NPL Lilleshall set up Audco showdown for Neil Clark trophy



For immediate release
Thursday, April 10th, 2008




Shakespeare to meet Sutherland Muxton in third place play-off

NEWPORT (Shropshire): Lilleshall Sports Centre will play the Audco in the final to decide who wins the Neil Clark Memorial Trophy and the Newport League Pool Cup on Wednesday, May 7th at the Navy Club. The Shakespeare and Sutherland Muxton will also take part in a third place play-off the same evening from 7.45pm.


Both semi-finals were played at the King’s Head last week and the opening clash between the Shakespeare and LSC was an absorbing contest, played with the vibrant background atmosphere of the Liverpool/Arsenal Champions League tie. In fact, a similar 4-2 score line prevailed.


Don Brennan survived no less than four snooker situations and had his own chance to seal the opening frame before Neil Perkins managed to put LSC that all-important first rack ahead. Ben Clews managed to level the scores by getting the better of an out-of-sorts Greg Heathcote in frame two as the tension began to mount at Chetwynd End.


Ben Longstaff found himself in deep trouble against Luke Young in frame three and the Shakespeare player looked certain to clinch the frame. But Longstaff managed to turn the frame around to his advantage and sealed a stunning win to put LSC back in front.


Frame four between Matt Hestor and Nick Clewley was a cagey affair, with neither player wanting to make a mistake. It was evenly poised until Clewley completely missed a fine cut into the far right corner pocket and Hestor benefited from his two shots by nearly clinching the frame with a tricky five-ball clearance. Several safety shots followed before a relieved Hestor slotted home the final black to level the match at 2-2.


The Shakespeare introduced Carl Fletcher and Bulgarian international Steve ‘Maggs’ for the first doubles match, but they struggled from the outset against Heathcote and Longstaff. One mistake handed two shots to the LSC side and a rejuvenated Heathcote made no mistake to put the Lilleshall side one frame away from the final.


Clewley teamed up with Perkins against Clews and Hestor in the sixth frame and Lilleshall made a good start, with Clewley potting two reds from his first visit. Hestor responded quickly and the game was finely balanced for over 15 minutes, until LSC placed the ‘home’ side in two tricky snookers. Clews managed to escape from the first one, but Hestor was troubled by a tricky angle that required side on the ball and he missed by some margin to hand the initiative to LSC.


“Our captain Mick Andrews had cut his finger nails before the game, so he had nothing left to bite,” admitted Hestor.


Perkins managed to clear one ball off the cushion and pot two, but left his final red in the jaws of the pocket, albeit without leaving a yellow in play for the opposition. Clews attempted an almost impossible double to rescue the frame – a vital decision that had been taken on the toss of a coin - but the ball fell short and Clewley slotted the final red with ease and slid the final black beneath the baize to book LSC’s place in what promises to be a thrilling final.


The Audco were clear favourites to beat the Sutherland Muxton in the second semi, but the Telford side have been in a rich vein of form in recent weeks after a poor start to their league season. Audco needed to extinguish the 'smokies' flame...!


The favourites started strongly and Paul Trevor disposed of Dave Worrall without too many problems to put Audco 1-0 to the good. Colin Pink looked to have the measure of Kim Worrall in frame two, but a crucial in-off by Pink let the Muxton player into the hunt and Pink was fortunate to be able to capitalise on one lapse safety shot late on to make the score 2-0.


Audco captain Andy Lycett looked set to sail through the third frame, but he too made one crucial mistake and Charlie Hayward produced a superb fight back to almost clinch the frame. He went for a clearance, when safety play might have been the sensible option, and a missed pot handed the advantage to Lycett and a 3-0 lead to the Audco.


Just as it was looking like a whitewash, Luke Hayward produced a superb fight back in frame four against Jack Jones to seal the frame and keep the match alive: Jones had looked like wrapping up the contest in style, but Hayward cleared six balls to seal the rack.


Tom Sayce and Lycett teamed up against Kim Worrall and Luke Hayward in what should have been the match-winning frame. But Worrall was gifted half a chance early on and made no mistake by sensationally clearing the table to make the score 3-2 and set up a thrilling sixth frame.


By now Audco’s mentality had changed, as the big upset really was on the cards. Lycett decided to play Newport’s two Open Champions, Pink and Trevor, in the final frame against David Worrall and Charlie Hayward - much to the annoyance of disgruntled team member Anthony Heathcote. But the decision eventually paid dividends.


Both sides began cautiously, but Pink was given an all-important two shots for an infringement and hit form at the right time to clear the table in style and book his team’s place in the final against LSC.


“It’s the final that Clarkie (Neil Clark) would have wanted,” admitted Audco’s Andy Lycett. “He had friends in both teams and had a close affiliation with the Audco.”


“From what I have seen from the Audco this season, they are a good side and are top of the league, but we have plenty of grounds to think that we can beat them in the final,” insisted LSC skipper Dave Price. “We have drawn against them twice already this year in the league…bring it on.”


Neil Clark Memorial Trophy – semi-final results

Shakespeare v Lilleshall SC 2-4

Sutherland Muxton v Audco 2-4


2008 Neil Clark Memorial Trophy - Navy Club, Wednesday, May 7th


Third Place Play-Off

Sutherland Muxton v Shakespeare - 7.45pm start


Cup Final

Lilleshall Sports Centre v Audco – TBA (to follow 3rd place match)



For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: 07831 123153


Date issued: 10/04/2008

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