NPL Audco burn midnight oil to clinch Neil Clark Memorial Trophy
2007-2008 NEWPORT & DISTRICT POOL LEAGUE
For immediate release
Thursday, May 8th, 2008
AUDCO BURN MIDNIGHT OIL TO SEE OFF LILLESHALL
NEWPORT (Shropshire): The Audco clinched the inaugural Neil Clark Memorial Trophy and the Newport Pool League Cup against Lilleshall Sports Centre at the Navy Club. What had initially looked like a potential 4-0 rout for the league leaders eventually finished in a 2hrs 40min marathon contest that finished just before one in the morning and very nearly went to a tie-break.
Both sides switched their regular player orders to try and gain a psychological advantage and the draw put the unbeaten Andy Lycett up against LSC’s Greg Heathcote. The opening frame was a long, tense affair with few mistakes, but Lycett was left one slight opening and that was enough to put Audco one-up.
Defending Open champion Colin Pink was ironically drawn against Neil Perkins in the publicised ‘Pinky and Perky’ clash. The frame began scrappily, with missed pots and a lack of opportunities for either player. A fluke pot by Pink and a missed plant by Perkins turned the rack in the Audco player’s favour and he sealed the black to put Audco 2-0 up.
Anthony Heathcote against Ben Longstaff was a long, safety-dominated frame, with both players at the top of their games. Neither was prepared to make a mistake, but Heathcote capitalised on a slight opening to clear his remaining three balls and give Audco what should have been an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Nick Clewley was always struggling in his frame against 2006 Newport Open champion Paul Trevor and, as the Audco player closed in on the black, event organisers were already unwrapping the trophies for the prize giving. But Trevor somehow missed a straightforward black to clinch the match and Clewley came to the table to make a sensational clearance to keep LSC hopes alive.
It was already approaching midnight when youngsters Jack Jones and Tom Sayce took to the table to try and seal the match against Greg Heathcote and Longstaff. They were in control from the start and had three opportunities to finish the game. But the LSC duo somehow turned the frame around and Heathcote cleared his balls with panache to set up a stunning finale to the match, being watched by Barry and Ann Clark, the parents of the late Neil Clark, whose name graced the gleaming new trophy.
Lycett and Pink faced Perkins and Clewley with the prospect of a sudden death frame if LSC could somehow turn the match around in the early hours of the morning. LSC started well and the frame was nicely balanced, with safety play and positional shots dominating.
But Clewley was given a slight opportunity to clear the remaining five balls and level the match. He potted the first three with ease, somehow managed to double the final red into the middle pocket and left himself a similar black to take the match to a tie-break.
But the ball hit the corner of the pocket - much to the groans of the crowd - and Lycett opted for a snooker, rather than try and clear the remaining two yellows and the black. Perkins tried to clip the black to leave it covering the final yellow, but the white slipped agonizingly past without making contact and the two shots were enough for Pink to clear the table, clinch a memorable 4-2 win and send the Audco team into raptures.
“It looked like we had the edge early on, but Lilleshall made us work for it,” admitted Lycett. “We could not have asked for a better final.”
Earlier in the evening, the Shakespeare had taken a similar time to see off the challenge of Sutherland Muxton in a tie-break for the third-place play-off. Kim Worrall had put the Telford side 1-0 to the good with a win over Don Brennan, before Matt Hester levelled the scores with success over David Worrall.
Luke Hayward edged a tight frame against Luke Jones to put Muxton 2-1 up and Charlie Hayward won a tense clash of the ‘Chuckle Brothers’ by pipping Shake skipper Mick Andrews to put the Sutherland 3-1 up.
But the Shake hit back strongly: Ben Clews and Hester clinched the first doubles match against Luke Hayward and Kim Worrall and Richard Young and Luke Jones played well to force the tie-break against Dave Worrall and Charlie Hayward.
Clews and Kim Worrall were duly thrown into the cauldron for the tie-break and the talented Clews completed the turn around to give the Shakespeare a well deserved third place.
“A big thank you to the Navy Club for their excellent hospitality and use of the facility for finals’ night,” said event organiser Neil Perkins of NDP Publicity Services. “And, of course, a thank you to Barry and Ann Clark for agreeing to support the Neil Clark Memorial Trophy. It will become an institution in Newport Pool for many years.”
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: 07831 123153