Having won the league for the past nine years, Burton Cons A find themselves in second position at the halfway stage of the season, albeit having the same number of points as the leaders Ivanhoe A. Ivanhoe has had a fantastic start to the season winning all 13 league matches they played. Although they have not yet managed a whitewash, they have enjoyed four wins of 7-1, the last of which in their inter-club derby with the B team meaning they are top of the pile at Christmas. Top of their averages so far is Daniel Blunn having won 18 out of 20 played for a 90% average. Andy Marriott has also only lost two out of the 18 he has played and he’s also knocked in a league high of sixteen 30 plus breaks including the highest of the season so far, an excellent 96. Mick Kirk is also unbeaten so far this term and is boasting a 73% record. These have been ably supported by Ian Rennocks and Ant Moore and have been using their squad rotation policy to tremendous effect.
Burton Cons A lost 5-3 to the leaders Ivanhoe but otherwise have won every game including the Divisional President’s Cup Final. They returned the compliment to the Ashby side in the semi final of the President’s. They have used seven players with all averaging over 70%. The returning Matt Milnes is top of the Cons’ averages with 81% and Matt had a great 91 along the way. John Shilton has 17 wins from 22, Graham Stevens has also lost just 5 frames, Owen Jones is on 73% and they have been supported by Stuart Roberts, Darren Coady and Mick Simpkins. The second half of the season promises to be a great tussle by these two sides who are far away at the top of the division.
Burton Cons B team is in third after a strong first half of the season despite not being able to score two successive victories so far. Mike Buckland has knocked in ten 30 plus breaks and after losing 5 of the first 10 frames played has only lost two since. Simon Smith has lost only twice all season and has been cueing brilliantly. Jon Swift is also around the 2 from 3 mark and has only suffered one defeat all year. Ryan Gibbs has been unfortunate with some draws and also run but will return strongly in the New Year. Captain Dave Shipton has let these four by and large get on with it but will contribute more himself in the second half along with Dave Plunkett.
Despite having won two more matches than Burton Cons B, Alrewas A find themselves one point behind in fourth. Their talisman is Karl Hancox and he has only lost 3 frames from 26 played for an average of 88%.He has had eight 30 plus breaks and is unbeaten. Tom Smith is on 59% whilst John Richardson will no doubt have a stronger second half of the season. Rob McMeecham and Colin Wood have performed well to win frames at important time whilst Colin Kinsella has made a return to league snooker and this may improve their chances of securing 3rd spot at the end of the season.
In fifth and with a better overall team record than Burton Cons B is Spot On A. Andy Speirs and Mark Stirling are the main men with averages of 64% and 62% respectively. All 6 players used have an average of 50% or over at home with able support coming from Ade Harper, Nigel Tomlinson , Tom Elliott and Billy Newman all chipping in. They have played all of the sides above them away from home in the first half of the season so may be expected to at least hold their own after Christmas.
In sixth spot is Belmont A who have changed personnel this season and have also struggled to get consistency so far. Ian Archer is performing as well as ever with 22 wins from 26. Josh Gebbie is on 71% but has only played 14 frames. Rich Goldby has played a similar number and whilst playing well at times Arron Vaughan and Graham Bailey will both look to better results after Christmas.This side is capable of beating anybody though and will no doubt bounce back.
After 5 defeats in their opening seven matches, Rolleston A might have been fearing the worst having been promoted last season. However they have recovered with only one defeat in the last six-that being a narrow reverse against leaders Ivanhoe A. They need their main man Ant Rushton to be on song though and so far his appearances having been limited with work commitments. Joe Docksey and Bobby Cliff have been playing and doing well most weeks whilst Mark Press has joined the squad and providing some welcome experience. Luke Speed, James Wilkinson, Rich O’Dell and Brian Satchwell have also made appearances. There should be enough here to guarantee another season in the top flight at least.
SDSC A started the season well enough but have drifted away recently with only 3 wins from the last nine. Most of the side are winning one then losing one so a little more consistency and they would shoot up the table. Andy Goldingay and Chris Dewey are performing well with 55% and 54% respectively. Steve Ayre and John Davis and also Matt Keay are all holding their own. Their result with a 5-3 win away at Alrewas A just before Christmas might be the catalyst for better things in the second half.
Swad Cons A have one of the strongest players in the league in their line up with Andy Grainger. He has won 21 out of 26 so far for an average of 81% with only one league defeat to his name. Mark Hadley is returning to form after time away from the game and Paul Slater, Simon Mansfield and Lee Wood will all take frames along with Mark Swift but these need to happen on the same night or the team may slip towards the bottom having only won 3 of their first thirteen.
After Swad Cons there is a five point gap to Spot On B. This side were delighted to stay up last year but have struggled a bit again with consistency. Loz Kennerson is top of their averages with 54% and a number of good performances. Lee Cooke, Steve Lane and Steve Butterworth have shown glimpses of good form whilst they would probably like Tim Hodgkinson to be available a bit more often. After a great result against Alrewas A, they finished the first half with four straight defeats so will look to start January with a flourish.
Next comes Tutbury A who are slipping closer towards relegation after no wins since 13th October. They have struggled after Steve Mabbutt decided to go on his travels. Chris and Dave Mabbutt are doing well with 58 and 54% whilst Steve Hathaway is also playing well with out necessarily getting the results to match. This team though can be a match for anyone especially on their own tables so they will be confident of moving away from the drop zone.
Belmont B lost their first four matches, then recovered with some solid performances before suffering two heavy defeats just before Christmas to leave themselves in the bottom three. Only Mick Morris has bucked the trend with an average of 64% for the first half.Mark Vaughan, Leo Worsley, Zaheer Hussain and Brett Craddock have all played well at times but again it is getting everyone to do it on the same night.
The only side in the whole league without a win is Spot On C. They have however drawn 6 out of 13 matches so have been desperately close on a number of occasions. Andy Jenkins has done well when he’s played but the absence of Steve Gaunt due to illness has not helped their cause. Tony Clements has turned in some good shows but Trevor Heath and John Hardy have struggled prior to Christmas and will look to a better New Year.
In the basement position at half way, somewhat surprisingly is Ivanhoe B. They have been on a run of no wins in 9 prior to the break. Jason Pickering, Bren Mattley and Stu Tagg have played most weeks but with limited success whilst the side has used a total of eleven players in making up the numbers. Without a doubt this team will perform better in the months after Christmas.
The Premier Division’s representative in the 3 cornered President’s Cup Final will be Burton Cons A after they defeated Spot On C in the divisional final. The 8 players in line at the moment for the end of season Ken Shipton tournament are Andy Marriott, Karl Hancox, Daniel Blunn, Ian Archer, Andy Grainger, John Shilton, Mike Buckland and Mick Kirk. There have been 132 breaks of over 30 in the division so far, 18 of which have been over 50…. with Andy Marriott at the top with 96.
It was a surprise when Chimneys A was relegated last term so no surprise at all to find the team reformed out of Tutbury near the top in Division One at Christmas. Tutbury B have lost only once in the first half and are on a run of seven straight victories prior to the break. All four of their main appearance makers are comfortably over 50% in the averages with Wayne Pereira leading the list with 90%. Daz Lester, Alan Davies and Bill Stewart have all enjoyed good starts to the season and their fill in players Dean Johnson, Craig Keen and Jan Pawlazyck have also performed well and make this Tutbury side favourites for a return to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.
It’s nine matches since SDSC B were beaten and that’s why they are in second and another good bet for promotion. Captain Pete Maguire has himself and four other strong players at his disposal. Adam Harrison has been playing well after a lay off and is top of their mini average league with 20 wins from 26. Henry Tomas who has also played every week is on 73%. Simon Shilton has won two out of every three and has been playing well at his warm weather training camp at Burton Cons.Ben Davies is also ticking along nicely and it would be no surprise if this team were promoted at the end of the season after a few near misses.
In third is another side who were relegated last year. Alrewas B were on the wrong end of many close matches last term and were just unable to beat the drop then. They lost their last league fixture to SDSC B just before Christmas but prior to that were on a winning run of eight. Again this is a 5 man squad which is rotated, with the main man so far being the experienced Ian Hiley. He has won 17 out of 22 and has been ably supported by a very consistent Carl Poulton who is on 69%. .Carl is also second in the divisional high break chart with a lovey knock of 43. Adam Walton has had an excellent first half of the season to be sitting at 68% and there has been able support from James Edwards and Dave Trueman. Alrewas will also represent the division on the President’s Cup final after an incredibly tight win over Rolleston C where two frames were won by players leaving the white short of the final black.
In fourth is Newhall A after a very consistent first half. They have only lost once all season and are in with a good shout to push the top three for a promotion spot. Their only downfall so far is not being able to turn 6 matches from a draw to a win for an extra two points each time. They have rotated themselves between six players and everyone will have played well. Marin Hicks is on 63% followed closely by Carl Glover. Martin Hurdman and Mark Anslow also enjoyed good first halves and they are ably supported by Nick Trayford and Sam Hicks.
Next up is Stapenhill A, another one of last season’s relegated sides from The Premier. After winning five of their first six, they have now not won in their last four. They have not been able to put out a settled side with a total of ten players being used. Jason Spibey, Andy Tomlinson and Steve Ford all have averages in the 60s but many individual matches have been drawn so throwing a loss in has proved costly. Thye will no doubt push hard in the second half for a return to the top table.
In sixth but 17 points from a promotion spot is Burton Cons C. They started with 2 defeats, then were unbeaten for 6, then didn’t win for 4 but finished before Christmas with a good 6-2 win away at Rolleston C so a bit more consistency is required.Lee Louch has played every match, only being beaten once for an average of 69%. Ian Shrive has had a good first half of the season but they will look for a return to form of Matt Hucker who has been unable to practice and more appearances from Steve Castledine. Tom Egginton has been showing signs of his old self in recent weeks after suffering with one or two of the draws.
In seventh is a side that wins one week then loses the next. Swad Cons B has shown some great form at times but will also look for more consistency in the second half. Adam McNulty has been playing well for a 75% average so far. Paul Hollis and Bob McNulty have been his main support whilst a total of nine players have been used in total. Nick walker has won all 6 he’s played and Vince Draper has also performed well when called upon.
In 8th spot is one of the sides fancied for promotion at the start of the season, Rolleston C. They were promoted last year as The Baulkline but with having to turn out on a Tuesday have struggled to get a consistent team out. Having gone on an unbeaten run of 7, they have lost their last four. Wayne Smith is a good player and on a 70% average to date and he’s supported by Tom Lucas. Billy Ashton is also playing well and will improve but this is another side that has had to turn to 8 players and that in itself creates the inconsistency.
Ivanhoe C is unbeaten for 4 just prior to Christmas and having had three draws and three narrow 5-3 defeats, they could so easily be further up the table. Top of their averages and unbeaten for 6 himself is Steve Cockeram. Graham Measures has also had a good start to the season whilst Gaz Dolman, Jerry Cook and Darren Wilson will look to improved form in the New Year which they are all capable of having played in the Premier recently. Gaz has the division’s only 50 plus break so far with a great knock of 54.
SDSC C has reached the fifty point mark before Xmas but is on a losing streak of three. Nick Harcombe is the main man here and has won 20 out of 22 played to lead the divisional averages. Good support has come from Matt Tewkesbury whilst the two Rays, Stretton and Bancroft have chipped in at important times.
Next are the club’s D team who has won only one of their last 10 games. Andy Bloor has done well and lost only once-he will be disappointed not to have turned some draws into wins. David Wain had a great start to the season before 3 recent losses with support coming from Brian Bloor and Garton Bloor.
After seven straight defeats, Stapenhill B seem to have turned the corner and are unbeaten in three. They still find themselves in the bottom three but have given themselves a chance for survival.Bryan Sherratt is on 67% but has only played 12 frames. The squad is rotated between him, Greg Britton, Tim Knopik, Colin Britton, Barry Waller, John Sherriff and Stan Piechowicz – all of whom have played some good snooker but will want to improve after Christmas.
It took Rolleston B eight matches to notch a win and they have repeated this with a win immediately prior to the break. They still find themselves one off the bottom after struggling for large parts of the first half. Rob Sanders has won half of his frames but John Harvey, Lionel Lewis and Kev Norris all have the ability to pull themselves out of the relegation zone after Christmas.
The strongest side in the league-ie. holding all the others up-is Woodville S & S A. This though is a very experienced side and they will not go down without a fight as the four draws in their last 5 fixtures have shown. Tony Coleman has been in fine form with 54% and is unbeaten in seven. Alan Orpwood is also unbeaten in 5 whilst able support comes from Gentleman Jim Marcer, unbeaten in 3 and Pat Ryan-only one loss in 6.. It would be no surprise to see this team climb the league after Christmas.
Presently the four players qualifying for the Ken Shipton if the league ended now would be Nick Harcombe, Wayne Pereira, Daz Lester and Ian Hiley. Gaz Dolman is top of the high breaks pile with 54 and there have been thirty 30 plus breaks and a total of 93 players have played in the division.
At the halfway stage in Division Two, it is the pre season favourites who are making the running. Woodville S & S C who have a number of players with recent Premier Division experience had won all their matches until the last one prior to the break when they came up against an inspired Ivanhoe D. They are however 11 points clear at the top and it would take a very brave man to bet against promotion. Incredibly they have managed with just four players all season and Fran McNulty, Wayne Brewin and Mark Satchwell all have identical records with 20 wins from 24. These three amigos also have all ten of the top ten breaks in the division so far with Wayne leading the group with a cracking 54.They are supported by John Chambers and will take some stopping in the New Year.
In second spot is Alrewas C who were flying until they hit a blip in December.John Sharpe has been the main man with 19 wins from 22 to leave him at the top of the division’s averages.Alan Wilson is on 79%, Will Sherratt on 75% and able support coming from Stuart Gair, Gary Green and Roy Sherratt.
In third is Tutbury C who were relegated last time out. They rotate 5 players , the most lightly raced being captain John Peto. All 5 have averages over 50% with top of the pile so far being Jeff Siddalls on 71%. Good contributions have also come from Colin Bell, Dave Brady and Paul Atterbury. The Tutters are unbeaten for six.
Fourth spot belongs to Ashby Ivanhoe D-they are unbeaten for four including that great result against the league leaders. Jason Collins and Brian Lowrie are their main men with 67% so far. Warner “Twinkle Toes” Collins is just behind and able support coming from Jack Bale, Keith Bale and Tony Tredger. They still have a good chance to push for promotion in the second half.
In fifth and only 4 points off a promotion spot is Woodville B. They have won more than half of their matches and are unbeaten for six straight games prior to the break. Dennis Moore has not been beaten this season and is on 77%. Mark Gallagher and Wayne Allen both have 15 wins from 24 with Terry Eiley and Bill Hunt chipping in as well.
Burton Cons D is in sixth and with losing Nathan Brooks to university have looked to wily Jim Jennings to head up their challenge and how he has responded. He sits on 67% and included a nice 34 along the way. Al Munnien and Ian Protheroe have both been performing well with valuable contributions also coming from captain Paul Brooks. They are only 9 points behind a promotion spot so could make a push after Christmas.
After a solid start, with only one win in seven, comes Swad Cons C. Their main man has been Gaz Ward with 15 wins from 18. Kieran Dadley and Andy Boam are also over 60% and with support from Bob Birch, Dave Bodie and Simon Prince, they may make a challenge yet.
Belmont C had a tremendous start to the season with 5 wins from their first 7 outings and their run of six without a win that followed was ended just before Xmas with a win over Swad Cons D. Terry Bosworth is the star man and has not been beaten this season-he stands on 68% after a number of draws in his record. Brian Cutting and Graeme drayton are both on one from two whilst good support has come from Dave Press and Doug Lees.
Woodville S & S D comes next with Dave Budworth marshalling his troops from the former Chimneys’ side. He sits with 17 wins from 20 played with another stalwart in Bill Davidson also performing well to be on 71%, with Andy Holloway on one from two. Other contributions have come from Brian Alford, Ryan Jarvis and Tommy Tooth.
The Snookerettes are next after winning three of their first half matches. These ladies are improving every week and have produced some stunning performances. Clare Peaty has won more than she has lost and the Spot On D side would wish she could play more. Yvonne Spendlove, Kate Stirling and Marie Bridges all bring their pool experience to the table and they have able support from Gilda Horvath and Claire Roulstone.
Rolleston D is next having only lost two of their last five after not winning in their first eight.Aaron Doyle is the lead man with 9 wins form 16 in the first half. Support has come from Neil Cheadle, Steve Atkin, John Ward and Dave Bentley and they will look towards putting the good performances together on the same night after Christmas.
Belmont D won their second match of the season but have not won since.Andy Biggadike is way out in front of their averages with 78% and remains unbeaten.Every single Matt Groves frame wins have come away from home whilst Tom Holland, Simon Deakin, Charlie Groves and Ian Gibson have all struggled at times.
Swad Cons C must like playing Belmont D has their solitary league win came from their local rivals as well as knocking them out of the President’s Cup. Jon Petcher has got to halfway with a 50% record and Paul Griffin, Pete Fearn and John Griffin have all contributed and they will hope the draws go their way in the second half.
Alrewas D had to fold just a few weeks into the season so any matches played were reverted back to a 0-0 draw.
At Christmas, the four qualifiers at the top of the averages who would play in the Ken Shipton are John Sharpe, Dave Budworth, Fran McNulty and Mark Satchwell. Top of the breaks table is Wayne Brewin with a 54 with so far 2 knocks of 30 or over.
Good luck to everyone in the second half of the season….