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London C 22 Hampshire C 22

Inter CountyI'm a bit lost for words trying to report on this match. Coming into it, the team was sufficiently fired up despite its slow start to the season. This was, on paper, an unimpressive Hants team which needed a few extra players from the youths and ladies. Many of the players are new. This was surely the match to kick-start our season.

We started late - a frustrating thing, for sure, but no matter. As ever, we started the match slowly, but kept pace, and from 2-3 down took control to win the first set 7-4. Happy with that, we really took charge in the second set, which we romped 9-2 to take a 16-6 half-time lead. It was happy days. So what the hell happened then?

To their credit, Hants really tightened up in the third set. They played far better tactically and started covering pockets and not taking risks. This ground a few of our boys down, I fear. They won the third set 8-3. But we still thought it was just a blip, a little bit of indigestion after establishing the heavy early lead. Shame on us. In the final quarter, which they also won 8-3, they just outgunned us. They potted, they finished, and we made schoolboy errors to throw games away. Everyone was gutted. Even though we drew, it felt like a loss.

What's most annoying is that nobody actually played that bad. Mickey W was the only player to go home winless from two frames yet he had such a tough time, because in both games his opponent covered both top bags and left him playing catch-up. Nobody would have wanted to have played those two frames. Various guys started well - Charlie and Baz really impressed in their first two frames - only to lose it in the second half.

Man of the match is clear. Richard Chapman played an outstanding match from start to finish to win 4 from 4. He really was on good form. I also want to single out Andre Cox who recovered from losing both the lag and the frame in the opener to win his next three, one courtesy of a monster break-dish, and played with real team heart throughout. My third gong goes to Michael Bonney, who came on as a sub and secured two crucial wins.

So, Chaps got 4/4, Andre 3/3 and Booney 2/2. Charlie, Baz, Paul Dawson and Peter Mac all got 2/4. Myself and Mo both got 1 from 2 before taking a rest. Shane, Paul Shrimpton and Paul Dawson got 1 from 4, while Mickey Walker was unlucky with his 0 from 2.

The guys clearly need a bit of experience at this level. I saw a player mistakenly think his opponent had claimed the dominant colour when in fact it was still an open table. I saw crucial positional misses on the last balls. I wasn't the only one to miss two shots on the black. I saw experienced players missing the ball entirely to give two shots away when no finish was on with just the one. It was also pointed out to me that as timekeepers, a few of our guys were unaware that they had refereeing authority and could intervene when the ref missed something. You can tell that we are a young side in terms of experience and strategy, but I still believe in our talent.

We have Berkshire next and I live in hope of a confident performance. We all feel gutted for the county that we let slip such a lead. So far, few players have really excelled consistently and only a minority are on course for retention, but I expect that to change. Richard has been excellent, Paul D solid, Charlie's never been less that 50% in any match, Mo has shone despite his unorthodox style, and Andre is on course. Let's all rise to the occasion next month and do our county proud.

The Doctor


#1 | pickwickpoolshark on May 18 2011 07:58:25
darren, great write up mate and i dont think anybody could of put it better, 17-6 up guys and we let it slip !!!!

today is wednesday and im still sat here right peed off, not with the team, but with myself, i got beat by 2 guys who i should be expected to beat, and inch in one game and and an undecided choice of potting 2 balls cost me the frames, schoolboy errors!!!!

its all about little errors, we have a great team, not only has players but a great team spirit,

berkshire next, there top of our league, were bottom, but and the very big but is this, look at the "C" team player rankings and see, in the top 28 players berkshire have 3 to our 8,

come on guys, chins up and lets smash berkshire and actually show region 7 who the real london "C" team is boys", because, on your day, you are all excellent pool players.....

Paul D.
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