WMP Snooker Team Season Report
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.
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.
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.
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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