Elite League all wrapped up

·11-min read
Jubilant Rack Pack after beating top of the table Bears
Jubilant Rack Pack after beating top of the table Bears

With just one week of the South London & Kent Pool Alliance summer season left to play, the positions in the top division have been decided with Sharks crowned champions and Bellegrove joining the relegated teams.

 

Top of the table Sharks hosted fourth placed Pickwick with the league leaders looking to tie up the championship with a week to spare and they leapt out of the blocks, taking the first four frames.

 

Dave Pile prevented the set whitewash pulling a frame back for Pickwick, to finish the first set, 4-1 down.

 

Eno Idiong extended Sharks lead to, 5-1 with the first frame of the second set, but Pickwick were not lying down and Paul Gafa, Mike Werbowy and Martin Storey won the next three frames to give Pickwick the second set and bring them to within a frame.

 

Jeff LaPorte won frame ten to increase Sharks lead back to two frames.

 

The third set went exactly the same way as the first, with Sharks winning the first four frames and Pile preventing the set whitewash, for an overall, 2-1 & 10-5 triumph for Sharks.

 

This was enough to give them the title, to make them back-to-back winter and summer season champions.

 

Idiong was the only unbeaten player, winning both of his frames.

 

Before this week Terry’s Allstars and Hotshots were in second and third on the same points and six behind Sharks.

 

Allstars visited already relegated New Eltham New Stars and the damage was done in the first set, with Allstars whitewashing it, 5-0.

 

Rob Taylor made it six in a row, before Dave Jandu put New Stars first frame on the board.

 

That was followed by Paul Rivers, making it, 2-1 in the set to New Stars, but Nick Steadman won frame nine to send the set into a deciding frame, which Phil O’Kane took to give Allstars a, 2-0 & 8-2 lead.

 

With the bonus point secured, Allstars were looking to push on for maximum points however, it was Len McCullough who got the set underway for New Stars.

 

Stacy Redman tied the match, and the next two frames were shared, for another set deciding frame.

 

O’Kane faced Paul Carroll for the third time in the match, having won the previous two and he achieved his hat-trick over Carroll and New Stars to give his team a, 3-0 & 11-4 triumph.

 

The O’Kane v Carroll tussle wasn’t the only personal battle between the two sides, with Redman beating Jandu 2-1, Taylor overcoming McCullough 2-0, and Paul Cook and Paul Rivers winning a frame each against each other.

 

As well as O’Kane, Taylor also scored an unbeaten hat-trick.

 

Hotshots visited Bellegrove who were battling to avoid relegation and they did themselves no favours by not having a full team for the second week running, turning up with four this week.

 

The first frame was given to Hotshots and Richard Chapman soon made that, 2-0 however, Bellegrove were battling, and Barry Barham and Dan Foley tied the match at, 2-2.

 

Tony Wilson took the deciding frame to give Hotshots a, 3-2 first set lead.

 

Just like the first set, the opening two frames of the second set, including a bye, went to Hotshots, extending their overall lead to, 5-2.

 

Barham pulled a frame back, but Wilson secured the second set with a break and dish.

 

James Couch took frame ten to keep Bellegrove within striking distance at, 6-4.

 

The last set swung one way then the other, with Ryan Francis securing the bonus point in frame thirteen and Peter Whyte levelling the set in the next frame.

 

The deciding frame went to Chapman to give Hotshots maximum points with a, 3-0 & 9-6 victory.

 

The lack of a player proved costly, as this was enough for Bellegrove to join Falconwood and New Stars in being relegated.

 

There were no unbeaten players in this match however, Dan Foley came close, with the only frame he lost being a break and dish, so he didn’t get a chance.

 

With both Allstars and Hotshots scoring maximum points, they closed the gap on Sharks to five points, but with only four left to play for they will be fighting it out next week to see who will finish second and third, as they are seven points ahead of Pickwick.

 

The Cocked Hats were a point above Bellegrove, so it was between these two, to see who would be dropping into Tier Two.

 

This week The Cocked Hats visited winless, and bottom of the table Falconwood Club and their search continues, as Cocked Hats won, 3-0 & 11-4.

 

This put them five points ahead of Bellegrove, sending them down in the process and Cocked Hats are now just one point behind Pickwick in fourth.

 

After securing the SLKPA Tier Two West title last week, Eltham Terrace Nuthouse extended their lead at the top with a massive, 3-0 & 12-3 triumph over fifth placed Fox & Hounds.

 

The battle for the play-off place is tight between four teams, but bottom team Downham Tavern Terrors threw it wide open by beating second placed New Eltham New Boys, 3-0 & 11-4 for only their second win of the season.

 

Bellegrove A kept up their challenge and finally got back to winning ways against Farmhouse, who were without Nick Brown, after he was recently taken ill.

 

Bellegrove A and the rest of the league wish him a speedy recovery and a swift return to the pool table.

 

The first four frames were shared, before Petrina Pearce won the deciding frame to give Bellegrove a, 3-2 first set lead.

 

The second set was very different, with the first four frames going to Bellegrove, giving them five in a row and the second set.

 

John Denahy prevented the set whitewash, making it, 2-0 & 7-3 going into the final set.

 

Jack Taylor secured the bonus point with his hat-trick and Paul Williams made it, 2-0 in the set with his third frame win.

 

Bellegrove may have three points from this game so far, but there was still one to play for in this set and Denahy became the third player to score a hat-trick and pull one back for Farmhouse.

 

Then, Steven Jeffcoate won the next frame to send the set to a deciding frame.

 

Peter Moult quashed Farmhouse’s chances of a point by taking the last frame to give Bellegrove maximum points with a, 3-0 & 10-5 victory.

 

This result meant that Bellegrove jumped from fourth to second and pole position for the play-off.

 

There are still four points separating second from fifth, so any one of those could still steal the play-off spot and the four teams are playing each other, as third place New Boys host Academicals in fourth and Bellegrove A in second travel to Fox & Hounds in fifth.

 

Promotion out of Tier Two East, either automatically or via the play-off is still wide open and results this week have made it a three-horse race between Bears, Bellegrove Flyers and Duke of Northumberland.

 

Bears and Duke have been battling it out all season, but they had mixed fortunes this week.

 

Duke had a tough test against sixth placed Hurricane Hustlers, thirteen points behind them.

 

Hurricanes got off to a surprisingly great start, with Alfie Southby and Lee Carmen taking the first two frames, a sign of things to come.

 

However, Dave Pearce took out a composed finish in frame three for Duke, who went on to level the set at, 2-2.

 

Phil Tworek faced Kevin England in the decider, with England trying a tricky shot and just getting done by the speed of the table, allowing Tworek to take out a finish and win the set for Duke, 3-2.

 

Hurricanes burst out the traps again in the second set, with Southby and Carmen, again winning the opening two frames.

 

However, once again Duke came back taking the last three frames of the set to lead, 2-0 & 6-4.

 

Set three and deja vu as, Southby and Carmen both completed stylish hat-tricks to put Hurricanes, 2-0 up for the third set in a row.

 

Duke pulled one back in frame thirteen however, England produced a tidy finish to give Hurricanes a deserved set win.

 

This left the match on tenterhooks at, 7-7 with the bonus point to play for and the possibility of sharing the points for Hurricanes.

 

Duke’s Paul Clements played Hurricanes’ Simon Byrne who played a great frame, just coming unstuck with a deliberate foul that went wrong allowing Clements in to take out an accomplished clearance given the circumstances.

 

The match finished 2-1 & 8-7 to Duke, but Hurricanes skipper England was proud of his team’s performance against a side destined for the top division, even though he felt they should have at least shared the points.

 

Top of the table, Bears went to fourth placed Eltham Terrace Rack Pack, eight points ahead of them, but it was Rack Pack who got off to the perfect start, with Chris Parlett producing a great clearance to leave Gary Mason with all seven balls on the table.

 

Tony Frost made it, 2-0 before Jeff Bailey and Shane Burnett levelled the score, winning two hard-fought battles.

 

John Ly won the deciding frame to give Rack Pack an early, 3-2 lead.

 

Andy Mounger, Frost and Parlett continued Rack Pack’s good form, taking the first three frames of the second set, to give them the set and the match.

 

However, Rack Pack weren’t stopping there, with Ly and Chris Unwin completing the set whitewash, to give their team a, 2-0 & 8-2 lead.

 

With the match and the bonus point in the bag, you might have thought Rack Pack would relax a little, but Steve Unwin kept the run going with his only frame of the night.

 

Frost clinched a close frame twelve to put his team into double figures and record his own personal hat-trick.

 

Ly also scored three out of three with a wonderful reverse dish in frame thirteen to make it nine in a row for Rack Pack giving them maximum points.

 

Paul Cobbold prevented the set whitewash, before Mounger won the last frame to make the final score, 3-0 & 12-3.

 

So, Bears got beaten and Duke scraped a win meaning they once again swapped places, but this time it wasn’t for the top two positions because Flyers, who had been catching up, recorded another win.

 

This week they beat Bell Ya Later, 3-0 & 10-5 with Jay Arnold and Jason Brunton both winning all three of their frames and they were backed up by Peter Gray with an unbeaten brace.

 

This result puts Flyers on the top of the table on the same points as Duke, with Flyers ahead by winning more sets and Bears are two points behind.

 

It appears Flyers have the toughest task next week to hold onto top spot, as they are playing Rugrats, whereas Duke and Bears are playing the bottom two, Bexleyheath Working Men’s Club and Bell Ya Later respectively.

 

In the final game between Rugrats and Bexleyheath Working Men’s Club, there was a first for the SLKPA, as both teams only had four players and the byes faced each other in each set.

 

Despite that, Rugrats had the better start with, Ashley Hewson, Pat Firth and Steve Gibson winning the first three frames played.

 

Dave Fulkes won the other frame of the set to bring Bexleyheath back to, 3-1.

 

The second set went down to a deciding frame, but as all four players had already played, how would this be settled?

 

Well, Ashley Hewson was selected by Rugrats and Dave Fulkes by Bexleyheath to battle it out and Fulkes won to give Bexleyheath the set, making the overall score, 1-1 & 5-4 in Rugrats favour.

 

Would you believe exactly the same thing happened in the final set, with the same players chosen to decide the set, but this time Hewson was victorious to give his team a, 2-1 & 8-6 triumph.

 

The two chosen to decide the sets, Hewson and Fulkes, were aptly chosen, as they both won all three of their frames that weren’t extra set deciding frames.

 

Rugrats remain in fifth, but the focus next week will very much be on the top three.

 

For more information on the SLKPA, including league tables visit our website at www.slkpa.com or contact our Secretary, Paul Gafa on 07443 456662 or secretary@slkpa.com with any queries.

 

The league is always looking at potential sponsors and any interested parties can also contact Paul Gafa.