By Mick Buckland
The David Wain Insurance Premier Division for 2017/18 drew to a close with a 5-3 win for the new champions Ivanhoe A after they defeated Swad Cons A 5-3. Ian Rennocks had a nice 34 as he drew his two with Simon Orpwood whilst Andy Marriott scored a regulation win over Simon Mansfield to ensure he topped the end of season averages chart. One of the players of the season, Andy Grainger, knocked in runs of 30 and 48 as he beat Ant Moore to make the result look in doubt but Dan Blunn ensured the victory for Ivanhoe as he beat Mark Hadley. In the end Ivanhoe won the title by 14 clear points having had many thumping wins during the middle of the season in particular. They remained undefeated from 19th October to the end of the season in the league and used just 5 players-Andy Marriott, Daniel Blunn, Ian Rennocks, James Hastie and Ant Moore, all of whom averaged over 64%. The three points gained by Swad Cons in this match ensured they remained in the Premier for another season-something that highly unlikely two months from the end of the season.
Burton Cons A needed a good win to ensure they claimed the runners up spot. This they duly achieved with a 7-1 triumph over Spot On B, which ended the Spots run of a few seasons in the Premier. A shock looked on the cards as Steve Lane played nicely to take the first off John Shilton but Shilly fought back for the draw. On the other table Graham Stevens beat Lee Cooke but not before Lee had fought well to keep himself in the frames and with some run might have stolen one. Loz Kennerson and Mike Buckland had a very tight first frame that Mike won in the end, meaning relegation was confirmed for Spot On-Mike then finished the season off with a nice 50 to ensure the overall win. Jon Swift rounded the match off with a solid 2-0 win over Steve Butterworth.
Burton Cons B rounded their season off with a good 7-1 away at Spot On A, who were still in some relegation danger themselves, if results went the wrong way. Fortunately for them the sides below them were all playing the top 4. Cons raced into a 4-0 lead courtesy of wins for Jon Fletcher over Nige Tomlinson and Matt Milnes over Ade Harper-Jon including a nice 36 along the way. Owen Jones then rolled in a 46 as he beat Tom Elliott. In the last match Mark Stirling nicked the last frame against Simon Smith who had won the first to prevent the whitewash. In the end Cons B came third and Spot On survived for another season.
Belmont A finished fourth after beating Rolleston A 5-3- a result which condemned Rolleston to the drop. John Chambers and Mark Press halved their game whilst Dean Marriott beat Tom Bassett for a 3-1 halfway lead for Belmont. Mark Sherratt was in outstanding break building form as he rolled in efforts of 37, 38 and 35 in his win over Rich O’Dell who could only look on in admiration. Ant Rushton beat Arron Vaughan to keep the score respectable but it was a little too late for the Rollers-Belmont will look to strengthen their squad in the close season to get closer to challenge for the title next term.
Having looked in some danger at one point, Tutbury A finished their season in a very respectable 5th spot. On the last day they won the Tutbury derby against the B team by a 5-3 scoreline with wins for Chris Mabbutt and John Brentnall. Chris was the division’s player of the week with runs of 69,46 and 31 which would ensue a victory at any level. Steve Hathaway drew with Wayne Pereira whilst Jan Pawlaczyk provided the B’s highlight with a win over Dave Mabbutt, leaving them to finish 7th.
SDSC B finished the season on a high after beating Alrewas B 6-2. They managed to be the only side in the three divisions not to have a draw all season-a rare feat in 24 matches, whilst Alrewas will look to come back stronger next year after having a poor season. Henry Tomas played nicely to beat Karl Hancox, for whom the summer can’t come quick enough. Again Karl knocked in a 30 but Henry’s 36 meant he could come away with the victory. Ben Davies was too strong for John Richardson on the night in John’s first game since surgery whilst Lee Louch for Alrewas played well to beat Rich Hinks in return. Harry Farrell turned in another good performance as he rolled in a 56 to beat Tom Smith.
So Ivanhoe A are the new champions-well played to them with Burton Cons A runners up after 10 straight league wins. SDSC A, Spot On B and Rolleston A were relegated. There were 256 breaks of 30 plus, 45 of which were over 50 with a top effort of 119 from Andy Marriott, who also won the Averages table with only 6 frame losses all season.
Tutbury C celebrated their already confirmed winners spot in the PJM Fascias Division One by thumping Ivanhoe C 7-1. Despite Gaz Dolman having a 31, Steve Butler hung on for a win to start thing off for The Tutters. Wins for Steve Burrows and Tom Lucas ensured the win whilst Wayne Smith and George Cawkwell halved theirs. Tutbury also won the league by 14 points and will be a welcome addition to the Premier next season whilst Ivanhoe just about did enough in the end to stay in the division after a tough year all round.
The big match was a winner take all affair between Newhall A and Woodville A with the winners guaranteed promotion.In a tense and tight match with no significant breaks, it was Mark Satchwell who was the star man as he overcame Carl Glover. Fran and Adam McInulty drew theirs, perhaps predictably as did Nick Walker and John Chambers and Martin Hicks and Wayne Brewin. Woodville would claim the runners up spot whilst Newhall had to wait to find out the result of a rearranged match between Burton Cons C and Belmont B.
Ivanhoe B did not win in their last seven fixtures, having looked good for promotion at one point-not helped by an injury to talisman Jason Pickering.
Stapenhill A’s season finished with a whimper as they went down 5-3 at home to Tutbury D who were relegated already. Colin Bell and Jeff Siddalls were on target for The Tutters whilst the consistent Steve Ford scored a double for The Institute. Andy Gretton and Ian Day halved theirs for Stapenhill to finish 6th after not winning in their last four whilst Tutbury return to Division Two after just one season.
Spot On C looked one of the favourites fro promotion at the halfway point but only one win in 2018 meant a mid table finish for The Spots.
Alrewas B gave themselves some hope of avoiding the drop after beating SDSC C 5-3. In another tense match Ian Hiley and Adam Walton both scored wins for The Legionnaires against the already relegated SDSC C. Nick Harcombe scored his customary winner for The Snooker Centre but Carl Poulton’s draw against Ray Bancroft meant Alrewas picked up the extra winning point.
So the season for four sides went down to the fixture between Burton Cons C and Belmont B, which had been re-arranged due to the sad passing of former player Ray Plummer. Cons needed to win to stay up and relegate Alrewas B whilst a win for Belmont would give them promotion over Newhall A, who were hoping Belmont would manage no more than a draw. Mick Morris, for Belmont, took the first frame for Belmont with something to spare whilst Greg Read and Shaun Gebbie had a very tight first frame that saw Shaun just about come out on top. Simon Shilton then responded for The Cons by winning a scrappy frame to get the overall score back to 1-2. Shaun then won his second for 3-1 versus Greg, who could count himself unlucky to lose both. The match and promotion went the way of Belmont in the second half after Graham Bailey took two off Ian Shrive, although this was not without a scare as Bala handed Ian a lifeline fouling the black and giving a free ball having already won the frame . It wasn’t straightforward though and Graham hung on for the win. This relegated Burton Cons C, despite them scoring 80 points and having 9 wins during the season, the same number as the side that beat them and got promoted. Rich Goldby confirmed the win for Belmont with a victory over Bill Davidson.
So congratulations to Tutbury C, up as champions-and also Woodville A and Belmont B, who in the end were only beaten once. Relegated were SDSC C, Tutbury D and Burton Cons C. Wayne Brewin won the Averages table for the second season in a row and will be back where he belongs in the Premier next term. Adam McInulty had the highest break with a 57. There were 91 breaks of over 30 with 7 over 50.
Spot On E were already guaranteed to be champions of the Newton Fallowell Division Two but they went out with a bang after beating The Snookerettes 7-1. Clare Peaty had the only highlight for the ladies as she took a frame off Adam Edwards. There were wins for Jared Cronje, Ben Menzies and Kyle Cope to ensure their fine season finished well – they will be welcomed into Division One, where they will give a lot of the more experienced players a run for their money. Spot On D have played the season again with a smile on their faces and are improving all the time- as the editor knows only too well with Marie Bridges scoring a win against him in the Orme Plate semi-final.
Stapenhill B returned to Division One after just one season finishing well clear in second after drawing 4 across with Woodville C. Bryan Sharratt top scored on the night with a 32 against Mark Gallagher whilst there was another draw between Greg Britton and Wayne Allen. Andy Tomlinson rounded off his fine season with yet another win whilst Denis Moore did similar for Woodville. Woodville also beat The Snookerettes 5-3 with a win for Mark Gallagher with the other 3 games halved.
Swad Snooker Centre rounded their season off having achieved promotion with a 4-4 draw against Woodville B. The match saw a great comeback from The Worriers as they came from 4-0 down to gain the half. Andy Bloor was made to struggle by Billy Bob Brooks as Bob missed a straight pink for Andy to steal it, who then went on to win the second more easily. Brain Bloor won both against an out of sorts Alan Orpwood although he did appear to have the better of the run available. After the break Tony Coleman got the Worriers on the scoreboard taking both from Garton Bloor. David Wain, who has had a great season, needed a snooker to claw himself back into the frame against Pat Ryan, which he duly got only to fluff his lines on the blue and leave the first frame win for Pat. He then went on to play some of his beat snooker of the season to win the second more easily in a match played in a great spirit.
Belmont C finished off with a 6-2 win over Burton Cons D. Greg Hall and Al Munnien notched a frame each for The Cons against Terry Bosworth and Dave Press respectively but wins for Graeme drayton and Brian Cutting ensured the win for The Servicemen.
Ivanhoe D were also 6-2 winners as they got past Rolleston C. Aaron Doyle and John Ward were the frame scorers for The Rollers against Tom Freeman and Adam Briggs whilst there were wins for Tony Tredger and Matt Tewkesbury.
Belmont D were humbled by Rolleston B in their last fixture-Lionel Lewis, Rob Sanders, Kev Norris and Rob Tubey all scoring doubles as the lads were whitewashed.
So promoted will be Spot On E, Stapenhill B and SDSC D- with Andy Bloor picking up the High Break prize with a lovely 53. His team-mate David Wain came a creditable second in this with a 52-the division’s only other 50 plus break. A special note though goes to Jared Cronje, who had 7 of the top 15 breaks and who also won the Averages table, by the tightest of margins over Andy Tomlinson.
Well played to all 283 players who played league snooker this season- with congratulations to all the winners, commiserations to those for whom the season did not go so well. Thank you to all the leagues sponsors without whom we could not survive and all the referees who give up their time to let all players enjoy their evenings, without having to pick the balls out as well. Don’t forget the League Presentation is on Friday 27th April at 7-30 at Belmont Services Club, with entry just a fiver to included entertainment, a raffle, food and the presentation-you don’t need to be a winner to come along. Every person who attends is helping the league move forward in a healthy condition. See you next season…