The first matches of 2022 for the South London & Kent Pool Alliance took place in the Cup competitions, the second round of the Founders Cup and the first round of the new Silver Salver.
The second round of the Founders Cup saw some interesting ties, with a derby between Premier Division Bellegrove and Division Two’s Bellegrove Flyers arguably the most tantalizing of the peloton.
This derby match had one of the biggest differences between the two teams in the league, with thirteen places between them, but you would never have guessed, as the first two sets were won by the odd frame, 3- 2.
Jason Brunton got the ball rolling for Division 2, but Peter Whyte equalized for Bellegrove.
Richard Marsh gave the Flyers the lead again, before Dan Heinink tied the set, sending him to a decisive frame.
Alan Boltwood held on to put the Flyers ahead for the third time in the game.
Bellegrove’s Heinink and Barry Barham chained two frames together for the first time in the game, giving them the lead for the first time, 4-3.
Marsh equalized for the Flyers, but Dec Kelly restored a Bellegrove frame advantage before Boltwood won their second frame of the night to tie the game at five on aggregate.
Heinink played a few smart, deliberate fouls to record a personal hat trick to put Bellegrove, 6-5 in front, but the Flyers had Boltwood and Marsh ahead, who were both undefeated and looking for their hat tricks.
Unfortunately for them, Boltwood fell to Barham and Marsh lost to Whyte, giving Bellegrove the match by 8 frames to 5.
Barham, with two undefeated frames, and Whyte, scoring two of three, was unlucky not to win all three, going on black in the second set.
Playing in a great pool, especially in the first two sets, the Flyers are expected to be too good for Division Two and they currently sit second, destined for promotion, having lost just two games so far this season. .
Another thrilling game was also played at the Bellegrove, where second from bottom of Division 2, Happy Hustlers hosted Division 1 leaders, Falconwood Club.
Although not at his best, Falconwood opened up a 7-3 lead, needing one more frame to advance to the next round. However, the match was by no means over.
In frame eleven, Falconwood’s Ian Stringer doubled down on a long black, but the cue ball came in to hand the frame to Hustlers.
In pictures twelve and thirteen, Ross Webster and Brett Crawley had chances to win for Falconwood, but couldn’t get them across the line, with Reece Stewart making a good clearance for Hustlers in picture thirteen, to bring back the score at 7-6.
By this time a sizable crowd had gathered as the other game at Bellegrove was over and everyone stopped to see the conclusion of this tense affair.
Frame fourteen between Hstlers’ Donna Mullins and Falconwood’s Dave Selby was very tense with both players having opportunities to win, which Mullins ultimately did to set up a final frame decider.
It was between Claire Stork of Hustlers and Luke Matthews of Falconwood, and it was another close affair.
Stork failed to position himself on the black of his last red, allowing Matthews to finish, which under normal circumstances would have been a relatively straightforward clearance to see Falconwood return home.
Falconwood qualified for the quarter-finals with an 8-7 victory, the only game of the round to go the distance.
The Hustlers can be extremely proud of their performance and hopefully they can make it their league and rise to the top of the table.
There was another Premier League match against Premier Division, as Fox & Hounds faced The Cocked Hats and the eleven place difference between those two teams really showed it, as Cocked Hats shut out the first set, 5- 0.
Neil Shelton put Fox & Hounds in the first frame of the table with frame six, but that would be it for them, as Chris Hobbis, George Covington and George Taylor won the next three frames to win the match, 8-1 before the end. of the second set.
Hobbis, Taylor and Covington all had their hats firmly cocked, all unbeaten with two frame wins and Adam Hewson was also undefeated by winning his only frame.
Current incumbents Bull Tavern of the Premier Division also won 8-1 against an eleven-place team below them, which beat the Academicals of Division Two.
Premier League The Hotshots were looking to extend their unbeaten run this season with a home game against Premier League Eltham Terrace Rack Pack, who ironically play on the same table at Eltham Terrace for their home games.
The visitors got off to the worst possible start when their captain, Stephen Unwin, made an uncontrollable foul and was then beaten by Richard Chapman.
Andy Monger equalized the game for Rack Pack, then Gary Sweetenham restored Hotshots’ lead and Neil Hall gave Alison Cable a bad luck, stopping and flattening to give Hotshots a 3-1 lead. .
Rack Pack’s Adam Watts challenged the eleven spots between the two teams to finish the set only, 3-2 behind however the Hotshots class showed in the second set, with Chapman, Hall and Ryan Francis taking the first three frames to open. one, 6 -2 advantage.
Watts followed up his first set victory with another in the second to prevent the set from going blank and to ensure the match entered the final set.
Steve Krishnan then recorded another break and a flat on Cable, condemning her to two losses without hitting the table, and putting Hotshots up the hill.
After starting the match with a win Chapman ended it in exactly the same way, this time Chris Parlett had the bad luck to put the cue ball out of the break, leaving Chapman to prepare for his personal hat trick and an 8-3 triumph for Hotshots.
Chapman wasn’t the only undefeated player in the match, as his teammates Hall and Francis won two frames and one frame respectively and Watts won his two frames for Rack Pack.
There was only one Premier Division tie, as at the bottom of the table the Bears welcomed Pickwick, three spots and seventeen points above them.
Pickwick and more specifically Paul got off to a great start, as Paul Slater, Paul Gafa and Paul Dawson took home the first three frames.
Shane Burnett and another Paul, Cobbold of the Bears brought it down to 3-2 at the end of the set, with Cobbold being an inverted flat.
The second set was also a show from Paul, as Slater beat former Pickwick player Dean James, Gafa won frame eight and Cobbold took frame ten with a break and a flat.
The Bears’ Jeff Bailey and Jamie Phillips won the remaining frames of the set to complete the second set all five.
Pickwick tried their triumvirate of Pauls early in the last set to win them the match, but Dawson became the first Paul to lose on the night.
Frame twelve became a battle for the Pauls, as Slater faced Cobbold, so another had to lose and it was Slater on that occasion, giving the Bears a 7-5 lead.
Gafa kept Pickwick in the game with the thirteen frame, but Gary Mason cleared the balls in the next frame to seal the Bears victory and give them their place in the next round.
It was a good night for pool, or should I say Paul, as Cobbold and Gafa both won their three frames the difference was Cobbold was backed by Jeff Bailey winning his two frames and Jamie Phillips his only frame.
While there has been excellent performances from lower division teams against upper opposition, there has only been one giant kill so far this round, with New Eltham New Stars from Division One beating the Rugrats, who have had a great season in the top division. , 8-6.
I’m saying as far as there is an unfinished game, where Division Two leader Duke of Northumberland hosted current Premier League leaders the Sharks.
With fifteen places between the two teams, the match is still well placed at six in all, so everything remains to be played.
All the losing teams from the first round of the Founders Cup have been drawn in the first round of the all-new Silver Salver competition.
Eltham Terrace Nuthouse beat Farmhouse, 8-3, Bellegrove A beat New Eltham New Boys, 8-5 and Bexleyheath Working Men’s Club received a pass to the next round.
The losing teams from the second round of the Founders Cup will join the winning teams from the first round of the Silver Salver for the next round draw of this competition.
For more information on SLKPA, including rankings, visit our website at www.slkpa.com or contact our secretary, Paul Gafa on 07443 456662 or [email protected] with any questions.
The league is always on the lookout for potential sponsors and any interested party can also contact Paul Gafa.