BIDDING to retain the Premier Division championship won with the final frame of last season, Hotshots SC had a good start with a 4-1 win at home to Brandhall Labour.

Callum Downing, Roy Stokes & Neil Beckley won decisively but Bal Sembi was taken to the black by Richard Crowley; Alan Hooper beat Dave Green to secure a consolation point for the visitors.

The best finish of the week came at Norton Social, whose A team went 2-0 ahead through Andy Smith (42 break) and Steve Mason, but they were pulled back to 2-2 by Baggeridge Social A, thanks to Jason Hickman and Eliott Bastable, who had a fine break of 73. In the tightest of deciding frames, Graham Tomkins took a respotted black against David Hall, making a welcome return to the league after a 15 year absence, to clinch the win for Norton.

The two promoted teams lost heavily: Stourbridge Institute A, whose superb 16 match winning run swept them to the First Division title, lost all five frames at home to Pockets SC A. Lee Page, Gary Smith, who did well to beat Ashley Aston, Rich and Tom Pepperall and John Betton found the Institute’s tables to their liking. Meanwhile, Norton Social B, who were First Division runners up, lost the first four frames at St John’s Social before Paul Bowen earned a consolation point. Earlier, Tim Steele, Carl Walker, Simon Thomas and Beamer Jones had established an unassailable lead.

West Midlands Police, champions in 2016 and 2017, last season’s runners up, fielded a weakened team at Pockets SC and only Kev Franklin could win as the home team, given a good start by Alan Turner and Gavin Evans, made sure of the win through Jamie Shuck, before Tony Kidd took advantage of a run of bad luck for Gavin Sloan.

First Division report: Moor Pool & Snooker, last season’s 3rd placed team had a fine start with a 3-2 victory away to Bearwood Cons, making a welcome return to the league. Simon Dingley, on the black against Paul Gibson, Lee Whitehouse and Ian Priest took the honours, with John Chester and Mick Cash replying for the hosts.

Dave Whale, his son, Luke, and Frankie Bennett combined to give Baggeridge Social B a good start at home to Amblecote Inst B for whom Mick Cook, in particularly good form, and Alan Moore replied.

Jon Perry gave Wombourne the opening frame at home to Kingswinford Cons B, but Fred Dent, Greg Reece, Mark Reece and Martin Wilson, on the black, fought back to take the match 4-1 for the Cons, while Stourbridge Old Edwardians, courtesy of Harry Hall & Gavin Dunn, went 2-0 up at home to newly-promoted Kinver Constitutional C but Andy Sloan, Chris Randle and Arnie Tromans, a black ball winner against Dave Woodall, turned the match around.

Second Division report: Bahia’s SC B, making their first appearance in the league, were able to celebrate a win at home to Stourbridge Institute D, another new team, also with very little league experience: Ranjit and Janice Singh and Glen Reece won for the hosts, with Tom Game and Brett Harris earning a point apiece for the Institute.

The Institute’s C team had only Alan Jeffries’ success to cheer as the visiting Amblecote RBL team enjoyed a good 4-1 win. Mark Mantom, Jamie & Billy Green and Paul Botfield ensured that the Legion had the best possible start to the season.

The two Amblecote Institute teams began with hard-earned, competitive victories: Adam Kensett, Carl Butcher, a volleyball international making a welcome return to the area, and a last-gasp Mark Robson win helped the D team to a 3-2 win at Kingswinford SC, before Matt Surmacz and Steve Ballinger fought back, while the C team beat Stourbridge Old Edwardians B, a new team with some experienced players, 3-2. Colin Homer, Cary Homer and Ray Vanes all did well to win for the Institute, with Steve Ball and Dan Jones, making his league debut, gaining some consolation for the visiting Old Eds.