The English Pool Association is one of the few governing bodies in sport
that insists on the right of each of its members who play in the Intercounty
fixtures to have the right to play for their country. This as you can
imagine is no easy feat to achieve and although the system used may not
be ideal for everybody it certainly has been effective over the years. "Inter
County Rankings" are the system by which players are selected for
the England squad trials.
How this works is every single player playing in the Inter-County Matches
has their performance recorded for an entire season. Even if a player
only plays in one frame all season their performance will be recorded.
There are five sections open to the players aiming to become part of
the England team. They are Mens, Ladies, Seniors, Under 23s and Junior squads. In each of
the eight regions the top seven players from each section are invited
to take part in the trials.
How are the top seven arrived at? Each region awards points to players
for each frame they win in their Inter-County matches. These "ranking
points" are added to each individual player's total depending on
the team they played in and how many frames they won.
Over the course of a season these points mount up and the seven players
with the most points at the end of the playing season in each of the
sections get to trial for a place in the England squad for the following
The men's section are counted together but more points are awarded to "A" team
players for a win. If the points were the same for each section a "B" team
player might amass enough points during the season to qualify for the
trials. In reality, if they did, someone would ask as to why they were
not playing in the "A" section. Since they would have had to
win around double the amount of frames an "A" player would
to qualify for the trials. That would almost certainly mean they were
(a) too good for the section and should have been playing in the "A" team
or (b) they were being retained in the "B" squad to get enough
points to qualify.
All Counties must field their strongest available "A" squad
for all matches. As you will see from the table below, the more matches
played in, and frames won in those matches, enhances a players points
collection and will put players who turn out for their County most often,
in a more commanding position than those who turn out less regularly
without actually stopping those players who miss a few matches qualifying.
However, they will have to win a lot more to oust a regular player.
The reason "B" team players get less points for wins than
their "A" team counterparts is because the men's section is
recorded a a single ranking list. This in turn means that it would be
possible to get a situation where a "B" team player could oust
an "A" team player if they had the same amount of points. In
theory at least, the "A" team players wins have been earned
against stronger opposition than those won in the "B" team
so the reward for winning is higher. This system means that it is hard
for "B" team players to earn enough points to oust an "A" team
player but still allows a "B" team player to qualify for the
trials if they are good enough.