S&B not being able to over-take them at the end. Jamie Wane provided the high light in terms of break, a wonderful 75 against John Nelson with Mark Rollins & Peter Haslam finishing on 11 wins each.
The Cricket Club ended their season with a whimper in 11th place even if they did do the 4-2 win double over Mere Brow B in the last game of the season. Four wins all year, along with five draws just wasn’t enough to keep this side up for a third year. The one player who did enjoy himself this year was Dave Palmer who ended up with a personal league high of 16 wins from his 22 played, taking some notable scalps along the way. Russell Thornley and Paul Parker both made it to double figure wins, but it just wasn’t enough in the end.
The stats don’t read very well for Mere Brow B who managed to go through the whole season without a single win or drawn match to their name. Paul Crabtree junior was the only shining light claiming 11 wins out of the team total of 28. Hopefully they can get back to winning ways in the 2nd division next year.
Waddington Cons secured their path back to the big time last week but had to avoid defeat in their last match of the season to stay the only unbeaten team in all three divisions this year. This they did, when drawing at Churchtown Cons to finish some 9 points clear of second placed Les Dodd’s B. Steve Cobb may have lost his last match of the season but ended up the team’s top winner on 15 wins, ably supported by Denis Woodward who won all of his eight matches played. The Waddy got the big games right, beating all of their closest rivals, most recently the 6-0 thumping handed out to the then 2nd placed Banks C team. St. Teresa’s A also suffered from the Waddy when they went down 5-1 at home to the champions to confirm this teams superiority in the league. Hopefully they can make a better fist of it next year than their last visit, going back down after just the one season.
Les Dodd’s B join the Waddy in going up to the top flight after a thumping last match of the season 6-0 win over bottom side British Rail. The telling contributions this year have come from Lee Holmes and Andy Reynolds and have meant they finished above the chasing pack in 2nd place. Lee finished top of the Players Aggregates on 16 wins from his 18 played, and shares the league high break prize with Trevor Ford of 45. The Bert n Ernie show of Dave Mills and Andy Reynolds see the players make the Doubles semi-finals to hopefully crown off a super year for the Doddy’s B team. It has been three years since there was a Les Dodd’s side in the top flight, and they will be hoping to prolong their stay a bit longer than just the one season next year.
Third placed Banks C finished some 5 points behind Les Dodd’s B, and will look on the season of if only. Sitting top of the division after a 6-0 thrashing of Bretherton A in week 5, they then went on a 5 match losing streak to slip out of the top three. They did have three players in the top ten of the final Players Rankings, Martin Sephton, Alan Johnson and John Prescott, but were just a bit short behind these players. The highlight has to be the double 6-0 wins over Bretherton A, with a low the 6-0 demolition job that the Waddy did on them near the end of the season.
Bretherton A earned 4th place in the table, finishing on 12 wins for the season, only Waddy had more wins with 15 in the division. Of those 12 wins, seven came away from Bretherton with only the Waddy, Banks C and Les Dodd’s B getting the better of them on their travels. They have made the semi-final of the Rickerby Cup and only just missed out on a Frank Lodge semi-final after losing out to Tarleton B by 43 points. Dave Cottam came out on top in the team’s most win column, finishing with 14 wins from his 20 played.
Scarisbrick A finished level with Bretherton on points but ended up 5th due to an inferior win ratio. They ended the season on 63 points and 10 wins, which is a big improvement to last year’s three league wins and return of 46 points. Norman Hallsworth had a season to remember finishing on 16 wins for the year, breaking the 100 point mark on three separate occasions this season. Paul Horner also played well this year and ended up being 7th in the Players Rankings with 15 wins from his 19 played. After losing to Bretherton in the first match back in the New Year they only lost out to the Waddy for the remaining fixtures in the league.
Sixth placed St.Teresa’s A had a strange season, what with their old club now shut, and moving mid-season to their new abode at Southport Cons. It’s safe to say that they havnt found their feet at Bath street yet as they have only won once at home since their move, but that will come when they start their full season at the Con Club. Top stick Martin Jones seems to have settled into his new surroundings making six breaks of 20 or more at the Con club since the move, finishing on 16 wins and 2nd in the Players Rankings. While Trevor Ford can lay claim to the high break prize in the team and joint high break in the league with a 45 break he made back in October against Dave Pritchard. I’m sure that they will feel more at home next year, trying to improve on the one home win for the second half of the season this year.
Banks B finished up in 7th place in the division with 8 wins and 60 points from their 20 matches played and two players in the top ten of the Players Rankings. Mike Marsh and Andy Griffiths both ended the season on 15 wins with Mike only playing 18 matches to Andy’s 20. Mike also has the top break prize within the team, a wonderful 72 break made last week in the Rickerby Cup along with the 40 he made in the Banks derby match against John Prescott. With a bit of luck and a good draw they will be hoping to go one further in the Rickerby Cup after making the semi-finals last year.
Formby’s very own Our Lady’s ended the season in 8th place losing out on a last home match of the season victory to Scarisbrick A. Only two players managed to gain a winning season, Luke Marshall 13 wins and Michael Houghton with 11 wins from his 18 played. One of only two sides to go to the Waddy and come away with a draw, they also took a liking to playing British Rail, claiming the 5-1 double over the Railwaymen this year. Tommy Tick still continues to turn out for the Formby side even if he can’t see most of the balls he is aiming at now-a-days, keep it up Tom.
Churchtown Cons B may have only won twice this year but they avoid the being in the bottom two mainly due to drawing more games in the division, eight, than any other side. Both of those wins came at home, and to the two teams directly below them in the final table, Les Dodd’s A and British Rail. Guy Hudson and Paul Connor both made it to double figure wins for the season, Guy with 12 and 11 for Paul, with Paul making a team high 37 break in his match against Paul Varney.
Tenth placed Les Dodd’s A managed to miss out on finishing rock bottom in the league and will now miss out on their ‘Derby’ matches with the B team being promoted for next year. Alan Harley came out on top of the rankings for most wins, with 12, as Graham Marshall made it to 10 wins even though he lost his last two in the league.
British Rail take the ‘Wooden Spoon’ in the division finishing in 11th place, with just the three wins to their name for the whole of the season. Unfortunately for them not one of those three wins came at home, something that they will hope to put right in whichever division they end up in next year. Three players just missed out on getting to the 10 win mark with Colin Peet, Eddy Cracknell & John O’Malley all ending up on 9 wins apiece.
3rd division… (results only)
Birkdale Cons B lost 4-2 to Churchtown Cons D…
Bretherton B drew with Waddington Cons C…
Banks D lost to Southport Cons 5-1…
Les Dodd’s C beat Fleetwood Hesketh B 4-2…
St.Teresa’s B beat Birkdale Cons C 5-1…
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