NCMT Shakespeare and LSC produce stunning Neil Clark Trophy wins
2008/2009 NEIL CLARK MEMORIAL TROPHY
For immediate release
Thursday, June 5th, 2009
SHAKESPEARE ‘A’ STUN KING’S HEAD TO
CLAIM NEIL CLARK MEMORIAL TROPHY
Lilleshall Sports Centre edge Audco ‘A’ for third place
NEWPORT (Shropshire): It was the evening of the underdog after a sensational night of pool to decide the outcome of the 2009 Neil Clark Memorial Trophy at a raucous Navy Club.
If a shock victory by Lilleshall Sports Centre over defending champions and unbeaten league leaders, Audco ‘A’, wasn’t enough to decide the third-place play-off, the unfancied Shakespeare ‘A’ side came from two frames down to stun the King’s Head and claim the prestigious Neil Clark Memorial Trophy.
The Shakespeare ‘A’ came into the game in good form and had beaten their rivals in a league match earlier in the week, but form counts for nothing in the cauldron of pressure and the omens were not good for the Upper Bar side when Irene Whittington edged Don Brennan to put the King’s Head 1.0 up.
Ian Perry made no mistake in edging Laura Baker in a close second rack and the Chetwynd End side were on their way. But Dave Marshall managed to pip Neil Hallett in a gruelling third frame to give the Shakespeare hope – the tension paramount when he threw his cue on the table in triumph and almost clouted a moving cue ball.
Up stepped Andrew Potter to take on last year’s Newport Open runner-up, Mick Collins. The game was nip and tuck, but Potter managed to shade a useful clearance and levelled the scores. But Brennan and skipper Richard Young had no answer to Collins and Whittington in frame five and the King’s Head went into the final doubles match with a 3-2 lead.
But the under-rated Potter was in superb form and he teamed up with Marshall to take the match to a deciding rack, his clearance against Ian Perry and Brad Borratt fitting of the Neil Clark Memorial final.
King’s Head captain Collins held the upper hand for much of the tie-break frame, but he gave Potter two shots at the business end of the rack and Potter held his nerve to leave himself on a tricky black into the bottom right-hand pocket. Even Potter was feeling the pressure now, as an aghast crowd watched him jaw the black, leave it safely on the cushion and cover Collins’s final colour into the bargain.
Collins had to make contact with the ball at all costs and he didn’t disappoint, the outcome being a relatively safe shot where Potter would needed the shot of his life to win the cup for the Shakespeare ‘A’. Cometh the moment, cometh the man and ‘Potter the Potter’ rapped a sensational black into the corner pocket to a roar of approval from the assembled throng. It was a superb way to end an excellent night of top class pool.
“We made it,” said a delighted Richard Young. “What a game and what a result.”
A welcome break for refreshments, courtesy of the hospitable Navy Club hosts, followed the much-anticipated third-place play-off.
Audco A faced Lilleshall Sports Centre, with LSC entering the cauldron after a woeful run of form. The writing was on the wall after rack one when Mick Beech got into his potting stride early on to seven-ball LSC skipper Dave Price and put the outgoing champions 1-0 up.
Paul Trevor got the better of Greg Heathcote to make it 2-0 after a safety-dominated frame and the 2007 Newport Open champion, Colin Pink, looked set to make it 3-0 when Neil Perkins scattered all the balls from the break in frame three.
But the Hinstock player missed a crucial pot and let Perkins back into the game. A period of safety play ensued and the LSC player managed to turn around Pink’s advantage and somehow claw his way to a frame win with a nervy four-ball clearance.
Ben Longstaff’s rack against the defending Newport Open champion, Anthony Heathcote, was crucial and it was a long drawn-out affair. One simple mistake late on cost Heathcote dearly and LSC found themselves back at 2-2 and in the match.
Price opted to play Heathcote and Longstaff in rack five against Beech and Trevor and the game was again dominated by safety play. But Longstaff’s and Heathcote’s patience was rewarded with an excellent frame win, as LSC closed in on an unlikely win.
Pink and Audco skipper Andy Lycett won the toss to break in frame six and immediately took the upper hand. But Perkins and Richard ‘Moley’ Priest hit back with some useful potting to get themselves on an even keel. But Lycett hit form at the right time and made a useful four-ball clearance under pressure to force the tie-break frame at 3-3.
The match was already running over an hour behind schedule when Lycett locked horns with young Greg Heathcote to decide the bragging rights between the two sides. It was even-stevens all the way through, but Heathcote found himself in a better position late on and a sensational pot clinched the frame and a superb win for LSC over the previously-unbeaten Audco side.
The awards were presented by Barry Clark - in the presence of his wife Anne - father of former Newport league player Neil Clark, who lost his battle with a cancer-related disease in October 2006. Neil was a former winner of the local league and cup with the Fox & Duck pool team.
2009 Neil Clark Memorial Trophy – results
3rd Place Play-off
Audco A v Lilleshall Sports Centre, 3-4 (after play-off)
Shakespeare A v King’s Head, 4-3 (after play-off_
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: 07831 123153