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WMP Snooker Team Season Report

20/05/2016

The snooker season finished in fine style for the West Midlands Police team who lifted the coveted Stourbridge and district snooker premier league title for the first time in the teams history. Having been runners up for 2 of the previous three seasons it looked like they were going to be bridesmaids yet again this season as they went into the final game of the season one point behind the current leaders and reigning champions Norton social club. However a 5-0 victory away at Pockets club Kidderminster was enough to see them tie for with the leaders who could only manage a 4-1 win at home to Amblecote Institute.

For only the second time in the leagues history a play off for the title took place at Amblecote Institute on Wednesday 20th April. The match was a tense affair and played in front of 100 spectators.

The snooker was occasionally brilliant, often error-strewn, but made for compelling viewing on the single table allocated for the match.
Ashley Aston began well for Norton, but Gavin Sloan drew level, only for his opponent to go ahead with a run of 25, missing pink when looking sure to win. Gavin looked set to take advantage but missed the blue and Ashley clinched the frame 58-39.
Both second frame players made mistakes until a snooker laid by Pete Gibbons yielded 12 points, and the 3 pinks which followed put him 28 ahead with the colours remaining. He failed to get out of a snooker, however, but Steve Mason couldn’t capitalise, and an unlucky in-off followed and Pete levelled the match 74-39.
Norton’s Rob Pitt then played some of the most fluent snooker of the evening, hardly giving his opponent, Maria Catalano a chance, and she conceded on the colours, Rob winning 63-12.
Norton's Andy Smith’s took advantage of a rare slip by Eliott Bastable to give Norton’s supporters much to cheer as he constructed a fine break of 36 to lead 58-12, with two reds remaining,this despite missing the black which would have put him 53 ahead. Eliott responded with a red and pink, but failed to pot a colour off the last red. He managed to lay two difficult snookers, however, as Andy’s attempts to clinch the match kept hitting the jaws of the pockets. Andy went in-off with an attempted pot on green and Eliott, seized his chance to clear up, with great composure, taking the frame 58-57. The Police had been reprieved!
The final frame also produced a mixture of emotions as Kev Franklin of the Police couldn’t quite shake off the attentions of Adam Ness, as the frame progressed. Kev tried to double the last pink but, in a rare misjudgement, went in-off; Adam potted pink but ran up too tight to the black. Both failed with attempted pots before Kev cut the black into the centre pocket to clinch the match and to give West Midlands Police their first championship, the cup being presented to their captain, Carl Southwick, by League President, Mike Pritchard. Thanks were given for the sporting manner of both teams who were ably assisted by the referee, Alan Checketts.
Many congratulations are given to the Police, who were the only team to defeat Norton in the league this season, but Norton should also be proud of their achievement too in finishing 9 points clear of two other very good teams, Hotshots SC A and Brandhall Labour.

Gavin sloan, Kevin Franklin and Eliott Bastable were 3 of 6 players who shared the prize for most wins in a season, the others being Alan Hooper and Bal Sembi of Brandall Labour club and Ashley Aston of Norton social club.

Cup competitions -

It was also a great achievement that two police players Elliot Bastable and Maria Catalano made it to the premier individual final which was also played at Amblecote Institute on Tuesday 19th April, referee Roy Gannon: Eliott Bastable beat Maria Catalano 4-1, 65(32)-22, 51(35)-60, 85(85)-4, 67(41)-45, 98(25,73)-24. His 32 break gave him the first frame, after his long-time friend and team-mate, Maria Catalano had left three blacks in the jaws of the pockets, then, starting with a good, long brown he made 35 before fouling the black, and Maria cleared to the pink to draw level. Eliott then made a superb break of 85, which ended after he cannoned the last two reds but unluckily left neither available to pot. He then had a break of 41 to ease 3-1 ahead and finished the match in style with 25, quickly followed by an excellent clearance of 73.

The police team were also represented by Carl Southwick and Gavin Sloan in the final of the pairs handicap competition held at Stourbridge Old Edwardian Club 10th May:

Leigh Bennett & Sam Porter (Kingswinford Cons) h/c 64 beat Gavin & Carl h/c 10 over two frames 176-162. The Police pair made much the steadier start and a 32 break by Gavin Sloan put them on course to win the first frame comfortably, but an in-off pink, followed by Sam Porter’s pink and black ensured that the Kingswinford Cons pair still had a lead of 28 in the 2nd frame. They extended that by 20 points before another 32 by Gavin Sloan reduced the lead to 16. Gavin then laid an extremely difficult snooker which yielded 29 penalty points and the Police seemed sure to win. The Cons’ pair kept in touch however, and when Sam cleared the early colours they led again by a single point. Leigh potted the pink, cannoning the black but had to try to play safe, and Sam potted the black on his next visit to secure the championship.

Police teams Kev Franklin also made the finals of both the OVER 45's individual handicap and the Singles Handicap Final He beat Alan Jeffries (Kingswinford Cons) 3-0, in the final of the singles handicap but lost 3-0 in the over 45's competition to Tony Kidd of Pockets.

Police players, Gavin Sloan, Pete Gibbons Kevin Franklin and Carl Southwick also represented the league in the Worcester Inter-League over 40’s Final held at Stourbridge Old Edwardian Club on 13th May, Stourbridge beat Evesham in the final by 644 to 450 points. All ten frames of the final were played on the same evening, and Stourbridge, who had won the title in six consecutive years until they lost to Evesham in last year’s final, exacted revenge against their great adversaries.
Gavin Sloan, with a break of 67, gave the hosts the start they wanted against Joe Cockerton, although county individual champion, Carl Saidler, who had a break of 41 responded for Evesham against Chris Cowley, but Stourbridge led by 62. Dave Oakes lost narrowly against Neil Parker, but Pete Gibbons played well to account for Kei Nishigaki, extending the lead to 88, and Kev Franklin completed the first match in style with a break of 55 against Dean Powell to put Stourbridge 137 up.
Crucially, Pete Gibbons just edged out the dangerous Saidler at the start of the second match, and there was little between the teams in the first four frames, although Dave Oakes won by 21 points extending Stourbridge’s lead to 148. Again Kev Franklin impressed with a break of 47 in the final frame to lift the trophy with a flourish.
The players taking part were: Carl Southwick, Kev Franklin, Pete Gibbons, Gavin Sloan, Dave Oakes, Chris Cowley and Mark Colbourne;

Police players in other Leagues:

Congratulations need to go to Neil Marshall who won the Birmingham efficiency individual title beating Milan Krstanovic of Shirley in the Final, His team Walmley Social club also won the Birmingham efficiency league premier league title.

National police Championships - Hopton on sea Norfolk.
The West Midland Police were well represented at the games held during the week 3rd to the 7th May 2016.

Neil Marshall lost 3-2 in the semi- finals of the individual completion to the eventual winner of the , Mick Stocks of West Yorkshire

The masters final was contested between Steve Garner and Pete Gibbons both West Midlands Police with Steve Garner running out the winner by 2 frames to nil.

Jodie Allen and Susheel Dhiman represented the West Midlands police in the doubles and fared extremely well for the first time that they had entered the competition losing in the final to two officers from west Yorkshire. This was the first time in the competitions long history that a female had played in any national snooker competition yet alone reaching a final.

there was a modicum of success in the Pool competition with Carl Southwick reaching the semi final of the competition losing 5-2 despite going into a 2-0 lead.

Overall it has been a wonderful and successful season for all those connected with the West midland Police snooker section.

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