By Mick Buckland
Friday night saw the league’s annual presentation night held at Belmont Services Club, Swadlincote. An enjoyable evening was had by a good turnout, with a tasty buffet and entertainment from the very talented Chrome Dome, who played covers from across the decades.
The league’s Division Two was sponsored by Simon Shilton of Newton Fallowell Estate Agents and during the season there were many topsy turvy results. Belmont D struggled all season but they turned out each week with a smile on their faces, despite probably expecting to lose- they’ll improve next season for sure. The Snookerettes of Spot On D played well in parts but could hardly ever gel on the same evening-they got close many times but just managed the one win with 5 draws and seven 5-3 defeats…… At the top end of the division, 6 sides scored over 100 points. Woodville B had another good year without being able to really challenge for promotion and the same could be said for Rolleston B. There were 4 sides near the top all year, with Ivanhoe D just falling away in the last few weeks. By virtue of drawing two and losing one of their last 3 matches the side that came third in the end was SDSC D but it’s a promotion back to Division One for them. The top two swapped places a few times during the course of the season and if were a football style league the second side would have won it….but runners up with an immediate return to Division One were Stapenhill B.There were clear favourites to win this division at the start…they faltered mid season, but in the end had too much for the rest so the winners, using 11 players during the course of the season are Spot On E. There were 32 breaks over 30 but there were only 2 over 50 …David Wain had a tremendous 52 but the winner of the high break prize with 53 was his team mate, Andy Bloor. In the Averages tables, showing the competitive nature of the division this year…there were only 4 players over 70% so notable mentions should go to Andy Bloor(who was shy of the number of frames required to play in the Ken Shipton this time), Gaz Ward, Ben Menzies, Bryan Sharratt, Matt Keay and Bob Birch. In second place only because he didn’t play the number of frames the winner did it was Andy Tomlinson. The winner losing only 8 of 48 frames with an average of 83.33% was Jared Cronje.
Division One was sponsored by Pete Maguire of PJM Fascias and many thanks to him for this. As ever the middle division was a keenly contested affair. At the start Spot On C were close to the top as they got a off to A flier…they however drifted away after Christmas. At the bottom SDSC C’s talisman of Nick Harcombe was unable to keep his side in the division single handed and they were the first side to be relegated. The promotion battle was between 6 sides although Stapenhill A were always just a little too far away. Ivanhoe B were up there for a while but the injury to Jason Pickering did not help their cause. As it was the final promotion and relegation positions were only decided on the Tuesday after the regular season finished due to the untimely funeral of former player Ray Plummer. The last fixture of the season saw Woodville A beat Newhall A to secure promotion leaving Belmont B needing a victory against Burton Cons C to pip Newhall to the third spot. This they duly did 7-1 and in the process relegated Cons C. Tutbury D had in the mean time fallen away to be demoted leaving the most unlikely of escapes from Alrewas B, who were dead and buried to win their last 3 fixtures and survive. So promoted were Belmont B, having lost only one all year, but the runners up were Woodville A. The winners, having risen to the top before Christmas and going 15 unbeaten towards the end of the season…and incredibly keeping the same four players in every fixture…Tutbury C…Wayne Smith, Steve Burrows, Steve Butler and Tom Lucas.
In this division, there were 91 breaks over 30 (last season, it was 65) of which 7 were over 50. Having scored two of these himself the winner with a 57 was Adam McInulty.
In the Averages table there were 9 players with an average over 70% so mentions go to Martin Hicks, Mark Satchwell, Jason Pickering, Steve Ford, Nick Harcombe, Steve Butler, Adam McInulty and Mick Kirk. But the winner, having won the Division Two averages last year and losing just 4 frames all year was Wayne Brewin.
Many thanks first of all to David Wain for his continued sponsorship of the Premier league. The division soon formed itself into two mini leagues, with Belmont A, the two Burton Cons sides and Ivanhoe A breaking away from the rest. At the bottom. Swad Cons A struggled and it was looking odds on they would be relegated with a month left-any one of nine sides could have gone down with only 23 points separating them at the finish. Towards the end there was some consistency shown by Tutbury A and Swad Snooker Centre B in particular. Despite losing their last 4, Alrewas A survived as did Tutbury B. Spot On A won 3 of their last 5 to retain their status and miraculously, Swad Cons survived after scoring at least 3 points in their defeats leaving SDSC A, Rolleston A and Spot On B to go down. At the top, the four teams beat each other but Belmont A were the first to slip away after not winning heavily enough. Burton Cons A and B fought for the runners up spot between them after both not being ruthless enough during the season-indeed they drew both derby games. In the end it was Cons A who held on to be runners up. The winners, having been runners up for the past four seasons and by virtue of some heavy victories inflicted during the season were Ivanhoe A.
There were 256 breaks of over 30, which is about 10 a week…45 of these were over 50….7 players got over 70…Harry Farrell had two 78s, John Chambers an 87 but with two of the top 3, 34 breaks of 30 plus and a best effort of 119, when he missed position on the brown for a 141, the prize went to Andy Marriott.
In the averages 9 players scored over 70% , having played 30 or more….6 got 75% plus, including John and Rob Chambers, Andy Grainge,Matt Milnes and Mike Buckland…but the winner, losing just 6 out of 44 was Andy Marriott.
The Divisional Final for Division 2 in the Nicholas Humphreys Estate Agents sponsored President’s Cup saw Spot On E just pip Rolleston B on the dreaded doubles. Division One was represented in the overall final by Spot On C after their narrow win over Woodville A also on the doubles. And The Premier League had seen Ivanhoe A get past a spirited performance from Belmont A 5-2. The final is a handicapped affair – the runners up were Spot On E and Spot On C with the match going right down the final game…and make it a league and cup double, the winners were Ivanhoe A.
There was an improved entry of 9 players into the Billiards Singles this year…John Sully and Steve Ford made it to the semi finals but the final was a battle of the Smiths. The runner up was Wayne Smith and the winner Tom Smith.
The Jack Dyche is a singles competition for the over 50s and this year was supported by 23 players. David Wain and Henry Tomas had good runs to the semi final. The final was contested by Martin Hicks and Jan Pawlaczyk….with Jan eventually runner up, and the winner from Newhall for the second year running was Martin Hicks.
The Geoff, Sheila and Graham Hinsley Handicap Doubles had an entry of 20 pairs. There were strong runs to the semi finals for Tony Coleman and Alan Orpwood as well as Mick Kirk and Ant Moore. The final was due to be played between Steve Cockeram and Jerry Cook against Rob and John Chambers ,before Jerry sadly passed away. In a fitting gesture of sportsmanship, Rob and John conceded the final so they were runners up….Karen from Ivanhoe and Roy Hickman from the club picked up the trophy on behalf of the winners Steve Cockeram and Jerry Cook,receiving a standing ovation.
The Handicapped singles named in the memory of Jason Hyde had 41 entries. Zaheer Hussein beat Arron Vaughan 2-1 in one semi-final whilst Andrew Thompson beat Karl Hancox in the other. In a final that was played off scratch. The runner up was Zaheer,and the winner Andrew Thompson.
The Scratch doubles known as The Arthur Edwards was sponsored by Ivanhoe Social Club and produced some surprise results throughout. Wayne Smith and Tom Lucas had a good run to the semis as did Mick Kirk and Ant Moore runners up in the end were Mark Press and Bobby Cliff. The winners 3-1 on the night and retaining their crown were Adam McInulty and Wayne Brewin.
The Premier Blinds Orme Shield kicked off in January with all 38 teams in the hat. The losers in the first round all went into the Plate.Having a great run to the semi final was Tutbury B but also The Snookerettes who lost out to Burton Cons A in the semi- particular mention to Marie Bridges, who took a frame against one of the Cons A boys. Winner of the other semi-final was Swad Cons A.
The final was played alongside the Shield final at Ivanhoe a couple of weeks ago and what a cracking night it was all round with two matches worthy of any finals. In the end despite Andy Grainger knocking in a 71 and Graham Stevens and Darren Coady getting past 50 along the way, it was Swad Cons who were runners up and Burton Cons A the winners.
8 good sides made it through to the quarters of the Shield itself with the semis contested by the A sides Newhall, Ivanhoe, Rolleston and Belmont. The final could not have been tighter with Mark Sherratt having a 56 but on this occasion it was Ivanhoe who were runners up. And after a great all round performance in a tremendous atmosphere, the highlight being the clearance worthy of being at the Crucible by John Chambers was Belmont A.
A couple of seasons ago after Karl Hancox had a hundred in a cup competition which would previously gone unrewarded, with the contribution of Trevor Heath at the time, the committee decided that any ton made would have a prize given. Andy Marriott’s had one in the league but he also repeated the feat in the Orme Shield semi final having a magnificent 124. Also this year Jon Fletcher compiled 110 in his Orme quarter final for Burton Cons B against Belmont.
The League’s Premier singles competition is The Evershed vase-this year sponsored by Bill Stewart of Crown Windows. 33 players lined up at the start.Narrowly losing in the semi finals both by a 2-1 scoreline were Wayne Brewin and Mark Stirling. In the final Trevor Heath, rolling back the years, took on Andy Grainger and it was Trevor who lost out on the night with Andy Grainger the winner .
The season’s end competition is the Ken Shipton Memorial Tournament. It’s held on one day with 16 of the top players from the averages across the season, with handicaps given and this year was a particularly high standard . Andy Marriott lost out to Jared Cronje, giving 21 in one semi final whilst Andy Grainger beat Graham Stevens in the other semi-Graham having won the past two trophies. In the final, it was not to be for Jared losing 3-1 so Jared Cronje was the runner up and the winner adding to his Evershed trophy was Andy Grainger.
Another great season and thank to all who have helped make it so.
In all 282 players played league snooker this year. In particular thanks to all of our sponsors especially David Wain Insurance, Pete Maguire of PJM Fascias, Simon Shilton of Newton Fallowell, Simon Smith of Nicholas Humpheys, Adam Walton of Premier Blinds, Bill Stewart of Crown Windows, Ivanhoe Social Club . Also to all of the referees, the clubs that provided venues for finals and those who gave their time up to make the league success…….the AGM will be on 26th July with a view to starting up again at the start of September.