Hotshots poised to become champions

2:51pm Thursday 27th March 2014

Hotshots Snooker Club of Langley are poised to become Premier Division champions for the first time following a 4-1 success on the tables of Netherton Sports and Social club.

The First and Second Division championships were resolved with a week to spare, however, as long time leaders Stourbridge Institute B and Norton Social B, respectively, cannot be caught.

Steve Howell gave Netherton, and Hotshots’ pursuers, hope by accounting for Neil Beckley, but Roy Stokes levelled the score before 40 plus breaks from Dave Green and Milan Krstanovic made sure of victory. Rob Howen’s black ball win against Rich Barnsley made the title chase just a little easier.

Two of the chasing pack had brought forward their clash scheduled for the final week of the season because of other commitments, including Callum Downing’s appearance for England in Romania. Nine successive wins had given Brandhall Labour a chance to challenge for the title, but only Alan Hooper could win for them at Norton Social A, who had kindly agreed to the rearrangement.

Adam Ness, with a 58 break, Rob Pitt, Ash Aston and Graham Tomkins earned a fine 4-1 win for the hosts.

Brandhall then went on to defeat Moor Pool and Snooker A 4-1, Karl Ashmore making a break of 74, with Mike Richards taking a crucial frame to assist the visitors’ fight against relegation. Norton went on to win 3-2 away to Pockets SC B thanks to Steve Mason, Adam Ness and Neil Rollinson’s decider, with Bob Moran and Danny Rees replying for Pockets, a result which means that Norton finish a point above Brandhall.

The only team that can catch the leaders is West Midlands Police, who had to dig deep to win 3-2 on the tables of Amblecote Institute A. Dan Petch, who inflicted only the 3rd defeat on Gavin Sloan, and Andy Round won for the Institute, but Mark Sheehan, on the black against Ash Sidaway, Maria Catalano, with a 45 break and Kev Franklin with 51, nicked it for the Police.

Moor Pool and Snooker B needed to win their last match of the season at home to Pockets SC A to avoid relegation and Neil Gennard, Simon Dingley, Lee Whitehouse and Ian Priest gave them a 4-1 success despite John Betton taking the opener for the visitors. Moor P and S’s three wins against the two Pockets teams have made a significant difference to their season.

In the First Division, Stourbridge Institute B celebrated lifting the championship after defeating Amblecote Institute B 3-2. Two of their most consistent players, Mark Hatton and Jon Bate, lost to Mick Cook and Adam Coley, who had a fluent 47 break, but Chris Crumpton, with a 48, Dean Banks and Alan Cope, in the decider, carried them through to the title, whilst their opponents, Amblecote, are now three points behind the second-placed team Kinver Const A.

Kinver won 3-2 at home to Amblecote RBL A thanks to Robin Hall, Mitchell Hines and Ron Smith’s decider, whilst Amblecote replied through Barry Young and Mark Mantom; they can still be caught by Moor Pool and Snooker C for the runners-up spot, however, following their 3-2 win against Kinver’s C team, Ben Wakeman making a break of 36 in the deciding frame.

Kingswinford Cons A’s challenge for honours still looked on when Chris Jevons and Wayne Whitmore gave them a 2-0 lead at home to Stourbridge Institute A, but Paul Bates, Martin Harris and Paul Garbett turned the match around.

Last season’s Second Division champions, Baggeridge Social, cast off any relegation worries with a 3-2 win at home to Wombourne, with Frankie Bennett, Matt Whale and Dave Whale on target, while cup semi-finalists, Kinver Const B, enjoyed another good away win at the expense of the much-improved Kingswinford Snooker Centre team.

Norton Social B won the Second Division championship by virtue of a 4-1 victory at home to Kingswinford Cons B, despite missing two players through holidays. John Tyler stepped in but lost to Sam Porter, but Pete Perry won on his debut, and Luke Grosvenor, Pete Cairns and Joe Davies completed a famous evening.

Dibdale Snooker Club, relegated last season, completed their programme with a 5-0 win at home to Amblecote Inst E and might well bounce back at their first attempt as their two closest rivals for the runners-up position, Amblecote RBL B and Stourbridge Inst C suffered surprising home defeats. Only David Gilroy and Sam Ball could win for the Legion as Chris Cowley, Gavin Dunn and Stewart Barclay eased Stourbridge Old Edwardians to a 3-2 win, while Harry Jones was the Institute’s only winner as Keith Wellbourne, Ian Morris, John Jennings and Dave Woodall produced an upset for Kingswinford RBL B, who, having reached the Plate semi-final the week before, had another great performance. Dibdale could be caught if either of their rivals win handsomely in the final week.

Black ball wins for Steven Butcher and Ian Manley gave Amblecote Inst D a 2-0 start at Kingswinford Cons C and although Roy Blewitt pulled a frame back, Mark Daniels and Mark Robson completed a 4-1 win.

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