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London C 27 Kent C 17

Inter CountyWe knew going into this game that whoever won it would finish the first half of the season top of the table. While we were unbeaten after four, Kent, who had lost narrowly to Berks, had a much better frames difference and so a win for them would have made sure they were narrowly ahead of us. This, then, was the game that mattered more than any - a defeat would have kept us in the hunt for the title but put Kent in pole position, while a win would have put us six points clear of the pack and thus with room to maneouvre as we enter the home straight.

In the end, we needn't have worried. In what was the single best performance yet from the C team, we made a very good Kent side look rather average, romping home to a 27-17 win. We won all four sets - 7-4, 7-4, 6-5 and 7-4. Going in 14-8 at half time may have led to some complacency but this was a much more controlled performance, we didn't take our feet off the gas for one minute, and Kent rarely threatened to close the gap on us.

It didn't start off looking like it was going to be our day at all. Andre got trounced in the opener after a slightly fortuitous pot from a snooker. But Tony Bailey levelled, and after that we took charge. If we had some run, especially in the earlier exchanges, it was deserved.

The win finally came when the match score was 22-14, which is a pretty heavy margin, and it came courtesy of Danish, via an outrageous shot. Danish was on the black over the bottom bag, his opponent had snookered him and cut off the natural angle, but Mark played up and down the table with such a huge amount of side that the white came diagonally back down to clip the black and knock it into the bag. It would be churlish to point out that, truth be told, with the black blocking one of his opponent's balls, he didn't actually need to go for the pot, which was really high-risk, and could have just DFd. This is Danish we are talking about after all!

Time and again throughout the match players were taking their chances with confidence. Maybe an earlier incarnation of this team would have lost position on the last ball and given frames away, but not this C team, not now, with all the confidence it is rightly enjoying in the knowledge that it is the best C team in the region. Some of the shot making and positional play was truly first class.

Paul Dawson and Graham Thompson both secured 4/4. Paul has had an indifferent season by his standards and has suffered from black-ball phobia a bit, and it seemed that might continue when he missed the black on his first frame, but after that he took charge and made it look easy. GT kept his head superbly and came back from the dead a couple of times, showing real class as well as experience.

Danish got 3/4 which is really great given how difficult his season had been so far. He lost his first and might have feared another 'mare was on the cards but he started to flow more freely, perhaps benefitting from the decision to play him at 4 rather than at 2. He played some great stuff to win his next three, not least that shot I described earlier which won us the match. Andre also got a steady 3/4 and must surely remain top of the regional rankings as a result. He also lost his opener but had few problems showing his class in the remaining frames.

Five players got 2/4: Baz, Lee, Mark Hester, Chappers, and Booney. Chappers was off his game for the first two but found it big time in the second half. Baz and Lee were solid throughout, as was Booney who nonetheless must be disappointed not to get his trademark 3/4! Mark H proved once again why he is a welcome returnee to the side. Of this pack, both Mark H and Chappers knocked in break-dishes, so huge congratulations to them.

On the subject of welcome returnees, a word has to be said in praise of Mo. The big chap has missed quite a lot of this season and the one game he did play, he came on as sub and lost both his frames. Naturally I couldn't put him in the starting line up today but the decision to bring him on at half-time paid off big time. Not only did he win both to go 2/2, but I don't think he missed a single ball! He broke dry, scattered the balls, his opponent missed a sitter, and Mo cleared up, and then in the next one he cleared up again. If you want to send a message to your skipper saying you fancy a start in the next match, you could do worse than do what Mo did today - outstanding!

Tony Bailey won his opener but was a bit unlucky in the rest and got 1/4, but I still think having Andre and Tony (both at times internationals) opening for a C team is a great shout, guaranteed to put the fear of God into the opposition. Paul Williams, who has played well this season, was rather off his game today so after going 0/2 I decided to rest him to make way for Mo, which obviously worked! I started myself on the bench after a 'mare at Surrey but felt nobody else deserved to be taken off so sat this one out.

Two break-dishes, a splattering of total clearances, some fudge frames won and some fine finishes taken, not to mention those outrageous pots - all in all, this was a very good day at the office. I need to say thanks though to Kev Rackham and the Kent lads for making it an enjoyable day, they were pretty fair and respectful throughout and had no complaints at the end.

The race to the finish line starts next month at home to Sussex. We're well on course for the title but I am sure everyone will want to get there unbeaten, which is no more than this fine team deserves. Well done to everyone.

The MOTM award goes to Paul Dawson, although GT, Danish, Mo, plus Mark H and Chappers for their BDs, deserve special mention. Heck, everyone deserves special mention. This was a fine team performance. I couldn't be more proud of everyone.

The Doctor


#1 | Michael_B on June 18 2012 11:52:10
Yesss the Cs! And yes, I was disappointed not to get my trademark 3/4 but obviously delighted at the team result. Andre Cox...I'm gonna hunt you down in the rankings!

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