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Potted History of GLCPA Inter County


Origins

Initially there had been a very ad hoc and loose framework within which County pool operated. London had been very successful during the early days, regularly winning the local area competition. However they did not follow this up at National Level, invariably choosing not to attend the National Finals.

The initial London team comprised of players from the Hackney, Imperial, Chalk Farm and Clapham leagues. Some of the stars in the London side from this era included 'Maltese' Joe Barbara, Andy Loppas, Roger Blank, Steve Josephs, Alex Shennan, Chris Karraniki, Pat O'Kane, Johnny Bower, Charlie Nolan and Des Murphy.

1984

A County structure was formally put in place at both Regional and National levels. County pool was established in an attempt to provide an opportunity for players from the various leagues to compete at a higher level.

1985

The first 'trials' for the London County pool team were held at Plough Lane (the original home of Wimbledon Football Club). This involved a high level of organisation as the tables had to be assembled and dismantled on the day!

This year also saw the inception of the London Ladies team and a period of dominance within the ladies game that is unlikely ever to be matched. The London Ladies won the inaugural Regional Title and did not relinquish their grip on it until 1991. They also went on to win 4 successive National Titles from 1988-1991.

1986

The London Men's B Team was formed. Around this time London's original patron, Oliver Donnelly took ownership of Angels Pool Hall in Islington. He employed Alan McClaren who at that time was a leading player, and consequently the combined efforts of these two and the the hard work, dedication and organisational abilities of Brian Dackombe set in place the foundations for a very successful period in the history of London pool.

1988-1995

Attracting and retaining top pool players is no easy task so full credit should go to Brian Dackombe for developing a system that encouraged players from all over London to represent their County. By now players from Battersea, Finchley and Frank Smith leagues had been welcomed into the County fold. The Men's A Team had managed to break Surrey's stranglehold on the division winning titles in 1989, 90, 93, 94 and 95. Indeed players of such calibre as Wayne Fryer, Paul Goldstaub, Bill Hoven and Des Smith they were unfortunate not to win the National Title, twice coming runners up in 94 and 96.

The Men's B team also enjoyed success in securing Regional Titles in 89, 90, 91 and 94. However, they also could not fare better than finalist on the National stage. The C division was also formed in 1990.

The Ladies were the real superstars, they continued to demolish any opposition put in front of them. In doing so they won the Regional title at will each year and reclaimed the National Championship in 93 and 95. At this time any team who did manage to beat the London Ladies then went on to win the National title.

With such strong A, B and Ladies teams the Regional Combined trophy seldom left London. Indeed between 1988 and 1995 the Combined title was relinquished just once - to Sussex in 1992.

Due to a national restructure, the county was renamed Greater London County Pool Association (GLCPA). This was also the year that Junior/Youth County pool commenced. Sadly 1995 also saw Angels Pool Hall close its doors for the last time.

1996 This was to be a turbulent and ultimately significant year for the County. Firstly, the County teams moved to a new home venue, Kentish Town Snooker Club and encountered the generous hospital of 'Big' Ron Deuignen. Also many of the senior men's team players decided to retire from County pool, obviously weakening the squads. Anyone who knows about team pool will tell you it is very cyclic and this proved to be the beginning of a downturn in fortunes for the men. However, the Ladies and Junior teams both secured Regional titles and both retained them in 1997. Needless to say the Ladies also won National titles in 96, 98 and 99.

Rob Buckley, Nigel Smith and Sue Mitchell are all to be applauded for their efforts in maintaining interest amongst the local leagues and players, especially for developing the Junior/Youth Team during the years 1996/2000.

2001-04

The new millenium heralded a fresh start for the Men's A team and the combination of experienced players (Brian Evans, Stuart Leggett, Darren Suchley, Nigel Smith, Ramesh Gokhul, JJ Faul, Ben Clements and John Triani) and emerging talents from the original Youth side (Dean Wisher, John Sullivan, Andy Breen and Terry Arnold) produced a squad capable of returning London to its former glories. They quickly established themselves as one of the top teams in the country, winning 4 consecutive Regional titles from 2001 to 2004 and reaching the National Final in 2002. The pinnacle was reached in 2004 when they finally won the much coveted National title producing an awesome display of attacking pool along the way.

Also, a formal 'squad system' was introduced, bringing stability to the B, C and Junior Teams. Much of the credit for this must go to Sue Mitchell, who had been working diligently behind the scenes to restore credibility and prided to the County.

The Ladies Team was by now starting to lose a few senior players, however they were not going without a fight. In 2001 they rolled back the years to win arguably the greatest of their 10 National titles. The magnitude of their achievements cannot be overstated. To win 13 Regional and 10 National titles is simply a remarkable feat. Special congratulations go to Sue Studman, Gill Buckingham and Linda Redwood who were all part of the initial London Ladies side and are still representing London today. Other notable players over the years have included Karen Winter, Sue Wright, Lesley Hockney, Julie Pipe, Mitsu Dackombe, Sarah Trudgett, Jackie Baker, Doreen Edwards, Kim Shaw, Jean Griffin, Sandra Goff, Theresa Sheridan, Jane Attfield, Mel Harrison and Kathy Hanrahan.

To be continued . . .

Comments

#1 | Brake and dish Lin on March 30 2009 19:58:47
Well done to who has writen this and thanks for taking the time to do it. Brake and Dish Lin

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