Hotshots dig deep to hold title lead

First published in Sport

HOTSHOTS Snooker Club of Langley had to dig deep to get the better of Amblecote Institute A 3-2 and they hold a two point advantage going into the last two weeks of the Premier Division campaign.

It was a much needed win as their three closest rivals dropped only one frame between them. Roy Stokes, Dave Green and Milan Krstanovic, in the decider, just did enough to preserve their unbeaten home record while Ash Sidaway and Dave Oakes won two tight frames for Amblecote.

Brandhall Labour and West Midlands Police both swept to 5-0 victories to remain joint second, with Callum Downing and Gavin Sloan respectively holding on to the coveted “most wins” accolade with 16/18 each, although Gregg Reece, for Kingswinford RBL A, and Simon Dingley and Glyn Whitehouse for Moor Pool and Snooker B, made their opponents battle all of the way.

Fourth-placed Norton Social A built a 4-0 lead at home over Netherton Sports and Social thanks to Steve Mason, Rob Pitt, Adam Ness and Ashley Aston, but Richard Barnsley hit back for the visitors, a result which leaves Norton four points behind the leaders.

The consistency of Danny Rees has inspired Pockets SC B, who lifted themselves clear of the relegation scrap by taking all five frames on the tables of Moor Pool and Snooker A, a result which leaves their opponents as one of three teams, along with Moor P and S B and Netherton separated by only a single point, with one team due to go down.

In the First Division, Stourbridge Institute B came away from Wombourne with a 3-2 victory, which leaves them needing four more frames to make certain of the First Division Championship.

Jon Bate, Mark Hatton and Dean Banks all won with Stuart Taylor and Paul Tristram taking a frame each for the home side as they fight to keep out of the bottom two.

A run of only two wins in seven matches has seen Kinver Constitutional A’s challenge falter but Ron Smith, with a 45 break, Jon Perry, Chris Randle and Arnie Tromans combined to surprise Amblecote Inst B 4-1, a win which enabled them to move back into second place, a point ahead of their opponents, who replied through Adam Coley, but a daunting nine points off the lead.

Moor Pool and Snooker C’s form revival continued with a 4-1 success against Baggeridge Social, with Paul Jones recovering from 38 points adrift to beat Matt Whale on the black, and they occupy fourth place, three points further back, and now a point ahead of Kingswinford Cons A.

The Cons began in outstanding form on the tables of Amblecote RBL A, going 2-0 up through John Rees and Wayne Whitmore who had an excellent break of 75, beating the previous highest of 52. Rob Boylin and Brian Underhill won decisively to draw the Legion level, but Chris Jevons took the decider for Cons, his 18th win in 20 frames.

Kingswinford SC’s eight win in 10 matches, a 4-1 victory at Kinver Const C, lifted them into sixth place, far removed from the foot of the table when that run began, while it was a mixed week for Kinver’s B team, 4-1 winners against Amblecote RBL A in a match held over from the previous week, then losing 3-2 at Stourbridge Inst A, for whom Paul Garbett, who’s lost only three times, won the decider.

Although some of the frames were very tight, Norton Social B won 5-0 on the tables of Kingswinford Cons C to lead the Second Division by six points and they need to win five more frames to make sure, mathematically, of the championship. Eighteen year olds, Luke Grosvenor and Joe Davies have contributed well, both with 14 wins in 18 matches.

Dibdale SC did well to win 3-2 at Stourbridge Old Edwardian Club thanks to Alan Woodbine, Laurence Binfield and Kyle Priest to hold on to second place but they have only one match left to play. Ed Davies and Chris Cowley won comfortably for Old Eds.

Two other teams battling for the runners-up spot, at the very least, won: Amblecote RBL B shrugged off the previous week’s disappointment to win 4-1 at Kingswinford RBL B with Graham Holdnall having runs of 24 and 25 and Stourbridge Institute C won 3-2 away to the in-form Amblecote Inst D team. Nick Aston and Harry Jones put the visitors 2-0 ahead but Mark Daniels and Mark Robson levelled the match; Simon Tyler, with his 11th successive win, a run which began last October, won the decider for Stourbridge, who, like Amblecote RBL B, trail Dibdale by a point.

Amblecote Inst E, currently at the foot of the table, took two frames off their C team, through Louise Taylor and Anthony Harmon, but Mark Colbourne, Pat Willis and Roger McManus, stepping out of premature retirement, ensured the C team won 3-2.

The two Stourbridge teams won their way through to the Worcester inter-league semi-finals last weekend. The A team beat Evesham to gain revenge for a narrow defeat in last year’s final while the B team accounted for Kidderminster.

Adam Ness and Neil Rollinson brought the A team back into the tie with good performances in the first leg away from home, then Steve Mason, Adam Ness and Ashley Aston all won decisively in the second leg at Norton Social.

At Kidderminster, Karl Ashmore’s 34 clearance to pink, and Jason Hickman’s 58 break off his only chance, restored the B team’s fortunes after John Betton and Charles Newey began well for Kidderminster. Alan Hooper’s fine performance helped establish a 104 point first leg lead. Callum Downing’s 49 break settled any nerves and Chris Southall and Alan Hooper put the tie beyond doubt in the second leg at Brandhall Labour.

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