Over the years the interleague has been dominated by just
a handful of teams, when I say dominated, I mean dominated by the sort
of teams that when they come out of the hat in your group. The players
in the other teams ask their captain questions like is it worth us turning
up? What time does the bar open? how many frames will we win? How long
will we be in the event? Where shall we go on Saturday night? How unlucky
can you get?
Teams like Wolverhampton Wednesday A (west Midlands), Trent Trophies
A (Staffordshire), Triangle (West Yorkshire), Imperial I (London) and
Ollerton (Nottinghamshire). Are those types of teams. Of those five teams
mentioned only Trent Trophies A are going to be at this years knock out
cup. So will it be a stroll in the park for the boys from Staffs?
You might be forgiven for thinking so, after all Trent Trophies have
players like Lee Kendall, Gaz Potts, Carl Morris, all professionals all
quality players, Gareth Potts and Carl Morris have been world champions
at one point or another Lee Kendall who has found that title very elusive
is of a class to be able to win it. Then there is Adam Davis who has
gone form being one of the games promising junior stars to one who has
delivered on those expectations and is up with the elite of the game.
Then you have Players of the calibre of Mark Blackshaw, Steve Bridgewood,
Darren Lightfoot and Nick Weller. With a team like that you know you
are going do well so it’s a question of how well.
It’s good to report that although Trent Trophies may start, as
favourites to win it, there are plenty of other teams left who will give
Trent Trophies a run for their money. Teams like the All’oas from
Lancashire, it may well be that they are not at their strongest this
time round but they will collectively raise their game to compensate.
Although they will be without Lee Clough, Dave Chalmers and Matty Morris.
They will still have, Nathan Bridges, Andy Sudworth, Jason Hill and Damien
Milnes in the starting line up. Trent Trophies for their part would wince
if they saw that the All’oas was blocking their path to progression.
Memories of past bloody encounters would come flooding back to haunt
There have been a few occasions in the past when these two met where
the air turned blue and tempers flared to say the least, at times it
has needed officials to step in to calm things down to acceptable levels
Passion is like that, and what ever anyone says about the negative end
product of passion at times, without passion we wouldn’t have much
of a spectacle.
When two monsters do battle the stakes are high and emotions can spill
over into the red zone, when it happens to individual members of a team
in opposite camps at the same time fur can and does fly. All that said
these types of eruptions are rare but it’s no use pretending that
it never happens.
One of the main reasons why emotions tend to be held in check when it
might seem that things are about to explode is the fact that Pool as
a whole is a close knit community where everybody knows everybody else
and sees each other on a fairly regular basis. That fact alone tends
to stop the more, shall we say, colourful characters from going overboard.
What usually happens after one of these flare ups is the pair meet in
the bar at some point in the evening and agree they were a pair of doughnuts
to do what they did buy each other a drink and forget about it.
So if we have lost so many good teams who are the ones to watch now?
You know, the ones you just don’t want in your group.
With out doubt the four top teams this time round who will have what
it takes are Trent Trophies A, Leicester & P.J.’S Stourbridge
and Dawley A. It is my belief that we will see at least one of these
teams contesting the final on Sunday 8th October.
If the last 32 draw works out right for these four teams we should
see two of them as a losing semi finalists and the winning two contesting
the final, the opposite will be that if all get drawn in the same half
then when the draw for the last 32 is made then they will have to knock
each other out and obviously only one will make through to the final.
If those are the favourites who amongst the other 92 teams can make
it to the final by knocking any of the above teams out? The band just
beneath the elite group contains teams with the class of Mexborough,
Rochester, Sun Valley, All’oas, Brighton & East Herts
Of this bunch Mexborough always put in a solid performance and will
more times than not reach the last eight. They very nearly didn’t
get to attend the event as their paperwork went missing thanks to the
Post Office failing to deliver it, fortunately for Mexborough when it
was delivered, some two weeks later, the post mark proved it was posted
on time so they were allowed to stay in the event.
All that means that we will see Terry Hunt, Martin Hazell, Alistair
Bailie & Gavin Preskey in action for Mexborough after all. Mexborough
are a team that always take some stopping and one that you would not
chose as opponents if it could be avoided. They can, with the class available
to them kill a game in a very short space of time if they are all on
form and hit it at the same time
Sun Valley, led by Jim I’ Anson are always a very tough nut to
crack, even when they appear to be a little off their top game they still
manage to force a play off with whomever they are playing. When you can
call on England International Bayden Jackson, Lee Howitt and Neil Jones,
to play your three play off frames you can see why Sun Valley have self
belief in abundance.
The All’oas over the past few events has been struggling to keep
up with the extremely high standards they have set themselves with previous
results on this stage and as yet there is no real sign of a return to
the glory days. However, a below par All’oas is only a slightly
less dangerous animal than a fully functioning one, so it’s still
going to take a mighty effort from someone to knock them out.
Rochester appears to have been in a rebuilding program ever since the
departure of Carl Morris a few years ago. They experimented with “out
sourcing” for one season and were dubbed “Rochester Elite” – a
non-complementary reference to the team importing a number of ex Barking
Elite players in to their line up when that team broke up. By enlarge
the experiment didn’t really work in their favour and have returned
to the true spirit of the Interleague by using their local players to
do their bidding. They are now well on the way to being back where they
once were - a feared opponent to all teams in the competition. Their
line up will include Jordan Church, Ian Hubbard, Ian Kettel and Neil
Ward. That quartet won’t be losing too many frames and they will
definitely be aiming to go one better than just reaching the final this
Brighton, who I dubbed a while ago as a bunch of under achievers, given
the talent in their line up have forced me to eat my words in recent
events as they have hit the standards where a team with their talent
should be reaching consistently. They have one of the most consistent
line ups in the Interleague which includes Darren Welfare, Paul McNeil,
Morray Dolan, Dean Torode and Damien Campsey all of whom are available,
so a top eight finish is the least I would expect from them.
East Herts have been hitting the last eight just about every time they
play here and that is an amazing statistic when you consider the teams
they have had to knock out to do it. They are not as strong as they would
have liked, having lost the services of Neil Toms, Mark Thrussell and
Rob Southey to Imperial I, however they still have Tony Vickers, Danny
Miller, Ashley Seeley, Des Smith, Brendan Coyler, and the irrepressible
Mick Darragh, who is on what could be his last visit to Yarmouth as he
is moving to Ireland soon. If that lot can hit form at the same time
then it is well within their grasp to get to the final but they will
have to overcome their last eight stumbling block to do it.
Well there are my thoughts on what are traditionally the business end
teams of the event, before they get there though there is the small matter
of the group stage to get through first. There have been enough instances
in the past where one or more of the mighty teams have failed to make
it through to the knock out stages. I don’t think I would be taking
too much risk if I were to say that at least one of the above mentioned
teams will fail to negotiate the group stage and go for an early bath.
So how will the rest of the teams in this event fare? It’s time
to give my thoughts on the group stages and rattle a few cages, burst
a few bubbles and pleasantly surprise a few teams as we go through every
group to see what the form book, according to me, indicate should happen.
It has been said in the past that my comments about teams have been pasted
to the walls of the team’s caravans to inspire the players not
to allow my words to become facts. Others have been amazed to see what
I said would happen, happen. But It’s all done as a bit of fun
so as you read through your bit just remember that and enjoy your read.
This is the table where traditionally the defending champions
begin the defence of their title however, for the first time I can remember
the defending champions, in this case Triangle, won’t be here.
That means that losing finalists from last year, Rochester, will take
the traditional table number one to launch their bid for Interleague
knock out cup glory. They take on Staffordshire’s Trent Trophies
Pirates in the opening match the Staffordshire out fit will be used to
playing quality teams as their county boast one of the best all time
Interleague teams. In fact they have one or two ex members in the shape
of Steve Prince, Daz Henshall & big Phil Condliffe so although Rochester
will be aiming to clock up a few frames in this match they may find that
things won’t go the way they planned. Although that won’t
stop Trent Trophies Pirates from winning the match
Kettering (Northants) will then take on Trent Trophies Pirates knowing
the sort of frame score they will need to clock up to keep themselves
in the hunt, Kettering have a long history at this event and Dermot Lally
can call on Bob Love, Graham Berruto & Leon Oakes to see them through
on this one. It’s sad to say but I can’t see Trent Trophies
Pirates winning a match in this group. It’s not that they are a
weak team it’s more that both Kettering & Rochester are a bit
warm and won’t give them the opportunity.
When Rochester take on Kettering it will be for the group and although
Kettering are capable of upsetting Rochester’s apple cart I think
that Rochester will be just too strong at the back for Kettering and
claim their first big scalp of the weekend as they bid to get back to
the final again.
Sees Wolverhampton Wednesday B (West Midlands) take on Essex’s
Barking Phoenix in the opening match in this group. Wolverhampton Wednesday
are a good solid side who have been coming here for what seems forever.
Barking Phoenix have a slightly less impressive attendance record but
they too know their way round the Yarmouth tables and I think that this
one will end up as a 9-9 draw.
This will mean that Buckingham (Buckinghamshire) have a golden opportunity
to steal a march on the other two teams if they can win their first match
against Wolverhampton Wednesday. Wolverhampton Wednesday with all their
experience will have just too much knowledge and skill in reserve to
allow Buckingham the win. That said the draw is not out of the question
and if a group is going to have two draws to start with this one looks
a good bet
This will mean that the group will be decided on the Buckingham v Barking
Phoenix match and that is where I feel that Buckingham and Wolverhampton
Wednesday will come unstuck as Barking Phoenix will have the edge in
this match and win by a two frame margin and in doing so book themselves
a spot in the last 32. I know Barking Phoenix skipper, Alan Pointer
will see this as the kiss of death for his team as I usually predict
an early bath for his team. This time I think with the experience in
the Barking Phoenix team with players like Steve Adams and Tony Pointer
to steady the less experienced ones Phoenix should get through.
This should be much easier to predict as it has one of the
pre tournament “fancied
teams” in it but first of all Penrith (Cumbria) take on Long Eaton
(Derbyshire). This should be a tight match as both teams are fairly evenly
matched. Long Eaton has yet to escape from the group stages. But then
neither have Penrith so it will be interesting to see who comes out on
top. I think Long Eaton will just edge it.
That means that Penrith will be thrown straight in to the lion’s
den as Ipswich (Suffolk) look to start their campaign with a convincing
performance that they can build on. Ipswich will be looking towards Mark & Paul
Keeble, Punchy, Phil Cullingford, Matt Purnell and Alan Mower to give
them that edge and to be honest if Ipswich only play to half their form
then I still see Penrith having to wait another year to attempt to progress
beyond the group stages.
That will mean that Long Eaton will know the size of the task facing
them if they are to be the group winners and I see it going much the
same way as the Penrith match with Ipswich being just too strong for
the boys from Derbyshire and Ipswich will win the group by administering
their own version of Suffolk punch to the other two teams in this group.
The first match in Group 4 sees Braintree A (Essex) take on
Mexborough (South Yorkshire), this match is likely to be a one sided
affair in favour
of the Yorkshire men who are regular visitors to the later stages of
the Knockout Cup. This won’t be too much of a surprise if you look
at the players they have available to them, players like Terry Hunt,
Martin Hazel, Alistair Bailey & Gavin Preskey to name a few
Braintree A will then face a just as, if not more, experienced side
in Sun Valley, with players like Jim I’Anson and his son, England
Internationals Clint I’Anson and Bayden Jackson, add to that they
also have Lee Howitt, Chris Rigby & Liam Stanley in their line up.
Braintree A will face the same fate as they did in the first match which
will allow Mexborough and Sun Valley fight it out for a place in the
The deciding match in this group is likely to be very close and both
teams are very capable of causing damage to any team. It is very possible
that this match will go to the wire but if I have to call a winner, which
I do…,I’m going to go will Sun Valley to progress to the
Manchester Central (G.M.C.) kick of this group with a real
toughie against Buckinghamshire’s Milton Keynes A. as first timers at the event,
certainly as a team, they will be very bullish about their opposition
in this group, that seems to be a trait that applies to all new teams.
The new teams know they are good and before the event believes they can
beat every team here and usually let everyone know that this is the case.
Sadly, the reality is that they just don’t realise how good all
the teams are that make this far. That means it’s tough who ever
they get drawn with. In this case the draw has definitely not been kind
to Manchester as Milton Keynes A are, on their day a match for any team.
With all the experience at their disposal Milton Keynes will give Manchester
a very sobering dose of interleague reality.
I’m not saying that Milton Keynes will have it all their own way
in this match, they won’t but at the same time Milton Keynes will
keep Manchester at arms length and win with a healthy margin.
Any thoughts that Manchester was unlucky and Milton Keynes got all the
run will be quickly dispelled as Manchester will then take on Ely (Cambridgeshire)
I dare say Manchester don’t know who they are either. But they
will by the end of the weekend.
Ely are every bit as good as Milton Keynes if Milton Keynes give Manchester
a bit of a mauling then Ely will pick the remainder of Manchester’s
At the time of writing Phil Harrison, Ely’s super star was not
confirmed to be in the Ely Team as he has other commitments that may
prevent him from attending. Even without him Iain Aldous, Dale Parson
and Trieve Rolfe will be more than capable of finishing Manchester’s
first foray in to the Interleague.
This will mean that Milton Keynes and Ely will go head to head to see
who gets a place in the last 32 and my feeling is with Phil Harrison
there it will be Ely but if he’s not then Milton Keynes will capitalise
on that and just shade it.
Worthing B (Sussex) did not take part in the Interleague last
time round and in their first match the draw could have been a lot worse.
Holderness hasn’t made it out of the group stages for the last
two years so this match could be a tight one. Although, as many of you
will probably remember the first time at the Interleague is a daunting
encounter, so for that reason I think Holderness will just edge it due
to their experience.
Worthing B’s first experience of the Interleague is going to be
an uphill struggle going from bad to worse. They will now have to face
Worcester Dream Team (Worcestershire) who in last years K/O Cup lost
in the last 16 to P.J’s which is no disgrace. Therefore Worcester
Dream Team with players like Darrell Bareham, Mark Evans, Darren Selvy & Marcus
Lannie in their team they should win this match with ease.
After a comfortable start Worcester Dream Team are likely to be firing
on all cylinders and I’m not sure Holderness are going to have
what it takes to stop them continuing their run in this year Interleague.
Sees Cumbria’s Carlisle take on Northamptonshire’s Pocket
Rockets A. this should be an interesting tussle as Carlisle have not
been here for a while and Tom Chambers Pocket Rockets don’t usually
get to get out the group. That said they are a good team and if Carlisle
start slowly then Pocket Rockets A may well steel a march on them. I
think that this will be a tight match but that Carlisle will just pinch
it at the death by the odd frame.
That will put Pocket Rockets straight back in again, this time against
the might of Chesterfield. Chesterfield is a steady ream who are best
placed to win this group because of their greater experience and that
fact that they have one of the largest followings in the event. It always
appears that the whole of Chesterfield book themselves in to Vauxhall’s
for the Interleague to support their team.
With pocket Rockets out the way Carlisle will get the chance to take
on Chesterfield for the title of group winners. As with the match before
I think it will be close but once again the greater experience of Chesterfield.
Will come to the fore and give Chesterfield anther group win and another
year where the have made through to the last 32.
This group is going to be a tight one, it is usually the
case that the last match is the one that decides who goes through, however,
case the deciding match will be the first match that’s an indication
on the strength of the two teamsinvolved in the first match.
Tolworth (Surrey) take on the All’oas (Lancashire) and with both
team being vastly experienced and fielding a number of very talented
players the All’oas have Damien Milnes, Jason Hill, Nathan Bridges,
Del Redmond & Dave Robinson and Tolworth have will counter that line
up with a few good sticks of their own like Matt Cooke, Andy Sutherland,
Frank Strivens, Steve Petty and Skipper Jason Norris. It’s easy
to see that with that amount fire power round one table it will be a
delight to watch this match but one team will win and that team I suspect
will be Tolworth.
The other team in this group have a tough task ahead of them. Leek
B (Staffordshire) whom I’m afraid I do not know much about, however,
I can’t imagine a new team in the Interleague will have what
it take to overcome either of these teams. If I’m mistaken then
where have you been, you’ve been missing out! But back to reality,
The winner of this group for me will be the Tolworth
Rumours have it that the All’oas, having lost skipper big Kev
O’halloran, which in itself was a big enough blow, a while ago
are now set to loose Mick Timmins after this event because he is retiring
from the captaincy of the All’oas. on behalf of all the teams,
players & us, the organisers we would like to say thanks to the man
who made the All’oas what they are, one of the best teams ever
to grace this event and given us all so many fond memories. We wish you
well in whatever you chose to devote your time to in the future and hope
we get to see you back hear from time to time. I would have liked to
have said that the All’oas would beat Tolworth and go on one of
their runs that only the best of teams can stop. Pool is not a sentimental
thing and Tolworth won’t give two hoots about this being the end
of an era. They will want to start their own era.
This group is a tough one to call, match one is Cambridge
(Cambridgeshire) against Oldham (G.M.C.). In days gone by the mention
of Cambridge would
mean you were playing a top flight team, however, no disrespect to the
current team called Cambridge but it’s not in the same league as
it’s now defunct stable mates. It’s Oldham’s first
appearance here since 2003 so I have no real way of knowing how good
they are but I do know that Cambridge can win matches so I Will go for
them in match one.
This will mean that Oldham will be taking on Nuneaton Bees (Warwickshire)
to stay in the event and when only a win is good enough they are very
hard to find. That coupled with the fact Nuneaton are a reasonable side
I would expect Nuneaton to kill of Oldham. But it won’t be an easy
win Oldham will push Nuneaton hard before finally bowing out of the knock
out cup for this year.
So we should have a Nuneaton Bees V Cambridge group decider. I don’t
think there is much to chose between these two teams and expect a nip
and tuck match that could go to 9-9 and therefore will be decided on
how many frames each of them took of Oldham. Based on that alone I
tip Nuneaton Bees to come out as group winners.
Wareham (Dorset) starts this group off with a match against
the always impressive Dawley A (Shropshire) and on a pound for pound
basis I would
expect Dawley A to make short work against Wareham. Dawley have Craig
Reynolds, Dave and Dale Blagborough. Dawley A in their line up and was
of course the 2005 winners of the Interleague. Wareham’s best chance
will be the kudos that having one Keith Brewer in your line up gives
you . Not too sure on this fact, but it might be the first time Keith
has played in the Interleague finals. He has of course been here hundreds
of time before but it’s usually as an England trialist or as a
professional in the last 8 of a professional event.
Even with Keith Brewer in their line up I cant see Wareham having what
it takes to beat Dawley A so Wareham will then take on G.M.C.’s
Rochdale and on the face of it Rochdale seem to be a bit out of their
depth in this company but it will be a great experience for whoever from
their team gets to play Keith Brewer in competitive match but that will
be the highlight for Rochdale.
Dawley should wrap the group up fairly quickly when they take on Rochdale
in the final match of the group. Bit it’s Dawley A to make the
last 32 for me
This is another cracking match up between two strong teams
and one newcomer one of the strong teams is Lancashire’s Preston South who’s
squad has been strengthened this term by ex All’oas pair Dave Chalmers
and Matty Morris, this in addition to Gareth Hibbott, whose current form
is about as hot as you can get without risking spontaneous human combustion.
John Rimmer and Nick Davey. So it will take one hell of an effort from
the other strong team in the group Nuneaton A to keep them in check.
This is going to be a real tussle but I think Preston South just have
the edge and will leave Warwickshire’s Nuneaton A’s hopes
hanging by a thread.
This will leave Nuneaton with no option but to beat Bracknell & Ascot
B and with clear water between the two and then hope that Preston South
lose to Bracknell & Ascot B. that is what losing your first match
here means. You are going to need a miracle to stay in the event. Unfortunately,
although I do see Nuneaton beating Bracknell & Ascot B I can’t
see the getting the margin as they would need to qualify.
In the end I don’t think it will matter because I can’t
see Preston South losing to Bracknell & Ascot B. of course if I am
correct, the draw will be good enough for Preston South to ease themselves
into the last 32.
For Bracknell & Ascot B & Nuneaton it’s off to the bar
to swop tales about the frames they threw away and if they hadn’t
done that it would be them and not Preston in the last 32.
Has Dawley B (Shropshire) taking on Dorset’s Wessex
A this is a tough one to call as I believe that these two teams a fairly
on balance I think that the greater experience that Wessex have with
Ladies England International Sue Ramsbottom and Brian Druce.
So that will means that Dawley B will be taking on Kent’s Medway
who have been here a few times now and starting to produce some impressive
results but they will be without Barbara Taylor as she will be in South
Africa for the World cup. Having lost her services to international duty
I think that Wessex will take full advantage and win the match.
When it comes down to Dawley B playing Medway I see the Shropshire team
finishing of the group with out being troubled too much by what Medway
throw at them.
Here we go again, another great tie in the making; Lye & Stourbridge
(West Midlands) take on Buckinghamshire’s Milton Keynes Shooters
in the opening match in this group which will probably be as tight as
it comes with Lye & Stourbridge coming out on top, but only just.
Then Sussex’s Brighton A join the fray, for Milton Keynes Shooters
It will spell the end of their involvement in the competition as Brighton
A should prove to hot for Milton Keynes Shooters to handle. With Paul
McNeil as the main man and Darren Welfare, Morray Dolan, Dean Torode
and Damien Campsey to back him up there seems no way that Milton Keynes
Shooters can win this one.
Lye & Stourbridge will prove a slightly harder nut for Brighton
to crack but eventually they will find a way through the West Midlanders
defences and secure their passage to the last 32.
Hertfordshire’s E.H.P.L. led by Gary Keefe take on Staffordshire’s
Stafford A and the ever improving E.H.P.L. side really should have what
it takes to deal with Stafford A, whilst not having the players that
their stable mates East Herts have, they do have some quality players
including Dave Langham, Matt Humphrey, Mark Gibson. Who are very experienced
at playing at this level and for that reason I think they will win this
Surrey Warriors will then take on Stafford A and with pretty much the
same result really the Surrey team are also well used to winning the
group and progressing to the business end of the even. They will be looking
for strong performances from Martin and Richard Lambert and Neil Rolfe
to name three.
If the group decider between E.H.P.L. and Surrey Warriors was a few
years ago it would be Surrey Warriors every time for me but E.H.P.L.
have lost the lets get pissed and see what happens mentality and developed
a new strong will to win and they have the players to back that up. This
should mean that E.H.P.L. should end Surrey Warriors involvement in the
event but it may well need a play off to separate the two teams
This grouping sees Nottinghamshire’s Riddings & District take
on Kent’s Maidstone A in a match that seems to be very evenly balanced.
Both teams are no strangers to the Interleague and both have good, if
not exactly impressive records, but neither team has got beyond the group
stage yet. But of the two I think that Maidstone looks the better bet
to win this one.
Cambridgeshire’s St Neots A will take on Riddings & District.
St Neots have been coming here as a team longer than the other two teams
in this group but they to have yet to make it out of the group stage.
I think St Neots A will prove to be just the better of the two sides
and will knock Riddings & District out of the event.
When St Neots take on Maidstone A it will be for a little bit of history
as one of these two teams will make it out of the group stage for the
first time. Which one it will be depends on which of the two holds their
nerves together best because they both will want to win so much that
towards the end of the match arms will start to twitch as they get closer
to virgin territory. Of the two I feel that St Neots A will be the ones
who will end up as the winners of this group.
Shropshire’s Shrewsbury B as a team have not been here before,
start their campaign with a tough match against Worcestershire’s
St Johns, who in the two times they have been here now they have finished
runners up in the group so they will be confident of improving their
I think Shrewsbury B will give them a hard game and it may well come
down to who blinks fist being the loser in this duel. Which means that
St John will need to call on whatever it was that got them to the runners
up spot over the last two years to keep them on track for a group win.
I feel that Shrewsbury B will just run out of options towards the back
end of the match and that is where St John’s will take advantage
and win the opening match in this group.
Kent’s Folkestone A will be next up to the plate, I remember Mark
Wynn complaining (with some justification) about how nasty the draw had
been to them in the past, they have had Triangle and Trent Trophies A
in their group in successive years, not surprisingly they have failed
to get out of the group on both occasions, well the good news boys is
that this year you have not a previous event winner in the group. The
bad news is there is nowhere to hide this time. This time you are going
to come up with the goods. Shrewsbury B will give Folkestone some real
problems but in the end I thinks that the Kent team will just about shade
it and consign Shrewsbury B to the could be better group of Interleague
St Johns will having seen the match between Folkestone and Shrewsbury
will know what they have to do to reach the first major goal of being
at the Interleague, getting to play in the last 32. One of the three
teams in this group is going to make that goal a reality and of the three
I think it will be St Johns.
Sees another group where none of the teams in it have
ever got out of the group stages so this one will be another of the perhaps
groups but one where each frame will be fought over. The group gets underway
with Nottinghamshire’s Newbold taking on Sussex’s Littlehampton
N. on the face of it, there can only be one winner, Newbold have so much
more experience then Littlehampton N. that might be a bit harsh on Littlehampton
but they didn’t set their county’s Interleague alight which
is always a good indicator of how a first timer here will fare, if they
batter every one on home soil then they will transfer most of their confidence
here. If not then they tend to be in awe of the situation they find themselves
in here. That alone means that Newbold should capitalise and win the
Oxfordshire’s Witney will then enter the battle ground against
Littlehampton N who will have settled down a bit after their first match
but Witney should be just a bit too strong for them because they too
have greater experience as a team here.
If I am right about all this then we will have an Oxfordshire Versus
Nottinghamshire group decider. I think that although Newbold have the
greater experience here it will be Witney that will take the bull by
the horns, set up an early lead and then do just enough to protect it
while Newbold keep having play catch up with the frames running out before
they get to catch up. Which means that Witney will be another of the
first time last 32 qualifiers.
Not to sure what to make on this group as East Yorkshire’s North
Wolds led by Adrian Walton are what we term Yarmouth Boys, no that doesn’t
mean they come from Yarmouth, but they do intend to sample the various
delights of the sea side town on Friday & Saturday night. It way
well be that pool may get in the way of that. There is of course nothing
wrong with that but if you have that intention before you get here then
its hard to motivate the team to do what it has to do to win matches
once here. If Suffolk’s Lowestoft T.S. think that in reading this
their first opponents will be a walk over, they have misread what I was
trying to say. North Wolds will give their all to get through the group
and if Lowestoft T.S. fails to show North Wolds the respect they deserve
they get what they derserve. Having said all that about North Wolds I
am going to go for them to beat Lowestoft.
That will mean that Lowestoft will then take on Derby and having lost
to North Wolds they won’t find things any easier against the Derbyshire
team either. I think that Derby will set about Lowestoft to start with
but once the match moves in to the mid section Lowestoft will have it
back on levels. I think eventually Lowestoft will wear Derby down and
beat them by frame or two.
North Wolds will know that when they take on Derby they will only have
to avoid defeat to reach the last 32. Derby on the other hand will know
that their task is a big one and the difference in mind sets will be
what gives north Wolds the edge. It will also mean that they will have
to delay their trip in to town as they will have to contest a last 32
match before heading off into town.
This Grouping has John Kelly’s J.F.K’s (London) facing Suffolk’s
Ipswich B. J.F.K’s missed out in April’s Interleague so will
be keen to put in a good show this time round. I can’t see Ipswich
being able to do too much to stop J.F.K.’s march. By the time Ipswich
realise that things are not going the way they hoped it will be too late
and J.F.K’s will have won the match with ease.
Things won’t get any better for Ipswich either as they will then
go in the ring against Somerset’s finest Weston. Weston have a
long and generally good track record here and I really can’t see
them being in any mood to be nice to Ipswich.
That will set up a new boys versus established old boys group decider.
This is going to be a great match to watch because I feel the will swing
one way and then the other. But I think that in the end that the greater
experience of Weston will see them through to another group win and through
to the last 32.
Will host one of the most renowned teams in the Interleague.
Stourbridge (West Midlands) this is a team that always plans on reaching
the later stages and with players like Rob Chilton, Neil Raybone, Pat
Ward, Hitan Patel, Richie Foxall, Paul Dunkey, and Ben Swinnerton in
the team, that feeling of invincability that they have is no real surprise
when you look at those names.
First to face them in this group is Leeds (West Yorkshire) who I’m
afraid are the under dogs in this group and are likely to fall at the
first and second hurdles. I can’t see Mark & Paul Buck and
John Betts, as good as they are, having what it will take to get a result
against P.J.’s Stourbridge
After the defeat from P.J’s they will then have to face Coventry
Reds led by Baz Hinde and with Surinder and Tim Singh in the Reds team
I can’t see Leeds getting a result here either although the result
may be a bit closer in this match but will still have the same out come,
seeing Coventry Reds going in to a Head to Head with P.J’s to decided
Coventry Reds will probably put up a good fight but I can’t see
them having what it takes to overcome the experience and class the P.J’s
possess. However stranger things have happened and if I’m going
to be proved wrong, I think this might well be the group that does it.
Table Twenty One
Berkshire’s Bracknell & Ascot A and Northamptonshire’s
N.V.P.L. A might as well make the most of their opening match because
whoever wins it still faces almost certain elimination in the next match.
Bracknell & Ascot A mark their first appearance at the K.O. Cup with
a nice little opener against Northampton Village Pool League A. I think
that N.V.P.L. A will have to keep their wits about them if they are not
to become an established Interleague team losing to a first time here
team. I feel that although N.V.P.L. A. will put up one hell of a fight
to avoid it, but they going to loose out to Bracknell & Ascot A.
The prize for Bracknell & Ascot A’s win will be to see the
hopelessness of their task as N.V.P.L. A, as losers of their match take
on Leicestershire’s Leicester led by the Ferret, Steve Robertshaw.
With the best will in the world I can’t see N.V.P.L. A making it
too hard for Leicester, but when you consider that in Leicester’s
line up will be current World Champion Mark Selby, Tom Ford & Tommy
Donlon there aren’t too many teams that could take on Leicester
and expect to win.
When Bracknell & Ascot A take on Leicester it will show the Berkshire
side what they as a team should be aiming for, Leicester are a class
act and they tend to go about their business in a quite and dignified
manner. Some of the bigger teams in the interleague suffer from histrionics
at times when things don’t go their way but in all the times I
have seen Leicester play they have always been nothing less than true
gentlemen and a credit to the game. It will be no disgrace for Bracknell & Ascot
A & N.V.P.L. A to loose to this team.
Table Twenty Two
This table has another of the first timers here, Bramley
(West Yorkshire) and they are first up against Sussex’s Brighton B who have plenty
of experience here but have yet to win a group so Bramley with skipper
Rob Johnson, Neil Fox & John Gillen could well cause an upset in
this match. But it’s more likely that Brighton will make their
experience show and eventually win the match.
Bramley will then have to take on take on East Herts (Hertfordshire).
East Herts are missing three quality players this time round but they
still have Captain Tony Vickers, England U21 International Danny Miller,
Brendon Coyler, Mick Darragh, Ashley Sealy, Rob England, Julian Pennie
and Des Smith available so you have to say that East Herts should win
this one at a canter. But not knowing anything about Bramley they may
be much better than I give them credit for.
This will mean that Brighton B will take on East Herts head to head
for the group and this will be tight as both teams know how to win but
I feel East Herts better record of winning the group stage will stand
them in good stead and send Brighton back to Sussex still waiting for
a group win.
Table Twenty Three
Leicestershire’s Leicester City takes on Berkshire’s Renegade
B in the opening match in this group. Leicester City led by Rich Philips
with Sunjay Patel and Sunny Singh should have enough to et the better
of Renegade B, who’s skipper Trevor Dias will need to pick a good
order if they are going to win this match.
Should Renegade B lose then they will be pitched in against Derbyshire’s
Ilkeston B. Ilkeston B who’s skipper Ellie Pollard will need to
make sure her players are at the top of their game if they to get anything
out of this match. Although Renegade lost their first match I think they
will come back and win this one.
Interestingly enough, when Ilkeston B take on Leicester City in the
final I think that Ilkeston B will come back from their defeat in the
last match and will win this match and set up a count back situation
and that means which team will go through will be a toss up. I think
that Renegade B will clock up enough frames to ensure it’s them
that go through in this group.
Table Twenty Four
Now this is the kind of group I love, where all three
teams are group winning material, but obviously only one can. It will
be a blood bath
but a great spectacle, England’s new men’s manager Robert
Uzzell is also the captain of Renegade A (Berkshire) and they take on
West Midlands Small Heath led by Dave Preece. Small Heath are way beyond
the other two teams in terms of experience. This is head to head stuff
and history has no part to play when the teams clash. Small Heath are
not the best of starters, but once warmed up are proven last eight material.
I think Renegade will take the early advantage but it will be eroded
away by Small Heath until they get the ascendancy and once that happens
Renegade A won’t catch Small Heath.
Renegade A will then have to take on Reds1 (Warwickshire) which should
be an easier task than squaring up to Small Heath. I feel that Renegade
will struggle in this mach because they will still feel deflated at letting
their advantage slip in the previous match. This in turn will make Renegade
A’s task harder. So it will be neck and neck all the way until
the Reds just make it to the finishing line before Renegade A.
This will give Small heath the edge when they take on Reds 1 and although
Red 1 can compete with Small Heath the narrowness of their win over Renegade
A will give Small heath the option of the draw. This safety net for Small
Heath will turn out to be the reason they will win this match and the
Table Twenty Five
This is another group with two cracking teams in it,
Wigan (Lancashire) will start their campaign against Cherry Tuckers (Nottinghamshire)
with John Brinksworth, Andy Hind and Lee Boulton in their line up they
can’t really compare themselves to Wigan who can call on Carl Bromley,
Lee Bridge, Geoff Harrison, Shaun Dawber and of course skipper Ian Davenport.
Look at that lot and you can see the size of the task facing the Cherry
Tuckers. Sadly I think it’s a task that is beyond them and that
Wigan will cruise to the win, sit back and watch how well the third team
in the group does against them.
Bedfordshire’s Bedford A are the third team in this group so things
are not going to get any better for the Cherry Tuckers. Bedford has James
Griffin, Mark Seaman, Paul Frith and Terry Teivans. They all have bags
of experience and that alone should be enough to see them through this
match so it will be the end of the road for Cherry Tuckers, for them
it’s the bar to drown their sorrows, poor little tuckers.
This will set up a group decider between two teams who are usually group
winners but obviously, only one team can go through. This is going to
be a close match but with Wigan being the more successful of the two
teams I am going to say that Wigan will be the ones to come out of this
match knowing that they will be playing again later in the day.
Table Twenty Six
This group has another of the South Yorkshire teams in
it and in this case it’s Dinnington opening up the group against Hampshire’s
Andover who should be a strong team so Dinnington will have to produce
some quality pool if they have any notions of beating Hampshire. My thoughts
are that Dinnington, skipper Vince Ley will not have access to the amount
of fire power he will need to knock Andover out of the water.
Dinnington should have enough on board to show newcomers Clitheroe (Lancashire)
that life is far from easy in the Interleague. Clitheroe could be forgiven
for thinking that Dinnington might be a bit of a push over, having just
seen them loose to Andover. However, Dinnington are a good side. Just
not as good as Andover maybe. My feelings are that Dinnington will beat
Clitheroe quite easily leaving Andover the luxury of only needing the
draw when they play Clitheroe.
This could be one the first groups to finish on Saturday afternoon because
I think that when Andover play Clitheroe, Andover will go to town on
the Lancashire outfit so they can sit back and have a nice long rest
before they are called on to play again in the last 32
Table Twenty Seven
If this there is a group I am confident of getting
the group winner right then this is the one Staffordshire’s Trent Trophies A are
a team that you just don’t want to see in your group. It’s
a bit like standing in the middle of the track at an F1 race, you know
that every car in the race is top notch and that eventually one of them
is going to knock you over it’s just a question of when, where
and how much damage they wreak in the process . The only thing that Colchester
(Essex) and Sheppey (Kent) can take out of this group is a good match
Colchester have Steve Kane in their line up and he will not be phased
by whoever he has to play and would seem to be their best chance of a
point against Trent Trophies. but in order to compete with the Staffordshire
side Colchester would need another six Steve Kane’s, unfortunately
they do not, but don’t .think I am saying they will only get a
point or two , I am not, I am just saying that Steve Kane is their most
likely player to get the ball rolling.
Colchester will then have to take on Mark Sheather’s Sheppey A
this will be a much more even match and probably will end up as a draw.
Sheppey A has Old white socks, Dave Norris and Scott Bootes in their
Sheppey will then take their turn to be battered by Trent Trophies A
Table Twenty Eight
This table has two newcomers, certainly as a team,
playing first which will be interesting to watch as neither ream will
know what to expect
from the other. I feel that of the two teams playing the first match
Surrey’s Tolworth II will be the more likely to win, if only because
they are the second string to Surrey’s best team over the years,
Tolworth, some of the magic dust will have fallen in the direction of
Tolworth II. All this may be a tad unfair on Nottinghamshire’s
Hinckley, especially as I have never seen them play but 9: am Saturday
morning will see whether I am right or wrong on this one.
Hinckley will then take on Bedfordshire’s Luton Elite, they have
been here before but have failed to make an impression so I can’t
see them doing too much damage to Hinckley but I feel they will still
be good enough to beat the boys from Notts.
This will set up a group decider between Luton Elite and Tolworth II
somewhat surprisingly, I think this will be a tight match as Luton Elite
will up their game a couple of notches.
When it comes down to it though I don’t think Luton Elite will
have enough notches to stop Tolworth II from making it through to the
Table Twenty Nine
Derbyshire’s McCluskey's led by Jon Shapland had a great run in
the April event when as a largely unknown team they ruffled a few feathers
and reached the last 16 before going out. Using the fact you are unknown
only works once here teams soon cotton on to the fact that your team
can play. London’s waterloo has been here before but has not really
made that bigger impression on the event. So I can’t really see
them being able to overcome a confident McCluskey's. I don’t think
it will be one way traffic in favour of McCluskey's but neither do I
think that Waterloo will give the Derbyshire team too much to worry about.
Next up for Waterloo if I am right will be Oxfordshire’s Bicester
Select who are as far as I can tell at about the same level of development
as a team so this one will be close with both teams trading frames with
Waterloo just running out the winners.
When McCluskey's take on Bicester Select in the final group match McCluskey's
will be aiming for getting the job done as fast as possible. Although
Bicester Select will try to give them as good as they get. I fear it
won’t be enough to stop McCluskey's making it through the group
stage and in to the last 32 with relative ease.
Godalming A (Surrey) take on Grove Elite (West Yorkshire)
in the opening match in this group. Godalming captain Steve Brooker should
quality in the squad to over come what ever Grove Elite skipper Neil
Burchall can throw at him.
Paul Paddick’s Bicester County Club (Oxfordshire) will take on
the losers of match one, Grove Elite. This match should be like so many
others, a nice evenly balanced contest. That said, I feel that Grove
Elite have a slightly better chance of winning this tussle.
This should mean that the clash between Godalming A and Grove Elite
will be for the right to move forward to the last 32. I can’t see
any further then Godalming winning this match and the group.
Table Thirty One
Has West Midlands’s Walsall A, who are by far the best team in
this group if you look at the ranking list. They will be playing East
Yorkshire’s Beverley B. and I am sure that Beverley will not come
all the way from East Yorkshire just to lose and go home. If Beverley
are to do anything in this match then skipper Lee Oxley will have to
do some home work and work out where he will be playing his strongest
Walsall A can be beaten but Beverley will have to play to their top
game. All that said I can’t really see any other result than Walsall
The Beverley versus Gosport (Hampshire) match will be tough for Beverley
as well because Gosport will fancy their chances against Walsall A. that
being the case, Gosport will do all they can to win this match and for
that reason I think Beverley will loose this match as well and bow out
of this tears knock out cup.
Gosport A’s tie with Walsall A will go the same way as the opening
match in this group where Gosport think they can beat Walsall and will
give it a real go but Walsall will wear them down and eventually win
the match and the group.
Table Thirty Two
Warwickshire’ Reds Elite take on Surrey’s
Croydon in the opening match in this group. For Gary Swettenham and the
rest of his
Croydon team it will be a relief to be back playing here after missing
out in April to post man not delivering their booking forms. That is
now in the past and they will be out to make up for lost time.
They team they intend to take their frustrations out on will be Reds
Elite. I think that Reds Elite will give Croydon a rude lesson on how
harsh this game is at times and beat them to the punch and win the match.
This will mean the Croydon will have to try and beat Leicestershire’s
City of Leicester and sadly for City of Leicester I think they will which
will all but hand the group over to Reds Elite. To be honest I think
that even if City of Leicester beat Croydon, Reds Elite would still have
won the group, they would just have had to work a little harder.