London Juniors 23 - 21 Hants Juniors
Posted by Sass on May 17 2011 09:52:06
I'll have to admit I was worried about this one the night before with 4 key players unavailable but Stephen Kelly showing excellent team spirit to take a break from his GSCE revision to play and with my children making rare appearance we managed to muster 10 players for the match. All the best with your exams Stephen.

The frame given away in each set and the inexperience in our rather makeshift team made the match incredibly close and it's a credit to the more established members of the team that they stayed focussed on their own game and supported the less experienced players in their efforts. Fantastic to see.

The first two sets both went to London 6-5. The third set went to Hampshire by the same scoreline.

In the final set Hampshire got on a bit of a roll and took 5 of the first 7 frames to lead the match for the first time and go 21-19 ahead. Next on was Caitlin Long who after a pep talk had managed to overcome her earlier nerves and in a rare all female match in the juniors she registered her first win for London.

We still weren't out of the woods, but next up was Shane O'Reilly, our new signing from Surrey and he won his frame to register 4 out of 4 on his London debut. They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression - Shane didn't need one - great talent and temperament and it seemed like he'd always been there.

The next frame was to secure the draw and up stepped Oliver Lawrence. I'd told both him and his dad earlier that I'd put him at the end as I thought the match would come down to the wire and I felt that he would handle it well - he didn't let me down. A tricky last 3 balls to clear and fair few of the A & B team watching and Ollie held his nerve, took his time and played them brilliantly to secure the win. So it was left to stand-in captain Liam Clancy to seal the win. He wasn't favourite early on the frame but he showed real maturity in turning the frame round and winning the match for London.

Also a mention for Jasper Bacon and Luke Thompson who both won 4/4 frames on the day.

Shane O'Reilly 4/4
Luke Thompson 4/4
Jasper Bacon 4/4
Liam Clancy 3/4
Stephen Kelly 2/4
Jack Lawrence 2/4
Oliver Lawrence 2/4
Caitlin Long 1/4
Mehmet Tango 1/4
Alex Long 0/4

I am bringing back the 10 prize for player of the match for the second half of the season - I'm glad I didn't have to choose at this one - you were all brilliant in different ways!

We have no match in June as Berkshire don't have a Junior's team. The next match is at home to Surrey on 17 July. We are now on won 2 lost 2 so we have all to play for. If we can bring the same attitude to the Surrey match as we did for Hampshire who knows what could happen.