By: Chris Gill
Bretherton B beat Southport Cons A 4-2 to claim the 3rd division title in a match that was full of incident and drama leaving the Bath street side licking their wounds wondering how they let it slip. The Con club went to Bretherton with the simple task of avoiding defeat as the draw would secure them the title. While Bretherton’s challenge was simple, they had to win as a win and only a win would do if they wanted to lift this year’s 3rd division title. The opening frames where a touch nervy for the Bath street side with Matty Pollock edging past William Moulton on the final black 46-49 while John Blackhurst made his best effort of the year, a 24 break, but ultimately fell to Alan Venables 57-39. One apiece suited the visitors more than Bretherton, as they needed three of the remaining four frames to snatch the title away from the Con club. The middle pairings saw Simon Moulton beat John Barton with relative ease, 62-14, with Jeff Wainwright levelling things up when beating Phil Iddon 58-28. With Southport Cons only needing one of the last two frames to win the title they set about it in good fashion. Ste Mawdsley opened up an early 27 point lead over Stephen Fiddler as Colin Paul took a near 20 points lead over Nev Marsden going into the colours. But strange things can happen when a little bit of pressure starts to build and build they did. Soon the Con club players form deserted them as Ste Mawdsley started to miss his pots and Colin Paul could not stop going in-off. Soon the dream of the title was slipping through their fingers as ball by ball the Bretherton pair started to gain a bit of confidence eventually taking both of the last two frames as Neville Marsden won 51-36 and Ste Fiddler running out a 61-33 winner. The Jack Gore trophy now heads to Bretherton after a titanic battle with Southport Cons which ended up with the sides separated by just the one point out of the 22 games played. Hard luck must go out to the Bath Street side for coming so close but the congratulations go to Bretherton B in securing their first ever 3rd division title under that team name.
Birkdale Cons B needed a full house 6-0 win over the visiting Scarisbrick B side to claim third spot in the league as Les Dodd’s C were left without a game due to the free week. They achieved the 6-0 score line but it wasn’t the Con club who were celebrating victory but Scarisbrick; this coming off last week’s 6-0 mauling against Banks D. The hospitality at Birkdale must have been good as visitors helped themselves to a 2-0 lead with wins for John Brown and Eric Stockley over Reg Dobson and Peter Wilding. The party continued for Scarisbrick as John Hardisty claimed a 45-33 win over John Warnick with Colin Rimmer adding one more to the total with a 74-34 win over Charlie Turner. The rout was completed when Ian Lowery beat John Stringfellow and Peter Simpson beat Geoff Tyas. It tops off a strange year for Birkdale who have been involved in more 6-0’s & 5-1 results in this division than anybody else. And not all a positive score line for the Con Club. For Scarisbrick their reversal of fortunes should be a good tonic for the players as they look forward to playing Bretherton A of the 2nd division in one of the Rickerby Cup semi-finals soon.
Churchtown Cons D signed their season off with a resounding 6-0 thumping of Waddington Cons C. Mick Pickles beat Guy Riley 59-11 to bring up his 15th win of the season as Dave Quinn managed to beat Steve Whyte by the narrowest of margins of one point, 48-49. The black ball drama continued into the middle pairings where Churchtown took both games by the skin of their teeth. Al Graham beat Max Riley 50-46, giving him 18 wins for the season, his best return for many a year, leaving him joint top of the ‘Players Aggregates’ with Martin Cusack of Les Dodd’s and Colin Paul of Southport Cons. Stefan Whyte ran Russ Walsh to the wire but eventually lost out by 10 points, losing 40 points to 50, making it the third match to go down to the final colours. The full complement of 6 came after Steve Mentha and Tony Wakefield beat Bob Fairclough & Dave Brown respectively. For the Waddy C team it was a season that saw them win four games in the league, their best return in the league for the previous five seasons.
Churchtown Cons C go into this week’s Rickerby Cup semi-final with Banks B in good heart after they beat St.Teresa’s 4-2 last week. It was their 5th home win of the season and equally Teresa’s fifth away defeat of the season. Peter Milford and Brian Sheil both won the opening frames on the night, with Peter bringing up his 10th win for the season with the help of a 24 break. The middle frames were shared as Teresa’s Stan Cullis, playing only his fourth game of the season, beat Richard Butterworth 80-30 with Churchtowns Joe Perberdy getting the better of Mike Langford 47-38. John McCabe edged a low scoring match over Ted Weir 39-31 as John McGee got Teresa’s their second point of the night when he defeated Roger Hughes 59-21. Unfortunately we will not see the name of St.Teresa’s again in the league after the closure of the club back in December last year. Since joining the league back in the 1953-54 season St.Teresa’s have won some 22 Divisional trophies, 4 Frank Lodge & 3 Rickerby Cups in that time. It was a sad loss to the league, but the teams have found new homes and are trying to create a bit of history there now.
Banks D won their second match on the trot when they defeated Fleetwood Hesketh B by 4 frames to two. Some 14 different players have turned out the D team this year but it was Gerry Stone who topped off a good year for himself by getting his 10th win of the season when beating Ian Brownhill 51-18 as Mark Beaver beat Tony Coakley 53-39. Brian Kimberley maintained his top ranking within the Fleetwood side when beating Eric Hollin 47-36, his 12th win for the year, as the recent new recruit to Banks D Alan Wilson beat Phil Marrow 65-25. Banks eventually ran out the winners of the last two frames when Barry Foster & Darren McDonnell beat Terry Gowland & Mick Orme. It was a decent start for the new boys to the league and hopefully they can build on this for next year. As for Fleetwood Hesketh, they managed to make the semi-final of the Frank Lodge and won 6 games in total for the season to finish up on 64 points in 7th place.
James Yates semi-finals @ Churchtown Cons
Gareth Hibbott & Rob Iddon will fight it out in this year’s James Yates final after both players came through tough semi-final matches last week. Gareth overcame this year’s Veteran Champion Phil Fitzgerald 2-1 with Rob Iddon defeating Mike Reeder also by the same 2-1 margin.
Phil Fitzgerald started off in superb fashion taking the opening frame 53-18 taking on some great long pots to keep Gareth out of the balls. But breaking off in the second frame Phil left an opening for Gareth who made a quick fire twenty break to leave Phil on the back foot straight away. Soon the 20+ lead gathered momentum to leave Phil needing several snookers with just the one red left on. He did get his opponent in trouble on several occasions but Gareth never really looked in trouble, taking the frame 69-16. The final frame started just like the second with Gareth starting off with a 24 break to leave the Birkdale player chasing from the start. Eventually the chance came for Gareth to put even more distance between himself and Phil taking the chance with both hands to compile a wonderful made 92 clearance taking the match away from the Birkdale player in some style.
Rob Iddon can thank his lucky stars in his 2-1 win over Mike Reeder after the Marshside player made a huge error of judgement in the last frame of the match. The opening frame went the way of the Tarleton player as he built up a commanding 40 point lead, starving Mike of any opportunity in and amongst the balls, eventually taking it 63-25. Mike then gave back the same treatment to Rob taking the second frame 58-5, making breaks of 24 & 30 along the way. Just like the other semi-final match we went into the decider with both players seemingly at the top of their game. Rob made the most of the early half chances that Mike handed him and opened up what looked like a winning 38 point lead. Needing only a black and one more red to probably claim a spot in the final Rob missed the black, which in fair was due to a kick, leaving Mike on with an easy opening red. With four reds left, all of them near to a cushion, Mike started his comeback. One by one the reds disappeared with colours to leave the Fleetwood player just the task of potting the final colours up to the blue to leave Rob needing snookers. Yellow, Green and Brown now dispatched Mike looked for all the world in the final but he just let the white slip past what would have been perfect position for blue to pink and could only roll the blue in to leaving the white a little further away from the pink than he would have wanted. Checking the scoreboard Mike probably got down thinking he had made the final, and just wanted to make sure by potting the pink. But in a cruel twist of fate, Mike potted the pink then unbelievably screwed the white into the other corner pocket. It meant end of break, a superbly taken break of 44, but more importantly it meant that the difference in the scores was only 10 with 13 left on. Rob was back in the match, and very grateful for this opportunity. After each player had had a go at the pink Rob eventually slotted a good pink into the middle pocket and took the final black to claim the frame 60-57.
Gareth meets Tarleton opposition again in the James Yates final for the second consecutive year after he lost out 3-2 to Chris Hoare in the final frame last year. A match that saw Chris make a superb 119 clearance in that final frame to win the trophy for the first time. For Rob it has been a long wait to return to any sort of final, his last appearance came back in 1998 where he won the 4th division open.
Frank Lodge semi-finals
Third division Birkdale Cons C overcame 1st division Tarleton B last week when beating them by 79 points on the aggregate score. Birkdale’s Phil Horan enjoyed as much good luck as Andy Marsden received bad luck to run out a 82-33 winner as Tarletons Ian Gautrey beat Phil Green 83-18. Ste Gautrey beat Geoff Wright comfortably 71-25 but Ray Forshaw could only beat Martin Calvert by 28 points, 52-24. This meant that the 1st division side needed to turn around some 78 points in the last two frames. This was beyond them as Neil Rigden could only win by 21 points with Jason Swarbrick losing out to Paul Rimmer 57-35.
The other semi-final clash saw Les Dodd’s C smash up fellow 3rd division side Fleetwood Hesketh B by 135 points after getting all of the handicap start back after the opening frames. Martin Cusack and Harry Wilby outscored their opposition 152-31, meaning the 108 that Fleetwood were receiving had been wiped out all together. Things didn’t exactly go well for the side from Marshside as in-off after bad kisses made life very hard. Credit must go to Les Dodd’s for not letting them back into the game, even after Brain Kimberly had won by 41 points in his match, Les Dodd’s were just too good one the night. The final score ended up with Doddy’s breaking the 400 point barrier, winning 412-277.
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