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Surrey C 21 - London C 23

Inter CountyPhew! Another win for the unbeaten and top of the table London C team, but yet another nailbiter. They came back at us in the final quarter and from 19-14 up we blew a few chances to take the match before Lee finally sunk the winner. We've won tight, but we've won, and that's what matters. Getting past Surrey was always going to be a real challenge and we rose to it. Next up for us of course is Kent.

It was a tight first quarter which we won 6-5. We then put together a good run in the second quarter which we won 7-4 to sneak further in front. Another 6-5 set took us closer to the finishing line, but we struggled to put it to bed, and they took the last set 7-4. At 22-20 we were guaranteed the draw and it was up to either Lee or Paul D to take us home. Paul, who'd had a miserable day, looked like he'd turned the corner when he pulled off a great break-dish - only to pot a colour with the black and lose! Fortunately, Lee had just clinched his frame so it didn't matter. In fairness we had a bit of run, because we took three frames by that unlucky route, their player going in-off after potting the black. But you have to accept that and take the wins, because there'll be plenty of times when the luck's against you.

The London men's squad was at a bare 33 so there were no substitutions, and this was the first time this season when we weren't entirely sure who had confirmed by the end of Saturday. At one point we were worried we may be calling up juniors which would have been annoying because I have players on reserve I could have contacted if I'd have known. Fortunately we had just enough to avoid doing that, but let's hope we have some options for the game at Kent. I feel the need to remind all players that the reason we ask for confirmation beforehand, and to make every effort to honour that commitment, is so that we know whether to call on reserves. The As and Bs will always have enough players, even if they have to call some up, but the Cs are the ones who are left in need of reserves or ladies or juniors if things get tight. And given that we are top unbeaten and on course for the first London C regional trophy ever, it would be a real shame if that had to happen and upset our chances. In this case, though, no damage was done, and to be fair much of the team was unchanged. It's nice to be captaining a pretty settled squad, which maybe we didn't have last year.

Can I remind all players of the advice I gave earlier about refereeing calls, particularly when calling shots. Some were still making errrors. Can I also urge you all to look at your trousers and make sure they are acceptable. If you're unsure, they're probably not!

On now to player performances: two guys nailed 4/4. Andre got his third 4/4 from 4 matches, and his second in a row. Chappers got his second in a row. Great form lads! Booney got 3/4 for the fourth consecutive match! Mark Hester, making a return to the team after a season off, got an admirable 3/4. Stonesey, Lee and Paul W all got 2/4. Baz, who topped the regional stats before the match, disappointed with 1/4, as did Paul D, and Danish had another disappointing day on 1/4. Some of these guys had chances but lost position on the final shot, which once again happened a few times during the match. I'm afraid I had a very bad day on the table - 0/4. Not a lot I could have done about the first three, but the last one really angers me because I had total control and good chances to nail it. Thankfully, the team made my performances irrelevant.

All three men's teams won by the same score. We fell over the line, but at least we crossed it somehow. Basingstoke proved to be a great venue and the food was excellent - we look forward to visiting again when we play Hants there. But before that, there's the small matter of Kent. We have every right to be confident for that one.

I have to name a MOTM. It has to be between the two 4/4s. Hmm, this is hard. For no other reason than because Andre pipped him to the honour last time, I'm going to be democratic and give it to Chappers this time round.


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